‘I miss the anomaly that was Daphne’ – author of new children’s book

The life of journalist Daphne Caruana Galizia has been captured and transformed into a book for young readers that tells the story of how she fearlessly continued to fight for what she believed in through her writing.

Aptly titled Fearless, The Story of Daphne Caruana Galizia, the book was written by Gattaldo, a close friend, illustrator and art director, who described her as a gentle but still assertive person who would not take any nonsense from anyone.

“She was, to some extent, my mentor. I looked up to her. She had a sharp sense of humour, a love for beautiful things and cuisine. I miss the anomaly that she was,” he said in an interview.

Gattaldo explained what sparked his idea for the book.

“I was flying to Malta to visit my family when my friend Daphne was killed. It was sad and confusing time for me. I was reading a book to my little niece and nephew. They had heard me talking to their mum about my friend and they wanted to know more”.

He then went on to explain Caruana Galizia’s story and how she used her writing to fight for what she believed in.

“Their enthusiasm made me think of ways I could illustrate her life story in a book for them to keep”, he said.

Gattaldo admitted that simplifying Caruana Galizia’s story was not an easy task but books about investigators were very popular with children and Caruana Galizia’s story was, after all, about an investigative journalist.

“Investigation and exploration capture children’s imagination because that is how they go about discovering the world we live in. Journalists are the most important investigators because they protect our freedom. We think of ourselves as free to choose. Our freedom depends on choice but what use is choice without information?”

Still inspired by Caruana Galizia, Gattaldo also set up a website called www.fearlessdaphne.com for “aspiring little journalists, their teachers and parents”.

Colourful and creative, the website has different sections on how to spot fake news, an article about slave activist Ida Bell Wells-Barnett as well as an illustrated explanation of what a journalist is and the role they have in society by Reporters Without Borders UK Bureau Director Rebecca Vincent.

“Like the wolf in the story of Little Red Riding Hood, some of the people sending those messages are not as well-intentioned as they make themselves out to be. Some want to mislead us so they may gain something for themselves,” Gattaldo wrote on the website.

His friendship with Caruana Galizia started when the artist decided to write her a letter to tell her how much he liked her weekly column in a local newspaper. He did not expect a reply and was surprised when she wrote back.

“Letter followed the letter and, in due course, I got the opportunity to meet Daphne and her family in person,” he said.

Earlier this year, former journalist Kristina Chetcuti published an illustration book called “Amazing Maltese Women” where Caruana Galizia featured as the journalist who died because of the things she wrote.

Fearless – The Story of Daphne Caruana Galizia is published by Otter-Barry Books and will be released in October but can be pre-ordered here. It is also endorsed by Amnesty International and Reporters Without Frontiers.


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