I discovered these books while browsing in Borders Bookstore one day.
Well actually I stumbled on “Bitter Chocolate” and liked the sounds of it. I read it as soon as I got it home. It’s about children in West Africa who get caught up in a rebel war and later are put to work on a cocoa farm. It covers some pretty tough issues but I felt the author did it in a way that was suitable for their intended audience.
After devouring the first book I hunted down and ordered some more of the author’s titles. Next up was “Broken Glass”. It tells the story of two siblings who are forced into life on the streets in India. My heart went out to these two brothers and I was pleased that the story ended in an upbeat way. Not the way I’d have ideally liked it to end but better than their circumstances were earlier in the book.
Actually of the three books I’ve read so far all of them have ended on a “pleasanter” note. No their hard lives weren’t “happily ever after” lives but the author lets the readers leave with a hint of hope for the future.
Last night I finished “Torn Pages”. Boy, the kids in these stories have difficult lives. But it’s the reality of our world and that’s what I appreicate about these books. They present the sensitive issues to a younger audience in a form that educates and yet doesn’t desensitise them. The novels connect the readers with the characters and in doing so bring more than awareness but a desire to action as well.
I’m yet to read this last title – it’s on the bedside table for tonight – but I’m confident that it’ll be as good as the others.
My boys are probably a tad young at present to be exposed to some of these issues and the ugliness that comes with them, but I’ll definitely be reading these to them in the coming years.
Do read them for yourselves before handing them to your children. While Sally Grindley has presented the reality of these issues in a tactful and sometimes deliberately illusive manner, the issues are harsh ones. I would recommend that you read the books aloud rather than allowing your children to read them themselves. These books need a parent’s input and discussion to guide children through them.
But I highly recommend them.