The challenge - a story about AIDS ISBN: 9780749620233
Published by Watts, 1996
Tom's brother Harry has AIDS. Their mum died of AIDS through a blood transfusion, and Harry was born after she became HIV positive. Tom and Harry live with Ma and Pa Gilbert, a loving foster couple, who also look after Katie and Tariq. Katie is very difficult. Abandoned by her mother, she sets out to make life miserable for everyone. Tom hates her. He desperately wants to go on the school adventure weekend, but he is worried about Harry who has pneumonia. Ma Gilbert says he should go, and he and Katie set off. The looked-forward-to holiday becomes disastrous when two mothers who have come along to help refuse to let Tom do anything adventurous because they believe him to be infected too. Much information about AIDS is brought out in a non-didactic way, and Tom's emotions are handled well. The positive thing about the trip is that Tom gets to understand Katie's problems better, and she is supportive when they return to find that Harry has died. The Gilberts help Tom cope by including the absent Harry in their Christmas celebrations. Could be useful as a class reader. There is a list of organisations at the end.