The White Giraffe by Lauren St John was so good I read it in one go. Eleven-year old Martine loses both parents in a house fire. She goes to live with her grandmother on a game reserve in South Africa, but this is a mixed blessing as her grandmother makes her feel unwelcome and the reserve is out of bounds. Martine uncovers secrets about her past and that of her family and befriends the mysterious white giraffe she calls Jeremiah. Shunned by her classmates, who call her a witch, Martine finds solace in her special friendship with the giraffe. But Jeremiah's life is in danger and Martine doesn't know who, if anyone, she can trust. The White Giraffe tackles difficult subjects including death, prejudice and animal cruelty through sensitive storytelling combined with compelling plot and realistic characters. David Dean's illustrations are as beautiful as Lauren St John's writing!
The winner of this year's Costa Book Awards Children's Book Category is Patrick Ness for The Ask and the Answer, the second book in his Chaos Walking trilogy in which Todd and Viola are separated and forced to make seemingly impossible choices.
Shortlisted books were: Troubadour by Mary Hoffman, an historical story of love and war set in 13th century France, Guantanamo Boy by Anna Perera, in which a fifteen year old Muslim boy is abducted and taken to Guantanamo Bay while on holiday in Pakistan and Solace of the Road by Siobhan Dowd a novel described as both heartbreaking and hilarious in which unhappy heroine, Holly, transforms her character when she discovers a blond wig. The shortlist offers something for all tastes for teenager readers upwards. So choose one or two and get reading!
Dorothy loves writing and encouraging others to write too! When one of her stories for children won the Pinestein Press Things that go Bump competition she was asked to write three short stories, The Ghost Twin Tales which appeared in the book, Mini Mysteries and Kooky Spookies. Another competition winning story, Munch the Storytelling Cow, was recorded as a podcast by celebrity TV presenter, Gail Porter.
Dorothy is currently studying for an MA in Writing for Children at the University of Central Lancashire and is featured in the UCLan publication Letters to Africa, an exciting publication containing leters, fiction, facts, illustrations and photographs.