Saturday, March 20, 2021

What We're Scared Of by Keren David


 click on image to view on Amazon


Evie and Lottie are non-identical twins.  They are completely different from each other.  Evie is funny, small, “zaftig” (Yiddish word for chubby) and goes to the local comp. She has quite a following as a stand-up comic. Lottie, is tall, slim, asthmatic, and possibly has an eating disorder but this is understated in the text.  She is clever and goes to a fee-paying school. Their mother is Jewish but is not a practising Jew nor is at all religious.

They start to confront their Jewishness when their mother brings back an old school friend and her son Noah.   Sarah an d Noah have moved from Paris because Noah and his father were attacked for being Jewish, Noah stays with the twins and the family for a while.

Meanwhile, Lottie befriends another Jewish girl at her school.  Hannah introduces Lottie to more formal aspects of the Jewish way of life.  

Their mother mentions what has happened to Sarah and Noah on her radio show.  She is immediately trolled and starts to receive hate mail.

Both girls ae put in danger because they are Jewish.  

They meet a Holocaust survivor who encourages them to “Seize opportunities” and “celebrate the good times” p300.

The text is blocked and in adult font.  It is 300 pages long. The acknowledgments at the end of the book tell us a little about David’s research. There is also a short biography of the author at the end.            

Sunday, March 7, 2021

Prince Caspian by C S Lewis


2009, first published 1951  

Edmond, Lucy, Peter and Susan are summoned to Narnia again.  It happens as they are sitting on station platform waiting for the train that will take them to their boarding schools.  Already boarding school is an exotic concept for many 21st century readers.  Prince Caspian, who should rightfully be the king of Narnia, has used Susan’s hunting horn to call them.

Years and years have passed since they were last in Narnia. The castle where they used to reign is in ruins. Narnia is in trouble again. The talking animals and moving trees are not visible. The current king, Caspian’s uncle, dismissed the history as fairy tales. He is not too worried that Caspian will become king after his death but then he and his wife have a baby and Caspian becomes a threat. Caspian’s life is now in danger.

His tutor rescues him.  He warns him of the danger and helps him to flee.  After the children are summoned, they have to help him to regain his kingdom.  They are aided by Aslan.

The story borders on science fiction.  The humans who now inhabit Narnia actually came from our world, the world to which the children will return.  Aslan warns that Peter and Susan will no longer be able to come back to Narnia as they have become too old. Time behaves oddly: only a few month have lapsed in our world whereas centuries have gone by n Narnia. In our world they are children.  In Narnia they are more grown up and able to take responsibility.

The book is 240 pages long, in blocked text and using an adult font. There is a map at the front of the book and a few illustrations peppered throughout it.          

Thursday, March 4, 2021

The Power of her Pen by Lesa Cline-Ransome and John Para

 click on image to find a copy


This is the story of the ground-breaking journalist, Ethel L. Payne.  We read about how she became a journalist and of how she reported some very important events.  She had to assert herself in a world  that was less tolerant of working women and of black people.

The text is beautifully illustrated.

The book struggles a little with its identity. The text is too dense for the normal pre-school consumer of picture books. The subject matter probably requires the reader to be at least eight years old thought this reader would not need  or appreciate pictures.   

There is also a lot of extra information at the end of the book, including a note form the author, a bibliography and suggested further reading.

This non-fiction book may be very useful for a child who would like to complete a project on Ethel L Payne or who is working on a larger project and women in a man’s world.  

The text uses an adult font but is formatted ragged right.  

Keedie by Elle McNicholl

  2024    teen, lower secondary, upper primary     key Stage 2, Key Stage 3, ages 9-11, ages 10 -13, McNicoll Elle, Keedie and her twin ...