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ANTHONY ROBINSON writes children's books and teaches. He has lived and travelled all over the world, from his original home in Australia to Asia, Southeast Asia and Europe, from Japan to Edinburgh, and now lives in Cambridge. He is keen to give a voice to the voiceless, be they refugees who have fled their own countries, children living normal lives in vastly different cultures, or children living in difficult circumstances.
"An important message not only about hope but about remembering how lucky we are to live the lives we do and how much others around the world need our support now as much as ever." Armadillo Magazine "this moving book is accessible to quite young readers." -- Susan Elkin The School Librarian "...there are lots of photographs along with June Allan's engaging, sensitive drawings...lots of smiles in this book and masses of delightful colour...that shines through alongside the sad facts. There is emphasis on the fine work of the charities." -- Susan Elkin The School Librarian "A book to make you think; a book that makes you unbelievably sad that children live like this and yet amazed at the resilience that allows them to cope and have a positive outlook - a strong message for us all." Parents in Touch 'Tinged with poignancy, the children's voices as they tell their stories sound authentic and the accounts wholly believable. Although I have no experience of street children from these particular countries I have done some voluntary work with Indian street children and been impressed by their spirit; so too with these young people...I hope this moving and inspiring book becomes widely read and discussed in primary schools, homes and other places where young people come together.' Red Reading Hubb These stories of the lives of six street children and two families living in Zimbabwe, Mozambique and Guatemala are often heart-breakingly sad. I think this must have been a challenging book to research and write, not least because there are many gaps in the information the children were able to give. But what shines through is the resilience and courage these young people show however difficult their circumstances. Children have told the author about past experiences, present difficulties and life style and their optimism for their future. Sometimes members of the children's own families seem to have acted unkindly. Twelve or thirteen year old Santos - he is not quite sure of his age - from Mozambique confides that 'my Mum didn't like me, so she left'. And Elizabeth from Guatemala, now twelve, relates how her mother 'just left me in the street'. But we should point out to young readers that poverty, family breakdown and illness can cause despair and hopelessness and affect a person's attitude and behaviour. Some parents show great resourcefulness. Ingrid from Guatemala, a widow whose husband was robbed and murdered, has managed to borrow money to start a business selling tourist trinkets. She has been able to rent a room so that her children do not sleep on the street and they go happily to school for part of each day. The illustrations, and perhaps particularly June Allan's art work, show Ingrid's smiling children eager to train as journalists, teachers or office workers. There are, of course, hostels and charitable refuges for children living in poverty on the streets. But, even if family life is imperfect many children would rather be with parents, siblings or other relations however good the centre they are staying at. Miguel working in the streets of Mozambique and attending the Meninos Centre wants to be 'happy with a family -that's all'. This book is likely to prove a good starting point for classroom discussion. Rather than only talking in general terms about the plight of refugees and street children, young readers will empathise much more if they read stories about the struggles of individuals. This is the great strength of this book. I want to end with the comment of nine year old Chippo living on the streets in a small place in Zimbabwe: ' It's scary sleeping outside'. -- Margaret Mallett - 5 stars Books for Keeps