'The Mystery of the Colour Thief' by Ewa Jozefkowicz is an absolute delight. Tender, beautiful and wise it is a story that should be read in every classroom. I loved it.
Izzy's mum lies in a coma. There was a terrible incident. Izzy is haunted by nightmares of a shadowy figure who starts to steal the colours from her life. At school her best friend abandons her, and Izzy finds life tough. Only by befriending her new neighbour, Toby, and looking after a cygnet called Spike, can Izzy come to terms with everything, discovering who the colour thief really is.
This is a wonderful book about things that really matter: friendships, families, mental health and nature. But it's even more than it. 'The Mystery of the Colour Thief' is intelligently written, while containing a good deal of humour and heart. The relationships between Izzy and her friends and family are realistically and tenderly conveyed and, at times, heartbreaking. There is much here for children, teachers and parents to discuss, particularly issues around mental health and disability, and how the arts and nature can imaginatively heal us.
I have read books like 'Wonder' and 'There's A Boy in the Girl's Bathroom' to classes. But 'The Mystery of the Colour Thief', in my opinion, is more nuanced, more beautiful and, perhaps, more timely and relevant. It is crafted with a lot of love and feels sculpted by a masterly hand. Ewa Jozefkowicz is a true talent. She gets to the heart of children's inner lives and knows how to tug at the heartstrings with the gentlest of touches. Excellent.