Lost Riders by Elizabeth Laird

Lost Riders by Elizabeth Laird

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Rashid’s young uncle convinces his widowed mother that her little boys will have a better life overseas.   Unfornatuatly he doesn’t realise until it is too late that the boys are being taken to work as jockeys in the lucrative camel racing business.  Separated, starving and exhausted they

are forced to into the grueling life of  jockeys in the lucrative camel-racing business. They have no choice but to work hard and hope things will improve.

This engaging story about children in harsh conditions with greedy adults who take advantage of them.   Many not nice things happen to the boys but there is enough kindness smattered

throughout the books that hope is not lost.

This book will appeal to younger readers (8+) who like a ‘real’ story.

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Green Angel by Alice Hoffman

Green Angel by Alice Hoffman

Green is on her own, the world is ash around her and her family is gone.

This apocalyptic story engrosses my readers (12+).  The girls especially like it.  While it is a slim book it gives the reader a lot to think about.  Because it is a slim book more are willing to try it.

I once I read this review on Goodreads I realized that I could never do a better job of explaining the nuance of this book.  

A Monster Calls

SAM_8583Five stars and a box of tissues from me!

This book  is an uncomfortable read for many reasons; the main character mother has cancer, he is being bullied at school and his dad has started a new family in another country, but most of all he feels he deserves all this and more.  So the subject is sad, sad, and sadder yet the story is not.

Patrick Ness has taken an idea from Siobhan Down, combined it with gripping illustrations from Jim Kay and created a moving story of coming to terms with loss.

Synopsis: The monster showed up just aftermidnight. As they do. But it isn’t the monster Conor’s been expecting. He’s been expecting the one from his nightmare, the one he’s had nearly every night since his mother started her treatments, the one with the darkness and the wind and the screaming…

I loved the way the story unraveled, I loved the illustrations and I loved how beautifully and delicately it dealt with a subject which is hard to even talk about, especially in a children’s book.

I don’t know who I will recommend it to,  it’s a book that should be read before recommending.  I will be careful with students who are dealing with their own types of loss,   I think it will make some stronger but possibly be too vivid for others, because while it is brilliant, it’s painful, lonely and very sad.