Book Title: The Unstoppable Letty Pegg (available here)
Author: Iszi Lawrence
Publication Date: Feb 2020
Most Suitable for: Upper KS2+
Reviewed By: Jayne Gould
The year 2018 marked the centenary of the Representation of the People Act, which gave some women the right to vote for the first time, after a long struggle. This anniversary was marked by the publication of a number of books, both fact and fiction, for children and titles continue to appear. This is of course, an important subject and the issue of rights, activism and standing up for your beliefs is one which is still as valid today.
At nearly twelve, Letty Pegg is more concerned with fitting in at school and trying to persuade her parents to let her have roller skates than any problems which might be caused by the fact that her mother is a suffragette and her father a policeman. Apart from her grandmother’s disdain at both her mother’s support of the cause and at Mr Pegg for being lower class, this has not caused conflict before in the family. However, when Mr Pegg tries to prevent his wife from taking part in a demonstration which he knows will turn violent (to become known as Black Friday), she attends secretly and Letty too becomes caught up in it. Rescued by a suffragette using jiu jitsu skills, Letty finds herself further drawn into the movement, as her mother slowly recovers from injuries sustained on the march. Training at the dojo becomes the highlight of her week, as Letty also fights to keep her family together.
Letty is a likeable, spirited heroine, whose attempts to negotiate friendships will strike a chord with readers, with the book also providing insights into Edwardian schooling and class divisions alongside the struggle for the vote. It is a rich mixture and ambitious in content for the intended audience, so for most young readers it will benefit from some additional explanations of or discussions around the historical background. Hopefully, readers will be interested in carrying out their own research to find out more.
Many thanks to the publisher for sending us a review copy of this book and to Review Panel member Jayne for reviewing.
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