Scottish charity MUMs (Malawi Underprivileged Mothers) commissioned illustrator Malika Favre to illustrate a children’s book entitled When The Rains Come, a charming initiative to raise awareness of problems faced by young mothers in Malawi while also raising money to help them…
The book tells the story of three children who have to be looked after by their grandmother, whilst also embedding a story within the story: a folk tale from Malawi about different animals working together and listening to the wisdom of even the lowliest creature to solve problems.
“In order to bring the book to life, I worked very closely with the author, Tom Pow and the charity founder, Linda McDonald,” says Favre of the project.
“The real challenge,” she continues, “was to communicate the reality of the situation for Malawi children while retaining and celebrating the joy of Malawi culture. We didn’t want to create a grim assesment of life in Malawi but rather raise awarness about the current situation in a positive way.”
Favre describes the creative process as organic and collaborative: “Tom allowed the story to evolve alongside the illustrations and for the narrative and illustrations to feed one another,” she says.
“My approach was very instinctive and quite different from my usual creative process,” she continues. “This project was not about paring things down but about bringing patterns, animals and colours to life in a joyful and almost chaotic way.”
“I wanted to have loads of hidden details on each page and take owneship of the story itself by adding my own stories to it. I based my illustrations on Linda’s photographs of Malawi in order to stay as close as possible to reality.”
When The Rains Come (Birlinn, £6.99) is out now and available online here.
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