In celebration of World Book Day, who have lots of resources available on their website, including these book recommendations, here is an enthusiastic recommendation of my own. Sequin and Stitch by Laura Dockrill, illustrated by Sara Ogilvie, is a short book which delivers a big impact. It is published by Barrington Stoke, who specialise in dyslexic and reluctant readers, and who evaluate this book’s reading age as 8, and its interest range as 8 – 12 years.
Sequin’s mother is a talented seamstress, with commissions from top designers and magazines to make fabulous outfits for high-end clients. The family live in a run-down tower block, but their flat is made a palace by the lush fabrics and trimmings of mum’s trade. Sequin recognises that her mother’s talents and hard work are not credited, validated or rewarded as they should be. Mum struggles with confidence in different ways and Sequin is picked on at school, but home is full of love and respect.
The initial themes of love, bullying, agoraphobia, class, the exploitation of craft workers, and the undervaluing of women’s work, in particular, culminate with a dramatic plot development and a couple of unexpected revelations. As always with Barrington Stoke, the design of the book is key. The paper is soft cream, and the typeface large and clear. There is plenty of blank space, and the chapters are short. These techniques were developed to aid visual stress, and also help pace every reader who is greedy to rush ahead and discover what happens next. Sara Ogilvie’s black and white illustrations convincingly convey emotions in faces and body language.
It is amazing that so much is packed into such a short book without it ever seeming overloaded or issues-drive. It is a lovely, thoughtful and moving book, and worthy of a wide readership.