I was sent a proof copy of The Soup Movement by Ben Davis from our Oxford University Press rep at the bookshop. Ben’s book isn’t released until August 2020, and they were seeking early opinions from booksellers. I enjoyed Ben’s previous book What’s That in Dog Years? and offered my services.
Homelessness is a social issue that is close to my heart, as I have mentioned in other reviews, including Mahsuda Snaith’s How to Find Home, James Bowen’s A Street Cat Named Bob, and Delphine de Vigan’s No and Me. I was keen to see how an author would tackle the subject for a younger audience.
Ben is, by nature, a very witty person. He always injects humour into his books, even when dealing with serious issues and sensitive material. In The Soup Movement, not only does he help children to understand how people can become homeless, he also teaches them about some of the stigmas that homeless people face.
He also tackles other hard-hitting issues such as cancer (both in remission and terminal), grief and post-traumatic stress disorder. These are handled carefully, and in ways that still allow for jokes – parents and older sisters are like, so annoying.
There is a wonderful cast of characters in The Soup Movement that young readers will make great connections with. Jordan, Rio, Abi and Harry take centre stage, and are well supported by annoying, overprotective mums, groovy hippy headmasters and odious toad-like villains from the local council. There is much to enjoy here for sensitive young bookworms who care deeply about social issues.