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The books in this section cover a range of PSHE topics including bullying, family issues and racism. There are both fiction and non-fiction titles and cover age ranges from Toddler to Older Teen.
A Julia Eccleshare Pick of the Month January 2018 An eye-opening book, The Girl Who Saw Lions (originally published as Abela) is the touching and profound story of two girls who apparently have nothing in common. The two girls tell their own stories. Abela, growing up in Tanzania, is surrounded by suffering. Her father has already died and now her mother and her baby sister are desperately ill. When they die too, Abela is sent off to England and an uncertain future as an illegal immigrant. Rosa, growing up in England, has everything she could possibly want. There is no reason why these two should become sisters. Their individual stories and the story of how they come together through adoption make a beautiful, satisfying and complete story. ~ Julia Eccleshare Julia Eccleshare's Picks of the Month for January 2018 Ten Little Fingers and Ten Little Toes by by Mem Fox Words and Your Heart by Kate Jane Neal Emmeline and the Plucky Pup by Megan Rix Whatever Next! by Jill Murphy The Girl Who Saw Lions by Berlie Doherty The Poesy Ring by Bob Graham
Nominated for the CILIP CARNEGIE MEDAL 2019 | A romantic and relevant debut about Islamophobia and how it affects the normal life of a teenage girl. Maya Aziz dreams of being a film maker in New York. Her family have other ideas. They want her to be a dutiful daughter who wears gold jewellery and high heels and trains to be a doctor. But jewellery and heels are so uncomfortable . . . She's also caught between the guy she SHOULD like and the guy she DOES like. But she doesn't want to let Kareem down and things with Phil would never work out anyway. Would they? Then a suicide bomber who shares her last name strikes in a city hundreds of miles away and everything changes . . .
This beautifully illustrated version of John Lennon’s song Imagine vividly encaptures the message of the lyrics. Illustrator Jean Jullien chooses to make his central character an ordinary city pigeon. Travelling by train and boat as well as through the air it crosses the world, olive branch of peace in its beak, a bag emblazoned with the symbol for nuclear disarmament slung round its neck. It meets different birds on its way, stopping to break up squabbles and fights before settling down on a branch for the night, only to be joined by a colourful flock of friends. The juxtaposition of words and pictures will demonstrate even to the very youngest the concept of a world with no countries, no possessions, no war; a world where we can all live as one. ~ Andrea Reece
A poignant and poetic novel that gives voice to the oft-forgotten children imperiled to trafficking and slavery. Eleven-year-old Esra, storyteller Miran and six-year-old Isa have been enslaved by a gang. They’re locked in a room beneath the house and must tend to The Jungle. “The tattoo on my arm… says I am owned”, Esra explains, but she knows a different truth. She knows that no marks on her skin can say who she really is. “One day, I will be free”, she resolves even as she’s being beaten. There’s a chance to escape, but Miran is too injured to do so. “With our souls tied together, we won’t ever be apart”, he whispers before urging Esra to flee with Isa. While Miran is hospitalised and captured by the police, Esra struggles to keep up her spirits. Then she and Isa form a bond with a “strange” boy named Skeet and together they make a man from the mud of the river. When Riverman takes on a life of his own, he might just lead them to the freedom they’ve been seeking. I adored the author’s previous novel, the hauntingly moving The Bone Sparrow, and this more than confirms her majestic writing skills, and a style that will surely be adored by fans of David Almond. By turns harrowing, heart-wrenching, and magical, this is an incredibly powerful - and incredibly important - novel.
Awarded the Amnesty CILIP Honour commendation from the Carnegie shortlist 2018 | Shortlisted for the CILIP Carnegie Medal 2018 | One of Our Books of the Year 2017 | Longlisted for the UKLA 2018 Book Award | April 2017 Debut of the Month | | Stunning, vital wake-up call of a novel about racism, social inequality and not giving up told through the eyes of an incredible, unforgettable sixteen-year-old. Starr straddles two very different worlds. She has one foot in Garden Heights, a rough neighbourhood ruled by gangs, guns and dealers, and the other in an exclusive school with an overwhelmingly wealthy white student population. One night she’s at a party when gunshots are fired and Khalil, her friend since childhood, takes her to his car for safety. Khalil is unarmed and poses no threat, but he’s shot dead by an officer right in front of her. It will take a lot of courage to speak to the police, and to face the media who choose to highlight that Khalil was a “suspected drug dealer”, while omitting to mention that he was unarmed. But, with their neighbourhood under curfew and a tank on the streets, Starr risks going public. Danger escalates as the hearing approaches (and beyond), but Starr isn’t about to give up fighting for Khalil, and for what’s right. Alongside the intense struggles and conflicts faced by Starr’s family and community, there are some truly heart-melting moments between Starr and her white boyfriend Chris (their shared love of the Fresh Prince of Bel Air is super cute), and also between Starr and her parents. Complex, gripping, stirring and so, so important – I can’t recommend this remarkable debut enough.
