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Diaries and Letters

Books written in diary or letter format break the text up into small chunks which may look less daunting than traditional letters.

Simone’s Letters
by Helena Pielichaty
(Scholastic)
Simone begins to correspond with an actor, Jem Cakebread, after her class have been to see a show at the local theatre. Through her letters we learn about her parents’ divorce, how she feels about it and what is happening in her life. Jem proves a sympathetic listener who explains that her parents divorce was not her fault and that bossy friends shouldn’t be allowed to rule her life. These letters, while being amusing, touch on a number of subjects important to young people: divorce, friendships, resolving problems and communication. They are written in a style which is easy to read yet the vocabulary is stretching with uncommon words being explained within the text.
(reviewed by Anne Bothwell)
Suitable for most girls 10+
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Bloody Tower – The Diary of Tilly Middleton
by Valerie Wilding
(Scholastic - My Story series)
This is the diary of a young girl who lives in The Tower of London during the turbulent Tudor era. She details life in the Tower and the happenings from Edward through the exciting days of Lady Jane Grey’s attempt to be crowned and ending with the accession of Elizabeth. The easy, fluent style makes this highly enjoyable read accessible to all readers. The diary spans some of the most exciting times in Tudor England and all the history is there. Moreover, there are fascinating insights into the lives of more ordinary folk along with details of the menagerie in the Tower which will be new and interesting for most children. (Readers who enjoy this book may also enjoy the sequel, reviewed below.)
(reviewed by Anne Bothwell)
Suitable for all readers 10+
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The Queen's Spies
by Valerie Wilding
(Scholastic - My Story series)
In this follow-up to Bloody Tower (see review above), Tilly Middleton's daughter, Kitty Lumsden, is taking her mother's advice and writing a secret diary covering the period 1583 - 1586, during which the Catholic Babington Plot to overthrow Elizabeth I was hatched. Unaware of the true nature of the secret meetings in her home, Kitty overhears whispered conversations and slowly begins to wonder if something momentous is about to happen. Through the pages of her diary, history unfolds itself in a way which will delight and excite even reluctant readers, as they follow Kitty through muddy, crowded Tudor markets and shudder with her at the mention of gruesome executions at The Tower of London. This is a wonderfully descriptive and exciting fictional account of an important period of English history seen through the eyes of a child.
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Little Wolf's Big Book of Badness and Daring Deeds
by Ian Whybrow. Illustrated by Tony Ross
(Collins)
Little Wolf is too good for a wolf. He's much too well-behaved and much too nice to his little brother, Smellybreff. Despairing of his good behaviour, his parents send him to his uncle, Big Bad, to learn the 9 Rules of Badness. The story of what happens next is told through Little Wolf's letters home, complete with inkblots and occasional spelling mistakes. This is a very funny, highly readable book that will tempt reluctant readers to keep turning the pages.
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