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Category Archives: Childhood

‘The Weight of Water’ by Sarah Crossan

The Weight of Water, by Sarah Crossan

Age: 10+

Themes: Multiculturalism; refugees; family; Poland.

Synopsis: The Weight of Water opens with 12 year old Kasienka and her mother leaving their homeland, Poland, and travelling to England. They are searching for Tata, Kasienka’s father, who headed to the UK three years previously. Kasienka and her mother arrive in Coventry, equipped only with a suitcase, a laundry bag and a scanty knowledge of the English language. They make a home in a grotty single room in a high tower block overlooking the Coventry Ring Road. Read the rest of this entry

‘Words in the Dust’ by Trent Reedy

Words in the Dust, by Trent Reedy

Age: 10+

Themes: Afghanistan; war; childhood.

Synopsis:  Words in the Dust is told from the viewpoint of a young Afghan girl, Zulaikha. The story only recalls 18 months of her life, but this period is hugely seminal and life-changing for her. Zulaikha’s story is mainly driven by her misfortune of being born with a cleft-lip which distorts her mouth, nose and teeth. Zulaikha’s deformity has brought her a life of misery and suffering. Read the rest of this entry

‘India Dark’ by Kirsty Murray

India Dark, by Kirsty Murray

Age: 13+

Themes: childhood, theatre, travel, India, friendship, perspective.

Synopsis: Based on a true story, India Dark follows the dramatic events of the Lilliputian Opera Company in 1910 as they embark on a world tour, acting, singing and dancing their way from Australia to India. The Lilliputian Opera Company is made up of 29 youngsters aged between 7 and 18. Their boss is Arthur Percival, a lecherous, two-faced man who leads his band of youngsters on a traumatic journey that steals their innocence and leaves them irreversibly changed. Read the rest of this entry

‘My Name is Rose’, by Sally Grindley

My Name is Rose, by Sally Grindley

Age: 9+

Themes: identity, Gypsy culture, Western culture, oppression.

Synopsis: Rose is a ten-year old Gypsy girl from Romania. The story opens with Rose living a happy and content nomadic life with her loving family. However, in Chapter 2 Rose’s world collides with the rich, opulent world of the ‘gadje’ (non-Gypsy people). A rich businessman named Mr Luca crashes his car into the gypsy caravan, killing Rose’s entire family. Racked with guilt, Mr and Mrs Luca take Rose home with them to England. Read the rest of this entry

‘No Use Crying’ by Zannah Kearns

No Use Crying by Zannah Kearns

Age: 13+

Themes: Family; multiculturalism; teenagers; friendship; inner-city.

Synopsis:  Set in Tooting, London, No Use Crying follows the life of 14-year old Niki, the daughter of a single, teenage mum. The story opens when Niki and her mother move from a sheltered, middle-class village near Bath, to a multicultural, working class community in Tooting.

Whilst Niki endures the unforgiving initiation to her new school, she also discovers the life-changing truth about her father. An emotional roller-coaster follows, which although painful, ultimately leads to healing.

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‘Dead Man’s Cove’ by Lauren St.John

Dead Man’s Cove, by Lauren St.John

Age: 9+

In this page-turning adventure, Lauren St.John transports her readers to the crashing waves and wild, rugged cliffs of Cornwall. (I was instantly gripped – Cornwall is my favourite place in the world.)

Dead Man’s Cove is the first in the Laura Marling series and opens with 11 year old Laura leaving Sylvan Meadows orphanage and going to live with her kind yet mysterious uncle in the Cornish village of St.Ives. There the life of adventure, which Laura has always yearned for, begins. Read the rest of this entry

‘Chinese Cinderella’ by Adeline Yen Mah

Chinese Cinderella, by Adeline Yen Mah

Age: 9+

Themes: family, China, autobiography, childhood, rejection, triumph over adversity.

Adeline Yen Mah writes about her own childhood in this moving and haunting true story. It is the kind of book which will leave images and words in your mind long after you put it down.

Chinese Cinderella follows Adeline’s life between the ages of 4 and 14. Adeline’s mother died when giving birth to her, leaving Adeline in the care of her father and his new wife, Niang.

As in the tale of Cinderella, Adeline’s stepmother, nasty Niang, is heartlessly cruel to Adeline and her siblings. Niang greatly favours her own biological children – Adeline’s step sister and step brother. Read the rest of this entry

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