Andy is 10-years-old and her parents have just been through a divorce and are now living with their new partners and their families. And where does Andy live? Out of a suitcase - one week living with Mum and one week with Dad. Follow Andy through difficult experiences which arise due to this situation, but do not fear she always has her Sylvanian rabbit, Radish, to keep her company. Will Andy always feel like a 'suitcase kid' or will she learn to accept her new, larger family?
The suitcase kid by Jacqueline Wilson, is a narrated account of a life changing event in ‘Andy’s’ life. The book is suitable for upper key stage 2,but also enjoyed by adults. The book highlights the implications of family separations and divorce.
Andy’s parents divorce, forcing her to choose between mum and dad, with only her little toy rabbit for comfort. The book describes the process of change in Andy’s life and coming to terms with separated parents, step-siblings and new siblings. Her attainment in school depletes, her friends become distant and she does not know how to fix it. Eventually equilibrium is formed. Andy’s story goes through the impacts of divorce and that dealing with it is never easy.
The book gives children the opportunity to assess issues of divorce and explore the effects but also that situations can be resolved through compromise. A fun and gripping read.
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The Suitcase Kid centres on 10-year-old Andy and the difficult time she experiences during her parents’ divorce. Instead of living in a family home, she has to divide her time between her Mum’s new house with her new partner and children and her Dad’s house with his new family. Essentially she is living out of a suitcase! After a considerable amount of time wanting her parents to reconcile and having conflicts with her new family, she accepts that she has a wider family and the advantages that arise from that.
In this book Jacqueline Wilson manages to deal with very real issues for children in the 21st Century in a moving and realistic way. It is a simple depiction of an often very confusing and traumatising period in a child’s life when their parents choose to separate or divorce. The readers can easily identify and empathise with the main character Andy and understand the difficulties children experience.
The Suitcase Kid would be a suitable book to share with children in KS2 for use in a PSHE lesson focusing on families and the wider community. The book gives children the opportunity to address issues such as divorce and explore the effects it has on different members of a family (i.e feelings of isolation, sadness, not belonging, anxiety) but also to acknowledge that conflicts can be resolved through communication and compromise. It would highlight the message that all families are unique.
Overall I would recommend The Suitcase Kid to children and adults alike. A person of any age would benefit from a better understanding of the effects of divorce and because Wilson uses honesty, simplicity and a general informal tone throughout she makes it a brilliant read.
Jacqueline Wilson's tale, The Suitcase Kid brings to life the confused world of 10-year-old Andy. Andy is bright and observant, yet after her parents have separated, her world is turned upside down. Wilson gently depicts the implications of divorce and family break ups through the eyes of her main character, and the realistic plot uncovers that not all stories have the fairytale happy ending.
Confused Andy initially detests her step family and divided living arrangements. However, it is her emotional journey that teaches her to understand and accept change. Andy can be identified as a fictional role model for the older Year 5/ Year 6 children who are experiencing domestic break ups, because she learns to mature and love her new family structure.
Adults such as teachers and parents may particularly enjoy reading about Andy's story because it can help understand a child's perspective towards confusing personal changes. Overall, this children's book displays a valuable message about family relationships which older children and adults can enjoy.
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