I am very excited to have joined with Harper Collins and Michael Morpurgo as part of the Unsung Heroes Blog Tour.
Michael Morpurgo is one of the UK’s most celebrated authors, having written over 140 books in a career spanning over 40 years. He has won numerous prizes, including The Children’s Book Award for a record fourth time last year for his novel An Eagle in the Snow. Many of his novels have been adapted into stage shows and several of his titles have been made into films, most famously the Steven Spielberg-directed War Horse.
Some of Michael’s most popular books feature stories of animals and/or war and this autumn in the form of a blog tour fellow bloggers are highlighting some of his most loved novels, aligning the themes of the books to two forthcoming events in October and November – World Animal Day and Remembrance Day.
For my part of the tour I chose to read A Medal for Leroy with Emmy. She is almost 8 years old now and at that funny age where the early reading books are far too easy and she likes to read chapter books, she has worked her way through most of the Roald Dahl books, many of the Secret Seven books and finds the school books mind-numbingly boring, as do I.
As much as she loves make-believe stories and fairy tales, she also has a thirst for knowledge and really enjoys books based on history. When she was learning about the Great Fire of London in School she would happily read all the books the library had on this topic, making information posters to recreate her learning and we even visited the monument in London while on a recent visit.
The book A Medal for Leroy is loosely based on the story of Walter Tull, the first black officer to lead British Soldiers in WWI. It tells the story of a young black boy living with his French mother, the boy never got to meet his father as he was killed in service before he was born, shortly after his parent’s wedding. His mother is still too upset to give him too much information about his father and he yearns to learn about him but doesn’t want to upset his mother.
Michael and his mother make annual visits to see his fathers aunts, these are two sisters who adopted him after his parents were killed in the war. During these visits they scatter flowers out to sea where Michael’s father died.
When one of his aunts dies and the other has a fall, she becomes unable to look after herself and moves into a nursing home. They visit her more often and during one of these visits Michael is given a present his aunt had wrapped up for him before he dies.
The present is a framed picture of his father which he places in his bedroom but during an accident the glass smashes and he discovered a long letter written by his aunt which not only reveals details of her childhood, growing up and becoming a nurse but tells of her love of a soldier. The letter reveals a never told family secret of love, friendship, grief, and reveals the true identity of Michael’s father.
This is a book which Emmy and I read together, some of the elements went a little over her head so we sat together and discussed what they meant and events surrounding those elements, it got us talking about the war and why soldiers would be in the hospital, why they had to go off for weeks or months at a time away from their family and friends etc.
Emmy enjoyed this book because the language was older and it actually got her thinking and while we did take it in turns to read together, she could sit and read most of it herself.
I have been given a signed copy of this book to giveaway to one lucky reader, if you would like to enter to win please enter via the rafflecopter form below.
This giveaway ends at midnight on 26th November and is open to UK entries only, Good luck.