Trace by Abi Pirani

Trace is a graphic novel written by See Me volunteer Abi Pirani.

TRIGGER WARNING: The following work is a graphic novel that depicts adverse childhood experiences, including abuse and sexual assault. For sources of support, please see our urgent help page.

After two years in the making, artist and See Me volunteer Abi Pirani completed her graphic novel, Trace. The novel is only part of the whole project which began several years ago as a puppet show.

Her aim was to start a conversation around the stark, but genuine, themes that feature in the novel. Although the story is based on her own experiences, she hopes it will have an impact on a wider discussion. 

Trace follows Abi's journey from childhood into adulthood where she ultimately takes steps to heal, and discovers puppeteering. The novel also features a number of poems with the same theme.

In her introduction, Abi says that, as children, many people can't always use language to describe their experiences. It takes "time and work to vocalise, understand and process what has happened to us".

Trace focuses on the long-term impact of adverse childhood experiences (ACEs) on mental health and how that resonates through lives. 

Abi's novel shows the power of creativity and the natural world. The style is deliberately very simple and accessible - and can be used as part of groupwork sessions or to be added to a library of resources.

Below you will find a chance to download an excerpt of Trace and more information on how to get a physical copy.

About the Author

Abi Pirani

I have been an artist all my life, but it’s taken until now to tell my own story.

Soon after I turned 60 in 2015, I took up puppetry. I had an idea I couldn't yet put into words - to tell my own story with puppets. Originally, Trace began as a puppet show, but it was interrupted during final rehearsals by the 2020 pandemic.

So, I wrote the graphic novel. I work with a wide range of materials and love the processes. You can find more examples of my work over at my blog

Read an excerpt of Trace

Download selected pages by the author

Interested in a copy?

We have a small stock of printed copies of Trace and we are keen to share them with people who feel an individual connection with this work, or who would like to share it with others in settings where there are opportunities to safely explore the story together.

Please contact if you would like to request copies or discuss how you might use Trace to open up conversations or inform creative projects.