The Summer holidays are over but the feelings don’t have to be when you are reading a good book.
Charlie and Me: 421 Miles From Home is a Middle-Grade novel and a poignant story of families and running away. Brothers Charlie and Martin are on a very special trip down from Preston to Cornwall. They’re desperate to see the dolphin that lives in the harbour there. But although Martin’s used to looking after his younger brother, this is a very different journey for both of them – there’s something even bigger than the dolphin waiting for them once they get to Cornwall.
If you’re looking for a book to help you rewind these last few weeks of summer holidays with empathy and joy, this is the one for you!
I’m pleased to be able to share an extract with you as part of the Back-to-School Blog Blitz.
The town was just waking up – the smell of fresh bread from bakeries. Shopkeepers dragging racks of flip-flops and beach balls out of shops called Wild Bill’s Surf Shack or Bob’s Budget Beach Hut. Street cleaners emptying bins and aiming half-hearted kicks at the cocky seagulls that scrounged around the cobblestones.
We’d been roaming about for a few minutes before we caught a glimpse of the ocean – a narrow strip of blue between two cottages. ‘Might as well have a peek,’ Dad said. We followed a steep lane until it opened out onto the seafront, and WOW!
It was incredible.
The town nestled above a bay about a quarter of a mile wide. It was a perfect semicircle, like the sea had taken a great big bite out of the land. Colourful cottages seemed to tumble higgledy-piggledy down the slope towards it. The tide was right in and fishing boats bobbed up and down on a sparkling sheet of turquoise. To our right, the bay was fringed by jagged rocks that concealed the rest of the coast. At the far side over to the left, an old stone jetty stretched out to sea, with a small white lighthouse perched at the end of it.
Mum squeezed his hand and said, ‘Beautiful.’
‘What are they looking at?’ said Charlie, squinting at a huddle of people on the other side of the road. There were about seven of them standing by the railings and pointing out to sea.
Charlie didn’t wait for an answer. He darted across the road, right in front of a car that screeched to a halt just in time. The rest of us chased after him. On the far pavement, Mum grabbed him by the arm. ‘Don’t you ever do that again. I couldn’t bear—’
But Charlie wasn’t listening. ‘Wow!’ he said, pointing past Mum. ‘Look at that!’
‘What?’ said Mum, her fingers instinctively relaxing as she turned to look.
Charlie wriggled out of her grasp, peeled off his eye patch and pressed himself up against the railings. ‘That! Behind that big blue boat. Next to the dinghy.’