Last week, I shared a review from the Bridlington Free Press written by Pam Norfolk. That book, The Cat Who Came in Off the Roof, was for age 9+ kids. This week, we’ll read about two for age 11+. Again, if you have any questions for Pam, you can e-mail her at firstname.lastname@example.org
Age 11 plus:
Close to the Wind by Jon Walter
What would you take with you if you had to leave your home forever, and all this at just a moment’s notice?
This is the dilemma faced by Malik, a ten-year-old boy whose world falls apart when he is forced to leave his war-torn country and take his chances as a boat refugee.
Close to the Wind is a beautiful, moving and thought-provoking debut novel from Jon Walter, a photo-journalist with a passion for social welfare issues. It’s a shadowy story of cruelty and suffering but with a message of hope in adversity shining out from its warm and inspirational heart.
Separated from his mother after the arrival of the soldiers, Malik’s home is unrecognisable. The only family member left to support him is his grandfather, Papa, and along with a thousand other refugees, their only hope for escape lies in getting on board just one ship, The Samaritan.
The journey will take them to a country which promises safety and a new life. The only problem is, they don’t have a ticket, and people are stopping at nothing to get a place on board.
‘Keep quiet and keep the hope alive,’ Papa tells Malik and luckily the old man has a secret that could change everything. But who can they rely on to help them?
Leaving behind a nameless country where greed and desperation warp perceptions of right and wrong, we travel with Malik on a journey from innocence to experience in which he must discover resourcefulness and learn to be brave.
A novel about greed, love, trust and what matters most when your life has been shattered, Close to the Wind will make you re-think not just the plight of refugees but your own view of the world.
(David Fickling Books, hardback, £10.99)
The Broken King by Philip Womack
Imagine placing a curse on your annoying sibling, only to find that the wish comes true…
Using the age-old traditions of good and evil, cause and consequence, trial and retribution, Philip Womack works up a fabulous and fantastical story which grips from start to finish.
The Broken King is the first book in Womack’s haunting trilogy, The Darkening Path, which takes Robert Browning’s poem Childe Roland to the Dark Tower Came as its starting point and then develops into a haunting adventure exploring love, courage, fear and friendship.
When Simon’s little sister Anna proves a noisy nuisance, he decides to act out a sequence from one of his scariest poems, playfully summoning up the legendary Broken King. But then Anna disappears and Simon discovers she has been mysteriously snatched away to a dark ‘other’ world.
Visited by a golden messenger, he is sent on a dizzying quest to save his sister and fight terrifying supernatural forces in a shadowy universe in which it is impossible for him to predict what will happen next.
Alongside him is a girl called Flora, whose brother has also vanished, and a strange boy who rescues them from a violent attack, and to enter the land of the Broken King, they must complete three tasks… Eat the Shadow, Steal the Sun and Break the Air. But how do they even begin? What lies in wait for them in the land of the Broken King and will Simon manage to rescue Anna?
The Broken King is an exhilarating, magical story exploring powerful themes and full of unforgettable and spectacular visual imagery.
A classic in the making…
(Troika Books, paperback, £6.99)