by Patricia Schonstein Pinnock

I found this simply written but powerful novel very moving. A young girl growing up in a block of flats in Cape Town seeks love and companionship from her sister and friends among the inhabitants of the flats, most of whom are refugees from wars in Africa and with hauntingly painful memories. Although, almost unbearably sad the style of writing is poetic and beautiful with each chapter being summarised with a description of a painting.


Kwaku reaches out to Raphael, takes his hand in his weak, bony fingers. He wants to go back home; he wants to die in his mother's arms, not here, far away from her.... Kwaku hears her voice in the traffic. It is the song of jungle birds and when he hears her sing to him, his pain lifts... His friends in the flat sit quietly and wait. They don't move and they say nothing. So we say nothing. They wait with him all week and then on Friday he hears his mother's sigh above the traffic and feels her close his eyes for him and rock him in her arms.

Kwaku's friends sigh with a sad song and beat on a little drum and we know he has gone back home.


The Illustrated Mum by Jacqueline Wilson

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