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What was never said – Emma Craigie

What was never said – deals with a practice carried out worldwide but reasonaby  unknown to many teenage NZ readers – female gential mutilation (FMG) – according to the World Health Organisation between 100-400 million women and girls are living with the consequences of FMG. The narrator, Zahra witnesses her sister die from  complications caused by a ‘primitive’ FMG ceremony.

When the family leave Africa and head to the UK, Zahra thinks that she will be safe from the practice carried out in her homeland. She wants to love and trust her parents and extended family – but it is only her ‘modern’ cousin, herself a survivor of FMG, who can save her in the end.

A very sensitive theme, dealt with in an honest and non dramatic way.

You can read more about this issue at Daughters of Eve


The true tale of the monster Billy Dean – David Almond


The true tale of the monster Billy Dean is described as Almond’s first foray into adult fiction – but  there are some students who would find the tale fascinating, if a little difficult to engage with  at first.

Billy Dean narrates the story of his unusual life. He writes it phonetically – and this makes for challenging reading at time!

Kept locked away for the first 13 years of his life, Billy’s only contact has been with his mother  and  occasionally with his father, who always visits at night. When he finally does emerge, he  finds  himself surrounded by death and despair in the bombed out town of Blinkbonny. Very  few young people still live in the town. His mother’s closest confidante sees Billy as a  way of  making contact with her daughter, who died the day he was born.

Seen by some as an angel, he does appear to have a spiritual calling – and disciples begin to gather around him. This new life becomes all too overwhelming for a boy who has barely seen the light of day – with disastrous results.

Not an easy read – but definitely an interesting one…..

You can listen to what the author, David Almond, says about his work here ……