We Are the Beaker Girls

Publisher: Puffin

We Are the Beaker Girls picks up exactly where My Mum Tracy Beaker – the sequel to the beloved The Story of Tracy Beaker – left off. Jess and her mum Tracy now live with Flo above the Dumping Ground antique shop in the seaside town of Cooksea, and life is good.

But Tracy's love life is still a bit of a mess, and Jess is worried she'll go back to thuggish footballer Sean Godfrey – surely the nice Bacon Roll Bill would be a better idea? Or possibly even her old friend Peter from the children's home (unless he's more of a brother figure)?

Then Jess befriends Jordan, who has run away from foster care and is living rough –and, of course, heart-of-gold Tracy steps in to save the day, in her own unique way.

Serious issues are raised here about child neglect, bad parenting, living in care and poverty, but we're in capable hands. Jacqueline Wilson knows how to handle these issues in a way that young children can relate to and understand, as she's been doing that for her entire writing life.

The Beakers are a normal working-class family, living normal lives, complete with normal messiness. Mums reading this book out loud will find a friend in Tracy, and children will find a friend in the sweet and clever Jess. The treatment of the diversity and complexity of adult relationships, including the absolute normality of same-sex relationships, is also a joy to read.

The Beaker Girls is an important, funny, entertaining book that everyone can access –  and even many years after Jacqueline Wilson started writing like this, somehow it still feels trailblazing. Nick Sharratt's gorgeous illustrations make the book even more accessible and bring further humour and life to the narrative.

This book is another Jacqueline Wilson classic, helping children from all backgrounds to see themselves in books. Plus, there's a most satisfying ending!

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