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Category Archives: Triumph Over Adversity

‘The Little White Horse’ by Elizabeth Goudge

book cover of The Little White Horse byElizabeth Goudge

The Little White Horse, by Elizabeth Goudge

Age: 9+

Themes: Fantasy; adventure; friendship; reconciliation; fairy-tale.

Synopsis: When 13 year old Maria Merryweather is orphaned, she leaves her life in London to go and live with her cousin, Sir Benjamin Merryweather, in the village of Silverydew in Moonacre Valley. Arriving there, Maria soon realises her cousin’s home is full of magic and wonder. However, beneath the surface of happiness and content, Silverydew is suffering at the evil hands of the Men from the Dark Woods. These hostile relations began many generations ago but Maria soon learns that she has a vital role to play in bringing reconciliation. Read the rest of this entry

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‘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

‘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

‘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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