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President:  Dame Jacqueline Wilson; Patrons:  Michael Morpurgo & Ian Whybrow

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After performing as an actress and comedy improviser for many years, Jane fell into writing stories and plays. A Room Full of Chocolate was her first book for children  and won Peters' Book of the Year and the Leeds Book Award as well as being longlisted for the Branford Boase and nominated for the Carnegie Medal.


When she is not writing Jane spends her time running creative writing and comedy improvisation workshops for children with special educational needs. She is also a guest practitioner at Soho Theatre's Writer's Lab.


Selected as a New Voice in the Guardian's guide to The Best New Children's Books 2014, Jane is described as 'A new author to watch.

Have a look at the rest of the Book Award 2016 Shortlist...

Published by Hodder Children's Books



Jane Elson

How to Fly with Broken Wings

About the book

About the author

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'If Finn Maison shouts jump you jump or you are dead.'


Twelve-year-old Willem has Aspergers Syndrome and two main aims in life: to fly and to make at least two friends of his own age. But all the other boys from the Beckham Estate do is make him jump off things. First his desk - and now the wall. As his toes teeter on the edge, Sasha Bradley gives him a tiny little wink. Might she become his friend?


Bullied by Finn and his gang the Beckham Estate Boyz, Willem has no choice but to jump. As he flies through the air he flaps his arms, wishing he could fly and escape into the clouds. Instead he comes crashing down and breaks his ankle.


Sasha, angry with herself for not stopping Finn and his Boyz, is determined to put things right. And soon, while the gangs riot on their estate, Willem and Sasha form an unlikely friendship. Because they share a secret. Sasha longs to fly too."

"It would be a dream come true if I got to meet Jane Elson so I could tell her how amazing her book was and ask where she gets all of the inspiration from."

Lily, Much Wenlock Primary School, Shropshire


"This was the first book i read because after hearing about it i practically begged my teacher for it. I can really relate to Willems problem (aspergers) for my cousin has a mild case. Its really quite interesting to see how fin changes throughout the book.  A very exciting read!"

Guy Davis, Prestfelde School, Shrewsbury


"Wow! This book was the best out of all of them. There was so much tension with riot and the bullies. I don't know how the author could write such good book! I think the author got the contrast between the hate and evil in there area and the love and friendship."

Iris Downes, Prestfelde School, Shrewsbury


"We really enjoyed this book, it was full of nail biting moments. We think children aged 9 and over would enjoy reading this book. We would give it a rating of 5 stars! Our favourite character was Sasha. Even though there were no pictures we could still imagine the characters. We couldn't put this book down, it was amazing! We hope everyone who will read it enjoys it as much as we did."

Emily,Lauren, Bethany, St Leonard's Primary School, Bridgnorth


"I think How to Fly with Broken Wings is by far the best book I have read in Bookfest. The story describes everything really well and you can imagine exactly what the characters are like. The story is really  exciting, funny and sad all at the same time. I didn't think it was very good to start with, but once you have got past the first few pages, the story comes alive. I think it is suitable for nine to twelve year olds. I would give it 10/10: it is amazing!"

Maddie Parsons, Longden CE Primary School, Shropshire



"How to fly with broken wings is my absolute favourite book! I thought it wasn't going to be as good as it is because the cover didn't really appeal to me. Once I read the first page I NEVER wanted to put it down. It really pulls you in. I think the characters are really realistic and I would love to know them personally. My favourite is Willem because he is funny in a unintended way and he seems very kind and friendly. I would recommend this book to anyone who enjoys thrilling and emotional books."

Gaia Preece, Castlefields Primary  School, Bridgnorth, Shropshire


"This book made me smile at times but made me sad in others. At the start I was very confused as to what to was going on but as I read more I understood it and got into it. My favourite character was Sasha as she stuck up for Willem. The storyline is like a rollercoaster as it has a wide range of emotions. I would recommend this to anyone who likes an emotional read. Jane Elson is a very talented author with a wide range of vocabulary and a very good imagination. Overall this book was alright at the start but by the end I loved it."

Ella Shorthouse, Castlefields Primary School, Bridgnorth, Shropshire


"How to fly with broken wings is a story of hope and joy, Willam ,the main character, has two things to do on his list.Make 2 friends and one more thing, FLY!  Sasha is Willem's joy, but Finn's boyfriend...

Finn ,the bully, steps in Willem's way, but that could change.The drama is fantastic, the author has thought of it in a great way of thought and imagination. But I would not advise it to people that don't like world destruction. "

James D'Arcy, Castlefields Primary School, Bridgnorth, Shropshire


"I think it's a good book as there are twists and turns around the corner, which makes it fun. But at the start I found it boring because it just went on and on with no twists or turns. All round I think it's a good book with a good adventure but I think it could be a bit more exciting in the way that it doesn't go on about the riot as if younger people read it, it  could be scary. The storyline is good but all in all it's an ok book and I would recommend it."

Dan Galloway, Castlefields Primary School, Bridgnorth, Shropshire


"I think this book is really good because I really liked the story line and it was very intriguing and made me want to read more. At the beginning it was a bit sad as Willem was being bullied by Finn but by the end they were all friends and everything was ok. I would definitely like to read more books from this author. I really enjoyed this and I think it is one of my favourite books that I have read."

Ava Wooding, Hinstock Primary School, Shropshire


"It's an amazing story, I really like stories like this one were there's  riots and the police get involved. It's extremely exciting and funny AND its epic!"

