A Children’s Tale Made of Colours: Isabella e l’ombra by Antonio Tabucchi
Antonio Tabucchi is one of the most representative authors of contemporary Italian literature. His output includes a short story for children entitled Isabella e l’ombra, which was illustrated by Isabella Staino and to whom the story is dedicated. Instead of relying on words to write short texts at school, the main character, a little girl named Isabella, uses colours and explains their chromatic compositions to the teacher. Undoubtedly, the writer’s pedagogical intention behind this story is for young readers to understand that literary expression does not occur only by writing but also through images and colours that can transmit as many emotions as written texts do. Moreover, the text, which can be considered a Bildungsroman for children, touches upon some topics visible in other novels and stories by Tabucchi. This paper aims to analyse the way in which Tabucchi shares some of his existential ideas with a non-adult audience, particularly regarding the relationship between various forms of language, the symbolism of colours, the power of visual communication, and the importance of such feelings as sadness, affection, and generosity.