Recommended reads for brighter days, May 2022

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The Boy Who Met a Whale, Nizrana Farook

Fast paced storytelling set on the glorious, sun-kissed island of Serendib - a fictional Sri Lanka.This is a classic adventure story with plenty of peril, dastardly villains and a real sense of fun. It is also blessed with a fantastic start - a merchant ship sinks on the high seas, it's crew and Captain poisoned so the villains of the piece can bunk off with a treasure map that should reveal the whereabouts of an ancient sword that they hope will bring them fortune.It has been a great choice for the 11+ book club that I've recently started running for year 5 pupils. Thoroughly enjoyed and dissected. 9+

When the Sky Falls, Phil Earle

This is a book about war and the people it displaces and wreaks havoc on. It is also a fierce, raw, poignant book about love in all its forms and absurdities. A gorilla holds the story together - he's the unlikely being around which everyone's love pivots and grows.

Beautifully written and a sad, truthful look into the lives of those who have lost everything but drive themselves to carry on. The perfect book for advanced year 5 and year 6 children who want a different perspective on the war. 

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Baby Love, Jacqueline Wilson

Here, Jacqueline Wilson tackles teenage pregnancy in the 1960s. Laura, a grammar school girl from the wrong end of town, is painfully naive. Wrapped up in a brief flush of emotion when a young French boy takes an interest in her, she falls pregnant. Her pregnancy cripples her parents and she is sent to have the baby in a school for young mothers after which it is thought the baby will be put up for adoption.

There's great warmth here too and it's easy to see why so many young readers are captivated by Wilson's storytelling. It's also a good opener to wider conversations about consent.14+