Michael Rosen on a compelling favourite: "A book that dared to go where no one thought you could with young audiences because it raises tough stuff to do with race." It takes a brave author such as Malorie Blackman to consider a sequence of the like of Noughts and Crosses and to pull it off with utmost aplomb. Award-winning author Blackman has tackled the issues of racism and prejudice in a world set in an alternate historical reality. Although 11 year olds will take great joy and learn much from reading this first one in the sequence, adults will devour it with equal enthusiasm. The contrast of the two main protagonists makes the novel totally compelling and the writing style is both original and superbly paced. The plot unravels at the pace of a thriller and as a consequence it’s a book that is almost impossible to put down. Books in the Noughts & Crosses Series: 1. Noughts & Crosses 2. Knife Edge 3. Checkmate 4. Double Cross 5. Crossfire
This charming little book opens with a scene any young dancer dreams of: a girl peeking through the curtains before flying onto the stage, a ballerina. The journey taken by that young ballerina to make that entrance is particularly inspiring however: she is Michaela DePrince, and the book describes simply and without embellishment how she came from an orphanage in Sierra Leone to become one of the world’s best dancers. It’s a story of hope, courage, love and persistence, filled with enough dance detail to satisfy tutu-wearing youngsters while gently reminding them anyone’s dreams can come true with hard work and practice. Ella Okstad’s illustrations of Michaela and her fellow little dancers are absolutely gorgeous.
November 2016 Book of the Month In a Nutshell: Race against time | Racing hearts | The difference a day makes | Intense tale of fate, fraught families and migrant lives told over the twelve hour period in which a teenage girl falls madly in love while desperately seeking to save her family from deportation. Natasha has been making solitary pilgrimages to the US Citizenship and Immigration Services office for some time, but time has all but run out. On this morning’s last ditch visit the worst is confirmed: she and her family must return to Jamaica in ten hours. “What about college?” she pleads. “Do you have any idea what it’s like not to fit in anywhere?” While she's angered by the officer’s naïve assumption that her life will turn out irie in Jamaica, he offers Natasha a lifeline when he sets up a meeting with a top attorney, and so she sets off across New York to meet him. Meanwhile, Daniel’s story begins to unfold. Born in the US to South Korean migrants, Daniel is on his way to an interview for Yale when he’s smitten by a girl he happens to see. That girl is Natasha, and their attraction is mutual, and strong. But Natasha believes in science, not in “unprovable” things like love, though she can’t deny her rapidly intensifying feelings for Daniel. But it’s not long before Natasha has to meet the lawyer, and Daniel has his interview and so they must part. Then a combination of snap decisions and chance throws them back together, and they fall deeper in love as time ticks down. I adored the author’s debut, Everything, Everything, and this confirms her status as a writer of considerable talents. Expansively thought-provoking, incisively told and breathtakingly smart on love, identity and the shifting relationships between young adults and their parents, this is YA at its finest, and its exploration of migrant experiences (“for most immigrants, moving to the new country is an act of faith”) is insightful and timely. ~ Joanne Owen
In a nutshell: Iconic | Outspoken | Big Issues | Difficult Truths Set in South Africa in the 1990s, a time when an increasing number of young black South Africans are dealing with the violence, the legacy of disrupted schooling and the continued struggle for survival. The story focuses on one boy's struggle for survival as he leaves the violence of his home and joins a gang of children living on the streets. It is one of The Originals from Penguin - iconic, outspoken, first. The Originals are the pioneers of fiction for young adults. From political awakening, war and unrequited love to addiction, teenage pregnancy and nuclear holocaust, The Originals confront big issues and articulate difficult truths. The collection includes: The Outsiders - S.E. Hinton, I Capture the Castle - Dodie Smith, Postcards from No Man's Land - Aidan Chambers, After the First Death - Robert Cormier, Dear Nobody - Berlie Doherty, The Endless Steppe - Esther Hautzig, Buddy - Nigel Hinton, Across the Barricades - Joan Lingard, The Twelfth Day of July - Joan Lingard, No Turning Back - Beverley Naidoo, Z for Zachariah - Richard C. O'Brien, The Wave - Morton Rhue, The Red Pony - John Steinbeck, The Pearl - John Steinbeck, Stone Cold - Robert Swindells.
This exciting adventure story follows a family of slaves in the USA in 1860 as they escape from a cotton plantation via the legendary Underground Railroad. An enthralling story of courage and resilience, centring on 10 year old Tommy, it will fascinate children who might not know much about this secret escape route into Canada that was used by as many as 100,000 people. For more books on this theme head over to our sister site, LoveReading4Schools topic list - The Slave Trade
An arrestingly original way of informing children of their human rights, We Are All Born Free depicts each of the 30 Articles of Universal Declaration of Human Rights in wonderful illustrations by thirty best known illustrators. Each of the important statements is reinforced by the stunning artwork of the contributors who include John Burningham, Chris Riddell, Axel Scheffler, Polly Dunbar and Jane Ray. Both thought provoking and beautiful, this is an essential book. All royalties go to Amnesty international.
From the award-winning author of Mockingbird, this is a powerful and thought-provoking historical novel of family and friendships and the tackling of the important themes of race and responsibility in '70s America in the 'Deep South', but with elements that resonate on a wider scale. Red Porter knows the difference between right and wrong, black and white. But he also knows that for folk in his hometown, Stony Gap, this isn't always clear. With the help of a few unlikely characters however, red realises that while he can't fix the past, he can still change the future and stand up for those who need him most.