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Family and friendships beautifully drawn in a story of grief and renewal
Aoife Walsh excels at creating stories about sprawling, blended contemporary families, exploring the tensions and love that hold them together with a sensitivity that is still always clear-eyed. Dallas’s family are all struggling after the death of her mother in an accident, the arrival of her impetuous aunt from Texas only adds to the stress. Dallas’s best friends Aiza and Ruby have their own issues to cope with too, but the three provide each other with real support. The campaign against the possible closure of the local library, loved by Dallas and her mum, provides a focus for her energy and allows her to work out what she wants. A poignant, convincing story with wonderful moments of humour and by the end Dallas and her family will feel like real friends.
A note from the author; I started writing Lost for Words at a time when libraries seemed somehow to be the softest of targets for ‘austerity’, when trained librarians and primary school libraries were being talked about as hopeless luxuries. I wanted to write a book that pointed out that libraries are vital: to all sorts of people for all sorts of reasons, and most of all to children. Every child deserves to spend time surrounded by more books than they think they will ever read. Nothing else could give a child more sense of how big and grand the world is, or how big and grand their own mind is.
So the library came first, and my rather reluctant hero Dallas followed – a girl who sorely needs to believe that she can change something for the better. I didn’t know yet that by the time the book was published a schoolgirl would have become a global figure for inspiring huge numbers of her peers to lead climate protests across the world; I didn’t know that children of all ages would be banding together – in real life! – to save libraries. But I knew that I wanted to write about a library being important to a child who had already lost a lot – and I wanted to say that, given half a chance and a proper exposure to books, today’s children are going to be the ones who save the world for everyone.
Dallas's life was turned upside down the day her mum was killed in a traffic accident. Now she lives with her brothers, step-sister and her mum's partner Gemma in a too-small house filled with bickering and grief. As the end of primary school approaches, Dallas learns that the local library has run out of funding and will soon be closing. Dallas decides she cannot let another thing she loves be lost. Together with her friends Aiza and Ruby, and her freewheeling American aunt Jessi, she starts a campaign to save the library for everyone. A beautifully told tale about family, grief and growing up.
A treasure trove of a book and a timely story about fighting for a library, the right to books and reading, and above all children bravely standing up for what they believe in -- Jane Elson
|Publication date:||4th July 2019|
|Publisher:||Andersen Press Ltd|
|Suitable for:||11+ readers, 9+ readers|
|Genres:||Personal Social Health Economic|
Aoife Walsh lives in Oxford with her husband and three children. She quite likes cooking, and quizzes when she knows the answers, and reading, and excellent American television. And cakes and fine wines. Read a note from the author here.More About Aoife Walsh
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