It was just another day at school when I first met this incredible book. It was raining at break time and I decided to visit the library. A book cover caught my eye; I was intrigued by the single word title, HATE. Over the next day and a half, this piece of fiction opened my eyes to what this small but powerful word really means. Rather depressingly, if you look up in a thesaurus synonyms of the word ‘hate’ there are more than forty five of them; words like vitriol, rancour, enmity and repugnance, and that is almost the same number as for love.
Alan Gibbons was inspired to write Hate after meeting Sylvia Lancaster, the mother of Sophie Lancaster who was murdered in 2008 in Bacup, not a million miles from where I live. What was the reason for such a repulsive act? Sophie and her boyfriend were attacked for expressing their individuality in the way they dressed. How contemptible is that?
The book tells the story of Eve, whose older sister Rosie was killed when walking home one night with her boyfriend, and is obviously a direct homage to Sophie Lancaster. On the night that Rosie was killed, witnesses stood by and let it happen. Understandably, Eve finds it impossible to understand how these people could do that and she herself experiences feelings of hate. This section raised an important question in my mind- would I have had the guts to stand up to those thugs or would I have been too frightened? I am still not sure I know the answer to that. This story also shows how hate not only damages the attacked but also the whole society. Respect and acceptance are the only cures.
Hate crime can take so many forms including cyber bullying on social media, homophobia and racism and, at the end of the day, PSHE lessons and learning about events such as the Holocaust, although incredibly important, can only take young people so far in their understanding. In my opinion, books such as this one, where the language and style of writing feel so natural and where the story is so gripping, should also be part of our curriculum. So I hope every school library in the land, if not the world, decides to stock Hate. Then perhaps just like me, people will come across this jewel of a story one rainy break time, and let it change their thinking forever.
Looking for an Author ?
Alan Gibbons has been writing children's books for twenty three years. He is the winner of the Blue Peter Book Award 2000 'The book I couldn't put down' for his best-selling book Shadow of the Minotaur. He was a judge of the 2001 Awards.
He has also been shortlisted for the Carnegie Medal in 2001 and 2003 and twice for the Booktrust Teenage Prize. He has won the Blue Peter Book Award 'The Book I Couldn't Put Down', the Catalyst Award, the Leicester Book of the Year, the Leicester Short Novel of the year, the Angus Book of the Year, the RED Award (twice), the Stockport Book Award, the Birmingham Chills Award, the Salford KS4 Award, the Hackney Short Novel Award, the Salford Librarians' Special Award and the Lower Canada College Award . His books have been published in Japanese, German, Italian, French, Thai, Spanish, Danish, Dutch, Swedish and other languages.
Alan was a teacher for 16 years, working with KS1, KS2 and KS3. He has made numerous visits to schools and libraries, colleges and education conferences in the UK and overseas, speaking at the AISA and ECIS conferences in Nairobi and Istanbul. He is a popular speaker at the Edinburgh Festival, the London Book Fair, the Northern Children's Book Festival, the Hay-on-Wye Festival, the Cheltenham Festival and many others.
|Pupils' achievement is very good. This is due to the effective deployment of the talented Author in Residence, and the focused teaching of skills in dedicated writing lessons.|
Ofsted Report on one of Alan's schools
Alan has also appeared on the BBC Education programme Writer's Block, the Blue Peter Book Awards, Radio 4's Front Row, The World Tonight and The Message programme and has consulted on a series of short films about children's books. He is a regular contributor to TES, Junior Education, Carousel, Books for Keeps and other journals. Alan has written occasional columns for the Liverpool Echo.
Alan is a full time writer and independent educational consultant. He has
featured in the Book Trust's Writing Together Initiative. In addition to
visiting 150 schools a year across the UK, Alan has spoken in the Channel
Islands, Spain, France, Cyprus and Switzerland. Visits to Greece, Hong Kong
and El Salvador are being scheduled.
See Alan's blog at www.alangibbons.net
Contact him at the following email addresses:
Raining Fire 9781780620282
Alex and Ethan are brothers, growing up on an estate where there are just two choices: sport or crime.
Ethan is a promising footballer, and when he is selected to go on a training programme in the US, he feels sure that he has found his chance to escape the gangs that dominate his streets. But as life spirals out of control for his brother, Alex, and things unexpectedly take a turn for the worse for Ethan, he finds himself drawn into the midst of an explosive feud with the gun at its heart.
The gun can make a weak man strong. The gun is the coward's fist. The gun is power.
In this tense, gripping and absorbing real life thriller, Alan Gibbons explores the complex issue of gun crime, and the far-reaching consequences it can have.
Talks and Workshops
Alan gives two kinds of talks :
|||author talks('How I do it.')|
|||writing workshops (KS2 or 3)|
Example : writing horror using the techniques of tension
Workshop followed by 15 minute BBC video featuring a short ghost story and interview with the author on how he constructed the story.
