Picture Perfect by Serena Patel
- Illustrated by Louise Forshaw
- Published on 7th July
- Suitable for readers age 8+
The context of this story is one we can all relate to at times as it tells of a family that is all too often distracted by modern technology, and how it subsequently prevents the story’s main character, Sonal, from being able to take the perfect family photograph. Mum is often on the phone, dad is always replying to messages on his mobile, Sonal’s big sister is on her laptop trying to help with environmental causes, Sonal’s younger brother is always on his games console, and it is only Sonal and her Grandpa that are willing to achieve the family portrait that Sonal needs for a school project. Grandpa comes up with the perfect solution, a family camping trip with one rule – no technology! What could possibly go wrong?
Before they even head off Sonal finds her siblings are unhappy with her causing disruption to their weekend plans, and not being able to take their phones with them whilst they are away, but Sonal is reassured by Grandpa that once they are away it will all get so much better, because the family need some quality time together in order to remember how much fun they can have without modern tech. It doesn’t go smoothly however, with the family puppy at the centre of all the chaos. Readers can expect some really awesome laugh out loud moments as they accompany Sonal and her family on an unforgettable trip that proves that the perfect family photograph comes at the most unlikely of times as a consequence of unexpected circumstances, and also that those images we see on social media aren’t to be given the credit they are all too easily awarded, because they are often staged, which is something Sonal comes to appreciate first hand through a school friend that is camping at the same site as them.
The Battle of Cable Street by Tanya Landman
- Published on 2nd June
- Suitable for readers aged 12+
This is such an incredibly powerful and informative read, and it is difficult to believe it is literally only 128 pages long given there is so much detail and depth included in each and every chapter. The book tells of London pre World War Two, and the struggles Jewish people faced because those in positions of power, within the gentry and government, were ultimately trying to distract society from the fact that those in positions of power and trust were to blame for the poverty and unemployment facing everyone, and did so by setting people against one another by fuelling the fire of race and religion.
The main characters in the book are children, and it is their perception of events that are unfolding around them that form the narrative of this story, and give readers such invaluable perspectives from the many characters involved, allowing them to form their own judgements and opinions on this true event that they are reading of. Readers can anticipate scenes of violence during a rally, protests that unite entire communities, and an insight into historical figures and events that occurred in Britain post World War Two that have been forgotten in history books and lessons since. I was shocked by how much similarity there is between what happened here and what was unfolding in Germany via Hitler, and am so grateful for this eye opener of a story existing, especially as it has given me a starting point to further research through this compelling story that I have just read.
I couldn’t believe the antisemitism being pedalled by government figures in this country at a time when it was becoming more and more apparent abroad, and emphasise whole heartedly with those that faced such a scary part of our countries past, not least those that came here looking for safety and security, and found that which they had fled had accompanied them here too. There was so many elements to this book that hit a chord with current world affairs too, namely Russia invading Ukraine, and I found myself reflecting on more than just the events being written about. I appreciated the way that speeches and propaganda were broken down to a level that the intended reader could comprehend the sentiment intended, as I often struggle to grasp what it is that politicians are actually trying to push on the public.
I hope that this book is picked up by teachers and subject leads in secondary school, and used as a source of information in relation to WW2, the countries history, and past politics too, as this book would be an invaluable tool in starting debate and conversation, and so much more. Tanya Landman has shone a spotlight on an event in our history that shaped the lives of those involved, and changed the course of history, and it is a story that deserves to be known, and I for one am grateful for the opportunity to have learnt of the courageous tenants of cable street.