Updated: Aug 4, 2018
BooksforTopics Reading for Pleasure Recommendations
Book Title: Splash
Author: Charli Howard
Publisher: Nosy Crow
Publication Date: July 2018
Most Suitable For: Years 5-6+
Splash is an enjoyable story that captures the stage of dawning adolescence and the awakening of self-consciousness that often arrives around that time. Written by Charli Howard, a body positive campaigner and model, this story explores the important theme of body image among young people.
Molly is in Year 6 and the biggest thing on the minds of her classmates is the transition to secondary school and how to fit in well there.
Molly’s best friend Chloe, who is strategically thinking about how to protect the popularity status of their friendship group ready for their new school, becomes increasingly unkind and demanding. While Molly is a talented swimmer with Olympic ambitions, Chloe insists that swimming is for babies and that Molly must quit. At the same time, Chloe teases Molly about her body shape and her food habits, making Molly feel self-conscious for the first time about being seen in her swimming costume.
Feeling lonely and unhappy about her body, Molly trains for swimming in secret and worries about what her peers might be thinking about her body shape. When Molly’s estranged Mum appears on the scene after years of absence, Molly is forced to figure out a way of staying true to her dreams, being happy in her own body and managing the expectations and demands of everyone around her.
I recommend this to Years 5/6+, although it does contain small amounts of language that teachers may wish to omit when reading it aloud. It is enormously important for young people to have books like this that validate feelings about body image that are such a normal experience for many young people. I also really liked that Molly’s enjoyment of swimming demonstrates how positive taking part in sport can be. What comes through strongly is the way in which swimming provides a healthy physical outlet as Molly processes her emotions and how being part of a team improves her self-esteem.
Splash is a fresh and relevant narrative that dives into the hugely important theme of body image as well as the transition to secondary school, friendship, parental absence and the benefits of sport.
Many thanks to the publisher for kindly sending me a review copy of this book.