Often laugh-out-loud funny, this moving and simply told novella of two Mongolian brothers learning to fit in to a British school tugs at the heart - a unique story of immigration both fierce in its telling and magical in its characters.
When two Mongolian brothers inexplicably appear one morning in Julie's Year Six class, no one, least of all Julie, knows what to make of them. But then Chingis, the older of the two, proclaims that Julie is to be their "Good Guide" a nomadic tradition that makes her responsible for welcoming the brothers to their new home. Now Julie must somehow navigate them through soccer, school uniforms, and British slang, all while trying to win Shocky's attention and an invitation to her friend Mimi's house. Often laugh-out-loud funny, this moving and simply told novella tugs at the heart - a unique story of immigration both fierce in its telling and magical in its characters. (Ages 8-12)
The Unforgotten Coat
Year Six. We had been at school for six years and until that moment I thought I had probably learned all I would ever to learn. I knew how to work out the volume of a cube. I knew who painted the "Sunflowers". I could tell you the history of St. Lucia. I knew about lines of the Tudors, and lines of symmetry and the importance of eating five portions of fruit a day. But in all that time, I had never had a single lesson in eagle-calming. I had never ever heard the subject mentioned. I'd had no idea that a person might need eagle-calming skills.
And in that moment, I felt my own ignorance spread suddenly out behind me like a pair of wings, and every single thing I didn't know was a feather on those wings. I could feel them tugging at the air, restless to be airborne.
I wanted to talk to the new boy. I wanted to talk about eagles. But Mimi seemed to regard the whole Chingis incident as a minor interruption in the ongoing global cosmetics conversation. Only the ...
Frank Cottrell Boyce doesn't exaggerate any part of this story - the boys are not overly sentimentalized; their connection with Julie is not too thickly drawn; their mystery is not melodramatic. The story is sparse in words but not sparse in feeling and meaning... The Unforgotten Coat is a quick and powerful read. Young middle graders can easily read it, but it is suitable for upper middle graders, young adults, and adults too.
(Reviewed by Tamara Smith).
Full Review (617 words).
Rarely have I been as excited about an organization as I am about The Reader Organisation, a British-based group whose mission is to bring about a reading revolution. A reading revolution!
"The work we do," says The Reader Organisation, "is driven by a love for great literature and a strong belief that shared reading is a deeply powerful activity that can significantly enrich and improve lives and the communities we live in. We work to transform the ways in which people view literature and get them utilising it in their everyday lives. We work to dramatically change society's collective approach to reading - making literature accessible, available, emotionally rewarding, and fun. We work to turn reading from an occasional solitary ...
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by Simon Tolkien
Inspired by the experiences of his grandfather, J. R. R. Tolkien, during World War I.
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