BooksforTopics Reading for Pleasure Recommendations
Book Title: Corey's Rock
Author: Sita Brahmachari
Illustrator: Jane Ray
Publisher: Otter-Barry Books
Publication Date: September 2018
Most Suitable for: KS2
Reviewed By: Sarah Keegan, Junior School Librarian
Isla is struggling to cope with the death of her younger brother, her mother’s heartbreak and the move from Edinburgh to a small island community in the Orkneys.
At the beach, Isla and her parents throw petals into the sea (which is ever-present in the story) in her brother’s memory and her father names the rock on which they’re standing ‘Corey’s Rock’ after him.
After catching a glimpse of a television news item about refugees washing up on a foreign shore and mistaking them for seals, Isla begins to associate Corey’s death with the Orkney legend of the half-human, half-seal Selkies. She finds comfort in these ancient stories and in the kindness of the island inhabitants, including a librarian and a new friend at school.
Corey’s Rock is hard to categorise. It has an unusual format, featuring full colour illustrations but more text than a picture book and a writing style that is somewhere between prose and poetry. This adds to the rather dreamlike nature of the story, which switches between Isla’s dreams and reality. Whilst younger children might struggle to fully grasp the story at first reading, it would be a good book to share one-to-one or in a class setting, leading to discussion of the issues raised of grief, home and acceptance.
Many thanks to the publisher for sending us a review copy of this book and to Sarah Keegan for reviewing the book.