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Added on 26th June 2020

Author Jamila Gavin
First published 2000
Publisher Egmont, London, UK

Love, friendship and betrayal are woven beautifully together in this award winning story aimed at ages 10+.

Story

Set in 18th Century London and Gloucester, Coram Boy interweaves three stories - of the sinister Coram Man who charges desperate women to take their babies to the Coram Hospital in London, but murders or sells them instead; of Alexander, reluctant heir to a country estate; and of Aaron, his illegitimate son, who finds himself with his friend Toby on an epic and dangerous journey to escape a terrible fate.

Why we chose it

Coram Boy is an enthralling and beautifully written novel about the perils facing unwanted children three centuries ago. Rich with historical details, vivid characters and intriguing twists and turns, it shows that love and friendship can triumph over cruelty and corruption.

Where it came from

Jamila Gavin grew up in India and London and worked for the BBC before becoming a writer. When she heard someone mention the Coram Man she realised a story should be told about his evil practice, and about the good work of Thomas Coram’s Foundling Hospital in London, England’s first children’s charity. As she explains, ‘I have always written for children, and it was the plight of children which attracted me to the Coram story. So although Coram Boy is a grim account involving the adult world, it was how children fared in that world which I wanted to write about, and with whom I felt the young reader would identify.’

Where it went next

Coram Boy won the Whitbread Children’s Book Award. Helen Edmundson’s stage adaptation at the National Theatre in 2005 won the Time Out Live Award for Best Play.

Associated stories

Gavin’s novels for children and teenagers include The Wheel of Surya, The Robber Baron’s Daughter, The Blood Stone, and Grandpa Chatterji, for younger readers. Her collections of traditional tales include Blackberry Blue and Other Fairy Tales.

Added on 26th June 2020

Author Jamila Gavin
First published 2000
Publisher Egmont, London, UK