Monday 22 April 2024

Drowning in my Bedroom, by Steve Cole, illustrated by Orion Vidal, published by Barrington Stoke, reviewed by Pippa Goodhart


       Set in a fast-developing catastrophic typhoon in Manila, this short novel is told alternately by two eleven-year-old children, each of them leading difficult lives. They have noticed each other on the street, each feeling pity for the other, glad they aren’t like that other child, each of them hating being noticed and pitied by the other.  

Gayla has a form of cerebral palsy that makes movement difficult. That, along with her stubbornness and bad luck, means that she is soon alone in a residential centre for children with disabilities as flash floods trap her there, threatening to drown her. Jajun is a beggar child whose shack home is washed away, and, in desperation to find medicine for his sick sister, he goes to steal medicine from the centre. The two of them need to overcome their previous thoughts about each other and work together in order to save themselves, Gayla’s clever idea enabled by Jajun’s bravery. 

This exciting story demonstrates the power of empathy and teamwork. It also shows and explains something of how the disaster is precipitated by human action and politics, and global warming. A story to warn and to empower children. 

Illustrated with dramatic energy in graphic novel style by Oriol Vidal. 


Mystica said...

Sounds sad too.

Penny Dolan said...

Sounds fascinating, Pippa. An unusual book, by this description, and one to make a young mind think. (And an old one, too.)