Le Voyage de Sa Vie

Book Title Le Voyage de sa Vie
(The Trip of his Life)
Author(s) Lisa Ray Turner & Blaine Ray
Illustrator(s) Laia Amelia Albarran
Other Contributors Adaptation by Geneviève Pourcel
Published by TPRS Books (view our statement)
Genre Mystery and Adventures
Publication date 2017
#Ownvoices N/A
From the author/publisher’s website
Level 2

Total Word Count

Illustrations                  YES 
Glossary                       YES  
Guiding Questions       NO  
Context                        NO
Other                            N/A

Races, Ethnicities, and Nationalities

Languages spoken

Sex and Genders
Male – main character

Teenager: 13-18
Young Adult: 18-35
Mid-life Adult: 35-65
Senior Adult: 65+

Social classes
Upper Class
Sexual Orientation



Family Structures
Extended family

Body Type
a character is described as “scrawny”
a character is described as “round”

From the author/publisher’s website 

Sixteen-year-old Jean-Luc Bartolin of Denver, Colorado, goes to Switzerland with his family. He is the only witness to the theft of an object of great monetary and personal value. The thief tries to kill him in this brief and captivating story!

To what extent do the illustrations present positive and thoughtful representations of identities?

Older versions of the text do not have illustrations, while the newest version depicts all characters as white with the exception of the police officer. The illustrations depict primarily the main characters in a variety of locations on the train and in the city of Geneva.  Several illustrations showcase a deeper connectedness between generations and within the family.
We understand identities are complex and no single story represents the spectrum of identity-based experiences. Also, a text may address a stereotype, misrepresentation, or generalization without relying on it.

Does any stereotype, misrepresentation, or generalization affect any positive and thoughtful representations of identities in the text?


This section is for teachers who are working towards sourcing more texts within the four domains of anti-bias education. We are excited about reading all books and we understand that not all books are written for this specific purpose. 

Does this text work toward goals within any of the four domains of anti-bias education as defined by Learning for Justice

Trigger warning: two brief mentions of suicide and an attempted murder (p. 50-51)

Le voyage de sa vie is a Level 2 comprehensible reader about Jean-Luc, a U.S. teenage boy from Denver, Colorado who travels to Geneva, Switzerland with his family and becomes entangled in a jewelry theft. In resolving the mystery, Jean-Luc explores Geneva while his family befriends an older Swiss couple, the Vidollets.

The book delivers on its promise to be comprehensible and engaging for readers. There is some thrilling action towards the end of the book when Jean-Luc comes face to face with the thief (p. 51). Tidbits of cultural products and practices are disseminated throughout the story, such as taking the high-speed train from Paris (p. 4), staying at the famous 5-star hotel Beau-Rivage (p. 7, etc.), taking the bus boat (p. 45), or going to the Jet d’Eau (p. 46). 

Additionally, the reader follows the onset and the growth of an endearing friendship between  Jean-Luc’s family and the elderly Swiss couple. They meet the elderly couple on the train (p.12), and the Vidollets offer to take Jean-Luc’s family to their hotel (p. 36). Jean-Luc gets really attached to Mrs. Vidollet, as she reminds him of his grandmother (p. 12). He feels increasingly sad that the necklace was stolen from Mrs. Vidollet because he understands the sentimental value this necklace has for her: “[Jean-Luc] regarde le Jet d’Eau, mais il n’est pas content comme sa soeur. Il pense à Madame Vidollet / [Jean-Luc] looks at the Water Jet, but he is not happy like his sister. He thinks about Mrs. Vidollet” (p. 45).

Suicide is mentioned twice in the book (p. 50-51), first when a person tells Jean-Luc that someone killed himself by jumping in the Jet d’Eau, and then when Monique, the thief, attempts to murder Jean-Luc by asking him to jump in the Jet d’Eau and kill himself. 

Throughout the book, there are a few instances where two of the women are exclusively described according to their physical appearance and beauty in ways that the men are not:

Description of Monique, the thief:
“Elle n’est pas belle, mais Jean-Luc continue à la regarder / She is not beautiful but Jean-Luc keeps looking at her” (p. 4): This sentence suggests that physical beauty would be the only reason for someone to look at a woman. This statement is in the earlier version of the book. In the newer version of the book, “mais” (but) has been removed: “Elle n’est pas belle. Jean-Luc continue à la regarder / She is not beautiful. Jean-Luc keeps looking at her” (p. 4). And also: “Elle est bizarre et très maigre / She is bizarre and very scrawny” (p. 4), and later, “Elle a l’apparence d’une personne mauvaise / She has the appearance of a bad person” (p. 8): It is worth mentioning that only the thief is described as “scrawny” and “bizarre.” Readers may question the implied correlations between “scrawniness,” “bizarreness” and having “the appearance of a bad person.”

Description of Elodie, a relative of Mrs. Vidollet:
“C’est une fille très belle avec de longs cheveux châtains et de grands yeux verts / She is a beautiful girl with long light brown hair and green eyes” (p. 60).

In contrast, a man’s appearance is mentioned only once (“Il n’a pas beaucoup de cheveux. Il sourit beaucoup. Il est aussi bien habillé / He does not have a lot of hair. He smiles a lot. He is also well dressed,” p. 12) despite the presence of a nearly equal number of males and females in the book.

There are at least two instances where the main character describes Switzerland and Geneva in stereotypical terms: 

“Jean-Luc connaît beaucoup de choses à propos de la Suisse, Il sait qu’on y parle quatre langues : l’allemand, le français, le romanche et l’italien. Il sait qu’il y a beaucoup de stations de ski / Jean-Luc knows a lot of things about Switzerland: he knows that people speak four languages: German, French, Romansh, and Italien. He knows there are lots of ski resorts” (p. 16). While it is admirable that Jean-Luc knows that Romansh is one of the languages spoken in Switzerland, this combined with the comment about ski resorts hardly constitutes a “lot of knowledge.”

Jean-Luc walks around Geneva with his sister and notices there are three kinds of shops: tourist shops that sell chocolate and swiss army knives, expensive shops that sell expensive jewels and watches, and banks, lots of banks (p. 43). It is not clear if Jean-Luc refers to Geneva or just the touristic area they are in. If this statement refers to Geneva, it would lend itself to a stereotypical view of the city.

View our statement on TPRS Books

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