Little Bits of Sky
Illustrated by Katie Harnett
Set in the final years of the 1980s with the Poll Tax protests providing a backdrop, this is the story of two siblings looking for somewhere they can finally call home. Ira and Zac are moving to a new children’s home – there is no real explanation of why they are in care but it is clear that they have been moved regularly and rely on each other to cope with the changes. Skilly House is run by the seeming stern and reserved Mrs Clanks but made more liveable by Hortense (the housekeeper) and Silas (the gardener) as well as the garden that Ira and Zac can see from their rooftop room. Initially it appears that this will just be another children’s home, but when the children get invited on a holiday away from the home and Ira discovers a hidden box of letters, new possibilities and adventures open up.
Told from Ira’s perspective in the form of diary entries, she’s protective her brother and insightful about adults’ behaviour and rules. It offers an insight into the realities of growing up in care, but is also about universal issues such as belonging and not judging people too quickly. There is one incident with a dog that could be upsetting but otherwise it is a warm and uplifting read.
Nosy Crow have updated the cover to match S E Durrant’s more recent book Running on Empty which I’m sure makes sense from a marketing point of view but is a shame because the original cover (particularly the version where the window was an actual cut out) was so lovely.