Review – Norah’s Ark by Victoria Williamson

Hello Everyone!

Today is my stop on the blog tour hosted by The Write Reads for Norah’s Ark by Victoria Williamson. Thank you to The Write Reads for organizing and inviting me to join this tour. Thank you to Neem Tree Press for providing me with a digital copy of this book. All thoughts and opinions are my own.

Title: Norah’s Ark
Author: Victoria Williamson
Age Category: Middle Grade
Genre: Contemporary
Length: 304 Pages
Published: August 29, 2023
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Two very different lives. One shared hope for a brighter future. No time to waste. The flood is coming…

Eleven-year-old Norah Day lives in temporary accommodation, relies on foodbanks for dinner, and doesn’t have a mum. But she’s happy enough, as she has a dad, a pet mouse, a pet spider, and a whole zoo of rescued local wildlife to care for. Eleven-year-old Adam Sinclair lives with his parents in a nice house with a big garden, a private tutor, and everything he could ever want. But his life isn’t perfect – far from it. He’s recovering from leukemia and is questioning his dream of becoming a champion swimmer. When a nest of baby birds brings them together, Norah and Adam discover they’re not so different after all. Can Norah help Adam find his confidence again? Can Adam help Norah solve the mystery of her missing mother? And can their teamwork save their zoo of rescued animals from the rising flood? Offering powerful lessons in empathy, Norah’s Ark is a hopeful and uplifting middle-grade tale for our times about friendship and finding a sense of home in the face of adversity.

This was such a wonderful story about friendship that approaches some heavy topics in a way that middle-grade aged children can understand.

This book was a lot heavier than I expected it to be, though if I would have read the blurb, I would have known what I was getting into. This book deals with topics like homelessness, foster care, bullying, cancer, addiction and gambling addiction, and climate change. I was impressed at how all of these heavy topics were approached in an age appropriate manner and in a way that young people can understand.

While this book deals with heavy subject matter, ultimately it’s a book about friendship. Norah and Adam come from completely different worlds, but they also have a lot in common. They both long for a friend, to live a normal life, and they both love animals. Despite their parents forbidding them from seeing each other, their bond is so strong that their friendship prevails. Norah and Adam help each other see things from a different perspective and they bring out the best in each other.

I loved the animal aspect of this book. Norah has such a big heart and she wants to rescue every animal she sees, sharing what little food she has with the animals she finds. Both Norah and Adam want to protect animals and this helps strengthen their bond. The animal aspect of this book also led to an exciting and brave adventure near the end of the book that left me filled with worry for Norah and Adam while I was reading it.

This book also deals with parents wanting to protect their children and how sometimes they don’t always make the right choices. Norah’s dad is keeping secrets from her because he doesn’t know how to explain things to her. Norah knows that he’s keeping secrets and she jumps to conclusions that are worse than the truth. Adam’s mother is so scared that he’ll get sick again that she’s put her life on hold. Adam wants his life to start again, but he doesn’t want to disappoint his mother. I think this book does a good job showing the importance of communication, even when it’s difficult.

Overall, this was a heartwarming middle-grade story that deals with heavy topics in an age-appropriate manner. It’s full of great lessons for both kids and parents and it’s definitely worth the read.

Victoria Williamson is an award-winning author who grew up in Scotland surrounded by hills, books, and an historical farm estate which inspired many of her early adventure stories and spooky tales. After studying Physics at the University of Glasgow, she set out on her own real-life adventures, which included teaching maths and science in Cameroon, training teachers in Malawi, teaching English in China and working with children with additional support needs in the UK. Victoria currently works part time writing KS2 books for the education company Twinkl and spends the rest of her time writing novels, and visiting schools, libraries and literary festivals to give author talks and run creative writing workshops.

Victoria’s previous novels include The Fox Girl and the White Gazelle, The Boy with the Butterfly Mind, Hag Storm, and War of the Wind. She has won the Bolton Children’s Fiction Award 2020/2021, The YA-aldi Glasgow Secondary School Libraries Book Award 2023, and has been shortlisted for the Week Junior Book Awards 2023, The Leeds Book Awards 2023, the Red Book Award 2023, the James Reckitt Hull Book Awards 2021, The Trinity School Book Awards 2021, and longlisted for the ABA South Coast Book Awards 2023, the Waterstones Children’s Book Prize 2020, and the Branford Boase Award 2019.

Her latest novel, The Pawnshop of Stolen Dreams, is a middle grade fantasy inspired by classic folklore. Twenty percent of the author royalties for this book are donated to CharChar Literacy, an organisation working to improve children’s literacy levels in Malawi.

You can find out more about Victoria’s books, school visits and free resources for schools on her website:

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