SLA's Friday Favourites (21/05) :: NEWS
  • https://www.sla.org.uk/control/uploads/images/natural/300/contained/friday-favourites-banner~1614878397.png
  • https://www.sla.org.uk/control/uploads/images/natural/300/contained/exploding-life~1621435210.jpeg
  • https://www.sla.org.uk/control/uploads/images/natural/300/contained/fountains-of-silence~1621435357.jpeg

SLA's Friday Favourites (21/05)

21 May 2021 Share

Reading recommendations we think you'll love.

Title: The Exploding Life of Scarlett Fife

Author: Maz Evans

Publisher: Hodder

Age: 8-12

Publication date: 13th May 2021

ISBN: 9781444957679

Reviewer: Dawn Woods




WHAT IS IT ABOUT?

Scarlett Fife allows her temper to take over when things do not go as she wanted. So when Scarlett does not get the part in the Christmas play she wanted, when she's told she can't have the longed-for birthday party, when she can't buy a sparkly pencil because her Mum forgets to send in money on the school trip, Scarlett's feelings boil over and various things around her 'coincidentally' explode.

Various people around her give her advice on how to control her temper, especially important now that her Mum has threatened her that she won't be going on holiday to Super Mega Awesome Sticky Fun World if she doesn't.


HOW DID READING IT MAKE YOU FEEL?

As an adult, we often become impatient with children's 'selfishness' when they don't get their own way, but from a child's point of view sometimes this is tragic. Children reading this will learn to see the viewpoint of others and realise that sometimes things have to be done certain ways.

Scarlett has been very considerate in not letting her Mum know how she felt, but her Mum hasn't communicated well with Scarlett either. Once they start to talk to one another about their feelings, life does become easier.


WHAT LASTING IMPRESSION DID IT HAVE?

Maz Evans has brought her unique brand of humour to Scarlett's woeful history of unfairness in her life, something familiar to many young children. Yet it is made accessible and funny for children and adults alike. Every primary child at some stage has experienced someone in school wetting themselves and having to change clothes, taking their own home in a bag. Maz describes this, then refers to this at other occasions in the book, but in shorthand saying it is a Special Bag moment. All readers, whatever their age will understand the humour in this.


WHY SHOULD OTHERS READ IT?

For young readers this is a great book to teach them about thinking about others in a very funny, lighthearted way.


HOW DO YOU SEE PEOPLE USING THIS BOOK?

This is a great book to teach empathy, especially the moment Scarlett's very strict teacher opens up and lets Scarlett know she is human and knows how she feels.


MEET THE AUTHOR

Since her earliest days, Maz has dreamed of a glamorous and lucrative TV career. But despite her repeated applications to The Only Way is Essex, she has had to settle for life as a writer and spends her days scribbling. Maz is an author, scriptwriter, playwright, journalist, lyricist, poet, dinner lady and whatever else pays the gas bill.

Her debut novel Who Let the Gods Out was published by Chicken House in 2017, the first of a four-part comedy series about a young carer and his adventures with the modern-day immortal community.

Visit her website and follow her on Twitter.


Available here


Title: The Fountains of Silence

Author: Ruta Sepetys

Publisher: Penguin

Age: 17-19

Publication date: 4th June 2020

ISBN: 9780241421857

Reviewer: Dawn Woods




WHAT IS IT ABOUT?

1951, Spain. General Franco rules in a dictatorship, controlling the people kept in line by the Guardia Civil. Tourists are welcome, but if they overstep a line they may not even know about, there will be trouble.

Daniel is on his first visit to Madrid, 17 years old and brought by his Spanish Mother and American Father for them to discuss business, the oil business being the great love of his Father’s life and expecting Daniel to work in the family firm after university. Daniel would rather study photojournalism, but his Father would never pay his university fees for that.

While his parents are out of the city on business, Daniel is free to explore Madrid and discovers the hotel maid is a great guide, also introducing him to a local photographer who can develop his photos (pre-digital age). This isn’t the only thing that Daniel develops whilst in Madrid as his love for Ana deepens until it gets her into trouble and she loses her job – a job she had desperately needed because of her family’s history of being anti-Franco supporters. In 1975 Daniel again visits Madrid. But this time with his younger adopted sister to introduce her to the culture.


HOW DID READING IT MAKE YOU FEEL?

This book sounded great and the proof was sitting first by my desk, then on a side table at home, for months. But it is a chunky book. However, encouraged to start by others and it appearing on the Carnegie shortlist I started reading and whizzed through as it is so compelling. Yes, it is a romance, but one with real substance and a real life tragedy behind it. Not just of the brutal regime ruled over by Franco, but the scandal of lost ‘orphan’ babies stolen from their parents because they supported the opposing party from Franco.


WHAT LASTING IMPRESSION DID IT HAVE?

I have skim read news stories about the lost orphans and not really appreciated the significance or scale. Neither had I known much about General Franco's dictatorship in Spanish history. I will certainly read in more depth when more stories appear - as they will - of these orphans as they slowly discover their histories and birth parents.


WHY SHOULD OTHERS READ IT?

This really did happen. The novel is a historical romance, but based on real life histories of real people. It was perpetuated by people who should have been trustworthy, but were corrupted by money, as well as desire to survive.


HOW DO YOU SEE PEOPLE USING THIS BOOK?

For any historians studying the period this would be a welcome break, and although the book looks huge, it really doesn't take long to read as the chapters are not long.


MEET THE AUTHOR

Ruta Sepetys is an internationally acclaimed, #1 New York Times bestselling author of historical fiction published in over sixty countries and forty languages. Sepetys is considered a "crossover" novelist, as her books are read by both teens and adults worldwide. Winner of the Carnegie Medal, Ruta is passionate about the power of history and literature to foster global awareness and connectivity.

Visit her website and follow her on Twitter and Instagram.


Available here