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A Pocketful of Stars

A Pocketful of Stars

Published: 8 Aug 2019

Paperback / softback, 256 pages

Recommended for age 9+

By Aisha Bushby

Published by HarperCollins Publishers

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This place is magic ... but it's not the sort of magic that comes from wands and spells ... Can piecing together the past help you change the present? Safiya and her mum have never seen eye to eye.

Her mum doesn't understand Safiya's love of gaming and Safiya doesn't think they have anything in common. As Safiya struggles to fit in at school she wonders if her mum wishes she was more like her confident best friend Elle. But then her mum falls into a coma and, when Safiya waits by her bedside, she finds herself in a strange and magical world that looks a bit like one of her games.

And there's a rebellious teenage girl, with a secret, who looks suspiciously familiar ...

A magical middle-grade book about family, friendship and finding out who you are, full of emotion and a secret fantasy world to discover. Perfect for 10-year-olds and fans of Jacqueline Wilson, Ross Welford, Kiran Millwood-Hargrave and The House with Chicken Legs. From a rising star of children's books.

Tagged families and social issues

Reviewed by

A Pocketful Of Stars has featured in more than one awards shortlist and it is easy to see why. Safiya is just an average school girl trying to navigate her way around friendship issues and her parents being separated. She and her mum may not always see eye-to-eye, but they love each other and Safiya knows that her mum only has her best interests at heart. However, when her mum has an accident and falls into a coma following a particularly bad argument, Safiya feels responsible and desperately wants to make amends for her actions. What follows is a race against time to uncover secrets from her mum’s childhood and discover the objects which may help bring her back.

This book is unique because it incorporates a beautiful story about family, friendship and finding yourself alongside a highly imaginative gaming/ dream-sequence thread.

The strong quest element to this story and the clever use of flashbacks to mum’s childhood would make this an interesting text to study with pupils. The setting descriptions (based on memories from the author’s childhood) are vividly composed and give a fantastic sense of place – something children could try and imitate in their writing.

I would use A Pocketful Of Stars across in the upper juniors, either as a class read or as a novel to study in greater depth.

The BAME authors set

A collection of children's books written and illustrated by BAME authors.

The Mental Health set

A set of books to open discussion about mental health. Selected by our highly experienced and qualified team of teachers, librarians and education consultants.