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Monday, 16 April 2012
N is Beverley Naidoo
Another brilliant book written in the 21st Century. For us, living in the UK - a small island now swamped with refugees- it couldn't be more timely. We are made to think deeply about what it is like to be a child refugee in this country. It is an uncomfortable read whilst remaining a wonderful novel for children.
The Other Side of Truth by Beverley Naidoo is a popular South African children's author who has written a number of award-winning novels, mainly about life in South Africa, where she spent her childhood The other side of truth is a story about political corruption and how
that affects the lives of the kids of an out spoken writer. It is a powerful story about justice and freedom of speech and it received several awards including the Carnegie Medal.
The novel is set in the autumn of 1995 during the reign of the despot General Abacha who is waging a campaign of suppression against journalists. A Nigerian
girl and her younger brother have to leave Nigeria suddenly when their
mother is killed during an assassination attempt on their outspoken
journalist father. They are abandoned in London and have to cope with
the police, social services and school bullies.
Although this novel is written in the first person, it presents the
perspective of a 12-year-old girl, Sade Solaja. Her father, Folarin
Solaja, is a journalist, one of the most critical of the corrupt regime.
The book opens with her memory of hearing the two shots which ended her
mother's life, a memory which recurs throughout the novel in her
thoughts and dreams. Her memories of Nigeria are often set in contrast
to her experiences of an alien England, while her mother's remembered
words of wisdom give her comfort and strength. The concentration on
Sade's point of view makes many events seem obscure and confusing, just
as she experiences them.
After the shooting, Sade's Uncle Tunde urges her father to send her
and her 10-year-old brother Femi to safety in England. They are forced
to pack and leave suddenly and secretly. They fly to London posing as
the children of a stranger, Mrs Bankole, so they can travel on her
passport. When their Uncle Dele fails to collect them at the airport,
Mrs Bankole abandons them at Victoria Station. Moneyless and friendless,
they wander the streets looking for the art college where their uncle
works. They find refuge in a video store, but the owner calls the
police, believing them to be vandals. Thus they come to the attention of
the authorities. Worried to tell the truth in case it endangers their
father, Sade takes refuge in silence and later in half-truths. The
children are fostered first by Mrs Graham and later by the Kings, a
Jamaican couple whose called Auntie Gracie and Uncle Roy(From Sade's
point of view) whose children have grown up and left. They are sent to
different schools. Sade is sent to Avon School where she meets a girl
from Somalia, called Mariam whose story is similar to Sade's. Marcia,
Donna and Kevin (Mrs Graham's son) are bullies and treat Sade very badly
at school, putting pressure on her to steal a turquoise lighter from
Mariam's uncle's store. Femi goes to Greenslades Primary School. They
It later emerges that her worried father has entered England
illegally to look for them but has been arrested. There is a chance that
he will be deported to face certain death in Nigeria, especially as the
Nigerian police claim he is wanted for his wife's murder. Although
Iyawo Jenny and Mr Nathan try their hardest to help Sade's father,
things are not working out. Sade braves the freezing night to speak to
"Mr. Seven O'Clock", the newscaster she has seen on television, to bring
her father's story to the attention of the British public. The story
ends with her father's release for Christmas, though asylum has yet to
be granted. They hope one day they can return safely to Nigeria. Sade
misses her grandmother and her former life. To end the book, Beverly
Naidoo used Sade's letter to her grandmother which is very touching.
Looking after sick husband, and my desktop and laptop computers now being
repaired and upgraded. So shall not be able to return to writing until the
2 months ago
Blists Hill Victorian Village Book Signing
I'm an author and independent publisher of four children's books: two historical fiction, one fantasy, one picture book, and one poetry book for grown-ups, most of my books set in Shropshire. My next book, River Dark, the sequel to my book set in the Ironbridge Gorge, published soon. An epub version of my books are being added to The Cake and Custard Bookshop http://caroleannecarr.co.uk
First Wolf - Book One Wolf Series
historical fiction for 12+
First Wolf - my children's adventure story - First Viking attack of Lindisfarne - also Kindle eBook
Candle Dark - Book One Ironbridge Gorge Series - books available on my website and as ebooks
Suitable for 10+
Candle Dark - pit pony driver in the Blists Hill Mine
Thin Time - a Norse fantasy set in Shropshire
the first in the Task Bearer Series
Some illustrations by Sophie Bignall from Thin Time, a fantasy set at Halloween!
Little Boy Good-for-Nothing and the Shongololo - Book One Little Boy Series
Original African Folk Tale for 5 - 7 yrs or to be read to younger children. Now printed in larger format.