Alan Gibbons is fully police checked and he has full public liability insurance.
If you would like Alan to speak at your school, library or other venue he can be contacted by email.
(Example of fee for a day visit to a school, £475 plus travelling expenses.)
Reviews for An Act of Love
|...utterly gripping, honest and courageous... We need more books like this... Cracking contemporary thriller addressing today's key issues of multiculturalism, terrorism and community ties. Chris and Imran are childhood friends - but can that friendship survive jihad, domestic terrorism and an IED during a tour of afghanistan?|
Jill Murphy, The Bookbag
|...a brilliant story and one that has been told with excitement, compassion and honesty|
The Great, The Good And The Bad Blog
|a thrilling tale that tackles important issues by involving you at a personal level. Highly recommended for teens and adults.|
Thoughts From The Heartfire
|This book should be on every reading list in every secondary school... It is a powerful read that leaves you with questions and reflections about the past ten years... An excellent, well-written, hard-hitting book to make you sit up and take notice.|
Gibbons captures the anger, frustration and sense of isolation that a teenager of faith or colour feels... This is an enormous and heavy topic to cover, but An Act of Love is not just boy meets girl, Muslims vs the West, it's about a love that fights and conquers hate. A sometimes uncomfortable, but intuitively written and compelling read. Gibbons gives the invisible a voice.
The Faded Bookmark
An Act of Love is the most powerful book I have read this year... This is a book about friendship and love: how families work, how we grow up, and how violence can change lives... It is a book about love and terror, about how and why people fight. It is beautifully written and the sharpness of the prose, and utter skilfullness of the storytelling should make this book a must read for young men and women all across Britain.
Catherine Johnson, Armadillo Magazine
|"What breaks inside the child that makes the man so flawed" asks Alan Gibbons in this exciting and cleverly constructed tale showing how decent kids can be sucked into violent extremism... There's a bomb ticking right through this story. Will it go off? You'll need to read it.|
Anne Johnstone, Glasgow Herald
|Gibbons clarifies but never simplifies the issues involved. The least escapist thriller imaginable, and yet as exciting, and often as much fun as Horowitz.|
Jake Kerridge, The Telegraph
|There are not enough male teen novels, and this one is of political as well as human importance... The pace makes for breathless reading as you approach the end. Having begun at the end, the plot moves towards what ultimately has to happen, after twelve years of back-story. Imran and Chris are still teenagers, and they have both seen too much. I hope this book will open many eyes.|
This, for once, is a young adult novel genuinely meriting the description 'thought-provoking'.
Robert Dunbar, The School Librarian
An Act of Love is an extraordinary book that thoroughly explores trust, pain and decision-making... an exciting read that challenges people's views and leaves you wondering where you stand.
Reviews for The Dark Beneath
|Very occasionally a story comes along which packs such a powerful emotional punch you want to tell the world about it and yet somehow cannot find the words.... an author whose ability to turn out convincing, consistently moving, make-you-stop-and-think stories is nothing short of miraculous.|
|Told with Alan Gibbons' characteristic directness, this will readily appeal to teenage readers|
|a grippingly told story that will appeal to the most reluctant reader.|
Linda Newbery, Times Educational Supplement
|(His readers) won't close this novel without having added considerably to their palette of experience and knowledge|
Lindsey Fraser, Guardian.
Reviews for The Lost Boys Appreciation Society
|a sensitive exploration of how men and boys deal with bereavement... insightful book... about fear and violence, tension and alienation... love and tenderness|
A powerful and compelling novel by a writer who has an incredible gift for depicting real people in real-life situations.'
|Every sentence of the Lost Boys Appreciation Society is perfectly chosen... Gibbons deserves to be recognized as an national treasure.|
|The story is extremely well told, extremely readable and sensitive without becoming maudlin.|
Primary Times in Hampshire
|how sensitively and tactfully Gibbons deals with the death of the parent. It's a gripping read for teen readers|
Reviews for Caught in the Crossfire
|There's a slice of real life in this book, and the writing is accessible and compulsive.|
The Bookseller, 15th November, 2002
Gibbons' writing often addresses worrying issues of social justice but never as powerfully as in this novel.
The Bookseller, 15th November, 2002
Reviews for The Edge
|a fast and compelling 'must read' I can't recommend it highly enough.|
Books for Keeps, July 2002
The characters are brilliantly drawn
Mail on Sunday, July 1, 2002
Alan Gibbons is committed to writing books boys will read No film or televising could compete with the immediacy of this intense plotting.
Sunday Herald, July 7, 2002
Alan Gibbons's best yet. The writing grabs you from the first page and entwines you into the lives of the characters.
The Herald, July 6, 2002
A number of outstanding novels have recently been published including 'The Edge' by Alan Gibbons, a tense and deeply affecting story that encompasses racism and manipulative violence.
Books for Keeps, September 2002
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