Tanuja Bocquet is the owner of Tell Me Their Story. Tanuja provides bespoke children’s book consultations to parents that are packed full of book recommendations that will perfectly fit your child or teen’s needs and get them reading for pleasure. She has also recently started doing consultations for adults too.
As we approach Summer, a time when our thoughts would normally turn to travelling, here are a few books that will take you on a journey to other countries and cultures. The focus is on children’s and adult books this month.
India: The Lowland, Jhumpa Lahiri
A story of two brothers, a woman bound to her past, a daughter, the Naxalite conflict and new beginnings. A brilliant author. The Namesake by Jumpa Lahiri is also wonderful.
Mantel’s magum opus on the French Revolution, follows three young men – Maximilien Robespierre, Georges-Jacques Danton and Camille Desmoulins – who live in Paris and are surrounded by lazy aristocracy. Unlike Cromwell, in Mantel’s Wolf Hall, they do not seek to become the power behind the throne, but rather to overthrow it.
Japan: Pachinko, Min Jin Lee
A sweeping saga spanning four generations about a Korean family in Japan. It’s very good storytelling.
Powerful, bold storytelling by an Italian author who has become a literary sensation. Follows the domestic lives of two young friends in Naples. Violent and unsettling. Three other novels follow.
America: Look Both Ways, Jason Reynolds
Ten inter-connected stories all about children walking home from school. Deals with lots of different themes – from bullying to homophobia, to tear-jerking kindness. It pushes boundaries, will kickstart conversations and remind us that we are all connected in some way – no matter our circumstances. 10+
Comfort reading for the soul featuring an orphan, a strict governess (who softens as time goes on), a cruel aunt and uncle, completely horrible cousins and a wonderfully wild and mysterious boy (‘beautiful as the sun’). Enough drama and adventure here to hold the reader captive, but there’s always that rather reassuring feeling that things will work out for the best. 9+
There is myth here and magic. Asha must cross the Himalayas to bring back her father and save her family home from debt collectors. She believes the reincarnated spirit of her grandmother, in the form of a lamagaia bird, guides her way. For confident readers who like classic adventure stories dipped in a little magical realism. 8+
Everywhere: The Murderer’s Ape, Jakob Wegelius
This is the saga of Sally Jones – a seafaring mechanic who is also a gorilla – and her attempts to clear the name of her friend, Captain Koskela, who has been falsely accused of murder. A wonderfully diverse and eccentric cast of characters and the themes are equally sprawling. 11+
Get in touch to join Tanuja for a bespoke Children’s Book Consultation or Adult Book Consultation.