I am so excited to share more about this inspirational debut, you may have seen on my twitter page the other day that I was already shouting about this book as soon as I had finished reading it! Here is my full review of Elle McNicoll’s powerful book A Kind of Spark, complete with beautiful cover artwork by the talented Kay Wilson. Elle is a neurodivergent writer passionate about disability rights and accurate representation, especially within children’s fiction; and Kay is an Illustrator with ADHD who creates art inprired by the printing process, British mythology and the work of Tove Jansson – what an inspirational duo!
11-year-old Addie prefers sharks to dolphins, loves to read, and look up new words in her pocket thesaurus, dislikes her school teacher Miss Murphy and adores her big sister Keedie. She doesn’t understand why people can’t accept her for the way she is and see the good things about her, instead of always looking for the bad.
When she begins a school project about the witch trials that took place in her home town, she starts to wonder if they were so very bad, or if they were just bullied for being different…like her. As Addie campaigns for a memorial to the women wrongly executed, the parallels between the treatment of the witches and the treatment of her autism grow ever stronger. She finds herself fighting the prejudices of centuries but along the way making new friends, building better relationships and spreading empathy wherever she goes.
It’s better to be open about who you really are, what you’re really like, and be disliked by a few than it is to hide who you are and be tolerated by many.A Kind of Spark, Elle McNicoll, 2020
One of the most beautiful books I have read. So honest and powerful. I cried. I fumed. I smiled and I laughed. Incredible.
Such a positive portrayal of family relationships (in particular those of sisters), the importance of equality, a celebration of diversity, and what it means to be a real friend. So perceptive and magically crafted around local heritage and history, infused with the grace of the Scottish setting.
One of those books that should be read by everyone.
A note from the author: “I hope people of all abilities will recognise in Addie the importance of personal ethics and fighting for what is right. For acknowledging history for what it truly is, and not what some people prefer it to be. For standing up to bullies, whatever shape they may take. For owning your difference and commanding respect in a society that wasn’t made with you in mind”.
I’d also just like to take a moment to champion the incredible publishing company Knights Of who are doing some pioneering work to promote positive diversity within children’s fiction – go check them out here!
Lastly, I was lucky enough to receive one of the last proof copies of this beautiful book through my job as a Bookseller at Waterstones, so would just like to say thank you to all who enabled me to receive a copy 🙂
Meg Readz xx