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Category Archives: Family

‘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

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‘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

‘Noah Barleywater Runs Away’ by John Boyne

Age: 9+          Noah Barleywater Runs Away, by John Boyne

Written by the author of The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas, John Boyne tells a very different story in Noah Barleywater Runs Away.

It is magical, quirky and captivating and makes a great read for those who enjoy something a little unusual.

The plot does what it says on the tin – 8 year old Noah Barleywater runs away from home. The reason for his running away is not clear at first but is gradually revealed as the story unfolds. Read the rest of this entry

‘Flood Child’ by Emily Diamand

Flood Child, by Emily Diamand

Age: 9+

It is easy to see why Flood Child won the Chicken House competition in 2008. Readers will be swept away in the adventures of 13 year old Lilly, a girl living in London in the year 2216.

The setting of Flood Child is both imaginative and also hints at what actually might be…  Great Britain has been engulfed by floods from global warming. Pirates, known as reavers, rule the waters. Read the rest of this entry

‘Boy Overboard’ by Morris Gleitzman

Boy Overboard, by Morris Gleitzman

Age: 9+

The is one of my favourite books from when I taught Year 4 Literacy.

It is a gripping story of an Afghan family who must flee Afghanistan due to the Taliban’s oppressive rule. The Taliban laws make it illegal for girls to play football or even be outside without covering their faces.

This book is written from the point of view of a 10 year old boy called Jamal. Jamal desperately wants to save his family from the life-threatening danger of the Taliban and he is determined to fix problems that are far beyond his control. Read the rest of this entry

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