The Queen on Our Corner

Thank you to Katrina and Lantana Publishing for inviting me to be a part of the blog tour for this book

The Queen on Our Corner
Lucy Christopher and Nia Tudor
Lantana Publishing

This story told from the viewpoint of the child narrator was inspired by the author’s real life encounters with homeless and displaced people.

It appears, at the start that the only person aware of the lone woman who sits with her dog, is the narrator herself, although even she merely walked past at first. Conferring on the woman, the name Queen, the child envisages possible battles the woman has participated in, the journeys she might have taken, her countless adventures, 

perhaps even encounters with dragons; she eventually wins her mother around and the two of them offer simple acts of kindness to the woman. 

But that still leaves all the rest of the local people to convince of her worth and deservedness of their attention.

Attention is what the lone woman pays as she keeps a protective watch over the area looking out for any possible danger. Then, one windy night danger does indeed come in the form of a fire that grows and spreads; readers will suspect who is the person to shout the alarm call that galvanises the local people into action and brings the fire trucks to douse the flames.

Seizing her opportunity, next to shout is the girl narrator who informs everyone that because of ‘our Queen’ and her quick thinking, their homes and belongings were saved. At last, the woman receives, not only heartfelt thanks, blankets and water, but as the narrator suggests, they work together to create a home for their hero, a place from which she can regale them all with her stories.

Demonstrating the power of community, and the fact that everybody needs a place they can call home, this timely, thought-provoking tale coming in the wake of the terrible plight of the Afghanistan people, shows the importance of recognising the inherent worth of everyone – and homeless people especially, – no matter their circumstances or appearance.

Nia Tudor’s powerful scenes capture so well the changing feelings and emotions of the characters, particularly the narrator and the ‘Queen’. Her use of light and dark accentuates the unfolding drama and there are lots of interesting details to discover: look carefully for instance, at the final scene where the Queen is washing up.

Definitely a book to add to your home or classroom collection.

THE QUEEN ON OUR CORNER is now available in all good bookshops! OR, buy your copy from Lantana’s online shop and donate a book to children who need books the most with your purchase: www.lantanapublishing.com

Shadow

Shadow
Lucy Christopher and Anastasia Suvorova
Lantana Publishing

A little girl and her mother move into a new house. The girl narrator discovers a shadowy boy under her bed whom she names Shadow. They spend time together while the mother who seems completely distracted fails, despite his shape shifting, to see the boy, allowing the two freedom to wander together all through the almost dark house.

One day they go outside and into the woods where the girl is left alone.

After a very long time the girl’s mother finally leaves the house, comes searching for her daughter and the two are reunited.

They return home and then it’s time for mother and daughter to get to know one another again, and for the mother to start letting other people, and the light, back into her world.

There’s a distinct eeriness to Lucy Christopher’s enigmatic story; is it a metaphor for grief, depression or fear perhaps? No matter what, it ends happily as the facial expressions of mother and child on the final page show.

Anastasia Suvorova’s textured digital illustrations are a perfect complement for this rather dark tale for adults and children to share and discuss together.