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This is a unique story of triumph over adversity, told against the background of the Nationalist/Communist struggle for control of China. Adeline Yen Mah’s family considered her to be bad luck because her mother died shortly after giving birth to her. They discriminated against her and singled her out for cruel treatment, eventually abandoning her in a convent school. Yen Mah tells her story with extraordinary honesty and without bitterness, making this an absorbing read for young people. Eventually she proved her worth at school earning the respect of her teachers and friends. ~ Andrea Reece
Shortlisted for the YA Book Prize 2021 | October 2020 Book of the Month | Written with luminous, crackling style, Cane Warriors is an unforgettable account of Jamaican and British history that must be known, with an unforgettable narrator at its heart. In the words of fourteen-year-old Moa, “the hope of our dreamland churned in my belly,” a powerful statement that pulses through this extraordinary story of Tacky’s War. Based on a revolutionary real-life 1760 Jamaican slave rebellion, a visceral sense of the atrocities Moa and his fellow field slaves are subjected to is evoked from the start. Their bodies are lashed and “roasted by a brutal sun”, Moa hasn’t seen his house-slave mama for three years, his papa lost an arm in mill machinery, and his friend Hamaya fears the day predatory white men will “come for me.” Spurred by the death of Miss Pam who “drop inna da field and lose her life”, and led by Miss Pam’s brother Tacky, who “trod like a king” and whose brain “work quick like Anancy”, the uprising hinges on the freedom fighters killing the plantation master. While Moa is glad to be given a pivotal role in the rebellion, he fears that success and escape will mean he’ll never see his parents or Hamaya again - his conflict is palpable, but he’s set on being a cane warrior. Outside the plantation, Moa’s world is immediately transformed, with his life as a freedom fighter evoked in fine detail (I loved the depiction of him tasting creamy, fleshy sweetsop for the first time). There are bloody battles ahead, executed in the presence of Akan gods, and driven by brotherhood and hope for that dreamland. Lucidly lyrical and raw, I cannot praise Cane Warriors enough. Find out more about the YA Book Prize including all the shortlisted titles.
May 2019 Non-Fiction Book of the Month | A Julia Eccleshare Pick of the Month May 2019 | Enduringly fascinating and inspiring, the story of Edmund Hillary and Tenzing Norgay’s ascent of Everest is always worth re-visiting. This strong narrative biography matched with atmospheric illustrations brings the two men to life from their childhoods in New Zealand and Nepal respectively to their amazing feat of climbing the world’s highest mountain. Alexandra Stewart and Joe Todd-Stanton capture something about the personalities of the two and the reasons that they felt the need to take on this great challenge. Most successfully, in words and pictures they describe the extraordinary landscape of Everest and the surrounding mountains and in particular the enormous dangers and the unique magic of mountaineering - especially when you take on the challenge of the highest mountain in the world.
Alice Angel has known only a life of rules, restriction and punishments as she strays from the rigid path of Victorian proprietary that her mother has set out for her. After a chance encounter with a charming stranger, and a final incident with her family that sees her condemned to the madhouse, Alice sees her opportunity to run...
Chosen by Michael Rosen. First published over 60 years ago, Anne Frank's Diary of a Young Girl has reached millions of young people throughout the world. However, the recent major new BBC TV dramatisation has brought her extraordinary writing to life in a way that will engage and inspire a whole new generation. So whether you've watched the TV or not, this is the full unabridged edition of Anne's diaries and is essential reading. Only Anne's spelling and linguistic errors have been corrected. Otherwise, the text has basically been left as she wrote it (translated by Susan Massotty), since any attempts at editing and clarification would be inappropriate in a historical document.
Line of Fire is one of the most extraordinary - and beautiful - books about the First World War. This diary of an unknown French soldier tells of his experiences in the very early days of the fighting at the Front. Told as a matter-of-fact catalogue of events, it records the strange journey from normal civilian life into the life of a solder with all the hardship that brings. While there is no wallowing in all the unpleasantness that he sees, its impact is strongly felt. Through Barroux’s wonderful illustrations readers emphasise absolutely with the soldier’s experience. Astonishingly, the book was found completely by chance on a Paris street by author-illustrator Barroux. He rescued the diary from the rubbish, took it back to his studio and, moved and inspired by the soldier’s story, adapted the soldier’s diary into a striking and unforgettable black and white graphic novel. In the words of Michael Morpurgo, who has written a special introduction to the book, this is ‘a witness statement, the untrammelled, unedited voice of someone who was there.’
