I wish I’d written…
Sarah Govett chooses the book that introduced her to the possibilities of dystopian fiction.
The book I most wish I’d written is The Chrysalids by John Wyndham. It was my first introduction to dystopia and the genre’s potential not only to provide thrilling stories, but also to act as a vehicle for social commentary. The Chrysalids is a powerful and unsettling coming of age story set in a post-nuclear community where intolerance and religious conservatism reign. Difference, in the form of genetic mutation, is seen as deviation from God’s creation, and hounded and stamped out. It is a brilliant, brilliant study of bigotry and humanity. Two words – Sophie’s foot. I’ve read it aged 14, 16 and 26 and I cry every time.
Sarah Govett’s latest book, The Territory, Truth (978-1910080702) is published by Firefly Press, £7.99
The Tunnel Anthony Browne, Walker Books, 978-1406313291, £6.99
This is a brilliant story about a brother and sister called Rose and Jack. At the beginning the two children just don’t get along as they like completely different things but at the end they become friends. Rose overcomes her fears by following Jack into a strange tunnel and she finds herself in a mysterious world where her brother has been frozen into rock. Rose’s warmth and love for her brother brings him back to life. She becomes a hero in Jack’s eyes. I love this book because of all the illustrations especially the ones in the wood because there are lots of hidden creatures in the bark of the trees and you can see something new each time you look at it. My favourite part was when Rose went into the tunnel because I really wanted to know what was on the other side and what had happened to Jack. I would recommend this fantastic book to all ages and especially children who like imaginative and mysterious illustrations.
Louis, aged 8, the Spinney School.
A Library of Lemons Jo Cotterill, Piccadilly Press, 978-1848125117, £5.99
A Library of Lemons is a thoroughly recommendable
empathy book. The book
revolves around a girl and her father who have both been affected by the father’s wife’s death. The girl, called Calypso, is very heartbroken and can’t be cheered up in any way. The book is
The Chrysalids by John Wyndham (978-0141032979) is published by Penguin, £8.99
Bewick Bridge Community School and the Spinney School in Cherry Hinton, Cambridge are amongst a group of pioneer schools working with EmpathyLab and doing exciting things in the run up to, and on, Empathy Day 12 June 2018. Thanks to teachers Helen Mulligan of Bewick Bridge and Emily Garrill from the Spinney School and to the pupils for providing these special empathy book recommendations.
very emotional and made me cry. The dad in the book is going mad until Calypso helps her father to get into the right mind. I have empathy for Calypso and her father because they feel like they have nothing to live for but really their lives are precious. This book kept me reading right until the end. This book shows how delicate a human’s feelings are. I recommend this book to everyone and I rate it 9/10. By John, Year 5, the Spinney School
Goodnight Mister Tom Michelle Magorian, Puffin, 978-0141354804, £6.99
Goodnight Mister Tom is a recommended read. I like how it is based on World War Two. Also, it is very factual. The main character is Willie. In the book Willie is abused by his mother. She is, in a child’s mind, evil. This book helps me develop empathy by Mr Tom’s actions. At the start, he doesn’t really like Willie, but at the end he really cares for Willie. This novel is very interesting. I would recommend it. I give it 9/10. Shaylon, Year 5,
Bewick Bridge Community School.
Time Travelling with a Hamster Ross Welford, HarperCollins Children’s Books, 978-0008156312, £6.99
Al (Albert Einstein Hawking Chaudhury) lives with his mother, stepdad Steve, half-sister Carly and talented Grandpa Byron, who can remember anything and everything. Al’s dad was a clever scientist and inventor who studied the theory of time travel, though he died when Al was 8. This book is very empathetic since Al’s stepsister Carly plainly dislikes him and resents his presence, though she ends up liking him a lot more as the story progresses. He also has to deal with bullying at school on top of that, so adjusting to a new life without his dad is very hard. It was engaging and intriguing, as well as being funny, emotional and empathetic. The end was moving, and it made me feel happy for Al and his family. Overall this is a brilliant story that kept me pondering over time travel.
Gautam, Year 5, Bewick Bridge Community School
Teachers wanting to join in with Empathy Day 12th June can register here to receive a free toolkit. www.empathylab.uk/empathy-day-resources
Books for Keeps No.230 May 2018 19
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