Author: Aleesah Darlison
Aleesah Darlison is a prolific author of picture books, chapter books and novels for children and young adults in a range of genres. I read the first in a fantasy series back in 2013 but haven’t read any of her other work.
Running From The Tiger is a powerful story of trust, friendship and the power we can find within ourselves.
Eleven year old Ebony is a bit of a loner at her small school, she has her share of friends but they are the type of friends that you have because you share so much time together at school and are always in the same class. Until the day she meets Teena, a new student who has moved into town and is living in a rundown house backing onto the town cemetery. Teena fast becomes a true friend, the type of friend you can share anything with and that’s exactly the type of friend Ebony needs.
Running From The Tiger is a hard-hitting book that is written for children about Ebony’s age, a book that will help them realise the power they hold within themselves to create change in their world. There is beauty in its simplicity and the eleven-year old eyes we see through.
Darlison explores themes of domestic violence and the courage that can be found when you know you have someone in your corner, a friend that you can share everything with. Ebony knows that what happens in her family isn’t right and it isn’t the way things are supposed to be, she even understands how things came to be that way but what she can’t understand is why no-one has done anything about it.
I think anyone who is in a similar situation, or who has been in a similar situation, is going to relate to Ebony well and understand how she can put herself in the front line time and time again to protect her younger sisters. We watch her slowly gain the strength to be able to say stop.
Darlison explores domestic violence alongside addiction and gambling partnered with a childhood of abuse and how it all comes together to play out again in the next generation. Ebony and her family have the necessities but they live frugally and are as self sufficient as they can be. They live on what might be called a hobby farm if it wasn’t for the fact that this was no hobby, it was the way they lived sustainably and managed on one income.
Teena isn’t without her own issues, that take a while to be shared with Ebony, and it shows why they may have been drawn to one another. At a time when everything in your life is chaos you need to know there is someone in your corner.
Ebony is a strong and resilient girl who got used to the way things were at home. She could always see the warning signs and for the most part did her best to try and avoid making things worse but sometimes there is just no way around it when you aren’t in control of the situation.
I felt for Ebony and just wanted to reach out and help her. She did all she could to protect her sisters, she worked herself ragged helping out and was belittled at every turn, I just wanted to reach out and reassure her that it wasn’t her fault and it wasn’t anything she’d done. You could see that she knew these things but that didn’t mean it was easy to believe them.
I think this is an important novel for all children to read, it may just help someone find the strength to change things.
Running From The Tiger is available now through Empowering Resources.