Coram Boy by Jamila Gavin

Coram Boy

Written by Jamila Gavin

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The Lovereading4Kids comment

The harsh realities of 18th century life, of slavery, of prejudice, of tragedy, of corruption, of the haves and the have nots are woven together incredibly intricately and yet quite simply told too. Rest assured this book will have significant impact on a teenager, just as it will an adult and I do urge you the parent to read it as well for it won't disappoint, in fact you'll find it wonderfully exciting and totally unputdownable. It was a well-deserved winner of the Whitbread Children's Book Award in 2000.


Coram Boy by Jamila Gavin

Otis takes babies and money off desperate mothers, promising to deliver them to the Coram Foundling Hospital in London. Instead, he murders them and buries them by the roadside, to the helpless horror of his mentally ill son, Mish. When Melissa, beloved of Alexander Ashbrook and daughter of his governess becomes pregnant by him, her mother arranges for the Otis to take the child, telling Melissa it was stillborn. Alexander, not knowing Melissa's condition, has fled his home for a career in music. But Mish manages to save Melissa's baby, Aaron, and he grows up with Toby, the son of an African slave, inseparable friends. Toby is a plaything at the house of rich Mr Gaddarn, who is, in fact, Otis. When Mish sees Aaron and Alexander together, and realises the family link, he takes Aaron and Toby to Otis, who rejects them. A way must be found to rescue them, but a great friend must die before the family can be reunited.

About the Author

Jamila Gavin

Jamila was born in Mussoorie (Bombay), India, in the foothills of the Himalayas. Her Indian father and English mother met as teachers in Iran and by the age of eleven she had lived in an Indian palace in the Punjab, a flat in a bombed out street in Shepherd’s Bush, a bungalow in Poona, near Mumbai and a terraced house in Ealing. She settled into a little town cottage in Stroud, Gloucestershire twenty five years ago but she still loves to travel.

With an Indian father and an English mother, She inherited two rich cultures which ran side by side throughout her life, and which always made her feel she belonged to both countries. Her childhood memoir, "Out Of India" traces her life, illustrating the experiences from which she draws many of the ideas for my books.

Her family settled in England where she completed her schooling and further training as a music student at Trinity College of Music, London. After studies in Paris and Berlin she joined the BBC, first as a Studio Manager in radio, then crossed over to television as a Production Assistant and Director in Music and Arts Programmes. Later, she married Barrie Gavin and they had two children, a son, Rohan and a daughter, Indi. It was then that she began writing children's books, and felt a need to reflect the multi-cultural world in which she and her children lived.

Since her first book, "The Magic Orange Tree" was published in 1979, She has been writing steadily, producing collections of short stories, teenage novels and many books for educational schemes for the whole age range from six to sixteen. Her books have included "Grandpa Chatterji", which was short-listed for the Smarties Award and was dramatised for television on Channel 4 Schools, "Monkey in the Stars" which she then dramatised for a commission by the Polka Theatre, where it was performed in the autumn 2000 and "The Surya Trilogy" of which the first, "The Wheel of Surya", was special runner up for the Guardian Children's Fiction Award in 1992, while the others were subsequently all shortlisted for the same award.

Her novel, "Coram Boy", set in 18th century England, won the 2000 Whitbread Children's Book of the Year Award and her first radio play, "The God at the Gate", broadcast as Play for Today on Radio 4 in September 2001, was shortlisted for the Richard Imison Award.

Her latest novel, "The Blood Stone", was published in November 2003. Set in 17th Century India and Venice, it is about a boy who has to take a diamond to India as a ransom to free his father, who is being held hostage in Afghanistan.

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Book Info


368 pages
Interest Age: From 10


Jamila Gavin
More books by Jamila Gavin

Author's Website


Egmont Childrens Books

Publication date

6th May 2004




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