Friday, 20 March 2020

ReadItDaddy's Chapter Book of the Week - Week Ending 20th March 2020: "Girl 38 - Finding a Friend" by Ewa Jozefkowicz (Zephyr Publishing)

Our Chapter Book of the Week this week is a superb time-hopping story that combines several things we love into a real life-affirming tale of an amazing cross-generational friendship.

"Girl 38: Finding a Friend" by Ewa Josefkowicz begins with a 12 year old girl who is very much like the "Boss" of this blog. Kat is similarly obsessed with superheroes and graphic novels, and loves working on her own comic, the amazing "Girl 38".

But Kat's school and home life keeps getting in the way of her creative endeavours. At school, her 'bestie' is no longer her best friend.

At home Kat never finds a sympathetic ear, as her mum and dad are always working - and are hardly ever there. So Kat turns to a kindly neighbour Ania.

After helping Ania recover from an accident, the two become close friends, and even though Kat is slightly afraid of her outspoken elderly pal, she finds herself drawn to Ania's stories of what life was like during the war, and in particular the story behind a haunting and unfinished portrait of a girl that Ania once worked on.

Kat learns that the girl was called Mila, and both Ania and Mila were interred in a walled village during the outbreak of WWII as soldiers began to take over their country. Kat finds herself inspired by the hardships suffered by the girls, and soon begins to work out how her own story - and the story of Girl 38, her mighty superhero, may play out in the end.

This is breathtaking writing that had us both completely immersed in Kat's world, and an amazing heartfelt story that reminds us that our 'elders' are always worth listening to, and their stories, their ups and downs, and their heartbreaks and triumphs serve as a lesson to us all that we are very lucky in our own lives, even when we think we're not.

Beautiful stuff.

Sum this book up in a sentence: A breath of fresh air amongst middle grade books, with a superbly woven tale of a cross-generational bond between a young creative girl and her elderly but equally creative neighbour.

"Girl 38: Finding a Friend" by Ewa Josefkowicz is out now, published by Zephyr Publishing (Kindly supplied for review)