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Red Sky in the Morning by Elizabeth Laird

Red Sky in the Morning (1988)

by Elizabeth Laird

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1391186,313 (3.84)2
  1. 00
    The October Child by Eleanor Spence (bookel)
  2. 00
    Water Wings by Morris Gleitzman (mybookshelf)
    mybookshelf: Coming to terms with death, and moving on
  3. 00
    See Ya, Simon by David Hill (mybookshelf)
    mybookshelf: Both books deal sensitively and humorously with a young narrator coming to terms with the disability and eventual death of somebody close to them.

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When Anna is twelve, her little brother is born, and she faces many new responsibilities. Ben is severely disabled, which means her parents have less time for Anna, for her younger sister Katy, and even for each other. Although Anna adores Ben, she can’t bring herself to explain to her schoolmates about his differences, so she has nobody to confide in when the worst thing imaginable happens. Eventually, though, she manages to find reasons to carry on with life.

This is a moving story, where the reader really gets to know Anna as the narrator. She records not just her feelings about Ben, but also her secret thoughts about Katy, the students and teachers at school, and the boys she likes as well. She describes her experiences finding her first paid job, and takes control of Katy’s all-important tenth birthday party when their mother is too tired out from looking after Ben. She is justifiably proud of her achievements, and endearingly honest about her mistakes.

The story covers a period of several years in Anna’s life, as she develops from a mature pre-teen to a competent and insightful young adult. During this time, the people Anna associates with are changing, and Anna begins to look at her friends (and those who are not her friends) with greater understanding.

There is a lot to be learned from reading this book. Obviously there is information about disabilities and how to act around someone who has one, but also the reader discovers new ideas about the pressure this puts a family under, and the importance of having secure relationships with other family members.

The chapters that deal with the death and funeral scenes are both raw and encouraging. The reader feels everything right there alongside Anna, watching the sad story unfold before her eyes. But Anna also explains how going through the process of looking at the coffin and listening to the service are helpful to her, in terms of finding peace.

Another positive feature of this story is that it doesn’t stop straight after the funeral. The following three chapters explain how Anna carries on, finding a new job to which she’s ideally suited, and getting to know the mysterious and alluring Tony better than she ever thought she could. Although sad, the story is realistic in its portrayal of the inevitable recovery from a tragedy, no matter how awful the circumstances may seem at the time.

This book was Highly Commended for the Carnegie Medal and shortlisted for the Children’s Book Award, and is a great read for anybody aged 11 upwards. ( )
  mybookshelf | Jul 19, 2010 |
what is this i dont even
this is the sadest book i ever read
4/5 ( )
  corydnld | Jul 27, 2009 |
Anna is 12 when her brother Ben is born with hydrocephalus. Anna loves Ben and spends a lot of time with him, until he dies when he is two. The family dynamics changed with Ben's birth resulting in Anna and Katy, her 7-year-old sister, feeling left out. When Ben dies Anna's life changes. Each member of the family cope in different ways, Katy has a large amount of guilt as she had had the least patience for Ben. Anna begins to baby-sit for Jackie, a little girl with Downs Syndrome, using her experience with Ben. One day Anna takes Jackie to the cemetery and sees Ben's grave. Jackie plays in the cemetery, which Anna believes is just what Ben would have liked.
  madhamster | Oct 21, 2008 |
Anna, a very normal teenager has to deal with the disability of her newly born brother, Ben, who has hydrocephalus. Although Anna loves him, she still has difficulty showing him to her friends. The book is sensitive to the issue of disability but, also to school, bullying, friendships and other adolescent problems. The reader feels that baby Ben is a part of them. This autobiographical diary based on the author's little brother, who was born when she was four, and died when she was eight. The character of Anna and her responses to her brother seem so believable, that even without the author's note, a reader would know that she was writing with authority on the subject of disability. ( )
1 vote JRlibrary | Jul 6, 2008 |
I want to say that this story Red Sky in the Morning is just magnificent. It is a story about a girl called Anna who has painful life. She has a little brother but then after 2 years her brother Ben dies. Ben dies because of a illness when water fill a head. So Ben dies and Anna in her life, has a job and also does babysitting. Her life begins to become better. ( )
  raeoh7 | Jun 2, 2008 |
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Twelve-year-old Anna is looking forward to the birth of her baby brother. Ben arrives, but is disabled and will never be like other children. Anna loves him with her whole heart but she finds herself unable to admit the truth of Ben's condition to her school friends.
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When Anna's baby brother is born handicapped she doesn't tell her friends because she is afraid of being teased.

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