What to Read After… Look Up! 20/09/21
Publisher: Otter-Barry Books
Isla, her mum and dad and their dog move to the Orkney Islands from Edinburgh after Isla’s five-year-old brother Corey passes away. Isla starts a new school where she makes new friends, but everything feels wrong, even though her new friend Magnus is gentle and kind.
In Orkney, Isla watches the seals in the sea, and thinks how human they look. At the library, Isla asks the kind librarians for some lovely books about selkies and reads about how the old Celtic tales say they are the souls of those who have drowned. One night, when mum is out delivering a baby, Isla dreams of Corey, swimming free in the sea as a selkie, and is able to let him go, just a little.
Sensitive, sad and ultimately uplifting, this short tale of a family dealing with the loss of a child is deeply affecting. It touches on the plight of refugees drowning at sea also, and reflects on ideas of families and togetherness, despite the losses that may come. Brahmachari always writes with tenderness and awareness about how global and personal difficulties affect children, and Jane Ray’s soft wash illustrations hold the space beautifully for this quiet story of transformation and healing.