A thoughtful look at a day in the life of a young carer sensitively told by Tony Bradman, this would be an excellent addition to school library and classroom shelves.
Things are not going well for Jayden. After a sleepless night he has to prepare breakfast for both himself and his little sister and get ready for school, making sure that they are not late. Jayden’s Mum has been very sad for some time and stays in bed for days at a time so the responsibilities have fallen on him. When he arrives at school his best friend Dylan announces that they are not friends anymore and walks away arm in arm with new arrival, Luca. As the day progresses things go from bad to worse for poor Jayden. The arrogant Luca makes things difficult for him and Jayden is finding school work increasingly difficult to cope with and is falling behind the rest of the class. Coincidentally someone else is not having a good day either. Miss Wilson, a supply teacher, is covering for Jayden’s absent class teacher and arrives late for her first day increasing her own feelings of gloom. She is no longer sure teaching is the job for her and worries that increased paperwork is taking her away from the part of the job she loves the most; working with and helping children. Today their paths will cross in ways that may help both of them.
This is a book that touches on many themes in a compassionate and understanding manner using a scenario that children will relate to easily. During a typical school day following a familiar format the difficult subjects of depression, bullying and anxiety are made accessible to young readers. The impact of home life on school is well portrayed and the importance of asking for help when it is needed is emphasised. It is often extremely hard for children to acknowledge that they need an adult’s assistance and this story will encourage children to realise that the first step is an important one. Sharing feelings and problems can feel impossible for some and the kindness shown in this story will reassure young readers.
The book is illustrated throughout by Tania Rex and presented in a dyslexic friendly typeface on cream paper making it more accessible to a wide range of readers. Tony Bradman has dedicated his story to ‘all the Jaydens and Miss Wilsons everywhere’; a lovely thought.
I should like to thank Kirstin Lamb and the publishers Barrington Stoke for my review copy. A Bad Day for Jayden was published in March and is available to purchase online