Coram Boy Jamila Gavin

Topics: Thomas Coram, Jamila Gavin, Children's literature Pages: 12 (4098 words) Published: November 5, 2007
Coram Boy
by Jamila Gavin
Copyright Notice
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Table of Contents
About the Author
Themes and Characters
Literary Qualities
Social Sensitivity
Topics for Discussion
Ideas for Reports and Papers
Related Titles / Adaptations
For Further Reference
Winner of the 2001 Whitbread Award, Coram Boy relates the intertwining stories of Meshak Gardiner and Alexander Ashbrook, two young men of different abilities and backgrounds who nonetheless find their fate inextricably linked. Meshak, the mentally handicapped son of Otis Gardiner, helps his father dispose of unwanted children; generally infants whose mothers think that Mr. Gardiner will transport them to Coram Hospital, a newly−created facility to care for abandoned children. Able to convince the distraught mothers that their newborns will be well−cared for in exchange for a small fee, Mr. Gardiner later hands the infants over to Meshak, who then buries the children in the woods. Years of burying infants and selling older ones into slavery have made Mr. Gardiner rich, but one day he is accused of blackmailing the wealthy mothers of these children. Everyone believes that he was hanged for his crimes and that his son, Meshak, quietly slipped away. Not until years later do people realize what happened to the Gardiners and all of the abandoned children.

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Coram Boy 1
About the Author
Born to an English mother and Indian father, award−winning children's author Jamila Gavin entered the world on August 9,1941, in Mussoorie, India, a town nestled in the foothills of the Himalayas. Growing up, she spent time in both India and England, though she once told ACHUKA, a Web site devoted to British authors and illustrators, that she saw her mother as her main source of early education. I remember lessons on the veranda with her in India—learning to read and even learning a bit of French.... I didn't enjoy school. I was naughty and didn't do my best. I didn't enjoy formal learning, and did much better when I found things out for myself throughout the rest of my life.

However much Gavin disliked school, she did enjoy music, studying in both Germany and France before graduating from the Trinity College of Music.
Gavin is known for introducing readers to the Indian world. She often uses her experiences in India as inspiration for her young adult works. Early in her professional career, Gavin worked for the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) as both a radio studio manager and a television production assistant. She married television producer Barrie Gavin, from whom she is now divorced, and had two children with him, Rohan Robert and Indra Helen. In 1979, Gavin began her career as an author of children's literature with the publication of The Magic Orange Tree and Other Stories. Other books for children and young adults followed, including the well−received "Surya" series, featuring an Indian brother and sister who set out to find their long−lost father.

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Set in mid−1700s, Coram Boy takes readers on a trip through England, exposing them to the lifestyle of wealthy aristocrats as well as the dreary...
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