Posts Tagged ‘Death and dieing’

The Runaways by Ulf stark, illus Kitty Crowther.

July 25, 2019 Comments off

runawaysThe Runaways by Ulf stark, illus Kitty Crowther. Pub. Gecko Press, 2019.

A superb novel for everybody about fathers, sons, grandfathers and the end of life written by master Swedish children’s writer Ulf Stark. Oh to be able to write simply, with power, about some of the big issues in life.

Grandpa is in a rest home that he hates. He swears, he doesn’t eat his food and he is grumpy with everyone. He has a weak heart and knows he is near the end of life but he has things that he must do before shedding this mortal coil.

Gottfried Junior his grandson must help him out and against his father’s permission he does so but in the doing he must tell a stack of lies. He asks his grandpa if telling lies is ok and his grandpa replies ” sometimes lying is the only way to be completely truthful”

Go on this wonderful journey with grandpa and Gottfried Junior as they runaway to fulfill grandpa’s last task on planet earth. Truely wonderful. Love is a many splendid thing.

The Honest Truth by Dan Gemeinhart.

June 13, 2015 Comments off

honest truthThe Honest Truth by Dan Gemeinhart. Pub Chicken House, 2015.

This book was referred to me by a student at Cromwell College who told me I had to read it after I had talked to her class about The Book Of Hat by Harriet Rowland. So I did. She was not wrong, this is an outstanding piece of writing about a boy called Mark who has a mission to accomplish before he dies of cancer.

Mark’s  mission is to climb Mt Rainier because he told his dieing granddad that he would do it, but it rapidly becomes a mission that he himself must accomplish. He cleverly leaves his home town with his dog Beau inside a duffle bag. He takes supplies to climb the mountain but does he plan to return? Beau is a magnificent character that all children will relate to.

On their journey to Mt Rainier, in dreadful winter conditions, they encounter the best and the worst of human behaviour, and learn that there is more than one kind of truth. But nothing will stop our intrepid hero and his dog.

Structured in 13 short chapters narrated by Mark and 13 half chapters narrated by Jessie, best friend of Mark. She is carrying a massive secret and through Jessie we learn of the progress of Mark’s cancer.

A tear jerker for sure but an honest one. I read it in one sitting and I was angry, happy, sad and terribly apprehensive throughout the book. A must read for Intermediate and secondary school readers.

A Monster Calls by Patrick Ness. Illustrated by Jim Kay

June 27, 2012 Comments off

A Monster Calls by Patrick ness. Illus. Jim Kay. Pub.  Walker Books, 2012.

A novel of raw emotion for your gifted reader at intermediate level and good readers at high school. Adults and young adults will be moved by it.

This is an important story because it carries the truth about us all. We all have fears and sometimes these fears release the monster within. So it is with Conor.

Conor loves his mum but she is very sick. She has lost her hair, gets very tired and is getting weaker by the day. She often stares out the window at the huge Yew tree by the churchyard and this tree becomes the focus of all Conor’s fears about his mother and later offers him hope.

He dreams a dream that scares him to death and he feels strong guilt about it so tells no-one. He bottles it all up inside and becomes invisible at school. This attracts a bully called Harry who Conorallows to bully him because he feels guilt over his secret dream.

At 12.07 one night he dreams that the yew tree turns into a monster and comes to his house. He handles the monster very well and even goads it to come and get him. The monster over time tells him three stories relevant to Conor’s plight and says the last story will be his.

As his mother’s health deteriorates Conor resents the intrusion of his grandmother and the arrival from America of his father. These circumstances release the monster from within Conor and the result makes compelling reading.

The message is positive and clear. Conor must admit and accept what is happening in order to let go.

Stunningly illustrated by Jim Kay’s detailed black and white drawings this is a harrowing novel in parts but exceptional storytelling.

One of the great novels of 2012.