The Closest Thing to Flying


There is a diary hidden within the battered market stall hat, adorned with a coloured bird. Semira begins to read the words of a girl from a century before, secretly. Like Semira, Henrietta is trapped. One is a refugee, hiding from the authorities and Robel. The other is confined by propriety and fear. What can Semira learn from Hen’s experiences? What can each learn from the courage of Kitty?

‘The Closest Thing to Flying’ is an inspiring, truthful and empathetic story. We long for both girls to break out of their respective confines, for their mothers, and aunt, to show courage and take chances. I needed to read this book. It lingers within me. Gill Lewis has created an exceptional story.

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The Closest Thing to Flying

Gill Lewis


‘The Closest Thing to Flying‘ is how Henrietta describes her first bicycle ride. Semira feels the same thrill when she rides the bike that Graham loans her. It’s a chance for escape for both girls, overwhelmed by restrictions, yet a century apart. When Semira discovers Hen’s diary in the crumpled hat box, she finds a friend, a voice, and an inspiration…


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