Azzi in Between by Sarah Garland: sketches, research, dummy book and original artwork


What happens in Azzi in Between?

Fleeing a war-torn country, Azzi and her family are forced to seek refuge in a new land. Azzi must leave her grandmother and adjust to a different home and strange language. Her father brings beans from home, but he’s unable to plant them as they have no garden in their new country. Resilient and imaginative, Azzi secretly takes a handful of the beans and sows them in the flowerbeds of her new school. She’ll later present the crops to her overjoyed family.

What can you see here?

Azzi in Between uses a brightly coloured comic format to tell this inspiring story. Here, you can see Sarah Garland’s sketches, dummy book (a cut and pasted book that allows the author to plan the layout of words and images), and final illustrations. They show how the book developed from Garland’s initial ideas through to the finished page.

How did Sarah Garland get the idea for Azzi in Between?

While staying in New Zealand, Garland saw many families who had recently come from Burma to flee conflict and persecution. From 2006–2009, New Zealand welcomed more refugees from Burma than from any other country. On her website, Garland says she was sad to find that the city library had no books relevant ‘to a newly arrived refugee child’, or to help other children understand what they ‘might have been through’. She decided to write one, but she made ‘Azzi's family of Persian origin’, and placed their home ‘in an unnamed country’.

How is the comic created?

In the sketches, the artist captures her first ideas for the story, developing her characters by drawing people from life. One page reveals that Azzi was originally called Amira. On other sheets, Garland chooses her brilliant palette of colours, like a costume designer collecting bright fabric samples.

In the dummy artworks, she maps out the comic layout, stripping out colour to focus on the words and design. She uses the different frame sizes to ‘speed up and slow down the action’. Then she makes the final pictures using artist’s felt-tip pens, watercolours and acrylic ink.

Label by British Library Learning in partnership with Seven Stories.


M 865

hot pink coat






V 765







NGOI then black




skin 0929 then dusky pink




dusky pink

SG/04/03    f 17


skin 0929 then Y217

G917 then dusky pink




belt grey 3

cool grey 5

bag W603



skin 0929 then blush

hair 0928 then Y616

true blue

V254 spots



6935 pattern






R934 under


cinnamon & burn sienna

cool grey 4?



skin 0929 then dusky pink

hair HG01 then black


R765 with M865 to eyrah


hot pink coat

pastel pink lining


shoes WG06 1st  WG09


C647 pattern C646 M755


Bobo sunflower

bag G178



skin as father 0929 then Y217 then dusky pink

hair NG05

pattern 6935

slate blue top


necklace R354



shoes in UK Y717




0177 then R327



hair WG01

specs G935

bead G656

trousers C927

scarf M865

shoes cool gruff

jersey R616 8 R327


school chairs Y217

floor coating

school jerseys indian thyrene [?] blue

trs. grey 3

tables olive

ceiling Y418

ethiopean 0928 0924 blush

bean M755

beansticks 0345

bed edges Y616

earth burnt sienna then indian

somali boy R427 jersey

                        trs. cool grey 5


sky iris blue p.3

friend 0225

boy 0345 then W603

hse pers anoncon [?] t violet shadow

jar pumpkin & amber

well tobacco brown water

sofa – slate

floor – olive & black

walls tobacco “

wood – sepia vandyke

bed sepia

nightie R547




Lnen [?]

trousers cool grey 3

skin pastel pink then 0929 then Naples

hair 0345

jacket W602

fur Y217

shoes C603


wonder [__] W606



walls slate & grey

bin grey & olive mp.


leaves 6356

fls R765

stems . grass




calipso green & grass on top


Mr Teacher     sunkissed pink – blush

                        tank  6935

 sox – plum     hair light red

                        trs. cool grey 4

                        shoes 0345



dress prussian blue


fair boy

0929 + blush?

Y418 shirt

hair It. red

trs. 0739


indian girl

dusky pink

M755 dress


scarf girl


face USA221

greys Tis.


dark boy

trs. grey 4

R765 shirt

curly boy

3929 + sunkissed ?


shirt 0547


b & w

grenese [?]


It is the story of Azzi                                     blue



tank?  in street



Azzi’s father was a doctor

who looked after children.


Her mother made

beautiful clothes.


Her grandma was

a weaver of blankets.


In the mornings, Azzi went off to school.

In the afternoons, her friends often came around.



