In this edition of mini reviews I’m sharing review of two books I’ve been sent by Barrington Stoke. Barrington Stoke are one of my favourite children’s publishers offering a great variety of kids books (including some of mine and S’s favourites), which are designed to help children with dyslexia / visual issues. And Kirstin, the PR for Barrington Stoke is utterly lush too!
White Feather by Catherine and David MacPhail
The war is over, during the coming home celebrations a woman hands Tony a single white feather: a sign of cowardice. Tony’s brother, Charlie, isn’t coming home, but he didn’t die a hero, he was executed for cowardice.
Charlie’s mother is living in denial that her son is gone, and my heart broke for her. There is no support from those around Tony and his mum: no-one wants to be associated with the family of a boy who abandoned his post. when Tony meets a boy who served with his brother, who insists his brother wasn’t a coward, and reads a letter Charlie left with his belongings, he becomes determined to find out what really happened.
This was a very emotional read, and the topic is undoubtedly a difficult one. But it would be a great way to introduce younger readers to the complexities of war, what happened after the wars, and the stigma that surrounds those in Charlie’s position and their families.
One Shot by Tanya Landman
One Shot is based on the life of Annie Oakley. I knew very little about her going into this book, but it has encouraged me to look more into her fascinating story.
Maggie, one of four children, was very much her father’s favourite. When he dies, Maggie tried to support her family in the only was she knows how: by hunting. Her mother is furious. It’s rare that I dislike a character as immediately and intensely as I did this woman, and that didn’t change as the book went on. Maggie’s mother thinks that hunting is not appropriate for a girl, and sends her away. Maggie finds herself fighting for survival, but no matter what happens and how her life changes, she still craves her mother’s approval, which I found heartbreaking.
She is a strong young woman, determined to find her place in the world. Will she ever find someone who will accept her the way she is?
This is a really powerful read. It is a short book, and a quick read, but it packs a big punch.
Have you read either of these books? Would you?