Will You Catch Me?
From the author of A Room Full of Chocolate comes a heartwarming story about identity and courage, and a tremendous young girl who cares for her alcoholic mother. For fans of Jacqueline Wilson and Sarah Lean.
Nell Hobs lives with a tortoise called Bob Marley, guinea pigs Asbo and Chaos, goldfish Beyoncé and Destiny, gerbils Fizz and Tyrone, Aunty Lou the Hamster ... and her mum, who drinks too much. Nell does everything she can to be a good daughter so that her mum will stop. But when things get really hard, Nell stands on her head. Everything looks better upside down, don't you know?
Nell wishes she knew who her dad was. When new teacher Mr Samuels makes history come alive and tells the class the story of Nell Gwynn, the Orange Girl who became one of the first actresses on the London stage, Nell is captivated and is determined to dress up as an Orange Girl for the Costume Parade. She hatches a plan with her best friend Michael: a way to make her dad step forward and claim her. Will she succeed?
A charming middle grade story with a strong, positive message that celebrates community and friendship.
In the media
An emotional roller-coaster of a story with a courageous and caring heroine.
Parents in Touch
The book that I would like to choose is Will You Catch Me? by Jane Elson. I loved it for the heroine, Nell, who tells her story as 'the only naturalist on the Beckham Estate'. Nell has many problems, but also many friends. Her voice is perfect; you can hear her speak beside you as you read, wise, hilarious, brave and stubborn. A North London Anne of Green Gables: less poetry, more minibeasts, identical charm!
Hilary McKay for Booktrust BookTrust
This is a moving tale of friendship, wildlife, conservation, families, love and alcohol abuse. Its a tale of bravery - self belief and how friends can sometimes pull together to make things right. It is also the story of imagination and Nell Gwyn - a companion to King Charles II - a fascinating character, of whom I knew a little, but now know so much more.
This is the story of a modern day Nell whose mother tries hard to be someone she can admire. To be the mother Nell needs, but things are not easy. Nell spends her days caring for her mum, hoping to trace her dad, and nurturing any wildlife she comes across that need respite or care.
Her friend Michael lives nest door with his brother, aids and abets her - an inventor with wild and glorious ideas which means that at school he is often signing the punishment book, staying late for detention and generally getting into scraps. His brother is exasperated by him and can't believe it when he finds that all his laces from his boots have been stolen away to be used in Michael's latest invention - to help Nell feed all her small creatures.
There are too many children affected by their parent's addiction to alcohol. This is a story for them, for those with whom they make contact, with whom they hopefully get help and understanding.
This is a story of hope.
Sue Chambers - A Bookseller