Julia Eccleshare's Pick of the Month June 2016 Twice the winner of the prestigious Carnegie Medal, here Berlie Doherty movingly captures the life of an orphan in Victorian London. Based on the true accounts of children whose lives led the famous philanthropist Dr Barnardo to set up his homes for children without families, Street Child is the troubling story of Jim Jarvis who is just a little boy when his mother dies leaving him all alone. Initially rounded up and taken to the workhouse, Jim soon escapes and finds a way of survival – and some friends. But surviving as a child in such a tough environment is tough. How can Jim stay out of trouble and be safe? Berlie Doherty makes the past come vividly alive in this story that will encourage all young readers to fight injustice. ~ Julia Eccleshare Click here to download a specially produced teachers resource to help children get the most from this Collins Modern Classic title.
Level 2 - National Geographic Primary Readers | This lively and very engagingly written biography of the most famous female pilot is part of the levelled National Geographic Kids Primary Readers. This is a Level 2 reader, equivalent to Green, Orange and Turquoise banded books, aimed at readers just becoming fluent. They will enjoy finding out all about the achievements of this female pioneer and the mystery of what happened on her final flight. Beautifully designed to really attract and support the reader with fact boxes, timelines, maps, clear captions, Words to Know explanations and illustrated throughout with stunning photographs of Amelia from the National Geographic archive. Other entertaining features include a photo close up quiz and a photo glossary to aid comprehension and discussion, making this a perfect high interest text to support both reading development and curriculum knowledge.
Become a leader like | Not only does this lively, smartly designed book tell readers lots about Michelle Obama’s story, it also conveys brilliantly her attitude to life and work, making it thoroughly inspiring reading. Beginning with a description of her schooldays, it lists the family members, people and events that shaped her early life, and the path that led to her becoming a top lawyer and influential First Lady of the United States. Her story reinforces her message that you can do whatever you want if you’re determined, focussed and confident in who you are and what you believe. A fascinating book with something to say to all readers.
Shortlisted for the UKLA Book Awards 2020 | A Julia Eccleshare Pick of the Month October 2018 | | Catherine Johnson celebrates a hero of Arctic discovery whose story had been forgotten for many years largely because of the colour of his skin in this exciting telling of an important true story. Matthew Henson’s life at home was so hard that at eleven years old he ran away to make a new life for himself in New York. Always attracted by the sea he finds himself drawn into the world of the seafarers who are determined to find a route to the North Pole. Matt joins an expedition and, through a combination of his hard work, his commitment and some lucky breaks he travels across the frozen wastes. His sensitive building of relationships with the Inuit community plays a strong part in his success and in his ultimate and extraordinary achievement: to be the first man to reach the North Pole.
So, how did a slightly bonkers misfit with anorexia, bulimia and anxiety decide to solve their problems? I became a model. As you do. Charli Howard had always wanted to be normal - but for some reason, she couldn't quite find out how to do it. As a teenager, she felt like the only one who struggled with anxiety and self-esteem issues when everyone around her seemed to fit in. So she tried to embrace standing out: by becoming a model. Believing it would make her happy and envied, she set out single-mindedly to make it - and she achieved her dream. But the reality wasn't quite as glamorous as she'd hoped. The pressure on Charli to look a certain way took an extreme toll on her body and self-image, and no matter how thin she got, she was never thin enough. When Charli, though medically underweight, was fired by her modelling agency for being too big, she decided she'd had enough. She used her platform for good and spoke out about the insane standards of the modelling industry, whose images influence young women and girls all over the world. Now, Charli is comfortable in her skin for the first time ever, working happily as a plus sized model in New York. Here, she shares her journey, from anorexic and bulimic teenager to happy, healthy twenty-something.
The Bravo Two Zero mission is one of the most famous stories of courage and survival. Of the eight members involved in an SAS patrol during the Gulf War in 1991, only one escaped capture - Chris Ryan. This is his story retold for a younger audience and brilliantly done too.
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