Abela by Berlie Doherty
  

Abela

Written by Berlie Doherty

9+ readers   All Shortlists and Winners   eBooks   
Download an extract Add to wishlist Share this book

The Lovereading4Kids comment

An eye-opening book, Abela is the touching and profound story of two girls who apparently have nothing in common. The two girls tell their own stories. Abela, growing up in Tanzania, is surrounded by suffering. Her father has already died and now her mother and her baby sister are desperately ill. When they die too, Abela is sent off to England and an uncertain future as an illegal immigrant. Rosa, growing up in England, has everything she could possibly want. There is no reason why these two should become sisters. Their individual stories and the story of how they come together through adoption make a beautiful, satisfying and complete story. To view other titles by Berlie Doherty click here.

Shortlisted for the Blue Peter Award for ‘the book I couldn’t put down’.

Synopsis

Abela by Berlie Doherty

'Be strong, my Abela'. These are the last words of Abela's mother in their HIV/Aids stricken African village where it seems that to live or to die, to be sick or to be healthy, is just a matter of chance. It takes all Abela's strength to survive her Uncle Thomas' scheming to get to Europe, but what will be her fate as an illegal immigrant?

Reviews

An involving, moving and, above all, relevant novel that ought to be in every school library in the land and put into the hands of as many children as possible. -- Adele Geras Guardian Excellent ... what could be an unbearably sad tale is made compulsively readable by a writer of grace and skill. -- Nicholas Tucker Independent A very moving book and highly recommended. Birmingham Post The strength of the story is the author's empathy with all her characters, and her skill in engaging the reader with their feelings Books for Keeps Well-written, with very real characters, this latest Doherty title is a heart-breaking yet ultimately hopeful examination of HIV/Aids, child trafficking and adoption. (SEASON HIGHLIGHT) The Bookseller

About the Author

Berlie Doherty

Berlie Doherty is one of the UK’s favourite children’s authors. She has been writing for over twenty years and is published in more than twenty languages. She is a prolific writer of novels, storybooks, picture books, and plays. Berlie lives in Derbyshire

Photo © Hamish Hamilton

Q and A with Berlie Doherty

Q Which is your favourite book, of the ones you’ve written?
A It’s really hard to say. It’s like asking me which of my children I like the best! I have different memories of writing each one. I think Requiem is the one that pleased me the most, and of the children's books, Spellhorn gave the most pleasure to write because I got to know four children from the school for the blind while I was writing it (it's about a blind girl and a unicorn). Street Child led me to a lot of research, which I really enjoyed doing. But Daughter of the Sea is the one I always wanted to write.

Q Where do you get your ideas from?
A Everywhere. Where do you get your dreams from? I think I can remember the starting-point for every single book, and they’re all different.

Q How long have you been writing books for?

Q Do you do other jobs as well?

Q Do you have a special place where you write your books?
A Yes. I live next to a farm and my special place is a little barn which looks out across fields of sheep to the Pennines. I call this my 'writing room', but sometimes I just work sitting in a comfortable chair by a big log fire, or perched on a stone by the river. It depends on my mood. I write longhand first, and then I put it on to a computer.

Q Why do you write?
A As a child I was always writing, and knew that I wanted to be a writer. I was encouraged by my father, who used to type up my poems and stories and send them to the local paper, the Liverpool Echo. Before long he taught me to type for myself! I think writing was a compulsion and still is—whatever new experience I have I feel a need to write it down, and my writing will include the physical description of the place where it happened, the emotions I felt, the people I met, even the conversations I had. Other people take photographs or paint pictures, but I need to write everything down.

Q Where do you start?
A Sometimes I start with an image, like a curled up stone that looks like a snake (The Snake-Stone) and that picture won't go out of my head for months until I've found a way of releasing it. Sometimes it will be a situation—a young couple forced to think about their futures, together or apart (Dear Nobody) or a character, a destitute child coping on his own (Street Child). With all of them the story is the last thing to come, but the germ of the idea floats around until I know it won't go away and I have to write about it. Sometimes I despair halfway through and think there's no way of bringing the story out, but even so I can't leave it alone and it won't leave me alone until the book is written.

