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SLA's Friday Favourites (02/07)

02 July 2021 Share

Reading recommendations we think you'll love.

Title: The Pirate Mums

Author: Jodie Lance-Grant

Publisher: OUP

Age: Up to 7

Publication date: 3rd June 2021

ISBN: 9780192777799

Reviewer: Dawn Woods




WHAT IS IT ABOUT?

Billy's two Mums are eccentric as they love the Pirate life even though they live in a house, not on a boat. Billy often wished that they were more normal and not quite as flamboyant about their piratical interest. So when a school trip asks for parent helpers, he really does not want them to go along. But in spite of various efforts to dissuade them, the do all board the boat taking the class out to sea on their trip. But when the Pirate Mums save the day, all is well and Billy can see the advantages of their sailing knowledge.


HOW DID READING IT MAKE YOU FEEL?

Many children are embarrassed by their parents when they are young. As an adult we get to learn this simply does not matter, but it is a lesson than usually only comes with age.


WHAT LASTING IMPRESSION DID IT HAVE?

This is a great read and valuable addition to the Pirate theme. It is reassuring to know that Billy's embarrassment is because of the over the top love of pirates, not because his family is different in other ways and this is made obvious to children. It is also wonderful to have female pirates, so sends a positive feminist message.


WHY SHOULD OTHERS READ IT?

This is a cheerful, feel-good piratical adventure that children will love, as well as demonstrating that families can be so different.


HOW DO YOU SEE PEOPLE USING THIS BOOK?

The Pirate Mums is a book where the illustrations add so much to the text. Billy's face is drawn in simple lines, yet you can see him with his head down when the family go for a walk and others are walking their normal dogs but his family is accompanied by a noisy parrot. His Mums look so disappointed when he shouts that he wants them to be normal. Nowhere does the text talk of rainbow coloured flares or waves, yet these are shown in all their vibrant colours. So it's great to talk about the book as a whole.


MEET THE AUTHOR

Jodie Lancet-Grant is an award-winning publishing professional and children's author. She was moved to write for children after she searched for picture books featuring LGBT+ families, to read to her twin daughters, wanting to see their family reflected back at them. 

Follow her on Twitter and Instagram.


Available here


Title: Three Bullets

Author: Melvin Burgess

Publisher: Andersen Press

Age: 13-16

Publication date: 1st July 2021

ISBN: 9781839130502

Reviewer: Dawn Woods




WHAT IS IT ABOUT?

Britain is in the midst of a civil war with everyone. The South has been overruled by the Bloods – white supremacist, homophobic, Christian-haters with the technology at their disposal to implant microchips into people to recruit to their way of thinking. They have bombs and weapons and aren’t afraid to use them.

Marti has been living with her Mum and Rowan, her three year old brother. With a Father intent on helping others to the extent he rescues and offers a home to a neighbour, Maude, yet leaves his family to survive alone.

When Marti’s home is bombed she has little choice but to go on the move to find a new home where she will feel more comfortable and accepted. But should she choose her head or her heart?

Marti’s three bullets are not intended for the enemy, but for herself, Rowan and Maude, but can she use them when confronted with violence and death?


HOW DID READING IT MAKE YOU FEEL?

I knew from the author this would not be a comfortable read, and it wasn’t. It is quite confusing trying to work out ‘sides’, but I soon realised that the hatred in the book is from all quarters – no tolerance at all for anyone daring to be different – whether that be sexual difference, racial, culture, religion.


WHAT LASTING IMPRESSION DID IT HAVE?

This did have me somewhat confused but I know that in this situation I would just try to avoid all confrontation and keep my head under the radar.


WHY SHOULD OTHERS READ IT?

This is a book which will be talked about for a long time, not least because it is the first Melvin Burgess novel for some time.


HOW DO YOU SEE PEOPLE USING THIS BOOK?

This would be a useful read to discuss in a PHSE content to explore LGBTQ+ issues and conflict.


MEET THE AUTHOR

Melvin Burgess was born in London and brought up in Surrey and Sussex. He has had a variety of jobs before becoming a full-time writer. Before his first novel, he had short stories published and a play broadcast on Radio 4. He is now regarded as one of the best writers in contemporary children's literature, having won the Carnegie Medal and the Guardian Children's Fiction Prize for his acclaimed novel Junk.

Visit his website and follow him on Twitter.

Available here