The Final Year
by Matt Goodfellow
illustrated by Joe Todd-Stanton
"and you- I think you have the flow
you have to grab that pen, Nate
Let it all go..."
It's not just any year. It's the final year. The year where everything changes.
Nate is one week away from the end of Year 5. There's a new class teacher for him to work out. And, while Turner is the same bully he's always been.... Nate's best pal, PS, seems to be cosying up to him. As if that wasn't enough, his baby brother is rushed into hospital with a life-threatening condition. Nate's foundations are beginning to shake. His ability to control his inner 'Beast' is increasingly tenuous. Can new teacher, Mr Joshua, support Nate through his pain and unrest by introducing him to the magic of the pen... via David Almond's Skellig?
A former teacher and an award winning poet, this is Goodfellow's first novel. The blank verse form, with bold opening sentences on each page, combined with award-winning Todd-Stanton's evocative illustrations, make this a highly accessible read. The foregrounding of a working class (single parent) family and wider community is truly refreshing. And, while the novel covers a wide range of 'issues'- transitions, bullying, parental separation, chronic illness- it does so with a dynamic, immediate voice. Teacher tip: If you and your class are fans of David Almond, we recommend a parallel read of this and Skellig. Age 8-12, Paperback 279pp
(special mention: editor, Charlotte Hacking)
Click here to download reading and discussion guide.