A Selection of International Children's and Youth Literature

English / Great Britain

My brother’s shadow

Avery, Tom (text)
Grove, Kate (illus.)
London: Andersen Press, 2014. – 188 p.
ISBN 978-1-84939-782-7

Suicide – Grief – Bullying – Imaginary friend

Kaia is frozen, trapped in the memory of that one day, more than a year ago, when she found her beloved older brother Moses dead on his bed. Now, her former friends don’t talk to her anymore, the class bully calls her a freak, her teacher is irritated with her alleged lack of attention, and her mother mostly ignores her. Her only anchor is the book “Trees of Britain” – her last birthday present from Moses. In a poetic first-person narrative interspersed with unusual metaphors, eleven-year-old Kaia shares her grief, her loneliness, and her profound reflections about life “before” and “after”. Readers are plunged deep into this heart-breaking story and follow Kaia as she slowly thaws and takes part in life again with the help of the mute “wild boy” and some old/new friends. Tom Avery’s moving text is complemented by Kate Grove’s evocative black-and-white illustrations that take up the underlying tree-theme and help to create a sad but also soothing atmosphere. (Age: 10+)