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The Crossing

"Powerful, often heart wrenching narrative poem"

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LoveReading4Kids Says

LoveReading4Kids Says

Winner of the Costa Children's Book Award 2021 | Shortlisted for the Yoto Carnegie Medal 2022 | Shortlisted for the 2022 CLiPPA (CLPE Children’s Poetry Award) | Winner of the UKLA Book Awards 2023: 11 - 14

The premise of this fascinating book is two teenagers from opposite sides of the world who form a connection through odd circumstances. Natalie has just lost her Mum to cancer and struggles to find a calm place in the world, whilst her brother reacts by rebelling and joining a hate filled far right anti-refugee protest and action group. Sammy has had to leave his home in Eritrea on the chance of a new life in Europe – running from conscription into the army - which is a form of slavery in his home country. 


Both characters have huge issues to face.  Sammy’s seem more obviously dangerous and overwhelming, though Natalie’s are equally as difficult - without the imminent danger.  Told through a narrative poem using both voices to alternately express their fears, dilemmas and friendships this is a book you really can’t put down.  You have to know if Sammy and Natalie do get to meet.


As the plot carries you along you also want to know more about the plight of refugees and the horrific characters that exploit them in many many ways. Natalie’s decision to swim the channel to raise funds for the refugee charities creates a counterpoint in the narrative. The detail of her struggles and training plan seem an unlikely text for poetry - but it works!


The author says “I wanted to make sense of what I was seeing, I wanted to do something that would help build empathy and understanding.”  She has most emphatically succeeded in this aim. This is such a profound story of hope, grief, and strength -  I do recommend it to all. Be aware you will weep, too.

Tricia Adams

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