Elle McNicoll – A Kind of Spark

I picked up this book after seeing it advertised on social media by Waterstones and I didn’t really know what to expect, apart from the fact that the cover really stood out to me. I’m so glad I took a chance.

In the book we meet Addie, an 11 year old girl from a small town in Scotland. When she learns at school that her town held witch trials, she immediately feels a connection to the women that were killed for being different.

You see, Addie is autistic, and she struggles to fit in at school as she’s different too. Her best friend has just decided to be best friends with someone else, her teacher is the hugest bully of all, and her older sister has gone off to uni. It’s safe to say she’s not having the easiest time.

So when she stands up at the town meeting to say that she wants a memorial built for the ‘witches’ and she gets turned down, it’s not something she can forget.

We follow Addie as she tries to make sure these women are remembered as more than just witches.

Aimed at a young audience, the book is a great way to introduce children to the topic of neurodiversity. In such a gentle way, the author introduces you to the behaviours that Addie has that some people would not consider normal, and because we’re inside Addie’s head, we learn about how we can be supportive rather than judgmental.

I genuinely loved Addie as a character, she was forceful and determined, and I felt connected to her almost immediately. Which made the book really hard to read in some places, like the ‘thesauraus incident’ (no spoilers) which made me want to cry for how awful it was.

I would definitely recommend this book to any parent of young children. The story was fantastically engaging and will help children to learn that being different is not a bad thing. I loved it.

My rating: 4.5Average rating: 4.73
192 pages. Published in: 2020
Read in Paperbackon 13th-23rd February 2021

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