The Faraway Truth
Publisher: Chicken House
Zoe loves to bake, and dreams of being on a children’s cookery TV show - but just as she begins to follow those dreams, a letter arrives from her father who has been in prison all her life, revealing that he may not have committed the crime he is in prison for. Zoe decides to try and prove his innocence by following a cold trail to a missing witness.
This is a fresh, socially-aware story, relevant for children in 2020. Intelligent young readers will find plenty to discuss: this would be a great story to use in lower secondary school, to ignite debate around justice and law. The dynamics of being in a mixed-race family are insightfully explored: Zoe must ‘perform’ to show curious passers-by that her white Dad is really related to her - a situation that children in mixed-race families may identify with. Racism is discussed in a natural way, as it comes up in conversation between people of colour. With its uplifting ending, this is a great choice for readers who might not yet be old enough for Angie Thomas’ books.