My Name is Why by Lemn Sissay

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Recommended by Jennifer Webb @funkypedagogy

Form: Prose Autobiography

Author: Lemn Sissay

Length: 224 pages

Brief synopsis: Raw, heartbreaking and uplifting account of Sissay’s childhood in the care system. This book explores identity, family, adoption, foster care, institutionalisation, race and belonging.

Age recommendation and challenging content: This text covers mature content and describes upsetting racist incidents and institutionalised discrimination which some younger students might find difficult to process. I would recommend this for Y9 and above. Shorter extracts would certainly be appropriate for younger groups if selected judiciously.

Notable reasons for recommending this book: Excellent prose style, links each section to poetry. Great example of Autobiography and the use of letters and reports in storytelling. Links to British life, growing up and British values.

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