The Closest Thing to Flying

by Gill Lewis

Ref: 15847

Two parallel lives which echo and weave in and out of each other: Semira and her mother live in present day England, their immigration status insecure, ruthlessly controlled by the man who 'enabled' their escape from Eritrea when Samira was aged just 7; Hen, a child living in Victorian England, is suffocating under the conventions of her family but is introduced by her magical Aunt Kitty to new forms of self-expression and freedoms: animal rights activism (inspired by the origins of the RSPB), the struggle for women's suffrage and women's and girls' first forays into cycling. Discovering Hen's diaries and alongside new friend Patrick (whose family have escaped domestic violence), Semira is emboldened to embark on her own flights of freedom, discovering her skills as a cyclist but also discovering the strength and courage to take herself and her mum to a place of refuge. Lewis' trademark expert storytelling sweeps up a range of social justice issues in a passionate call for compassion and freedom, all driven by a protagonist with enviable strength and bravery. Age 9-13, Paperback 223pp

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