Narrative and Facts
This book tells the story of a little boy who goes butterflies hunting in his garden. The child thinks that his shadow, who follows him, bothers him because it makes the butterflies fly away before he can even use his net. He decides that he has to get rid of his shadow and invents all sorts of traps. After no results, he will decide to go around the world to try to trap it in the ice in the North Pole, to confuse it in detours, even to melt in the desert. It is precisely in the desert that he will encounter a sand fox who explains him how his shadow can be helpful and it is essential to make peace with it. The little boy then realizes that his shadow is part of him, it becomes his best friend and in the end, offers him to catch butterflies together...
In the book, the shadow visualizes the part of ourselves that we don't recognize, or that we want to ignore for whatever reason... but we can't really escape from it. We don't live without a shadow. The message could be that to become our full self, we have to reunite at once what we accept and like about us and be open to our unknown territory. It is essential to reconcile with the part of ourselves that appears at first sight unfamiliar, unknown, sometimes disturbing.
Here is a comment from a psychoanalyst friend :
"Between the lines of this deceptively simple and beautifully illustrated little book lies a profound message: the futility of escaping our darker half. By all means, share it with your children but do read carefully and take heed; if all of us, at every age, embraced the truth within these pages, the world would change before our eyes."
"Laurence de Rosen and Catherine Arnoux have created the charming, beautifully illustrated story of a boy seeking the impossible: to escape his other, darker half. Aided in his quest by elements of nature, he comes to befriend and find companionship with what he sought to discard. A children's book with a timely message for all of us."
When I was illustrating this book, I wanted to make references to a few famous ideas:
- First, you will find references to "the Thinker" by the French sculptor Rodin, which I was inspired by my multiple visits to the Rodin Museum in Philadelphia. (where I was living when I wrote this book, and still remains one of my favorite museums!). You can recognize the monumental entrance of the museum.
- Then, you will notice that I refer to "The Little Prince" by St Exupery, and I have to say that, not really even consciously at the beginning, I was inspired by the idea of bringing my character into irrational spaces and experiencing time travel.
- Last, I couldn't avoid including a sand fox throughout the story, because when I was young and living with my parents in North Africa, my sisters and I welcomed two adorable sand foxes, Isis and Osiris, as pets. They eventually turned out to be wilder animals than expected... but I will always admire their delicate features and color.
Laurence de Rosen and Catherine Arnoux started their book about 15 years ago, while living in Wayne PA. Laurence, who is a psychotherapist, had the idea of this story about a boy who wants to get rid of his annoying shadow... and Catherine started the illustrations, finding together the words to unroll the journey of the main character.
After struggling to have their book published (a first book is always a big struggle), they just let the project as it...
Then, Laurence de Rosen moved back to Paris and Catherine Arnoux moved to Princeton.
Keeping always in mind that they had something unfinished, during the year 2015, they decided to make the book “come alive” and decided also to make it as a bilingual book (english and french). After showing their project to friends, librarians and professionals, they got encouraged with some great feedback. And with the help of Suzy Basta, a graphic designer who put together their texts and illustrations on a computerized format, the book got ready to be printed.
Laurence de Rosen Ph. D is an alumna of the Ecole des Psychologues Praticiens, at the Catholic Institute of Paris (1979). She worked with Dr. M. Seligman and Dr A . Beck at the University of Pennsylvania (1995-1998). She is a graduate of the C.G. Jung Institute ( 1996-2005), New York, and a licensed and certified Jungian analyst.
She worked in both the clinical context and in private practice in France (1979-1993) and in the US, where she taught, published, and was the recipient of the Gravid Award in 2011.
Having returned to France, Laurence studied wood sculpture for three years under the supervision of master woodworker Pierre Leron-Lesur at la Maison de l’Amandier in St Rémy de Provence. Today, Laurence lives and practices her therapy and sculpture in Paris.
Catherine Arnoux lives in Princeton NJ, she has 2 children now grown-up, one lives in NY and the other in Connecticut.
She is a painter, using mostly acrylic media.
She is actually working on an other book The Life of Mo (her own cat's story) and has the project to illustrate a veterinarian medical book, also about cats.
To illustrate "Running from my Shadow", she used colored pencils.