Annie John by Jamaica Kincaid

Recommended by Suz Badger (@susannabadger)

Form and genre: coming of age novella

Length: 150 pages

Summary: Annie is growing up in Antigua with her parents. The world around her seems to change irrevocably as she edges towards and through puberty. Her relationship with her mother becomes particularly strained and complex – the depiction of the evolving relationship is powerfully and memorably evoked here.

Age recommendation and challenging content: Centres on physical and emotional processes of change through puberty – requires some maturity. Possibly Yr7 or Yr8.

Notable reasons for recommending this book: Some beautifully written passages, especially exploring complex relationships with parents / friends at that age. Takes places on a Caribbean island and seen through the lens of a young Caribbean girl – excellent text for opening doors.

Other useful information: Would work brilliantly as part of a ‘growing up’ unit – either extracts or whole novel.