The List of Real Things is a charming and magical story about sisters, bereavement and mental health.
Grace and her younger sister Bee live with their loving Uncle Freddie and Grandfather Patrick, who “rescued” them after both their parents died. At school, Grace is busy trying to navigate the tricky world of friends, cliques and boyfriends, and at home, she has the worry of Bee, her little sister who is five years younger than her. Bee is struggling to process her parents’ death and lives in an imaginary world. Grace adores Bee, but it is imperative that she keeps her sister’s issues secret from everyone at school.
The List of Real Things is a warm, beautiful and moving book that I would highly recommend. I read the book in one sitting and then lent it to my 16-year-old daughter who did the same. We both gave some thought about the age suitability of this book. It is a beautiful book, and while there is nothing offensive that would make it inappropriate for the primary age group, the concept of grief and mental illness is explored in-depth. For this reason, I would be sensitive as to which upper junior child I would offer it to.
A Monster Calls, (which I also loved), this is another book dealing with grief which I have known some teachers to share very successfully with a whole class. For this reason, I would confidently recommend upper junior teachers to read enjoy this book themselves and then evaluate the appropriateness for their class.
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