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Nadine Dreams of Home ISBN: 9781781123690
Ashley, Bernard and Cuthbertson, Ollie
Published by Barrington Stoke Ltd, 2014
When Nadine goes to school for the first time in London, she is very frightened. She speaks no English and she finds London noise unbearable. It isn't like home where the noise comes from different scary things such as guns and burning buildings and having to hide from rebel soldiers. When her father put her and her mother and younger brother Prince on the last flight out of Goma, where he was taken away by the rebels, the experience of flying and then arriving in a place where they knew no one and had the horrid worry over what was happening to dad - well, this was the scariest thing of all. At school, an understanding teacher takes her to the library with her class, and while she can't read the books, he asks one of the other children to show Nadine a picture of her homeland on the computer. This picture becomes a lifeline for Nadine, and each time she goes to the library, she calls it up and imagines her father in the picture. If only he could come, all would be well. Gradually, she begins to learn English words and is given extra help for this, but the flat 'as high as kites fly' doesn't feel like home, and the London streets are as scary as ever. Mum tries to tell her to forget about dad; its is to be the three of them from now on, but Nadine can't forget and doesn't want to. During an unforgettable night, dad arrives at the door, and there is a very happy reunion. Nadine can now accept that they will live in London and that she will learn to call it home. This short book is very moving and full of understanding about the plight of those who arrive in our country frightened and needing help. Written by a wonderfully talented author of many children's books, even the easily-read language (aimed at dyslexic readers) is full of beautifully crafted sentences that express the only-too-understandable fears in moving terms. The large-ish print on cream paper and the black and white illustrations add to the ease with which the book can be read. A super story and very good for older children too.
Age: 8+