Recently it was an absolute pleasure to have Nizrana Farook virtually visit my school's KS2. Pupils have loved her books, especially 'The Girl Who Stole an Elephant' which I have taught as a sequence for reading and writing lessons for the last two years. 'The Girl Who Lost a Leopard' (out April 7th) is arguably her best book yet. It's utterly gorgeous, pacy and riveting with an important ecological message too. I'm always in awe of Nizrana Farook's writing; her chapters are short but somehow manage to be packed with awe, wonder, danger and empathy. This book is no exception - an exemplary model for children's fiction of its kind.
Selvi is a wild child who loves climbing in the beautiful mountains behind her home. She is often joined by Lokka, a leopard with a beautiful coat and huge golden eyes. When hunters come for Lokka, Selvi is determined to fight. But what can she do against such powerful enemies? Turn to her friends, of course! Now they just need the perfect plan...
So we've had an elephant, a whale and now it's a leopard. And I think this is my favourite of the animals Nizrana has depicted. I know she researches a great deal, so it's no wonder that Lokka the leopard is brought beautifully to life here. Somehow Nizrana captures every movement, mannerism and growl with such gorgeous precision that for this reader it conjured such vivid images. Added to this is Selvi herself: strong and fearless with her wildness and need for belonging mirrored by Lokka the leopard too. In contrast to 'The Girl Who Stole an Elephant' this story concerns a revolution against those who treat wildlife with such barbaric disdain. Throughout the book, more children learn about the plight of the leopards and rise up to help Selvi save Lokka. This will provoke such good discussions in the classroom and is such a timely theme to explore.
What Nizrana Farook does best is to tell such vivid stories with pace, action, humour and breathtaking beauty. It's hard not to be absolutely enchanted by her books. I can't wait to see what she writes next.
Thank you to Nosy Crow for my proof copy to review.
My review of 'The Girl Who Stole an Elephant' here.
My review of 'The Boy Who Met a Whale' here.