There are some authors whom you cherish. Their words bring you to life. Their books are stroked and collected in different editions. A new book’s publishing date is scribbled on your calendar and you inhale it when it arrives. There are so many authors whose work sends me a bit giddy like that and Sarah Crossan is definitely one of them. I inhaled the e-book of We Come Apart as soon as it was released. And then I visited Hunting Raven bookshop and bought the hardback and I read it again, slower this time, revelling. Because Sarah Crossan and Brian Conaghan have created something really beautiful here.
‘Nicu is so not Jess’s type. He’s all big eyes and ill-fitting clothes, eager as a puppy, even when they’re picking up litter in the park for community service. Appearances matter to Jess. She’s got a lot to hide.
Nicu shouldn’t even be looking at Jess. His parents are planning his marriage to a girl he’s never met back home in Romania. But he wants to work hard, do better, stay here.
As Nicu and Jess grow closer, their secrets surface like bruises. And as the world around them grows more hostile, the only safe place Jess and Nicu have is with each other.’
Written in free verse poems, the two characters take turns to share their stories. Jess and Nicu’s lives are very different and are written by two authors, yet their voices work beautifully together as the characters circle each other, learning about themselves through each other. As they become closer and their worlds begin to enclose them, we are shown a post-Brexit Britain filled with poverty, bitterness and anger towards otherness. And yet We Come Apart is full of hope. It shows two teenagers who are squashed by so much, and yet have the strength of their developing friendship to lift them through. It is powerful, emotional and it will hold you tight by the heart. It still hasn’t let mine go.
You can get your copy here.
Source – bought from Hunting Raven bookshop
We have a responsibility to teach our children about conservation issues and to do so in a way that inspires them to make a difference. The Big Green Book is a hugely positive book that highlights where we have been going wrong but clearly points the next generation to a brighter greener future. This book says ‘we can fix this. You can fix this!’
The Big Green Book begins with our place in space and explains the balance of life on earth and our responsibility to maintain it. Looking at water, plants and trees, air and animals, and touching on climate change, everything is explained in a child-friendly and child-focused way. Climate change can be a scary concept for children but it is handled with perfect balance here – and linking it to Santa’s reindeer is genius!
The rest of the book focuses on what we can do to protect our world. Full of practical and inspirational ideas to save water and energy and recycle and reuse, it even explains nuclear energy and food miles.
As always, Ros Asquith’s illustrations are beautifully inclusive, witty and filled with speech bubbles and captions. They add so much to this book and help make it so beautifully child-focused.
I love this book for its perfectly pitched information, just at the right level for prompting children to question the way they (and their families) live. The part that really inspired my daughter was the double page spread encouraging the reader to be the change, to think big and invent solutions. Including information about young inventors who are already making a difference has left my daughter scribbling designs and dreaming of saving the world.
Quick! Get a copy of this book in every primary and secondary school – the people who are going to save the world are waiting!
If you like the look of this, try the other two titles in the series:
The Great Big Book of Feelings and The Great Big Book of Families.
Source – kindly sent for review by Frances Lincoln Children’s Books