A Foot In Both Camps by Arrabella Williams

A Powerful Read

A Foot In Both Camps by Arrabella Williams is a heart-wrenching YA novel suitable for ages ten years and over.

The novel follows Susie, a young girl with Jamaican heritage but born in Britain. Her parents were part of the Windrush generation. We see her struggles as she has a foot in both camps – her father clings to his Jamaican roots whereas her mother tries to assimilate the family into the local community – first in Northampton and then in Birmingham.

Susie’s household is ruled by her father who is a cruel man, beating his children and his wife as he believes it is the Jamaican way. My heart went out to Susie. She is a little girl with a big personality who deserves to be loved.

I had much empathy for Susie and found her easy to identify with – I also grew up in Birmingham, learn to read with the Ladybird scheme of Peter and Jane, and watched Captain Scarlet and Thunderbirds. I was also in a class of 40 with wooden desks and inkwells. For me, A Foot In Both Camps was very much a walk down memory lane.

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The Fashion Fix by Lexi Rees & Eveyjoan

Fun & Responsible

The Fashion Fix by Lexi Rees and Eveyjoan is a YA girls interactive book showing how to be sustainable in our fashion choices.

The book is split into chapters looking at various topics including how much our clothes cost us and why cheap may be bad (sweatshops); the pros and cons of various materials; how to upcycle our clothes; how to accessorise and much more. The book is designed to make our young girls think about where our clothes come from and not to be wasteful in our choices. We all want to be responsible shoppers not exploiting either people or our planet.

Included in the book are activities that are not only fun but enable us to think about sustainability in fashion.

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Stay Where You Are And Then Leave by John Boyne

For Love

Stay Where You Are And Then Leave by John Boyne is a powerful YA historical novel set during World War I.

The reader follows five year old Alfie at the outbreak of war. The book is told in the third person but from his point of view.

Alfie is wise and brave beyond his years, recognising that he is the man of the family when his father leaves for war. He understands far more than the adults around him give him credit for.

With the men away at war and no welfare state, money is tight. Women have to have several jobs just to survive. Alfie does what he can to help.

We witness the impact of war on a community. The losses are felt by all, as the families dread the sight of telegrams or officers knocking on their door. Alfie’s mother wants to protect him and does not tell him the whole story about his father. This creates even more anxiety in him.

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When The War Came Home by Lesley Parr

The Power Of Kindness

When The War Came Home by Lesley Parr is a charming historical YA novel set after World War I. It is a story that will delight and entertain you whatever your age.

The novel is written in the first person from the point of view of twelve year old Natty. The reader gets inside her head as her thoughts become our thoughts.

World War I blighted families. Many lost loved ones. Many were injured but not all scars could be seen. “The war took him away… And it gave him back, only not every part of him.” Many returned with what we would now diagnose as PTSD. Young men in their prime who were suffering from shell shock were not always understood by those around them. There are some very upsetting scenes to read as a character returns to the battlefield in his mind. “The war ended ages ago… But we bring it all home… What happened on those battlefields never really leaves us.”

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