In the last few weeks I’ve been reading a lot of books for older children and looking for books to recommend to my year six book group. There is a wide range of ability and interests in the group but a lot of passion and a lot of great ideas. I want to start sharing a few of the books that are inspiring my year six kids. This one has been more than a hit.
Girl with a White Dog by Anne Booth. Quick disclaimer – I would consider Anne a friend but she hasn’t pulled my arm behind my back or bribed me with chocolate to recommend her book. She just wrote a stonkingly good book that genuinely has the potential to open eyes to the wider world and inspire children to want to change it. She wrote a book that I feel compelled to thrust upon people and buy for all my friends and recommend (fairly forcefully) to my year 6 kids. There’s no wonder that Girl with a White Dog was chosen as one of Booktrust’s Books of the Month in March.
Jessie is excited when her gran gets a white Alsatian puppy, but with Snowy’s arrival a mystery starts to unfold. As Jessie learns about Nazi Germany at school, past and present begin to slot together and she uncovers something long-buried, troubling and somehow linked to another girl and another white dog.
I love this book for its sensitive portrayal of a child growing up and learning about moral responsibility in a world that can be full of intolerance and discrimination. It is beautifully and naturally inclusive and manages to quietly raise the reader’s awareness of the importance of moral and social responsibility.
My year six children have relished this book. Are relishing it. I bought them a copy to share within the group and they now have my copy on loan too. They all know exactly who has a copy and are watching closely for their opportunity to grab one as soon as it is finished. They have been moved by the story and inspired by Anne’s writing. It has provoked, awakened, engaged and changed them. We have had wonderful and passionate discussions about immigration and UKIP and social responsibility, about discrimination and the responsibility of honest and fair media reporting. Girl with a White Dog has enabled them to look at their world and question what they see, and that is hugely important. That is a life skill that will help them change the world for the better.
Congratulations, Anne. You have written a book that is engaging children and inspiring them to think and assess their role in the world. It is making them look towards a more positive and fair future. Hurrah to you and hurrah to Girl with a White Dog.
Buy your copy from Hive here.