Book Review, Middle Grade Fiction

The Children of Swallow Fell by Julia Green

What do we need to survive? Is it a warm, safe home with plenty to eat? Is it being surrounded by friends and family? Is it good health and access to medical care? Now, more than ever, we have been thinking about our basic needs and how they are met each day. The Children of Swallow Fell examines this question in the most unique way and has arrived at the perfect time.

Twelve-year-old Isabella is forced to flee from her home in Italy with only the bare essentials and her father. Leaving her mother, sister and best friend behind in a country torn by war, Isabella must find the strength to start again. She and her father arrive at an old house in the north of England. Over the years, it has changed from the cosy, family home he remembers to a dark, dusty, cold building. Isabella summons all of her strength and courage to make it a home. In leaving danger behind, they find themselves in a land that has been ravaged by sickness. Many many people have died, leaving the surrounding villages empty. There are few supplies, no running water and no contact with the rest of the world. When her father disappears, Isabella is forced to find a way to meet her basic needs, one day at a time.

With the help of some new friends, she discovers the resilience and skills within herself. Together, the children teach other about survival and community. Through the natural rhythms of nature and an appreciation and respect for the world around them, the children discover a life that is full – full of happiness and hope.

This is a story full of meaning. Isabella is on a journey of change and survival. She adapts and copes with loss and life on so many levels. Readers will leave this book feeling inspired and hopeful that even in the darkest of days, it is possible to survive and to thrive.

Thank you to Oxford University Press for this powerful book!

Click on the cover below to find out more or purchase on-line from Amazon.

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