Review: Time School: We Will Stand with Them by Nikki Young

Time School:  We Will Stand with Them is the third book in the fascinating Time School time-slip series which follows four friends as they travel to periods in history to which they are connected through their families. Each book can be read as a stand-alone.

Twelve-year-old Ash Mundair is all too aware of the prejudice that his Dad has suffered after coming to England as a Ugandan Asian immigrant in the early 1970s.  After all, he keeps telling him about it, but Ash finds it hard to sympathise as he sees a successful businessman who has such high expectations of him that he fears he cannot live up to them.  This leads to an act of defiance on Ash’s part, and a terrible family argument with harsh words being spoken …

When Ash wakes up on Monday morning ready for school, he discovers there has been a power cut and, when he meets his friends at the train station, they end up on board an old-fashioned steam train which takes them on a journey back in time to their school, Hickley School, in a past time, and so begins another gripping and shocking adventure for the close friends …

Making their way to Hickley School for registration, they soon discover that they have travelled back to the 1970s, and it is not long before Ash is subjected to racist abuse.  In the assembly hall, Ash sees a group of Asian boys and discovers that they have come to Yorkshire after being forced to leave Uganda by its President, Idi Amin. 

Ash becomes both witness to, and subjected to, the racial prejudice and abuse that these boys face.  When one of the young boys is pushed beyond endurance and decides to fight back, will Ash be able to help him in a dangerous situation? 

Through his experiences travelling back to the 1970s, Ash comes to understand the profound feelings of fear and rejection that his father must have felt on coming to an England which did not want him.  This enables him to empathise with his father’s upbringing in England, and to understand more about his heritage, strengthening his relationship with his father.

The friendship between Nadia, Jess, Tomma and Ash feels incredibly authentic, and I really enjoyed spending time with them again.  They always support and protect each other, and have a wonderful camaraderie. 

“Words can be just as powerful as actions you know. 

And they stay around for much longer.”

This is a compelling story which uses words in a powerful and thought-provoking way, a story which deals with difficult themes of racism, prejudice and intolerance.  It is also a story of family and friendship, connecting to the past and understanding how it impacts on the present.  Perfect for Upper Key Stage 2 and beyond.

Thank you to Nikki Young for an early copy in exchange for my honest opinion.

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