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Stay a Little Longer
Written by Bali Rai
Barrington Stoke £6.99
With a reading age of 8, but an interest level, and perhaps subject matter, aimed at teenagers, this is another of Barrington Stoke's short novels produced with dyslexic or reluctant readers in mind, but a story that provides a good read for any reader.
Within the parameters of straight forward vocabulary and sentence structure, Bali Rai tells a moving story centred on Aman, who is grieving her father's death. When bullies target her and her dog, an older man, Gurnam, comes to her defence. This story is fundamentally about the power of the individuals who make up a community to be inclusive, to make outsiders feel like they have a place to belong.
Although Stay a Little Longer addresses a range of serious topics from Suicide to Homophobia, and although it has the power to move the reader to tears, it does so within a warm, hopeful and affirming context, thereby avoiding being issue led and letting the story and characters carry the reader along. Annalise Taylor