This is my desk this morning, where I sat for the first 15 minutes finishing Michael Morpurgo’s new book Shadow, which arrived in our office just yesterday. I took it home last night, read it all the way on a packed Piccadilly Line train, and again this morning. I had a few chapters left when I got to work, and nothing could stop me from finishing it. A rarity.
I’m sure many of you have read at least one, if not many more, of Michael’s books before, and if you have you’ll know that you are always guarenteed a fantastic story. Michael always calls himself a “storyteller” rather than a writer, and he is just that. Whenever I read one of his books I always feel like he’s telling it to just me, and I hear his voice narrating.
So, I knew I’d be in for a treat with his new book. The sad dog on the front. A war-torn Afghanistan. It has all the Michael hallmarks that we’ve come to love. But Shadow seems somehow more than just another Michael Morpurgo story. I welled up at least four times during my reading, which for a 28 year old girl on the tube, must have looked something of a sight.
Shadow tells a story that is very much of our time. It’s the story of a little boy Aman, his mother and their fight for survival in Afghanistan, helped along the way by a sniffer dog who they name Shadow as he never leaves their side. They are fighting for a peaceful passage to England, to live with Aman’s uncle. And once they make it here, they are fighting for the right to stay.
We read so much in the press about asylum seekers, but we don’t always stop to think about the real reason they came here and why they might not want to leave. Aman’s story puts a real human face on the issue.
Shadow is out in October, and will be the perfect book for parents, children, grandparents, teachers and friends of any age to read together. We weren’t able to proof this, but if you want to read it (and you really do, trust me) email us at Spill the Ink and we’ll get send you a copy. Have your tissues waiting.
Enjoy your day. I’m going back to reality and a Harpercollins meeting!