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Jacko by Jeanne Willis

Jacko is the story of a young bird who became the heart of Teddington's community. Jeanne Willis retells this true story in her compelling novel, after hearing her friend Mick remember his childhood friendship with Jacko the jackdaw.

When Mick and Ken rescue an injured baby jackdaw in Bushy Park, they nurse him back to health and teach him how to fly. Jacko is charming and cheeky, and soon becomes Teddington's celebrity in the Railway Pub. He brings joy to the locals in the aftermath of the war, and becomes the centre of Mick's world. So when Mick has to release Jacko into the wild, he wonders how he can ever carry on without his new best friend. But it seems Jacko has other ideas, and decides to stick around...

Mick, Ken, and their neighbours are delighted to watch Jacko follow the Teddington trains and cause mischief in the pub. But having Jacko around sparks questions in Mick as he watches his community recover from the war. Mick is curious about his dad's experience in the war, and how grief and memories have affected the people he knows. This book is about letting go in so many ways, and at its core it is the story of one young bird who changed the lives of the people around him.

I loved it from start to finish, and I know children and adults alike have enjoyed it. It was wonderful to read a true story set locally, and we were delighted to join Jeanne, Mick and Ken at the book launch for Jacko, in Teddington. This book is filled with friendship, memory, adventure and loss, and Jacko will be remembered for a very long time.


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