When I was growing up, most books aimed at young female readers, seemed to only feature girls with perfect figures and the boys that fought over them. I had unrealistic expectations of the world because of these books, and would have loved to have read something realistic, that addressed the real problems, that real people have. ‘We Are Giants’ tackles the subject of physical disability, but explores many of the difficulties we all face as we come of age.
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The book follows the lives of Sydney, her sister Jade and their mother Amy who has dwarfism. Jade and Sydney’s father (who was also a dwarf) has sadly passed away. Amy (Jade and Sydney’s mother) announces they will have to leave their home and everything that they have known; they can no longer afford to run their furniture shop or pay the rent. They move to live near their grandmother in Portsmouth. What follows is a thoroughly realistic and intrinsic examination of family life, living with dwarfism and adapting to change, especially when grieving.
Although Amy (Sydney and Jades mother) has dwarfism, this is not the topic that dominates the book. ‘We Are Giant’s’ is a refreshingly honest and thought-provoking portrayal of family life. Author Amber Lee Dodd has created a vibrant set of characters to whom we can all relate; the rebellious teenagers, the single mother trying to balance work and children, the grandmother who just wants what is best for her daughter but isn’t very good at expressing it.
Although a children’s book ‘We Are Giants’ has something for everyone. Adult readers may identify with the struggles that raising a family can bring, and a younger audience will see parallels with the two daughters, their emotions and many of the situations they face.
I would thoroughly recommend this book to readers of all ages and abilities. The author has taken what could have been quite heavy subject matter and made it charming and engaging if not a little emotional at times. No matter what you look like or what specific issues you face, when you take a closer look we are all more a like then you might first think.
How hard it is to adapt to change when you are growing up. The hardship that can come from having a relative – the character’s mum in this case – with a physical disability like dwarfism. I couldn’t wait to read this book as I think physical disabilities is one of those things that is rare to read about in fiction. Sydney is a wonderful character with a stunning imagination. Her thoughts felt very grown up considering she was only nine/ten years old.
Amber Lee Dodd was born in Portsmouth, and she writes plays and stories. Growing up she was known as ‘the kid who couldn’t read’ but once she was diagnosed with dyslexia, she was put into Special Education and began to ‘devour’ every book she could get her hands on. She believes that ‘books completely opened up’ her world and you can sense this in her own writing.
If you are interested to get a copy for yourself, click this Link: We Are Giants
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