13 Sep What To Read Now
We have three different reviewers this month sharing their children’s book recommendations. We welcome guest reviews, so get in touch if you want to write about a recent favourite read.
The Last Bear by Hannah Gold, suitable for ages 8+
Review by Max Abbott, age 12
April has a bond with animals, but they live in the city, where her dad works for a university, monitoring the weather. To April’s delight, her dad’s new job takes them to the Norwegian archipelago of Svalbard to Bear Island. Bear Island is completely isolated, but are they the only ones there? Can they save the last remaining polar bear on the island before it’s too late?
I like this book because it talks about how climate change is affecting the polar ice caps in great detail.
War of the Wind by Victoria Williamson, suitable for ages 11+
Review by Sam Rees of Give a Book
14-year-old Max is struggling to come to terms with his disability. After a boating accident left him deaf, communication with his father and friends breaks down, meaning he (reluctantly) spends most of his time with his fellow ‘Zoomers’. When a new government wind turbine scheme promises an internet connection and free phones, Max and his fellow disabled classmates start to notice something strange is happening to their community. Finding themselves in the middle of a government experiment, Max and his friends must find a way to stop the ‘scientists’ plans and save their island.
While this book touches on many themes, including family, communication, and environmental issues, Max and his friend’s disability is the core theme of the book. Williamson does not shy away from the adversity, bias and mistreatment those with disabilities may face every day, as well as depicting how adapting to new accessibility equipment may be challenging. However, as the book progresses, we see Max come to acknowledge his own biases and see beyond disability labels to understand individuals as a whole.
Set on an isolated Scottish Island, this book is fast-paced, action-packed and eventually heart-warming!
Sing If You Can’t Dance by Alexia Casale, suitable for ages 12+
Review by Alison Palmer of BCiS
This is a great story about changing the narrative. Ven has her future planned as a dancer, but everything changes when she discovers she has a challenging medical condition. She doesn’t want to give up and is determined to be part of her family’s music festival and share this with her friends. Through sheer willpower (and a very supportive family), she carries on, and her friends try to understand what she is facing. Ven is full of sarcastic wit and never takes no for an answer, but she starts to realise that she can’t control everything.