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Book review: The Salt-Stained Book

Written by Julia Jones and illustrated by Claudia Myatt
Available from Amazon
Ages: 11-25

Reviewed by Amber (17) who is profoundly deaf.


"This book follows 13-year-old hero Donny and his close relationship with his mum, Skye, who has been profoundly deaf since birth and has dyslexia. Donny becomes a young carer after his Gran dies and their own private world is shattered when Skye is unfairly brandished ‘incapable’ and whisked away to a mental health hospital while Donny is placed in care.

The carefully crafted narrative contrasts the welfare team’s stereotypical views of disability with Donny’s resourcefulness and resilience. He makes friends in school and in his foster home; together they help Donny in his quest to get his mum back and also oversee the mysterious arrival of Great Aunt Ellen.

This inspiring book is intended for teenage and young adult readers. I loved the themes of heroism, survival and friendship and also the clear comparison to Arthur Ransome’s Swallows and Amazons. It’s an honest account of the difficulties faced by Donny. It was refreshing that they included the British fingerspelling alphabet at the end, had somewhat humorous references to deaf culture and included things like signing. However I feel that deafness could have been shown more; Skye being away and visits being limited meant that it was not featured as much as it could have been. Overall I’d definitely recommend this book (and the other two in the trilogy) to deaf teenagers."