Monday 23 May 2022

The Sky Over Rebecca - Matthew Fox

Winner of The Bath Children's Novel Award 2019

There was a single trail of footprints, the first I'd seen all morning. They were fresh tracks, I saw, the edges of the impressions in the snow quite hard. Small feet. Like mine. Someone my age.
Then they stopped.

When mysterious footprints appear in the Stockholm snow, ten-year-old Kara must discover where they've come from - and who they belong to. They lead Kara to Rebecca, a thirteen-year-old Jewish girl, and her younger brother Samuel. Kara realises they are refugees - from another time, World War Two - and are trying to find their way home.

The grief and loneliness that Rebecca and Samuel have endured is something Kara can relate to - feeling like you're always on the outside looking in - and she finds herself compelled to help them. Through her eyes, we rediscover the magic that lies in the world around us, if only we have the courage to look for it.

Kara is a heroine for modern times: fragile but fierce, in this utterly compelling story from a stellar new voice in children's literature, Matthew Fox.

What did I think?

What a joy to read; I read this beautiful book in one sitting.  I’m a little older (just thirty years or so) than the 10-12 year old age group it is written for but I absolutely loved it.

Kara is an inquisitive and intelligent child living in Stockholm with her single mum.  When Kara finds an intriguing snow angel and an historical coin she begins an adventure that leads her to an island in the middle of the lake and two Jewish children hidden there.  Only Kara can see Rebecca and her brother Samuel as they are from a different time and only Kara can help them escape the Nazis who are persecuting them.

We must never forget the atrocities of the second world war and I applaud Matthew Fox for bringing the holocaust to the attention of a new generation in such a poignant, yet magical way.

The Sky Over Rebecca is beautifully written and I am getting goosebumps just thinking about it now.  It’s an extraordinary, compelling and completely unforgettable story.  Highly recommended to readers both young and old.

My rating:

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