When The Sky Falls by Phil Earle
In 1941, amidst the chaos of World War II, 12-year-old Joseph from rural Yorkshire finds himself thrust into an unfamiliar world. Instead of seeking refuge in the countryside like many others, he's sent to stay with Mrs. F, a stern and distant acquaintance of his grandmother's, in the bustling city. Feeling abandoned and simmering with anger, Joseph struggles to adapt to this new reality.
As the Blitz ravages the city with nightly bomb raids, Mrs. F's sole concern remains her dilapidated zoo, home to a majestic silverback gorilla named Adonis. Initially at odds, Joseph and Adonis gradually form an unexpected and profound bond amid the turmoil of war.
Joseph faces his own battles, contending with school hardships, particularly bullying, and the unacknowledged challenges posed by his undiagnosed dyslexia, a common plight for many children of his time. Perhaps a good topic for classroom discussion!
This poignant historical adventure unfolds as a gripping narrative, propelling readers through a rollercoaster of emotions. The swift pace and intense emotions draw readers into Joseph and Adonis's struggles, making it nearly impossible to set the book aside. It is particularly suited and popular with 11 to 14-year-olds in KS2 and KS3.
Authentically researched historical details weave seamlessly through the story, shedding light on the plight of Adonis and other wild animals in wartime zoos, drawing from real-life events.
Author Phil Earle, a native of Hull, draws from his experiences as a former care worker in a children's home, which inspired him to train as a drama therapist. Transitioning from the care sector to a quieter life as a bookseller, Phil now dedicates his time to both writing and selling children's books for a publishing house. He resides in southeast London with his family and often finds inspiration for his writing during his bus commutes, safeguarding his laptop from potential thieves along the way.
In his compelling narrative, Earle artfully intertwines the gripping tale of Joseph and Adonis with historical authenticity, inviting readers on an emotionally charged and exhilarating journey through the trials of war, friendship, and resilience.
See below for ‘When the Sky Falls’ words. You can also access an editable list here.
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