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Vanessa Curtis's first children's book Zelah Green: Queen of Clean (Egmont) was shortlisted for the 2009 Waterstones Children's Book Prize. The sequel Zelah Green: One More Little Problem was released in July 2010. Vanessa is also a freelance book reviewer and the author of three books on Virginia Woolf. She co-edits The Virginia Woolf Bulletin, the magazine of the Virginia Woolf Society of Great Britain and, as a trained pianist, also teaches the piano part-time. She works as a reader for a literary consultancy. Vanessa lives near Chichester harbour, West Sussex. Vist Vanessa's website at www.vanessacurtis.com
February 2015 NewGen Book of the Month. Of the many stories of the Holocaust, that of the Jews of Riga in Latvia is among the less well known. This book tells their story for young people, clearly and honestly, emphasising its importance and relevance to us all. Discovering that her great-grandmother had come from Riga in the early 1900s inspired Vanessa Curtis to find out what happened to those relatives who stayed: Jewish, their fate was the worst imaginable. She describes those terrible times through the eyes of 15 year old Hanna, a normal, lively teenager, with a handsome boyfriend. Readers will find it easy to identify with Hanna, which makes her account of what happens to her even more affecting. The story ends on a note of hope for Hanna, and is a powerful tribute to all the Latvian victims of the Nazis. ~ Andrea Reece The Earth is Singing is Vanessa’s first historical novel, which she was inspired to write when she discovered her own Jewish Latvian heritage. Vanessa says: 'The story of the Jews of Riga is not widely known. After finding out that my great-grandmother was born there, but came over to England at the turn of the twentieth century, I began to wonder what happened to the Jewish friends and relatives that she had left behind. I visited the Riga Ghetto Museum and saw photographs of many of the thousands of Jews who perished at the hands of the Nazis in 1941. Their eyes seemed to be telling me to relate their story, so that is what I did. I am delighted that Usborne have given me the opportunity to bring this story to a wider audience.' If you want to read more in this area then try Inflicted by Ria Frances.
Life is complicated for Lilah. Her family falls apart when her brother Jay disappears. Managing her anger is only possible because of her great friendship with Bindi. Now Jay suddenly returns. All should be well – but it isn’t. Lilah has to keep her famous anger firmly under control as the family regroups. And she has to re-build her friendship with Bindi. Vanessa Curtis has a sharp ear for teenage dialogue and a warm understanding of the confusions of adolescence. This funny and moving story is the follow up to The Taming of Lilah May.
My name is Hanna. I am 15. I am Latvian. I live with my mother and grandmother. My father is missing, taken by the Russians. I have a boyfriend and I'm training to be a dancer. But none of that is important any more. Because the Nazis have arrived, and I am a Jew. And as far as they are concerned, that is all that matters. This is my story.
My name is Inge. I am sixteen. I live with Mama and Papa in Munich. Food is still rationed, though the war ended over ten years ago. My boyfriend is Jewish. I have to hide this from my parents. Sometimes I think they are hiding something from me, too. Letters arrive every year on my birthday, but they are not addressed to me. They are for a girl named Kasia. This is her story.
Amelie Day loves to bake so she's thrilled when she's invited to compete in Britain's Best teen Baker of the Year. But Amelie has cystic Fibrosis and some days she can barely breathe. Determined not to let her condition or her mum stop her taking part, Amelie musters all her flour power, but will it be enough to get her there?
A classic ghost story with a stunning twist from Zelah Green author, Vanessa Curtis. 'I look up at the dark, unblinking eyes of the house and I get the weirdest feeling ...It's the feeling of being pulled into something and being unable to stop it happening ...' Tabitha is used to changing schools and moving house. But when her family move into Weston Manor, something is different. It's as if the house has been waiting for her. There are lavender smells which come from nowhere and the old servants' bells ring in the night. She can hear crying in empty rooms. Tabitha's always been imaginative. Even her best friend Gemma knows that. But this time, could she actually be telling the truth? Set in a sprawling Victorian manor, Vanessa Curtis's spine-tingling ghost story, The Haunting of Tabitha Grey is filled with intriguing plot twists and enough tension to keep 11+ readers on their toes. It's Turn of the Screw meets The Others for young teen readers.
A wonderful book for teens about one girl and her uncontrollable obsession. Ideal for girls nearly ready for Jodi Picoult. My Name is Zelah Green and I'm a cleanaholic. I spend most of my life running away from germs. And dirt. And people. And I'm just about doing OK and then my stepmother packs me off to some kind of hospital to live with a load of strangers. It's stuck in the middle of nowhere. Great. There's Alice who's anorexic. Caro who cuts herself. Silent Sol who has the cutest smile. And then there's me. Full of quirky humour and real heart, Zelah Green: Who Says I'm a Freak? touches on mental health problems with a genuine warmth and empathy. The first in a genuinely brilliant book for teenage girls not quite ready to move on to Jodi Picoult.
My name is Zelah Green and I am a Cleanaholic. I spend most of my life on Germ Alert. Or Dirt Alert. It's a miracle I ever get to school.My life was going OK despite that - you know, school, best friend, bad hair days - until four weeks ago. That's when Dad vanished.Now my stepmother has packed me off to a place with some crazy people. So I'm stuck with the Doc and Alice, Lib, Caro and Sol.Sol, who doesn't speak. Sol, who has brown eyes and olive skin. Sol, who I actually want to touch. Now I'm on Flirt Alert!Maybe, just maybe, something good could happen...This is a moving story of one girl's attempt to come to terms with her grief, told with humour and real insight.
This biography concentrates exclusively on Woolf's close and inspirational female friendships with the key women in her life. Vanessa Curtis looks both at the effect of these relationships on her emotional life and the inspiration that each woman provided for the female protagonists in her fiction.
In 1904, Virginia Woolf made her own reverent pilgrimage to the home of the Bronte sisters in Yorkshire, a journey that enabled her to set the work of Charlotte Bronte in context with the writer's life. Now, for the first time, Vanessa Curtis has visited and researched the early holiday homes used by Virginia and her sister Vanessa between 1882 and 1908. Her journey rediscovers the splendour of long summers spent at ancient Jacobean halls, the tranquil beauty of an Edwardian Christmas in the New Forest, the heady pleasures of returning to a childhood haunt in Cornwall and a wealth of Victorian holidays spent at cottages and lodging-houses across England. In this unique biography of place, Curtis studies these 'hidden houses' in conjunction with the novels of Virginia Woolf and the diaries and letters of both Woolf, and her sister Vanessa Bell. Archive photographs provide a unique glimpse into the world of the upper-middle-class Victorian/Edwardian holidaymaker, whilst original research gives an added insight into the minds, inspired by the landscapes of the English countryside and coast, of two of the most colourful members of the Bloomsbury Group: the passionate, committed painter Vanessa Bell and, Virginia Woolf, one of the most enigmatic and enduring writers of the twentieth century.