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Scarlet Ibis

Written by Gill Lewis

Books of the Month Family / Home Stories Featured Books for 11+ readers Featured Books for 9+ readers General Fiction Recommended Children's eBooks

LoveReading View on Scarlet Ibis

May 2014 Book of the Month - Winner of the Little Rebels Book Award 2015  - Longlisted for the 2015 CILIP Carnegie Medal  Gill Lewis is renowned for her stories about powerful and beneficial relationships between animals and children. Scarlet Ibis is an emotional story about how befriending birds can help to heal Red, a little boy with complex difficulties. In Scarlet’s troubled life only one thing matters; keeping her little brother Red safe. But that’s easier said than done as Red is hard to manage and Scarlet’s mum is no help. When disaster strikes their fragile family, Scarlet and Red are separated. As Scarlet grows stronger in a new environment she finds a way of making sure Red is safe forever.


Scarlet Ibis has won the Little Rebels Book Award 2015. The award, which is for children’s fiction for readers any age up to 12 that promotes social justice, went to Scarlet Ibis because it “raises awareness of the care system, mental health issues and the challenges facing young carers”, said the judges.
Kim Reynolds, professor of children’s literature at Newcastle University, and a judge of the award, said: “All the judges agreed that Scarlet Ibis stands out as a book that not only fulfils the criteria for the award but is also excellently crafted. Birds, especially the scarlet ibis, weave the book’s multiple storylines together and provide a moving backdrop for a story that celebrates the often overlooked courage, loyalty and competence of children.”

Kids love to read and so in addition to our Lovereading expert opinion some of our Kids Reader Review Panel were also lucky enough to read and review this title.


Scarlet Ibis Synopsis

Red asks, 'Will we always be together?' 'Always,' I say. 'Just you and me in that little boat, watching the scarlet ibis flying back to the Caroni Swamp.' Scarlet's used to looking after her brother, Red. He's special - different. Every night she tells him his favourite story - about the day they'll fly far away to the Caroni Swamp in Trinidad, where thousands of birds fill the sky. But when Scarlet and Red are split up and sent to live with different foster families, Scarlet knows she's got to do whatever it takes to get her brother back ...

Scarlet Ibis Reader Reviews

  • Alice Brumwell, age 9 - 'This book is to be enjoyed by both enthusiastic and reluctant readers, because when you’re reading you really feel as if you’re really in Scarlet’s shoes and you just can’t put the book down.' Read full review >
  • Chloe Feltz, age 9 - 'Wow! What an amazing book. I couldn't put it down and read it every day and night as it was so totally amazing.' Read full review >
  • Heather Greenan, age 10 - 'A brilliant read, especially if you are a fan of Jacqueline Wilson.' Read full review >
  • Hayley Davies, age 9 - 'An exciting story about the bond between a brother and sister.' Read full review >
  • Rohan Delamere, age 8 - 'This is an adventure story about a girl who is trying to get her brother back and dreams of seeing a Scarlet Ibis.' Read full review >
  • Emma Stephenson, age 11 - 'I love this book and found it as inspiring as ‘Sky Hawk’, another Gill Lewis book I have read and enjoyed.' Read full review >
  • Amie Coffman, age 10 - 'I absolutely loved this book and would highly recommend it for readers 10 and older.  It is exciting and scary in parts but I couldn't put it down despite being told off by my Mum!' Read full review >
  • Adiella Norridge, age 10 - 'A real tear-jerker with unexpected turns and emotional tension.' Read full review >
  • Liam, age 11- 'Moving, emotional and very touching. If you feel as emotional as I did just keep on reading. There is one part of the book which made me cry but after that it isn't quite so sad. Keep going!' Read full review >
  • Jasmine Harris-Hart, age 11 - 'A heart warming story about a 12 year old girl called Scarlet, who is on a journey to get back her brother Red, from a care home.' Read full review >
  • Rosie Watch - Adult - 'This was a beautiful and very moving story.  From the very start I associated with the characters and wanted to know how their problems would be resolved.' Read full review >
  • Rachel Ilsley, age 11 - 'Scarlet is a really strong, thoughtful character that is clever and brave and I liked her.' Read full review >

Scarlet Ibis Press Reviews

a gritty, more realistic story than her previous books but she tackles racism, isolation and the importance of acceptance and belonging with great sensitivity and intelligence, using flawed but believable characters to create a highly original narrative - The Daily Mail

Praise for Gill Lewis novels:

Opens your eyes, touches your heart, and is so engaging it almost turns the pages for you. Michael Morpurgo

Moving, gripping and full of well-drawn, convincing characters, this is a powerful and inspirational book Daily Mail

Exciting yet sensitive, tender and thought-provoking. Booktrust

... a beautiful read with a fast paced plot and ends with an uplifting message of emotional survival and hope. We Love This Book

This is a lyrical, emotive, engrossing adventure. Sunday Times, Nicolette Jones

A beautifully-told, nail-biting tale, that will inspire and empower anyone who reads it. Kate Humble

I absolutely loved this beautiful tale of friendship and hope. There's obvious appeal for fans of Lauren St John and Michael Morpurgo, and she's most definitely a writer to watch. Bookseller

Lewis has quickly established herself as a leading children's writer: OUP put her sales at more than 120,000 copies since Sky Hawk in 2011. This is top of my reading pile. Fiona Noble, The Bookseller

I absolutely loved this: a deeply moving account of two siblings sent to live with foster families. Fiona Noble, The Bookseller

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All versions of this book

ISBN: 9780192793560
Publication date: 01/01/2015
Publisher: Oxford University Press
Format: Paperback

ISBN: 9780192793560
Publication date: 01/05/2014
Publisher: Oxford University Press
Format: Paperback

Book Information

ISBN: 9780192793560
Publication date: 1st May 2014
Author: Gill Lewis
Publisher: Oxford University Press
Format: Paperback
Pagination: 224 pages
Suitable for: 11+ readers, 9+ readers
Genres: Family / Home Stories, General Fiction
Recommendations: Books of the Month, eBooks, Reviewed by Children

About Gill Lewis

Gill Lewis worked as a vet in the UK and across the world before becoming the acclaimed author of several books for children, including Sky Hawk and Gorilla Dawn. Gill’s writing has earned her numerous awards such as the UKLA Children’s Book Award and the Little Rebel Award, and several nominations for prestigious awards including the CILIP Carnegie Medal. Gill lives in Somerset.    

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