Ballet shoes in Syria

Author:

Catherine Bruton

Age range:

9

12

to

Genres:

This is a great next book if your reader:

  • Wants the voice of the narrator to be a child's.

  • Enjoys stories and discussions that look at the world today.

  • Gets involved in a plot that tackles a hard-hitting theme.

  • Loves dance, especially ballet. 

  • Likes stories told with honesty and compassion, like 'The boy at the back of the class.'

  • Seeks a plot with just the right balance of triumph and tragedy.

  • Vocabulary and sentence structure that is easy to read with a reasonably large font. 

Blurb - Aya is eleven years old and has just arrived in Britain with her mum and baby brother, seeking asylum from war in Syria. When Aya stumbles across a local ballet class, the formidable dance teacher spots her exceptional talent and believes that Aya has the potential to earn a prestigious ballet scholarship. But at the same time, Aya and her family must fight to be allowed to remain in the country, to make a home for themselves and to find Aya's father - separated from the rest of the family during the journey from Syria. 


Aya finds hope and love on her journey, and as her story unfolds, we watch her learn to trust and find her faith in people again. 

The theme behind Aya's journey as a carer, refugee, and dancer, is about how important it is that everyone finds their voice. All the characters, regardless of how their lives look from the outside, have to be brave enough to face their problems. As Aya starts to find the strength and courage to continue with her dreams of being a ballet dancer, it casts a  spotlight on Dotty's need to do the same. Dotty feels guilty that she doesn't feel thankful, especially when compared to Aya's plight. She is buckling under the expectations of her mother. Recognising and understanding how everyone's worries can build and become bigger was a handy discussion point with my children.



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