Q Do you have any children? Pets?
A Janna, Tim and Sally. They're all grown up now. I have a black cat called Midnight. He talks all the time, and sometimes he sits on my knee when I’m trying to write.

Q How did you feel when you won the Carnegie medal for the first time?
A Fantastic. It was the greatest surprise of my life! It gave me the confidence I needed to carry on writing.

Q Could you give me some tips as my SATS are coming up. What advice would you give to people who want to become writers?
A Try lots of different things—poetry, stories and plays. Try to write something every day, even if it's a diary. Try to describe a place, or a person, or an event every week. And never imagine for a moment that it's going to be easy!

Q When did you start writing poetry? And how do you feel when you write your poems? (Emily Smithson)
A When I was about 8. They were published on the children’s page of the Hoylake News and Advertiser and the Liverpool Echo. Unfortunately, when I was 14 I was told I was too old to be on the children’s page, so I retired from writing for a few years! And when I write poems I feel a bit sad and a bit excited.

Q Why did you decide to become an author? (Jade)
A I always knew I wanted to be a writer. I wrote a lot when I was a child, and some of it was published (see Emily’s question above). And then, one day when I was grown up I wrote a story (my first for many years) and was told I should try to sell it. I did, and have been an author ever since. But why do I do it? Because I love writing more than anything else, I suppose!

Q Do you like using similes? (Evie)
A Well, yes I do, Evie. When I can visualise something in my head I want the reader to be able to see it too, so I try to think of ways of bringing my mind-picture to life.

Q How long do you spend writing your book? (Jonathan Stapleton)
A Requiem took me ten years to write! I also wrote six books for children and several plays at the same time. Children of Winter took me about two weeks—the story just fell out of my head on to the paper! But usually, a children’s novel takes about twelve months, a picture book about a day. But that doesn’t take account of the years spent thinking.

More books by this author

Loading similar books...

Other Formats

Book Info

Format

Paperback
240 pages
Interest Age: From 12

Author

Berlie Doherty
More books by Berlie Doherty

Author's Website

www.berliedoherty.com/

Publisher

Andersen Press Ltd

Publication date

5th June 2008

ISBN

9781842707258

Categories

Publisher Profile

Andersen Press Ltd is an imprint of Andersen Press

logo Andersen Press is one of the leading independent children’s publishers, publishing some of the biggest names in the world of children's books including the much-loved picture book characters the Little Princess and Elmer the patchwork elephant. Andersen Press is the home of many award-winning authors and illustrators including Melvin Burgess, Rebecca Stead, Satoshi Kitamura, Tony Ross, David McKee, Chris Judge and Jeanne Willis. Founded in 1976 by Klaus Flugge it won the Bologna Best Children’s Publisher prize in the European Category in 2016, the company’s 40th anniversary year.

Publisher's Website

www.andersenpress.co.uk


I love Lovereading4kids because I get an opportunity to put my opinion forward and to try new books

Elosie Clarkson – age 11

Lovereading4kids is great, we get books really early never late. We love to read and review, and think you would like it too. The excitement

Jasmine Harris-Hart, age 12

We love Lovereading as my 5 year old loves to read new books before anyone else has a chance, she says it makes reading exciting!

Tracey Chorley

A great way to introduce kids to great books, authors & genres. Parents can find age-appropriate books to share with their children.

Judi Davies – Aberdare Girls Sch

We love Lovereading4kids because they put books in front of us we wouldn’t otherwise have read. They make us more adventurous readers!

Emily Jacques

We love Lovereading4kids because they put books in front of us we wouldn’t otherwise have read. They make us more adventurous readers!

Emily Jacques

It’s so easy to find the right book for your child. Such an easy-to-use, yet in-depth website. 100% reliable.

Pippa, Jack, Liam & Matthew Wils

At @HHSHaringey we love @lovereading4kids because our pupils can practice reviewing & get free upcoming books before anyone else!

Helen Swinyard – Heartlands High
Lovereading

Lovereading 4 schools