Sometimes they looked over the wall at the soldiers marching by.


no frame  dark grey



white line detail


Sometimes the noise of the

helicopter gunships was so loud


that the chickens were too

scared to lay their eggs


break frame



red background (as below)

fading to left


Then, one evening, the phone rang. 

Father listened to the message and his face

turned pale with shock. 

“We must leave at once!  It’s too dangerous

to stay!  No time to pack!” he said.


At that moment Azzi’s life changed for ever.


Father, Mother, Azzi and Grandma ran around the room. 

Father picked up a bag of beans, Mother took a blanket, woven by Grandma,

Azzi grabbed Bobo, Grandma made Azzi put her coat on.

                        p 65  ref. bk.



I’m staying here,” said Grandma, “to look after the house.  It’s not so

dangerous for me.  I’ll follow later.”

But for Azzi, leaving her Grandma behind was the worst thing of all.


‘Good luck!  God speed!’        

red sky


continue drawing over

                          whole page – drop in others


Mother hid Azzi in the car,

under Grandma’s blanket.


Father drove fast

towards the mountains.


They sang songs to

keep their spirits up.


Once the car stopped, and bright torchlight / shone through the windoes.

That’s when Azzi was really scared.

“Show us your papers!” shouted the soldiers.

“Don’t move!” whispered Azzi to Bobo.


Father drove on,

faster than ever


CMPP  Stones breaking



Huw hungry Azzi was,

and how thirsty.


She sucked her fingers until

at last she fell asleep.



When she woke, the car had stopped.

Mother opened the door and lifted Azzi out into the cold morning air.

The sea was wide and calm.


In the distance a boat was tied to a jetty.  People were shouting.

Father, Mother and Azzi left the car on the beach and ran towards them.


pink sky

Hold tight, sweetheart!


On the jetty, the people were shoving and pushing, trying to reach the boat,

trying to escape from the dangers of the war.

Father and Mother pushed too, with all their strength.


muted colours


They climbed down the ladder and leaped on board.

“Easy as you go!” cried the boatman, as he case off the mooring rope.

He revved up the engine, the / boat turned, and they were out in the open sea.


a crush more people trying to leave


He pushed off from the jetty

and soon they were out / in the open sea


red sun  blurred line boat  breaking frame  3 boats


Up the waves and down the waves, through the days and through the nights,

the little boat ploughed steadily across the ocean.




When Azzi licked her dry lips, she tasted the salt sea spray.

When she cuddled Bobo, his fur was stiff with salt sea water.

When she tried to sleep, Grandma’s blanket around her was damp and cold.



A new day was beginning.  There was only a single star left in the sky.

The land ahead was pink and grey.

For the first time, Azzi saw the shape of the new country.




SG/04/05  f.14



Everything was different in the new country.

The people looked different.

They gave Azzi food to eat which tasted different.


Can I see your papers, sir?


Men and women talked to Father and Mother in words they couldn’t understand.


Azzi asleep in mums lap – claiming asylum


interview with interpreter & interviewing officer taking notes /

- - -


2 men

A man came who spoke their own language.

He and Father talked for a long time.


At last a bus arrived to take

them to their new home.


But this was very different from their old home.

It was small, just one room, with a bathroom on the landing outside.

“Look Azzi,” said Mother, “Kind people have given us furniture and a cooking pot.”

“I’ll soon be allowed to work,” said Father.  “Then I’ll make a good home for us.”

But Azzi thought, “How can we make a good home without Grandma?”

SG/04/05  f15


The car stopped moving and Amira

woke up.  A grey light came

through Grandma’s blanket


Amira listened and she heard a new

sound.  Swoooshsh crrrr, Swoooshsh

crrrr, where had she heard that

sound before?  It was

It was a sound that made her happy.

It was the sound of the sea.


Amira listened and she heard

a new sound.


Swoooshsh crrr. Swooossh crrr

Where had she heard that sound before?

It was a sound that made her happy.

It was the sound of the sea.

Full title:
Rough sketches, development work and research photographs for Sarah Garland's Azzi in Between (Frances Lincoln, 2012); Dummy version of Azzi in Between; Finished artwork for Azzi in Between.
c. 2012
Original artwork / Sketch / Note / Comic book / Illustration / Image
Sarah Garland
© Sarah Garland
Usage terms

Azzi in Between, by Sarah Garland © Sarah Garland. You may not use this work for commercial purposes. Please credit the copyright holder when reusing this work.

Held by
Seven Stories
SG/04/03; SG/04/05; SG/04/09

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