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Witton Middle School


Fly away into a great book...

Journey to the River Sea by Eve Ibbotson

This is a beautiful story in many respects and I think that once you have started to read it, you will be captured.


Maia is the main character and the story starts with her living in London at a boarding school for girls. She had been orphaned two years earlier when her parents died in a train crash in Egypt. In the first chapter of the book, her guardian and lawyer, Mr Murray, arrives at the school to tell her that he has finally located some relatives who will take Maia in. They live on the River Amazon on the outskirts of the city of Manaus. The family have hired a governess called Miss Minton, who will accompany Maia on the long journey by boat to her new home.

   Maia is a little bit apprehensive about the journey, though she is a little excited about the adventures she is going to have, she. Before she travels she spends a lot of time researching in the school library and imagining what her exotic new life will be like. On the long sea voyage she meets Clovis, a boy actor with a travelling theatre troupe who are due to perform in the grand opera house in Manaus. She also gets to know Miss Minton who insists on teaching her some Portuguese to prepare her for living in Brazil.

   Unfortunately, when they finally arrive in Manaus she doesn't get the warm welcome that she has been anticipating. The Carter family clearly do not like the Amazon and try to live an English life in the middle of the rainforest. The twin girls are spoilt and spiteful and are especially malicious to Maia. Fortunately, Maia meets a mysterious boy who seems to live on the river. She becomes is friend and starts t explore the real life in the Amazon.

When Hitler Stole the Pink Rabbit

When Judith Kerr, the author (who died 2019), was a little girl, she lived in Germany. She was Jewish and like many children she had to leave the country. This is a semi-autobiographical story about that journey and how she eventually ended up living in South London. She was a talented author and you may also know of her picture books about Mog the Cat.