Tuesday 17 September 2019

A Map of the Sky by Claire Wong
Release Date: 20th September 2019
Publisher: Lion Fiction
Genres: Contemporary Fiction

Kit doesn't understand why his family has been uprooted to a remote coastal village in the North. Why did they leave so suddenly, and why has his Dad not joined them? 
At Askfeld Farm Guesthouse he meets an eclectic group of new neighbours and forms an unlikely friendship with Beth, who suffers from a chronic illness he does not understand. Kit learns that Beth, who cannot leave the guesthouse, is trying to draw a map from memory that shows all her favourite childhood haunts. 
Kit makes it his quest to help her remember by visiting places for her and hopes to solve the problems of the other guests along the way. But becoming a hero like the ones in his favourite books is trickier than it seems, especially when Kit has failed to grasp so much of what is happening around him... Can Kit work out that the person who really needs his help is much closer to home?


Young Kit, while not exactly ecstatic about moving away from his home and school earlier than planned to move miles away decides to try to make an adventure out of his situation. The new family home isn't ready but that doesn't stop Kit's mother dragging him and his sister to go stay in a remote guest house. Kit struggles to understand why his father is not with them. He finds both his  mother and sister increasingly frustrating as they don't seem to want to tell him everything. His sister it seems is just becoming a mini version of their mother and Kit feels like he's always being treated like a child.

When Kit meets one of the owners of the guest house, Beth, he becomes intrigued by her strange illness that means she is well one day and in pain and unable to walk the next. His young mind works overtime and he's sure there's more at play than Beth just being ill. When Beth tells him that not only is she pregnant but that she is trying to put together a map of the local area so that her child can visit all the wonderful places she did as a child. Beth might not be able to take the child but at least her husband will be able to take their child to all the magical places Beth experienced growing up. Kit decides to become Beth's very own superhero and help her with the map, visiting the places himself and helping Beth make sure the map is accurate. Along the way, Kit befriends some of the other guests at the guest house. People with their own problems and Kit wants to help them too.

I love books that are told from a child's perspective. I love the innocence of what they see and how they perceive the world. Although Kit is 11 years old and actually quite knowledgeable and mature, he still has that wonderful childlike innocence about him and a desire to help others. Perhaps this is a way for Kit to shy away from the reality of his own life. If he makes everything into a quest, a game for superheroes then he doesn't have to face what is going on within his own family.

This is such a beautifully written book with our young protagonist being such a likeable character that I was immediately drawn to. I loved that he had an interest in books and adventures and wanted to create those adventures for himself. His kindness to Beth and others shone through and despite only being 11 years old, at times he had an old head on young shoulders which was often at conflict with his childlike thinking. 

I really enjoyed this book and loved the concept of the map. A little more description of the local area and the places Kit visited would have added a little bit more to the story but certainly didn't detract from the brilliant piece of writing and very enjoyable story. I think this book would work really well as a television play. A highly recommended read from me.

https://www.amazon.co.uk/Map-Sky-Claire-Wong/dp/1782642692/ref=sr_1_2?keywords=MAP+OF+THE+SKY&qid=1568381916&s=gateway&sr=8-2 https://www.amazon.com/Map-Sky-Claire-Wong-ebook/dp/B07LD5LQ2X/ref=sr_1_1?keywords=a+map+of+the+sky+CLAIRE+WONG&qid=1568698729&sr=8-1 


Originally from Wales and now based in Yorkshire, Claire Wong read Classics at Oxford University and now works in charity communications, where she has the privilege of sharing uplifting stories every day. In 2005 she was awarded the Owen Sheers Poetry Prize, and the Laurie Magnus Poetry Prize in 2006.

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