Street Child by Berlie Doherty

*This website is supported by our users. We sometimes earn a small commission when you click through affiliate links. Please read more in our disclaimer.

Recommended by Lucinda Preston (@lucindapreston)

Form and genre: Prose, based loosely on a true story

Length: 208 pages

Summary: This is the story of an orphaned Victorian boy’s struggle to survive! A real page turner, it is full of twists and turns as Jim Jarvis attempts to escape a workhouse and more!

Age recommendation and challenging content: Although the story is full of adventure and contains lots of humour it does contain descriptions of a parent’s ill health and a child’s grief. This may be difficult for some children. There are scenes of emotional abuse in the workhouse though they are sensitively written.

Suitable for Year 7 – this is an accessible read.

Notable reasons for recommending this book: This works well as part of a unit about childhood or about life in Victorian times. It links particularly well to later study of A Christmas Carol at GCSE as it develops understanding of historical context. The book is well written: it does include humour and contains lots of opportunities for sound literary analysis.

Other useful information: I only came across this book when I went to work at my current school. It’s delightful: accessible but also thought provoking. It certainly engages our students and provides lots of opportunities for interesting textual analysis and drama.