This is an utterly beautiful book about imagination, insecurity and creativity. Sandy draws the tiny lights she sees in her bedroom at night, creating fantastical creatures and landscapes. When a new girl appears at her school who seems to admire her whimsical drawings, Sandy is pleased, as her work has never been complimented before. Indeed, her teachers see what she does as mere doodling and see her as failing to concentrate on lessons.

However, the admiration comes at a price. What the mysterious girl, Morfie, might represent is debatable, but she may be the insecurity that can come with being creative, the fear that one is not really very good or even a craving for praise that may remove self-motivation. The name points towards praise as a drug, as well. The question of whether Morfie is real or not is never answered and the book is stronger for doing this. The colour illustrations in this graphic novel are sumptuous, rich and deep. The use of line is also glorious. In particular, the double-page spreads that focus on Sandy’s creative worlds and the tensions in her relationship with Morfie are delightful. They are contrasted with images of the real world which show that that world too has colour and pleasure, but not as much as that created by a strong imagination. The author believes that readers of the book can get to grips with complex ideas about creativity and how it brings insecurity as well as joy.

Book Cover - Nightlights
Publication Date
November 2016