Children’s books

Finding A Voice
by Kim Hood (O’Brien €7.99)

This tells the story of 13-year old Jo who is overwhelmed by what life has thrown at her, living as she does in a single- parent house with a mother who has major psychological problems.

Jo feels the shame of her situation so finds it almost impossible to make friends in school, that is, until she meets somebody who has greater problems than her.

Chris has cerebral palsy and seems unable to communicate. Jo is not convinced of this however, and sets about finding a method to get through to him.

Behind his warm smile she recognises an intelligent and creative mind, and against all the odds she uses primitive but effective methods to open lines of communication. She soon realises that giving Chris a permanent voice may have to involve more than her efforts.

One other person in the novel needs help though, and unless Jo faces up to this fact then her struggle may be in vain.

This deeply touching story has something that every young reader will empathise with — the awful feeling of being overwhelmed by loneliness and despair.

However, it also shines a light on young people’s innate goodness, and in Jo it has an inspirational heroine who eventually finds her own voice. For age 12 and upwards.

Friend Or Foe

by Brian Gallagher (O’Brien €7.99)

Brian Gallagher’s latest Across the Barricades novel is set around the Easter Rising and features Emer Davey, whose father is in the Irish Volunteers, and Jack Madigan, son of an RIC man.

Emer and Jack have much in common, and though their respective parents are uneasy about their friendship, the two brave and principled youngsters are willing to share each other’s interests, that is, until it comes to the vexed question of the British rule in Ireland.

Tension rises with the approach of Easter Sunday, and when hostilities break out, Emer and Jack, though supporting different sides, find themselves united in a common cause. An exciting adventure story, which again captures the atmosphere of revolution-torn Dublin. For age 11 and upwards.


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