I’m feeling ashamed. This is another ACE book that has been in a pile for literally months. Months!! I think actually I will blame Book Biscuit for this because he’s RUBBISH at being organised. Yes, it’s all HIS fault.
Anyway, we really loved the look of WE ARE GIANTS by Amber Lee Dodd for lots of reasons, not just because of the brill title and that striking yellow and red on blue, but because it’s a story about difference—and a difference we had never before given much thought to…
This is a novel about a girl whose mum has dwarfism. But it’s not just about that. It’s about love, family, friendship, and how to be happy. It’s about all of us.
Sydney has had to deal with a LOT. The family have not only suffered the loss of her father but unbeknown to her, more life-changing events are on the horizon. And if there’s one thing that Sydney does NOT want right now it is for ANYTHING to change. This is a girl who despairs at the thought of her life ever changing again; so much so that she wills herself to stay the same forever; performing mantras and shrinking exercises in order to never grow bigger than her mother…
I never need to grow too far, or too tall. Keep me as I am, Just perfectly small.
WE ARE GIANTS is an emotional story, covering lots of difficult experiences. Sadly, these are events that many children or their friends may have to face in their lives—that of loss, feeling different, moving, facing bullies and the one thing nobody can stop from happening; growing up!
Don’t despair though because there is a tonne of positivity in this warm story; the enduring strength of her family pulls them all through to a good place and Sydney’s perspective is lovely. Alongside loss, difference and growing up, there are other great themes that young readers will enjoy in this book such as sisterhood and the power of friends; old and new.
WE ARE GIANTS is an important story and has the perfect mix of being a simple, attainable yet engrossing middle-grade read. Of course we didn’t know any of this when we first picked the book but we could just tell it was going to be good—and that’s because we are absolutely ALWAYS judging books by their covers.
Kristyna Litten’s fresh, Nordic flavor of illustration really stands out. I particularly like the silouettes of the mother and daughters holding hands and casting shadows that reflect their inner strengths; “three giants standing together.”
And Biscuit likes the nice little spot-UV touches. He says, “You just can’t go wrong with a few well-thought-out shiny splashes of spot-UV!”
Book Biscuits best bit
It was actually some of the background characters that Biscuit liked the most and I don’t want to make him sad again by making him choose, so we’ve decided to include them both;
Favourite background character number 1: Mrs Pervis. Because who wouldn’t love the image of a teacher who was ‘alright’ before she got hit by the school minibus chasing a kid who was bunking class and ‘normal’ before Year Six set fire to her hair with a Bunsen burner… And we learn about all of that just before Syndey throws up all over her. Brilliant. We laughed out loud!
Favourite background character number 2: Grandma. Well-meaning but inconsiderate Grandma who speaks French when she lies. We actually end up loving Grandma just as much as the main characters when we discover her brusqueness is down to a combination of deep love for her daughter and granddaughters and a desire to feel needed by them. Aww…
Other interesting things
It’s not just us that loved WE ARE GIANTS either, this book also has Jacqueline Wilson’s stamp of approval so you should totally get to the library or down to your local bookshop! We think it would make a great addition under the Christmas tree of anyone over the age of 8 who would enjoy reading a difference perspective to family life.
Now I’m feeling bad for chastising Biscuit for being disorganised because I’ve just spotted something Sydney’s Mum said, and which we’d ALL do well to remember;
“You don’t need to be anything other than who you are.”