Swan Song and Luna Rae (short reads new for February)


Here are my reviews of two fantastic not to be missed short reads which were published in February.


Swan Song by Gill Lewis (120 pages)


I loved this heartwarming story about the power of connecting with nature to help us understand our selves  and others, and about how we overcome depression and difficulties and create new beginnings.


Barrington and Stoke has a reputation of producing excellent short stories. With a dyslexia friendly font and pages, making fantastic stories accessible to all. But, some of their stories are so great they should be read by everyone, this is one of them.


This books is great for all ages from 9+ years, but  likely to especially appeal to secondary age pupils and their parents. With its important messages about depression, anxiety, acceptance and new beginnings and the power of connecting with nature to help us all through difficult times it could not have been published at a more timely moment in our history.


The story is about a boy called Dylan who is expelled form school, He then leaves the city and goes to live with his grandpa in a small rural town. There he receives acceptance and understanding from his Grandpa and his friends, who don’t rush him and just support him to find his own way back into learning. Love how grandads friend Jimmy teachers him maths through looking at shipping maps of the estuary what an excellent example of meaningful home education. 


When he first arrives Dylan help to save a swan, who in turn helps Dylan navigate his boat in stormy waters. The swans then migrate to warmer places for the winter. But, why they are gone, the marshland that is their home for 3/4 of the year is under threat from development. Can Dylan and his friend Elsie come up with a plan to save the marshes before it is too late?


Thanks you to Barrington Stoke for a free copy of this title to review. 



Luna Rae is not Alone by Hayley Webster (180 pages)


I loved this story about friendship and family, with a strong narrative voice by debut author Hayley Webster. So many children and grown-ups are going to relate to her observations of her new neighbourhood and her family and her struggles to make sense of her own reality.


At the start of the story Luna Rae moves into a new house on a nearly new housing development. The description of the close and the show home took me right back to when we moved into our brand new home 9 years ago! There is so much in the first part of this story that’s going to resonate with anyone that has lived on a housing development.  Then Luna Rae makes friends with a boy in the close called Rudo. He introduces her to the most awesome of treehouses in the show home garden.  Which is going to be their secret clubhouse, but all doesn’t go to plan. 


Luna Rae enters a school parent and child baking competition with her mum. Except she has a problem, she has no idea where her mum is. Gradually and reluctantly Luna Rae begins to acknowledge that her mum in not on another ‘late shift’. In fact she must have moved out. But, why has dad not said anything? 


The book portrays brilliantly the concerns some children have when their parents separate. With a strong narrative voice and Luna Rae’s great observations of her neighbourhood and family this is not to be missed. It’s an eye-opening insight into the ups and downs of family life, but also a story of full and hope and of friends supporting each other. 


Highly recommend for children aged 9 (year 4) upwards to read alone. It would also make a great read aloud at home or at school. And at 180 pages this is a rewarding read you will have time to fit into a busy life.


I chose to read this book and bought my own copy. 


You can buy the books from me at Readers that Care


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