Across the Divide by Anne Booth

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Across the Divide by Anne Booth

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Category: Confident Readers
Rating: 5/5
Reviewer: Anne Thompson
Reviewed by Anne Thompson
Summary: A thoughtful story about family, friendship and finding the courage to speak up for what you believe in. The historical element is movingly portrayed and this excellent story shows young readers that they can make a difference. This is highly recommended.
Buy? Yes Borrow? Yes
Pages: 305 Date: June 2018
Publisher: Catnip
External links: Author's website
ISBN: 978-1910611111

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I want all children to know that they CAN already make the world a better place, and that there are other people, now and in history and in fiction, who stand alongside them in this. This is what author Anne Booth said about the inspiration behind her latest children's book and this thoughtful story about family, friendship and being brave enough to speak up for what you believe should help to achieve this. In Across the Divide she cleverly combines current issues regarding peace and conflict and the history of conscientious objectors during World War 1 in a moving portrayal of young people trying to make sense of the world and the decisions made by adults.

When Olivia's Mum is imprisoned for leading a pacifist protest Olivia is sent to stay with her Dad on the remote island of Lindisfarne. Things are made even worse for Olivia as she has recently argued with her mum over her wish to join the army cadets at school and has also found herself in the middle of a heated row within her community regarding the cadet initiative itself.

Olivia doesn't want to go to Lindisfarne with her estranged father but once there she meets the mysterious William who despite his slightly old fashioned manner is also struggling with different views on peace and conflict. Perhaps this new friendship will help her to make peace with those she had argued with and build bridges between her divided family and friends.

Although Olivia is initially reluctant to go away with her Dad gradually his gentle attempts to restore their relationship, and the beauty and calmness of her environment, encourage her to think more objectively about her situation. Her conversations with William about his difficulties in reconciling his feelings about being involved in war also have a profound effect. In a similar way to her previous novels for this age group Anne Booth gently explores issues of a political and moral nature with care and in entirely appropriate manner for the intended readership. The friendship issues at school are written in a believable way and the characters, much like real life, are flawed rather than being entirely good or bad. Gradually the book reinforces the view that even when people differ in their views they still have much in common and it is always helpful to remember this and act upon it wherever possible. This story whilst feeling very current may also awaken a historical interest in its young readers and is particularly timely as we commemorate the centenary of the ending of the First World War this year.

I enjoyed this book very much indeed; it made me think and it made me care. The time slip element of the story appealed to me and reminded me of old favourites such as Charlotte Sometimes and Tom's Midnight Garden. The moving ending felt just right too. This is a beautiful story with a beautiful message.

Thank you to the publishers for providing this review copy. If you enjoy this I would also highly recommend Anne Booth's first book for this age group Girl with a White Dog another thoughtful look at history and its links with today.

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Buy Across the Divide by Anne Booth at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy Across the Divide by Anne Booth at


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