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The Fox Girl and the White Gazelle (Kelpies) Paperback – 19 Apr 2018
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'Williamson allows readers to quickly relate to both white Glaswegian Caylin and Syrian-immigrant Reema, seeing in them reflections of the many problems children face around the world today. Her writing is culturally sensitive [...] With her two characters, Williamson movingly makes it clear that working-class solidarity traverses borders, race, ethnicity, and religion.' (Fiction. 10-15)
- Kirkus, Starred Review
'This story is a delightfully nuanced, diverse, thoughtful and even fun/cute story of friendship and learning to be a good person. The ending works with the rest of the feel-good story. Really great for anyone who loves a great story of friendship.'
- Youth Services Book Review, starred review
'An inherently entertaining and compelling read from first page to last, The Fox Girl and the White Gazelle will prove to be an immediate and enduringly popular addition to elementary school and community library General Fiction collections for young readers ages 10 to 12.'
- Midwest Book Review
'Difficult themes (war, death, bigotry, alcoholism, bullying) are treated honestly, in a manner appropriate for the... target age (10-12). It's a moving story told in alternating perspectives.'
- Monika Durbin, Edelweiss
'Relevant, moving and quite extraordinary.'
- Lucy Coates, author of the Beasts of Olympus series
About the Author
Victoria Williamson is a primary school teacher with a Master's degree in special needs education. She has worked as a science teacher and teacher trainer in Cameroon and Malawi, an English as a foreign language teacher in China, and as a special needs teacher in the UK. Victoria's experiences teaching young children in a deprived area, many of whom were asylum seekers, inspired her first novel, The Fox Girl and the White Gazelle, an uplifting tale of friendship between Glasgow girl Caylin and Syrian refugee Reema.
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Against the backdrop of the fox’s battle to protect her cubs in a harsh urban environment, we see the burgeoning friendship between local girl Caylin, and new girl Reema who is trying to adjust to a life lived far from her homeland. United by their concern for the foxes, and their talent for running, the girls learn from one another, and realise that despite their disparate backgrounds there is more that unites them than divides them.
Although The Fox Girl and the White Gazelle is heart-breaking in parts, it’s beautifully and sensitively told. It’s also moving, wholly engaging, and ultimately uplifting and brimming with hope. This powerful tale of tolerance and understanding is an important story for our times, a novel that deserves to garner many prizes and should be stocked in every bookstore, library and school. In short, it’s one of the best books I have read, and I cannot recommend it highly enough.
The characters a great - feisty and brave with valid insecurities and gruelling life experiences. Reema gives the reader a moving insight into the life of a child refugee; I learnt things I didn't know and was forced to address a few things I just hadn't considered before. Caylin - a bully - is well drawn and complex and I enjoyed seeing her vulnerable side which was completely authentic.
The novel comes with a message - something that sometimes puts me off books - but this one is important, relevant and necessary and told within a great story.
A sometimes uncomfortable but ultimately uplifting book that anybody would enjoy and everybody should read.
There’s not much that these girls can seem to be smiling about as their home lives are somewhat rocky with a mix of domestic depression, alcoholism and wondering where the next meal is coming from for Caylin and culture shock, a language barrier and a complete fear of the unknown for Reema.
However their lives change forever when they both discover a family of foxes. Though it’s this shared secret that initially brings them together to form an unexpected friendship that sometimes boils over yet blossoms, they end up sharing far more than even they could begin to imagine…
With two main characters that are polar opposites of each other: one seemingly damaged by the aftermath of war, the other damaged by circumstance; we see them mature and develop throughout the course of the book. This stunning story gives a voice to characters who, in the world we live in today, so often don’t have a voice and it is in their own words and Victoria’s own experiences working with young asylum seekers that she captures both characters’ voices so clearly and convincingly that they really come to life on the pages before your very eyes.
Bringing the most unlikeliest of friends together, especially this pair, is a difficult thing to do. Yet, Victoria really intertwines these two characters’ lives so pertinently that their storylines fit together in a way that seems that they were always destined to meet each other and bring out the best in each other.
Shortlisted for the @TeachPrimary Book Awards, this is such a groundbreaking, essential and accomplished debut that not only can change perceptions but also has the power to alter attitudes. It is intensely powerful and immensely poignant at the same time; hitting hard when it needs to whilst tenderly tugging at those heartstrings of yours too.
Overall, it’s a wonderfully well-voiced story from both sides as it’s a touching yet timely reminder of the world in which we live in and how with thought, feeling, compassion and togetherness, we can all live a better life as Jo Cox said, ‘we have far more in common than that which divides us‘.
A book to be proud of writing for Victoria and a book to be proud of reading for all of us. With this one, Victoria has most certainly made herself a writer to watch.
Books can change lives and this just might be one of those books.
One of my favourites of the year so far.
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