The timeless appeal of Berlie Doherty

There are so many excellent new authors of children’s fiction, but don’t forget those who have been around for a while – they have much to offer. Berlie Doherty has been writing books for children and young people for over three decades, with her next book Haunted Hills due to be published this summer.

Her books have won many awards; most notably she is one of the few authors to be awarded the Carnegie Medal twice for Granny Was a Buffer Girl in 1986 and Dear Nobody in 1991.

Historical novels are a genre in which Doherty excels. Many teachers will remember Street Child, so often an inspiring read bringing Victorian social history to life.  She also wrote the excellent historical novel Children of Winter, a time slip novel which deals with the Great Plague.  

A book I have only just caught up with and would very much recommend is The Sailing Ship Tree which is set in the period just before World War I in Liverpool.  The novel vividly portrays the very different worlds of ‘The Big House’ and the servants who worked in them, as well as the hustle and bustle of the Liverpool Docks. Each chapter tells the story from the perspective of the different characters, the twins Dorothy and Walter Hollins and the young Master George. It is an atmospheric, entertaining and enjoyable read, ideal for Key Stage 2.

Post by ELS librarian Sarah


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