Blue Moon Day ISBN: 9780552571883
Published by CorgiSe, 2014
In Anne Fine's always superb writing, we get a book made up of short stories about children in school, mostly boarding schools, and some of them are very pertinent to healthybooks. The person that holds the stories together is Sam, probably a boy, but could be Samantha. While reading, it seemed like a boy to me! Anyway, he or she is taking a day off school, just because he or she doesn't want to go - a blue moon day. This has happened several times during primary school, and while mum doesn't really believe the excuses, she lets it happen, and because Sam has a good attendance record, it doesn't cause problems. On this day, she takes Sam with her in the car because her work means travelling around the town, and because of the times when she will have to leave him, he takes a book. Hence, the stories. Several of the stories involve bullying, but the two that seem most appropriate for our use are the following. 'Eclipse of the Sun' is about George, who has always gone to a primary school for the blind. He dreads starting at at a normal secondary school, even though it means he will be able to go home at night. George was born with no sight at all, and much of the story is about his experiences at the primary boarding school. It's an excellent detailed description of what life was like, much of it good, but honest about the problems too. He goes on, then, to explain what life is like at his new school, and the problems he has faced adjusting there. George's thoughts are very helpful to those who don't understand what it is like to be blind, and the story could be really useful in a school setting. The other story, 'Dream Cell', is set in a young offenders school. The young lad who tells the story is in for some unnamed crime, and, again, the detail about life in the school is detailed and interesting. Fine gets the 'voices' just right, and the whole set-up is very believable. The narrator is bright and talented, but he has used his talents in ways that the teachers and guards can't accept. One feels he will get on in life, but whether as a law-abiding citizen is something else! This is a strong and unremitting book, full of stories that will make young people think about all the different experiences that others must go through. Highly recommended.