Her Name's Not Cruella De Vil

Publisher: Il Battello a Vapore

This book starts as a garrulous tale of teenage angst and turns into a slower-paced, dramatic account of life in fascist Italy and Stalinist Russia. The young narrator, Katia, tells how she used to be at odds with her world and how misplaced anger led her to vandalise the property of an elderly lady. Her friends are sent on work placements but Katia is ordered to visit their victim, the elderly Olga Mautino.

The two strike up an unlikely friendship and the old lady introduces Katia to opera music and Tolstoy. Over Italian ice cream in elegant cafes, Olga recounts how her family fled Italy for Russia, only to end up persecuted and separated for ever. As Katia journeys into a dark period of history that she knew nothing about, and hears the painful details of Olga's past, she finds the clarity and peace she needs to deal with her own present.

The uplifting ending - Katia ultimately accepts Olga's request to write down her story - is as gentle as the times they spend together. The literary flourishes from Russian poet Yevgeny Yevtushenko make the sentiments expressed by elderly Olga all the more compelling.

Original Title: Non chiamatela Crudelia Demon

Click here for an extract

More books like this

A Good Day For Climbing Trees

Author: Jaco Jacobs Illustrator: Jim Tierney Translator: Kobus Geldenhuys from Afrikaans

Thirteen-year-old Marnus finds himself at the centre of a protest when he and a girl named Leila camp out in a tree to prevent it from being cut down by developers. This is the perfect feel-good book from one of South Africa’s top children’s authors.

Read more about A Good Day For Climbing Trees

The Amazing Adventures of Groana Schmitt

Author: Finn-Ole Heinrich Translator: from German by Katy Derbyshire

Mona's parents call her Groana because she's sometimes grumpy and loses her temper. She and her mother have moved out of their home and into a strange flat on the other side of town. Mona doesn't know why, and plans to put things right as soon as possible. At her new school, she reluctantly makes friends with a boy called Mo. Mo knows why the new flat is so …

Read more about The Amazing Adventures of Groana Schmitt

Share this book with your friends

Use our Bookfinder to discover the perfect children's books for every age...