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The Mystery of the Colour Thief

Authored by Ewa Jozefkowicz
Published by Head of Zeus

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The Mystery of the Colour Thief serves as a timely reminder to ensure our children know who or what they can turn to for support – through the ordeals of childhood or when life deals an unexpected blow.

12-year-old Izzy is reeling from the car accident that put her Mum in a coma but is bravely carrying on with school and day to day life. Sadly, this coincides with her lifelong best friend distancing herself to be with the cool kid.  Two of the most important people in Izzy’s life have deserted her.  As Izzy lies on her bed staring at the beautiful mural painted by her Mother, she notices that the colours are fading and disappearing. Throughout the book, we see Izzy turn to many different forms of comfort to save herself from a world that is turning grey.

She finds a new kind-hearted friend, Toby who, having suffered his own trauma, is now in a wheelchair but approaching life with an infectious positivity. Together they discover a swan and her cygnets and set about helping the youngest, most vulnerable of them to ensure it survives. The kindness of these children is poignant, and as they nurture and nourish the cygnet, they too are rewarded with the joys that nature and helping another can bring.  Izzy is fortunate to be surrounded by loving and caring adults. Importantly, it’s not only her family but also her teachers that take time to listen and look out for her, noticing when she is struggling.

Drama and the arts offer Izzy an escape mechanism and a way of expressing her emotions – enabling her to gain a better understanding of how she is feeling. Through studying the work artists and Shakespeare, Izzy can begin to make sense of her world.  As schools see a reduction in the arts and mental health funding, we are reminded of how vital it can be in supporting the emotional wellbeing of our children.

This book positively deals with difficult issues and would be ideal for children transitioning into high school or upper key stage two. It’s perfect for teachers to promote discussions about what it is to feel happy, how we cope when faced with difficult situations and what we can do to support each other to feel well again. It could also be used as a gateway to projects on Shakespeare, nature or an art project.


You might be interested in our podcast with Ewa Josefkowicz

Shortlisted for the Waterstones Children’s Book Prize 2019.
Longlisted for the Branford Boase Award, 2019.