In difficult, uncertain times, when I’m feeling gloomy and despondent, I turn to books for comfort and inspiration, just like I used as a child. I seek out stories with resilient main characters who just keep going against the odds with quiet determination.

So today I bring you some of my favourite books which will help you take heart….

The Mystery of the Clockwork Sparrow by Katherine Woodfine.

Sophie is orphaned, alone, bullied, and targeted by baddies – everything feels stacked against her. But, quiet, unassuming, and under-estimated by all, she’s a girl to reckon with – a heroine who alone can crack codes and bring villains to justice.

Holes by Louis Sachar

(A classic which is being relaunched this summer.)

As an inmate of Camp Green Lake Juvenile Detention Centre, Stanley has to dig huge holes in the dry heat of the desert with the evil warden on his back. It’s a gruelling ordeal, but Stanley is a fighter…and he digs up a lot more than dirt. Compelling, inspirational and hilarious.

How to look for a lost dog by Ann M. Martin

11-year-old Rose is autistic and struggles to understand her classmates. A stray dog, Rain, becomes her best friend and her anchor in a confusing world. So when Rain goes missing during a storm and all seems lost, Rose refuses to stop looking for her…Very touching.

Stop the train by Geraldine McCaughrean

(Published in 2007, this is a still a firm fave of mine).

It’s 1893 and Cissy and her family have moved to start a new life on the prairies of Oklahoma. But when the new town refuses to sell their land to the railroad company, the boss swears that his trains will never stop there again. How will the town ever make a living now?

So the townsfolk vow that they will make the train stop – by whatever means are necessary, no matter how dangerous that may prove to be. . .A gripping story with Cissy as a truly stout-hearted heroine in the face of much adversity.

One thought on “READING FOR COMFORT AND COURAGE by Dawn McNiff

  1. I love ‘The Mystery of the Clockwork Sparrow’ and ‘Holes’ too – brilliant choices. And I have never read or heard of ‘Stop the Train’ or ‘How to look for a lost dog’ – so thank you for the recommendations.

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