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‘We need the literature of other countries to expand our
horizons and stimulate our ideas. Without it, we are not only
diminished, we are starved’
(The Times, Magnus Linklater 29/06/05)
Boy Who Ate Stars (The)
Age Range: 9-11
When 12-year-old Lucy meets four-year-old Matthew, she encounters autism
for the first time, and realizes not only how it isolates him from others, but also
the insights and abilities he can access which remain dormant within ‘normal’
children. Contrary to the opinions of Lucy’s parents and their establishment
friends, the adults immediately concerned with Matthew think it best to allow him
to develop in his own way and are caring but non-judgemental.
Lucy and her North African friend Theo, together with Theo’s grandfather, are similarly unbiased, and celebrate his individuality, and it is implied that the North African cultural background encourages a far more accepting attitude to ‘difference’. Paralleled with Matthew’s experience is that of François, the pampered pooch left in the care of Lucy’s family, who is also permitted to follow his own destiny and escape the constraints of establishment expectations.
This title retains the French atmosphere of the original, although it is questionable how transferable to young English readers is the experience of life in a Parisian apartment.
(Outside In: Children’s Books in Translation, Milet, 2005)