This week I am reading “The colour of home” by Mary Hoffman to my Year 6 students. I continue to be amazed at how much this story affects me when I read it aloud. Hassan has just arrived in England as a refugee from Somalia. Every part of his school day is confusing including lunch which he does not recognise and so does not eat. But it is through the painting of his home that we are given a confronting insight into the real story of war and violence that Hassan as witnessed. This is such a powerful story which is told simply and with great compassion. A perfect book for Year 6 as they try to understand the plight of refugees in our world.
Last night I stayed up really late to finish “Princess Ben” by Catherine Gilbert Murdock. This book has all the ingredients I enjoy. Fairy Tale motifs are woven skillfully into the story, the feisty heroine is smart and unconventional, there is a little magic and at the end some romance. I can’t wait to see what my Year 6 girls think of this one. I especially enjoyed the sophisticated vocabulary used by Murdock and the authentic 'voice' of Ben (Benevolence) as she recounts this important year in her life. This author also has a web site http://www.catherinemurdock.com where I found it interesting to read her views on cover design. This is something I am constantly conscious of as I watch children select books in my library. I think the publisher made a good choice with this cover for Princess Ben.
I think this book would appeal to girls in Year 5 up to Year 8.