Without Speech, by June Keir

Emily’s blue eyes filled with tears. If only she could speak for herself. At times like these, she felt almost overwhelmed by the difficulties of having cerebral palsy. In utter frustration she banged her feet on the footrest of her wheelchair.

Emily just wants to be like the other kids. She wants to be allowed into the playground without adult supervision, so she can be part of things. But the school principal is worried for her safety, and says Emily needs someone with her. Emily can’t speak for herself to prove that she can cope – she can’t speak at all, and has only eight words on her communication board.

With the help of her friend Jade and her teachers, Emily learns a different way of communication and, when she sees something suspicious happening in the playground, gets a chance to show the prinicpal just what she is capable of.

Without Speech is part of the new Breakers series from Macmillan Education. This title is aimed at children with a reading age of around 10 years and is suitable for both classroom use and private reading.

It is a pleasure to find a chapter book with a disabled main character. Readers are given Emily’s viewpoint on the frustrations she must face and also see her proactive in solving some of her problems.

Without Speech, by June Keir
Macmillan Education, 2003

Lighthouse Letters, by June Keir

There’s absolutely nothing to do in this place. We are the only people on the island. There’s no-one else here – just Mum, Dad and me. There are no shops, no movies, no cars and no schools. You’d think no schools would be a bonus, but it’s not. I’m so bored I’d even welcome going to school!

When Sam’s parents take him to live at a remote lighthouse for a year, he doesn’t know how he’ll survive. At least his weekly letters from his mate, Luke, will keep him up to date with what’s happening in the real world. But Sam won’t have anything interesting to tell Luke, he’s sure.

As the year professes, however, Sam’s life seems to get more interesting. First there’s an old boat to restore and even go fishing in. Then there are whales swimming just off the shore. For Luke, being at home without your best mate might be less than thrilling.

Lighthouse Letters is a chapter book told through the letters written by the two boys and children will enjoy the novelty of the format. Part of the new Breakers series from Macmillan Education, Lighthouse Letters is suitable for children aged 8 to 10, with a target reading age of about 8.5.

Lighthouse Letters, by June Keir
Macmillan Education, 2004