Oops – Sunday has been and gone without me posting. That’s what happens when you’ve been out having a nice time. Sorry if you missed me.
It’s been another busy reading week. In the car I’ve listened to Flood and Fang, the first book in The Raven series by Marcus Sedgwick. It is superbly performed by Martin Jarvis and made a journey both ways around the M25 more than bearable. I’m all set to start listening to the second in the series (narrated by our hero – Edgar the Raven) and have the third in hard copy waiting to be read.
A Song for Ella Grey by David Almond is a strange, wild, beautifully written book about being young and full of life; about love and music and death. Set in the North East of England it uses the language and the landscape to illustrate a version of the Orpheus story. It’s one of those stories that makes you sit and think about it after you’ve finished.
There aren’t very many books for teenagers that cover transgender issues. The Art of Being Normal by Lisa Williamson introduces the reader to David Piper, a boy who, for as long as he can remember, has wanted to be a girl – a girl who likes boys. His parents think he is gay. People at school think he’s a freak. Only his two best friends know the truth. It is a touching story with some unexpected twists although, at times, these feel a little too convenient. When I picked it up I was expecting to read a book set in the USA, so it was very pleasing to find it set in the UK.
The fourth book in this picture, Trouble by Non Pratt, was our SCBWI book group read for this month. It is well written and a very believable story, but it made me very sad. I know there are 15-year-old children who use sex to define their position in the social structure. Reading about it was uncomfortable and depressing. The story, however, was very strong and handled the two main story lines in a sensitive and realistic manner.
For work I have been reading more books to include in the When a Book Might Help (WABMH) segment of the Hampshire Libraries blog. Football Academy: Reading the Game by Tom Palmer is about a boy juggling the demands of school and football whilst struggling to read. His inability to read creates more and more problems, until eventually he realises he needs to ask for, and accept, help to improve the situation. This will go onto the Dyslexia book list.
We will be including a section in WABMH simply called Medical Conditions. This will include stories about conditions which are seldom seen in children’s books. Pea’s Book of Holidays by Susie Day will be going on this list as one of the characters has condition called Hemiplegia. The story is not about a disabled boy, however, but about a girl trying to support all her family. It is fun and funny and part of a series about Pea and her sisters.
The last book this week is an Early Reader written by Jacqueline Wilson and illustrated by Stephen Lewis. Monster Eyeballs shows how Kate deals with the class bully, Mark. The clue is in the title of the story, but I won’t spoil the fun for you.