Wednesday 19 March 2014

Indie Pen-Dance Wednesday. Nils Johan-Jorgensen's amazing "West of the West Wind" (Book Guild Ltd)

West of the West Wind

Written by Nils Johan-Jorgensen

Illustrated by Michael Avery
Published by Book Guild Ltd

In our quest to feature brilliant books from independent and self published folk, we've come across a rather interesting series of books. Nils Johan-Jorgensen has tapped into stories from the four corners of the earth for a series of 'Wind' tales examining folklore and stories from all over the world.

In "West of the West Wind" (part 3 of an eventual four-book series including North of the North Wind, East of the East Wind, West of the West Wind and the upcoming South of the South Wind) I worried that the subject matter might be a little dark for Charlotte, dealing as it does with one of the most harrowing eras in modern history, the outbreak of the Second World War.

Johan-Jorgensen's sensitive storytelling and expertise in dealing with such a dark subject comes to the fore in this tale of a young book-obsessed boy. Hearing horrific tales of books being removed from libraries, books being hoarded and then eventually burned and destroyed by Hitler's troops, the brave young lad embarks on a mission to rescue some of the illicit stories before they're lost forever.

With great courage and pluck, his mission is a success but the poor boy is soon caught, and faces persecution for being in possession of forbidden texts.

Michael Avery's atmospheric drawings accompany the fabulous "Winds" stories

"West of the West Wind" is presented in a simple chapter format that's suitable for children who are just delving into their first 'big and proper' chapter books. I read aloud to Charlotte, and soon we found ourselves completely gripped by the story. It reminded me a little of "The Tale of the Book Thief" though perhaps purposely avoids some of the grittier subject matter you'd expect from a story about WWII - though not at the cost of providing an amazing engrossing and atmospheric tale, illustrated throughout by Michael Avery.

West of the West Wind by Nils-Johan Jorgensen is published by Book Guild Publishing on 27th March 2014; Price: £8.99; Hardback PPC; 49 pages. An E-book is also available.

For more information on West of the West Wind, and Nils' other books take a look at the Book Guild Website.

Charlotte's best bit: Thrilling and exciting though it deals with fairly dark subject matter (but is a great story to inspire children to explore the second world war in more detail)

Daddy's Favourite bit: Superbly atmospheric, and nicely short enough to be devoured over the course of a few bedtimes before settling your little ones down to sleep.

(Kindly sent to us for review by Book Guild Ltd)