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Written by Maisie Jeynes, 11th July 2022

As we continue to explore The Reader Bookshelf we've asked members of our Children & Young People Team to talk about their favourite children's books from the collection.

This week, Samantha Wilson, our Schools Partnership Project Manager, shares her thoughts on A Glasshouse of Stars by Shirley Marr.



'Are you scared of the darkness?' Kevin asks you.
'No,' you say.
With your answer, the black sky is at once filled with a million galaxies.
It is the most beautiful thing you have ever seen.
'No,' you repeat. 'Because you can only see the stars when it is dark.'

It is safe to say that this beautiful story full of big feelings and a little bit of magic has completely captured the attention, and hearts, of the Children and Young People team…

In A Glasshouse of Stars we walk in the shoes of Meixing Lim, who has just moved with her family to the New Land to begin a New Life. Everything is different and unknown, including her new house ‘Big Scary,’ which is ever changing – expanding and contracting to mirror her emotions. Her parents said that this would be a better life for them all but Meixing feels embarrassed by her second hand clothes and struggles to fit in a world that does not seem to understand her or care to try. It is only in her magical glasshouse (which is guarded by a strange black-and white cat) that Meixing finds a place to be herself and explore all the secrets of her memories and imagination. But the glasshouse cannot protect her from the danger and despair of the outside world and when tragedy hits the family it will take all of her bravery and resilience, and her two new friends, to learn how to make the stars shine brightly again.

Based on the author’s own childhood experiences, this mesmerising book is an emotional rollercoaster, which, captures the complexity of migration for a child and illustrates the importance of kindness and friendship. We cannot recommend it highly enough; its message will inspire careful thought and its beauty will stay with you for a long time.

Words by Samantha Wilson

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