Will You Catch Me? tells the story of Nell, the only child of an alcoholic mother. She lies to those around her to cover for her mother, to save embarrassment and through fear of being taken away from her ‘animal family’. These are the animals she rescues and nurtures at home. Nell provides the care for her animals that she craves for herself.
Life is unpredictable and chaotic; Nell never knows if Mum will come home or if special occasions will be ruined. To distract herself from her fears, she stands on her head and spends her time wondering if she has a father who could come to her rescue.
Jane Elson has done her research. This story is written in Nell’s own words, but sensitively brings to life a story that reflects many children’s lives. Every element feels truthful and honest and evokes a very real sympathy for the characters. Nell is fortunate to have neighbours, friends and people who take an interest in her well-being; they see through her lies and support her. How many children do we meet in school who may be living Nell’s life?
We talk about ‘resilience’ a lot in schools, yet there are brave and brilliant children like Nell who are resilient way beyond our understanding before they even step through the door to begin learning. I really loved this book and am grateful for the insight it has given me. I shan’t forget Nell.
Will You Catch Me? is suitable for upper juniors and allows an opportunity to discuss and very sensitive and difficult topic.
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