What to Read now books:@ Abgle of Grasmere, Keedie, Sufferah


Three very different books, but we highly recommend them all . We’re proud to have Alex Wheatle as our charity’s patron.

Angel of Grasmere by Tom Palmer, published by Barrington Stoke, suitable for ages 9+

Review by Alison Palmer of BCiS

The book centres on three children: friends Tarn and Peter, who live in Grasmere, and Eric, an evacuee from Manchester, who comes to stay with Peter at his farm. When news arrives about Tarn’s brother dying at Dunkirk, the faraway war feels much closer, and people feel more anxious. 

Then good deeds start happening around the village: fish left at the church, broken farm machinery fixed, help given to an injured farmer. These deeds restore hope in the dark days, and there’s talk of an Angel of Grasmere. When a plane crashes into the fells, the identity of the Angel is revealed, which means everyone has to rethink the true meaning of being a hero. 

Tom’s stories of ordinary people’s experiences during the war, underpinned by excellent research, help us imagine what it was really like. This is his third book set in the Lake District and another gripping read.

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Keedie by Elle McNicoll, published by Knights Of , suitable for ages 11+

Review by Alison Palmer of BCiS

Before Addie, there was Keedie. This is the prequel to A Kind of Spark and a chance to meet another superhero. Keedie is going to rid the school of bullies while making some cash on the side. It’s a story of finding your way, working out that it’s OK to be different, and ignoring the naysayers. I loved the energy, passion, and interactions between the characters, particularly between Keedie and her twin Nina. Remember that sharks rule!

Sufferah by Alex Wheatle, published by Arcadia, suitable for ages 16+

Review by Alison Palmer of BCiS

Alex writes his memoir with clarity and pin-sharp recollection of his early life and his traumatic experience of growing up in care. His story is heartbreaking, but ultimately, it’s hopeful. Thanks to a meeting with Simeon in prison and Alex’s own resilience, he becomes equipped to choose life.  

The memoir is interspersed with snippets from Alex’s books. He mentions where he has used his direct experience to create characters or their reactions to events. I thought it was a really interesting way to write his story. Plus, of course, there’s a lot of reggae music. There really should be a playlist to accompany the book! 

As always, Alex’s writing is immediate and vivid. You can hear the boom of the sound system and feel the blows when the police arrest him. Alex is the real deal.

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