The Book That Made Me: Philip Reeve 16/10/19
Publisher: Harper Collins
War forces Omar to flee his home in Afghanistan after his dad is killed. But Omar's lovely mum can only afford one place on the boat, so Omar has to go alone – hoping against hope to get to his Uncle Said in Mevagissey in Cornwall.
When the boat sinks, Omar finds himself shipwrecked in a mysterious place with a race of tiny people. These people of Lilliput have met a ‘giant’ – Gulliver – hundreds of years ago, so the little people first call Omar son of Gulliver, followed by ‘Owzat’ as that is one of the few English words Omar knows (for those who don’t know, it's a cricketing term).
Once Omar has learnt English, he realises the Lilliputians have a lot of trouble with their neighbours on the island of Bluefescu and war is imminent. What can Omar do to help the two islands become friends again?
Omar and two of his tiny friends, Zaya and Natoban, tell the tale of his arrival a few years after to a solo sailor, JJ, who they meet in the middle of the ocean. Under the masterful pen of Sir Michael Morpurgo, this is an easy and uncomplicated read, and the young reader certainly doesn’t need to know anything about, let alone have read, the original Gulliver’s Travels.
This book reminds us of the importance of compromise, friendship, forgiveness and coming together again, even though we may disagree with each other. People will find they have more in common than they think. It is a hopeful book and also a rollicking adventure. Omar is a wonderful hero for our time – and the ending is great!