My Name is Why by Lemn Sissay

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.

Leave a Comment