Author(s): Catherine Bruton
Aya is eleven years old and has just arrived in Britain with her mum and baby brother, seeking asylum from war in Syria. When Aya stumbles across a local ballet class, the formidable dance teacher spots her exceptional talent and believes that Aya has the potential to earn a prestigious ballet scholarship. But at the same time, Aya and her family must fight to be allowed to remain in the country, to make a home for themselves and to find Aya's father - separated from the rest of the family during the journey from Syria.
With beautiful, captivating writing, wonderfully authentic ballet detail, and an important message championing the rights of refugees, this is classic storytelling - filled with warmth, hope and humanity.
Back home in Aleppo, Aya went to Madame Belova's dance class with her friends - but then the war came, and the siege, and a long trip across land and ocean with many months in refugee camps. Now seeking asylum in Manchester with her mum and baby brother, eleven-year-old Aya stumbles across a ballet class at the local community centre. The dance teacher recognises her talent and thinks a prestigious ballet scholarship may help her family stay in the country ... but will the other girls accept her?
Filled with lots of ballet geekiness and the tension of the scholarship audition, this book will appeal to the ballet-mad. Wound through this, and often beautifully counterpointing the ballet story, is the story of Aya's family - Dad who is missing and Mumma who has shut down, leaving Aya to deal with their asylum claim, housing issues, and the care of her baby brother Moosa - and how dance (and friendship) helps her deal with the trauma of her experiences. Aya is the heroine of this story, not the victim, and it's easy to see how what happens to her could happen to any one of us.
Perfect for 9-12 year olds and any fans of Noel Streatfeild's Ballet Shoes or Pamela Brown's The Swish of the Curtain. Or for fans of the Somersaults & Dreams series written by Catherine Bruton's alter-ego, Cate Shearwater.
Catherine Bruton studied English at Oxford University and has been juggling life as a teacher, children's author and mum for the past fifteen years. As an English teacher she sees first hand the impact stories can have on young readers - opening their eyes, expanding their horizons, making them ask questions and see the world differently. Her books tackle some of the big issues faced by young people today - terrorism, immigration, the cult of celebrity, the refugee crisis - in ways that are heart-breaking, often hilarious, but invariably hopeful. As her alter-ego Cate Shearwater, she is also the author of the much-loved Somersaults and Dreams series.