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Drowning in My Bedroom

"Social and environmental inequality, survival, ableism, and coming to a state of empathy — this rich novella tackles a range of vital themes in gripping style."

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LoveReading4Kids Says

LoveReading4Kids Says

Interest Age 9+ 11+ Reading Age 8

Tingling with high-stakes danger during a typhoon in Manila, and revealing the disproportionate impact of global warming on developing nations, Steve Cole’s Drowning in My Bedroom sees two youngsters come to a state of empathy and understanding after first impressions lead them to make flash judgements.

Junjun and Gayla were born into very different lives in Manila. Junjun is a beggar who lives in a shack, while more affluent Gayla has “mixed cerebral palsy. It means my muscles don’t fully understand what my brain’s trying to tell them.”  

When the pair first encounter each other, they come to the same conclusion: “I’m glad I’m not you”, but everything changes when a storm escalates to a typhoon. As Gayla remarks: “It used to be just the lowlying parts of Manila that got flooded, but now nowhere feels safe. Global warming is raising the temperature of the Pacific Ocean, and that means we get more powerful storms with heavier rain”.  

During a flash flood, Junjun’s shack is destroyed and he can’t find his family. At the same time, Gayla finds herself trapped alone in a residential centre for kids with disabilities. When they re-meet and work together in order to survive, they discover they have more in common than either had imagined: “Me and Junjun are both left out of things because of situations we were born into. And for both of us, that sucks”, Gayla remarks, while Junjun realises, “those tiny things we do can make big differences”.

Written in a thrilling, lucid style that’ll engage a huge range of readers, Drowning in My Bedroom is sure to spark deeper awareness of ableism, and deeper thought on the disproportionate impact climate change has on marginalised groups. Both characters are incredibly compelling, and their stories are sure to have big impact.

Joanne Owen

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