MG Takes on Thursday

This is my weekly meme celebrating amazing middle-grade books. I hope others will enjoy taking part in this too!

How to take part:

  • Post a picture of the front cover of a middle-grade book which you have read and would recommend to others with details of the author, illustrator and publisher.
  • Open the book to page 11 and share your favourite sentence. 
  • Write three words to describe the book.
  • Either share why you would recommend this book, or link to your review.

This week, I’m celebrating …

Written by Kiran Millwood Hargrave
Illustrated by Helen Crawford-White
Published by Chicken House

Favourite Sentence from Page 11:

Since Mamma had stopped taking commissions, their days stretched into long, unformed expanses of time, wide as the views from the top of the hill.

This book in three words:


I am such a huge fan of Kiran Millwood Hargrave stories, and have loved all of them and dare I say it: this one is now my favourite.

The writing is exquisite and completely and utterly drew me into this richly drawn world. Sofia lives with her younger brother, Ermin, mother and pet crow Corvith outside the city of Siena in Italy. Her mother is a bone-binder who makes items from bone including their home. She has also been working on reliquaries for saints’ bones and is about to complete the final one when she is arrested on Sofia’s twelfth birthday. The children are taken to an orphanage run by the Duchessa Machelli, but there is something sinister occurring there. Sofia has no intention of staying as she is determined to find her missing mother.

In the orphanage, they meet Ghino, an intriguing and complicated young boy who has fallen on very hard times, and who has stolen Sofia’s precious locket. He helps them escape and accompanies them on their mission to find their mother. The changing dynamics of the relationship between the children as they learn more about each other is powerfully portrayed.

This story is breath-taking and took me on an incredible journey filled with danger, secrets and revelations above and beneath the city. It flows beautifully just like the hidden river within, and captured me completely. It both chilled my heart and warmed my soul. This is a story of love, of family, of forgiveness and hope. There is a perfect composition of darkness and light, played through the words of a master storyteller.

Both Sofia and her younger brother Ermin are wonderful characters. They show incredible courage, overcome fears and give each other strength when most needed. They judge others on their inner character rather than physical appearance. The story does explore the importance of physical appearance and its relationship to perceptions of power and belonging and I found this fascinating: do we judge ourselves more harshly than others would judge us based on our actions rather than our appearance? I also loved the children’s relationship with their crow Corvith, and the part he played in helping the children.

This is a story filled with mystery and intrigue which will compel you to read it, but is is also one of family and friendship which will capture your heart. An absolute must-read!

I’d love if anyone who wants to give this meme a go would comment in the comments box and include a link to your post so I can visit, comment and find some great middle-grade recommendations. If you do create a post and are on Twitter, and would like to share your post, please use the hashtag  #MGTakesOnThursday so I can find it, read it and share it!

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