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The “Macmillan Readers” Award of Junior Division

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The “Macmillan Readers” Award of

Junior Division

Name of Winner

: Natalie Tang

Name of School

: Holy Trinity College

Title of Book Read

: The Garbage King


: Elizabeth Laird


: Macmillan Children's Books


  Have you ever thought of fleeing your original life so as to pursue your own future? For Hong Kong teenagers, they will certainly not. Nevertheless, that kind of teenagers really exist, not in Hong Kong but in Addis Ababa, a city in Africa. “The Garbage King” is about two boys escaping from their original lives and their exciting adventures.

  There are two main characters in the book, Mamo and Dani. Mamo was a bold and generous boy. He lived in a poorly –equipped wooden house with his sister, Tiggist. One day, a man came to Mamo. He claimed to introduce a promising job to Mamo. Indeed, that man was a slaver and Mamo was sold to a farmer. Mamo was badly treated by the farmer. Mamo was so desolate to live in such a strange and outrageous environment. Eventually, he was determined to leave this ruthless farmer secretly for his freedom.

Dani was an introverted boy. He lived in an affluent family. He was keen on creating stories. Owing to the poor academic result, his father was resentful so he always scolded Dani. Meanwhile, his beloved mum was going to go to London for treatments. Dani decided to leave his obstinate father and strived for his future.

  After fleeing, neither Mamo nor Dani had food and proper living places because of insufficient money. One night, they bumped into each other in a spooky cemetery and they slept together on that night. In addition, they started to develop friendship after that night. They lived together afterwards. Unlike Mamo, Dani was rather coward. After Dani left, his father and cops were searching him. Dani was afraid that if he went out and found food, he might meet his father and cops. They would chain him. Hence, Dani and Mamo lived in an inaccessible place. Also, Dani always court on Mamo to find food for him. As Mamo was not a mean person, he was also willing to share some food he got with Dani without asking him for a cent.
As Mamo and Dani thought it was difficult to find food, they decided to join a gang. In the gang, everyone was so united, they should share what they begged and got with others in the gang. Gradually, Dani and Mamo adapted to the gang’s life. They both learnt a lesson from this wondrous experience. For instance, everyone in the gang had to find food. Because of this, Dani was forced to get rid of his timidity. He became independent. Besides that, as Dani was specialized in composing stories, he and Mamo made money by this means. Dani was responsible for writing while Mamo was responsible for selling them. They gained self-esteem and confidence from this. They did not think they were useless anymore. On top of that, their friendship was further deepened, they treasured each other even more.
  Fortunately, Mamo and Dani could reunite with their family in the end. They had to leave with their family respectively. Though they no longer lived together, their precious friendship would never fade.
  I love this book very much, not only because it is well written, but also because there are many vivid accounts in the book. For example, “the sun beating down on his head through the thin cotton of his cap.” I quoted this sentence from the book which describes he was as hot as the scorching sun. The readers will be more absorbed in the story. Furthermore, I like the two main characters in the book, Mamo and Dani. Nowadays, many people would like to make friends with you just because they want to set you up. Someone will even backstab you. For Mamo and Dani, they illustrated what a faithful friend should be. When Dani was depressed and frustrated, Mamo would cheer him up and think feasible resolutions for him. After Dani left, Mamo was upset. We should make friends based on their behavior and personalities but not their wealth. From this, I think we can make lifelong and faithful friends.
Addis Ababa is a less advanced city. In this book, it reveals the extreme disparity between rich and poor. Dani lived in a grand mansion. On the contrary, Mamo lived in a tiny wooden house. He even had no privilege to attend school. Due to this large wealth gap, there were gangs and beggars around. In fact, this phenomenon appears all over the world. The extreme disparity between rich and poor sparks fierce debate in Hong Kong. Rich people are getting richer while poor people are getting poorer. Being a Hong Kong citizen, I must contribute to my society. For me, education is the only way to get away from poverty. I could provide some free tutorial lessons to needy children. I hope they will benefit from my teaching. I will also do some voluntary work, such as selling flags.

  Although my power is limited, I hope my belief and actions can influence more people to be more aware of the extreme wealth gap in Hong Kong.

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