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SLA's Friday Favourites (21/01)

21 January 2022 Share

Reading recommendations we think you'll love.

Title: The Humiliations of Welton Blake

Author: Alex Wheatle

Publisher: Barrington Stoke

Age: 13-16

Publication date: 7th January 2021

ISBN: 9781781129494

Reviewer: Dawn Woods




WHAT IS IT ABOUT?

Welton Blake finally plucked up courage to ask out the best-looking girl in school and she’s said yes, adding her number to his phone so he can firm up arrangements. So far, so good. But then his phone breaks, kick starting a chain of events which become more and more humiliating.


HOW DID READING IT MAKE YOU FEEL?

It’s good to have a light, funny book for teens with just the right amount of angst without being overly depressing. Comparing your life to Star Wars events just adds to the humour and will appeal to even those who are not huge fans. I was concerned about the ‘Buy-an-insult’ business, but the insults were so ridiculous – which was the intention.


WHAT LASTING IMPRESSION DID IT HAVE?

I am very far from the age group of these protagonists and certainly feel very glad to have left all that behind me. Yet I can see that this is a book which nearly all teens can relate to. Most YA will feel they have made themselves look silly in front of peers, even if they haven’t. But, even though it is a disaster for that young person, the chances are that it is not hugely significant to others. But you only gain this perspective with age, and telling that to any young person will not make them feel any less embarrassed.


WHY SHOULD OTHERS READ IT?

If you have a spare hour and want an enjoyable funny read, this hits the spot.


HOW DO YOU SEE PEOPLE USING THIS BOOK?

As a Barrington Stoke title, this is a great addition to entice reluctant readers yet is also one for everyone, so very inclusive.


MEET THE AUTHOR

Alex Wheatle is a best selling and multi-award-winning author. Liccle Bit, Alex’s first YA novel and the first story of the now beloved Crongton series, was published in 2015 to critical acclaim. Crongton Knights and Straight Outta Crongton quickly followed and Alex became renowned for his ingenious use of language and his honest portrayal of inner city teenage life. 

Follow him on Twitter and visit his website.

Available here


Title: Little Light

Author: Coral Rumble

Publisher: Troika Books

Age: 8-12

Publication date: 1st June 2021

ISBN: 9781912745166

Reviewer: Dawn Woods




WHAT IS IT ABOUT?

Ava and her Mum have suffered Ava's Dad's temper when he has drunk too much and Ava often has to hide from him on these occasions. When her Mum finds herself pregnant again - with twins - they escape from one frightening situation to another. They live in a room in a hotel and Ava has to help a lot with the two new babies.

One day Ava brings home a stray dog, but they are unable to keep it. But Ava can't part with it and runs away. She is found after a short time and now with more authorities involved they are given slightly more help.

But at school Ava is bullied, until she finds one friend. They do find solace in the school library - where else? But after an incident in which Ava is wrongly accused, she worries even more.


HOW DID READING IT MAKE YOU FEEL?

The home lives of some children are chaotic, yet they manage to hide this to a certain extent. Children pick up on the little things and tease remorselessly, yet the tables can turn so quickly. Prejudice and bullying are the strong forces making life miserable for Ava, yet she is the innocent in it. Reading of Ava's forgiveness was touching when she could so easily have also punished the culprits by ignoring them. Her resourcefulness and determination are also admirable.


WHAT LASTING IMPRESSION DID IT HAVE?

This is reality for some children and it is horrific. Whatever your age, being subjected to bullying for being poor and homeless is unacceptable. Ava's immediate forgiveness and compassion for her bullies when they too are ostracised by their previous friends is a trait we would not all possess.


WHY SHOULD OTHERS READ IT?

This book is ideal to evoke compassion and empathy for those living in different circumstances. Appreciating the difficulties other face and being kind is something we should all strive for.


HOW DO YOU SEE PEOPLE USING THIS BOOK?

This book deserves to be promoted and talked about. It is a verse novel, so short and quick to read and because of that reaches the core of your emotions. It would be the ideal book for Empathy Day or Kindness Day. So many people were unkind to Ava, and when they do show her some compassion and give her time, she blossoms. 


MEET THE AUTHOR

Coral Rumble is a popular, award-winning poet. She has worked as a poet and performer for many years, and now specialises in writing and performing for children. Coral has contributed to around 150 anthologies for children and has four solo collections of poetry. She performs and gives workshops at art centres, museums, bookshops, libraries, theatres and festivals, as well as in schools.

Follow her on Twitter and visit her website.

Available here