Review *Norah's Ark*
Updated: Jul 6
by Victoria Williamson
Cover Design by Anna Morrison
Published by Neem Tree Press
I knew this was a story I'd love to review as soon as I read a brief description of it.
*How can you be real friends with someone you might not see again tomorrow?*
*Get a frend* That's one of the many things on Norah's mind. *Spelling isn't Norah's best thing*
It's on a 'List of things I want in life to make me happy', but it's now a crumpled piece of paper in Norah's pocket.
Originally set as homework, Norah didn't hand it in because she was too scared the teacher would read out their lists to the whole class.
Norah's living in temporary accommodation with her Dad. It's a difficult situation for anyone but things get even more challenging when they have to move out suddenly.
This incredible story hits on so many topics that can impact people's lives & have devastating results. But there's also an amazing element of positivity.
Everyone has their struggles but we also have our own frame of reference.
Some people have restaurant dinners & café lunches as a matter of routine, without any concern about the cost. Maybe a new pair of shoes, new trendy trainers or an outfit, just for a 'treat'.
For others, it might be a treat to have an apple with a sandwich instead of having to choose just one or the other.
Dinner might be a shared can of beans, warmed on a barely functioning radiator. To some, this would be unimaginable but to others, it's reality.
Our other main character (in remission & maintenance chemo) also has a lot of restrictions in their financially stable & relatively comfortable life but for entirely different reasons.
Despite their extreme differences, we see some surprising similarities. Both have yet to turn twelve but have somehow developed well-established strands of astonishing maturity & empathy way beyond their years.
Their lives are family & socio-economic polar opposites but they find surprisingly intricate commonalities in their characters & heart-felt caring personalities.
Meeting a complete stranger your age & rescuing orphaned robin chicks is an unusual way to kick-start a friendship but it turns into so much more.
Even people who are lucky enough to have choices, make plans & see their lives pan out well, even if plans change, couldn't imagine how events will so drastically alter lives in this story.
Victoria Williamson's writing immediately & effortlessly draws us into the lives of the characters & the dual narrative style perfectly lends itself to this story.
I thoroughly recommend this book & believe it should be in all schools.
So many topics could be drawn from the story & spark discussion & class projects: the importance of reading skills (for children & adults), climate change, empathy, identity, friendship, animal welfare, belonging & so many more.
Thank you Neem Tree Press for the chance to have an early read & to review this very special book.
About the author:
Victoria Williamson is an award-winning children's author from Glasgow. She has taught maths and science in Cameroon, trained teachers in Malawi, taught English in China and worked with children with special needs in the UK.
Victoria is a qualified primary school teacher. She is passionate about creating inclusive worlds in her novels where all children can see themselves reflected.
Her books have been long-listed for the Branford Boase Prize, Waterstones Children's Prize and she won the Bolton Children's Fiction Award in 2020 and 2021.