By Sally Nicholls
Marion Lloyd Books | Scholastic, 2008
This debut novel is about 11-year-old Sam who has leukaemia. It is written in the form of a journal over a period of nearly four months, full of lists, stories, pictures and interesting facts.
Sam knows he is going to die and spends a lot of time finding out about what this is going to entail. He asks great questions, getting right down to the facts of what is going to happen to him and what might happen afterwards. His final list is 'Things I want to happen after I am dead'.
He has a friend he made in hospital, Felix, who is also sick. They have lessons together from a tutor who helps them learn new things, like the answers to some of Sam's questions, and encourages Sam in writing this book.
There is a marvellous family, sister Ella, Mum, Dad and Grannie, who all have roles to play in the story as Sam thinks about what affect his illness has on those around him.
There are things he wants to do before the end (another list) and Felix is the main instigator of insisting that they can be done, with his Dad coming on board for the biggest thrill of them all.
Obviously a book that needs a box of tissues, but also is full of bravery, honesty, and a lot of love.
This was Sally Nicholls debut novel at the age of 23, and gained her a stash of awards:
2008 Waterstone's Children's Book Prize
2008 Glen Dimplex (Irish) New Writers Award,
2008 German Luchs des Jahres
2009 Concorde Children's Book Award
Shortlisted for the 2009 Manchester Book Award
In 2010 it was made into a movie which I hope I can track down and watch.