Tag Archives: London

Dealing with grief

19 Nov

I picked up Fiona’s ashes yesterday. They are sitting on a shelf with the ashes of Louie and Clara. They each have a picture there to help me remember. Fiona is on the left, Louie on the right and Clara in the middle. We all deal with grief in our own way.

IMG_2119

Given what happened in Paris ( and Lebanon) this past week, I want to bring your attention to this little gem of a novel.

Unknown

If you’ve not read it, you should. Especially now. It is a book from a few years back, but it is definitely worth picking up in the aftermath of yet another horrible terrorist attack. It is set five years after the  co-ordinated terrorist attacks around London on July 7, 2005, that killed 62 people.The people in this story are all dealing with grief in their own way, but it is not a very healthy way.

Publisher’s Summary: My sister Rose lives on the mantelpiece. Well, some of her does. A collarbone, two ribs, a bit of skull, and a little toe.

To ten-year-old Jamie, his family has fallen apart because of the loss of someone he barely remembers: his sister Rose, who died five years ago in a terrorist bombing. To his father, life is impossible to make sense of when he lives in a world that could so cruelly take away a ten-year-old girl. To Rose’s surviving fifteen year old twin, Jas, everyday she lives in Rose’s ever-present shadow, forever feeling the loss like a limb, but unable to be seen for herself alone.

Told with warmth and humor, this powerful novel is a sophisticated take on one family’s struggle to make sense of the loss that’s torn them apart… and their discovery of what it means to stay together.

Jamie is a sensitive boy whose new best friend happens to be a Muslim girl. He is trying to navigate a new school, bullies and a father who hates all Muslims. Jamie is left on his own a lot and  wants his family to be whole again but doesn’t know how to make that happen.  It is a tear-jerker, so have a hankie at the ready, but it is also a heart-warmer.
I actually listened to this a few years ago, but it has stuck with me. I must say that it was marvelously narrated by David Tennant. If you like audiobooks, I highly recommend this one.

Marvelous

27 Jul

Another fantastic ARC I got at the ALA conference was The Marvels by Brian Selznick!!!

Unknown

Unlike The Invention of Hugo Cabret and  Wonderstruck, where the pages of illustration alternate with the text, in The Marvels,  Selznick begins with 400 pages of a story told through illustration alone. This story follows five generations of a legendary family of actors, beginning with young Billy Marvel, the lone survivor of a shipwreck.  It is followed by about 200 pages of text which centers on a boy in 1990 who runs away from school to his estranged uncle’s enigmatic London house. Then there are 50 more pages of illustration. The two stories seem to be unrelated, but are brought together in the brief, but powerful conclusion.

The story was inspired by Selznick’s visit to the Dennis Severs’ House in London and Selznick provides an explanation about this strange inspiration in the Afterword.

I am excited that I have this copy that I can out on the shelf of my new classroom in September.

The healing power of love

16 Feb

Unknown

Ada’s mother is so ashamed of her daughter’s club foot that she keeps her in their London flat. Ada’s only solace is her younger brother Jamie. She has spent much of her life caring for him, and as he got older, he became her eyes and ears into the wider world. When London;s children are to be evacuated during the Blitz, Mam intends to keep Ada with her and send only Jamie to safety in the countryside. But Ada and Jamie have other ideas. The pair are housed with Susan, a reluctant guardian who is grieving the loss of a dear friend. Under her care, Ada and Jamie are transformed. When Mam reappears, things look bleak, but love has a power all its own, to heal and transform.

The story is narrated in Ada’s voice and her details and honesty make this a compelling story. I have already recommended The War That Saved My Life by Kimberly Brubaker Bradley to one parent who asked what she should buy her daughter for her birthday, and I will highly recommend this to my twin sister. I hope you read it too.

Randy Ribay

YA author, teacher, nerd

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