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I had the great pleasure of meeting Jacqueline Wilson several years ago when we were invited to a North London school for deaf children to talk about our writing. What a lovely lady she is!
One of the great difficulties is getting children to read – and personally I think Ms Wilson should receive the highest honour possible for managing to get younger readers engrossed in brilliant stories.
Clover moon (what a delightful name!) is eleven years old. She lives in a Victorian London slum with six siblings, her father and a wicked step-mother, Mildred. Mildred regularly beats poor Clover and refuses to allow her to attend school, but using her love of drawing Clover looks at the happier sides of life. But she must keep this a secret from Mildred. Then one day Clover meets someone who can help her do something more with her life.
Jacqueline Wilson specialises in the difficulties of life, be the problems set in the Victorian era or present day. Life is not a bed of roses, bad things happen to all of us, but good things happen too, and Ms Wilson has a talent for writing ‘real’ stories about ’real’ life and making her characters feel just as real to her readers.
Younger readers – and older ones come to that – will enjoy meeting Clover because she is clever, resourceful, determined and brave. She endures harsh times, brutality and grief. She struggles to cope and to survive and we admire her for all that and more. Her life, at least at first, is relentlessly grim but hers is a very accurate description of life as it was then – I think I would go as far as saying think of Clover Moon as Dickens for children.
© Helen Hollick