Leona und Anna

Book Title Leona und Anna
Author(s) Theresa Marrama
Illustrator(s) digitalhandart
Other Contributors Julie Young, Melanie Bruyers (translators)
Published by (Self-published)
Genre Animal Story
Publication date 2019
#Ownvoices N/A
From the author/publisher’s website
Level 1

Total Word Count

Illustrations                    YES 
Glossary                          YES  
Guiding Questions       NO  
Context                            NO  

Races, Ethnicities, and Nationalities

Languages spoken

Sex and Genders


Social classes
Sexual Orientation
none referenced

(Dis)Abilities and Neurotypes
none referenced

Religions, Syncretism, and Spirituality

Family and Relationship Structures
Mother, father, and child

Body Descriptions
Mother and father described as “fat mice”

From the author/publisher’s website 

Anna is different: a mouse that isn’t afraid of cats.  She lives in the Black Forest in Germany with her mom and dad.  But Anna is not happy.  She doesn’t have any friends.  And because her father fears she will get attacked by a cat, Anna is not allowed to play in the forest alone.  How will Anna be able to make friends?  Will she venture alone into the forest, against her father’s wishes?  Anna’s fearlessness could get her into trouble or…it could help her find friends!

Our differences not only set us apart from others, but sometimes bring us together.

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

The illustrations show a cat and a mouse in a cartoonish style, as well as the parents of the mouse. The mouse’s father wears overalls and the mouse’s mother wears a dress.

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 Teaching Tolerance
Leona und Anna is a reader aimed at a level 1 course which shows a curious mouse named Anna who seeks to find a friend for herself. She defies her parents, ignoring their concerns about her safety, and goes into the forest, where she meets a cat who happens to be afraid of mice. They develop a friendship based on caring for one another.

The book treats the topic of difference by showing that, while being different can sometimes be socially challenging, it can also help you connect with others. Leona (the cat) and Anna (the mouse) are both described as being “different” from other cats and mice (p. 2, 4): Leona is a cat afraid of mice, while Anna is a mouse unafraid of cats. Leona sometimes wishes she were more like other cats (p. 21), while also being aware that the other cats are not nice to her because she is “different.”

After Anna defies her parents and plays in the woods, she brings Leona to her family, who come to accept her as a friend of Anna’s who is a cat. Anna’s father, who repeatedly expresses concern for Anna’s safety while playing in the woods (pp. 7, 17), is able to see that although Anna’s friendship with Leona seems unusual to him, Anna is safe with her new friend (p. 30). Anna’s parents realize that although they were worried about her being “different,” she is actually brave for seeing past the potential differences between her and Leona and forming a friendship (p. 29).

Teachers may ask their readers if the father figure is really “strict,” as he is repeatedly described in the book (pp. 6, 8, 23), or if he is justifiably concerned for the safety of his child playing in the woods.  What do you think is the line between the adults in our lives being ‘strict’ vs being ‘protective’?  How might the “strictness” of the adults be different if Anna were older, or identified as a boy mouse?

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