The Unforgotten Coat


Frank Cottrell Boyce explains that ‘The Unforgotten Coat‘ was inspired by his visit to a Year 6 Bootle primary school class, where he was introduced to a Mongolian refugee, a source of pride to her classmates. Her story, the camaraderie, her acclimatisation despite a distance of custom, language, traditions and time, inspired him, as, unfortunately, did events that unfolded after his visit.

Somehow, Frank Cottrell Boyce captures the voice of Julie, a pre-teen girl in the wasteland of a Year 6 summer, as she and her community struggle to understand the fears and experiences of Chingis, newly arrived from Mongolia. ‘When you need your eagle to be calm, what do you do?’ They come to appreciate his vastly different cultural history and beliefs, while at the same time immersing him in the culture and expectations  of Merseyside life, including fish fingers, and the rules of football.

This is subtle story is beautifully woven, rather like Chingis’ coat, deft and thoughtful. The themes and message are evident but not hammered at us. Rather as with Julie, Chingis, and Nergui (his little hat wearing brother) will stay with you long after you’ve finished reading this wonderful book.


The Unforgotten Coat

Frank Cottrell Boyce


Chingis is new and different. Could this be why he wears The Unforgotten Coat? While he inspires and intrigues his new classmates it seems like his stories don’t quite add up. For example, why does he insist that there should be a light shining at all times? Furthermore, why does he overprotect his little brother to such a desperate extent? What is Chingis’ story? It seems like his classmates are full of suggestions. Furthermore, the class is eager to share all they know of Merseyside to acclimatise Chingis and his family. Fish fingers? Well, it’s a necessary starter!
Frank Cottrell- Boyce’s outstanding story was inspired by real events, people and encounters. We know this writer for the truths and inspiration included in his writing, as in Runaway Robot. Thereafter, this book tackles an urgent subject empathetically, as Alyssa Hollingworth does with The Eleventh TradeBookwagon recommends The Unforgotten Coat to all readers. Furthermore, we assert that this outstanding story deserves to be read, shared and appreciated.

Guardian Children’s Book Prize winner.


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