Title: Red Leaves
Author: Sita Brahmachari
Genre: War/conflict, culture, refugees, fantasy, children’s fiction
Publisher: Macmillan Children’s Books
Pages: 384 pages
Publication Date: 25th September 2014
My Rating: 5/5
Hi there friends,
I read this book in one sitting yesterday, it was truly that exceptionally good. It was certainly a thought provoking book and made me reexamine the way I see the world and way that we treat people, especially those less fortunate than ourselves. A real eye opener. Anyway, let’s get on with the review…
I received a copy of this book from the book’s publishers via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.
Aisha is thirteen, she left Somali during the war and hasn’t seen her father since. Now in the UK she has the chance to have a brand new life, but when her foster mother has found her a Somali family willing to adopt her, her world comes crashing down. Zak’s mother is a war zone journalist, his father is divorcing his mother and has moved to America. He lives in worry that one day his mother may not make it out of the war zones she reports. Iona’s world came crashing down years ago, her sole companion is Red, her dog. These three children’s lives are inexplicably linked to Home Wood and the slightly batty old lady who lives there. But then again, things aren’t always as they seem….
It’s not often that once you have finished reading a book you need to sit down and simply say “Wow.” This is precisely what I did when I finished reading Red Leaves. It’s not often that a book can redefine your way of thinking and provoke thought about the things we take for granted: family, community, culture, home and the people in the world around us. This is a really poignant book, one which carries a very important message.
The characters in this book are brilliant and I found myself both drawn to and sympathising with them all. Elder, Iona and Aisha were all certainly pulling at my heartstrings, Zak too at points! Elder was a fascinating character, choosing to live in the woods with her doll, Crystal. Her story was heart-wrenching to say the least.
One thing which sets this book out from the rest is the sense of community and integration. It had a brilliant allegorical nature and I think that each reader will draw their own meanings from this. Because of this I won’t say what I gained from the book, I will let you derive your own, for after all that is what’s special about this book and about community. We are all separate individuals, from different countries, races, ethnic origins and languages but when we stand together, we can support one another and stand strong.
Something I must say is that though this is a children’s book, it is definitely one for upper KS2/KS3 and can quite similarly be enjoyed by adults. One of the best books I have had the pleasure of being given to review from NetGalley. This is certainly a book that should be on your to-read list.
If you would like to pre-order a copy of the book, you can do so from the following places: Amazon UK, Waterstones and Barnes and Noble. Please ensure that you do try to support your local bookshops too – they’re really quite important to your community! If you enjoyed my review, please let me know by pressing the like button and follow my blog for my latest book review and previews!