‘The Songbird Cafe Girls: Sunny Days and Moon Cakes’ by Sarah Webb

178p

2015

Walker Books

Bought

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Sunny and her younger sister Min were adopted from China when they were small, and now live in a castle on Little Bird Island off the coast of Ireland with their adoptive parents. Eight year old Min goes to the tiny primary school, but Sunny is home-educated by her mom. She has selective mutism, and physically can’t talk to anyone apart from her parents and Min. She completely relies on the three of them to tell everyone what she wants to say, and there are only a couple other people who understand her: Mollie and Alanna.

Soon after her 13th birthday, Sunny is introduced to a new selective mutism specialist, Rosie. She’s unlike all the doctors Sunny’s had before, and she actually understands what Sunny is going through. She talks to Sunny as if she’s a real person, and Sunny communicates with her by drawing and writing. 

As a birthday present from her parents, Sunny and her family are going to China to visit where the sisters were born. The prospect of facing and maybe being forced to communicate with so many people makes Sunny want to hide forever, but she can’t help wanting to see her homeland again.

Sunny and her family visit places that she and Min had been to before, and also the orphanage that they stayed at after their parents died. The trip brings back many memories to the sisters, of their birth parents and old life. Sunny slowly realises over the trip how much her condition affects Min and her parents, and how hard it is for Min to have a sister who can’t speak in public. 

On their return, Sunny makes small progress with Rosie, but when Min is in danger and Sunny can’t do anything about it, she is spurred on to try even harder. 

Will Sunny ever speak in public again?

I thought Sunny Days and Moon Cakes was another amazing book by Sarah Webb. It covered selective mutism very well, and by the end of the book, I had learnt a lot more about the condition.

The characters were portrayed very well, and you could truly understand what Sunny was going through. Min was definitely one of my favourite characters, and near the end of the book Sunny realised how much her condition effects the entire family, and not just her.

I am really looking forward to the next book in The Songbird Cafe Girls series: Aurora and the Popcorn Dolphin.

 

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