Cailan Watson-Rowcliffe, Hinstock Primary School, Shropshire


"I thought this book was very good and exciting. I kept wanting to read more because it was a bit sad because Finn was bulling Willem and i wanted to find out what happened, but at the end it was all happy.I

liked the ending more than the start because I enjoyed it more and it was happy."

Isabelle Williams, Hinstock Primary School, Shropshire



"How to fly with broken wings was a heart-warming story. It was an amazing read and I could not put it down as I was in the amazing world that Jane Elson has created. I can not think over any words to describe such a brilliant book,it is one of if not my favourite book of all time. Overall I would recommend it to anyone and give it 10/10."

Edward Matthews, Hinstock Primary School, Shropshire


"this book is probably one of the most touching book I've ever read and certainly the material for winning."

Harry Aston, St George's Junior School, Shrewsbury


"I thought How to Fly with Broken Wings is a great book. I really enjoyed it because it was a sad story but happy in the end. In the story there is a boy named Willem who gets bullied by a boy called Fin. Also Willem has no friends but a girl named Sasha wanted to be friends. My favourite part is where Sasha, Willem and Fin make a Spitfire Club. I highly recommend this book because I think it's the best book so far. I hope Jane Elson writes more books."

Rowena Jones, Packwood Haugh School, Nr Shrewsbury


"This book was very good! I was hooked. It was a very sweet story as Sasha can't decide between a well behaved boy, Willem, or a badly behaved boy, Finn. She turns on Finn and then they all make up. It shows that bullies have a reason for being mean, you just have to find out what it is. I recommend it for ten year olds and over, because it is quite grown up."

Eve Leslie, Packwood Haugh School, Nr Shrewsbury


"This was a very heart warming story considering Willem wanted to fly and so did Sasha. They flew together to the heights of the heights. A riot had started between the gangs. Someone had to stop them. Then Archie came into action. I would recommend this book to everyone as it was a very nice story."

Molly Sue Jex, Mount Pleasant Primary School, Shrewsbury


"This book is by far the best book I have read. It introduces what some children go through but in a soft, kind way. I would recommend it to yr5 and upwards as younger children may not understand the issues that are raised as well as older more mature children would. The reason I think it is so good is that it is from different prespectives and its not too girly and not to boyish. It covers many sad topics such as loss, bullying, disability etc. Even though it has these many horrific happenings, it still makes you smile and I couldn't put the book down. I would love to read more story's by Jane Elson as if they are as good as how to fly with broken wings I will have a new favouite author"

Charlotte Upton, Mount Pleasant Primary School, Shrewsbury


"This book is very heart touching and emotional so that when I upsetingly finished the book, I cried because I have never experienced something like it before. The things that Willem goes through just makes me get tearful typing about it because I really care about things unlike some people in the world .This  book has shown me what people are like and how they can change   I judged this book by its cover ,(which I did not really get) and now I know I shouldn't have . I hope from reading this report you will pick up the book and get READING and I hope you enjoy it because I did!"

Olivia Bowen, Mount Pleasant Primary School, Shrewsbury


"This book was very good to read because it had lots of twists and turns which kept you reading.  It was slightly hard to get into and switches perspectives which is difficult to get used to.  There is very good character development and you get to know about their personalities, the people around them and their relationships with them.  All in all a very good book!  20/20!"

Macaulay  Parsons, Mount Pleasant Primary School, Shrewsbury



"I really enjoyed reading "How To Fly With Broken Wings" because I really felt like I was a character in the book and when Willem was flying I felt like I was flying with him with my arms out wide and looking at the people below. I liked it when Sasha and Willem were dancing in the red dress and pilot hat .There were sad parts and very happy parts. It is really nice just sitting in my room with a good book and read, and that is exactly what this book has done. I don't normally like to read but whenever I read this one I get pulled in and cant stop and I only think I've read a page when in fact I have read about five.When Jane Elson rights another book I will be happy to read it. I would recommend it to others."

Genevieve Bright, Packwood Haugh School, Nr Shrewsbury


"I thought this would be a heartwarming tale, as it changes the persons perspective throughout the book it confused me. Overall I'm disappointed with this novel and would rate it 4/10 at most. (This is still only my opinion.)"

Emily McAdam, St George's Junior School, Shrewsbury


"Well this book is one of a kind I don't know how to describe it ,but you have to read it.It has an amazing story behind it and it is just amazing.I would rate it 7/10 because it was quite weird."

Verity Booth-Jarvis, St George's Junior School, Shrewsbury


"I thought this book was very disappointing! I thought that it tried to hard to make it sad but that just made it weird. I also thought that it was a bit repetitive and far fetched which made it boring. I thought it was that bad that I didn't finish it. "

Harriet Vernon, Greenfields Primary School, Shrewsbury


"I love this book it's so interesting and I like the way the author shows different points of the story by changing the character from Willem to Sasha"

Alexia Balan, Greenfields Primary School, Shrewsbury


"I thought this book was the most amazing book I have read ever. I thought that using two characters for every chapter was smart and that every time William and sasha flew they flew together. I am only halve way through the book. This book is the best."

Toby Lenton, Greenfields Primary School, Shrewsbury


"This is a book of love and friendship which I found incredibly enjoyable.I recommend it to nine and above.This is a book of heart-warming brilliance which I thoroughly enjoyed.A compelling read."

Huw Watson, St George's Junior School, Shrewsbury


"I like this book because it telss you so much about the characters. It is quite confusing to start with but now I understand who they are. There are lots of twists like someone braking their foot. I highly recommend this to people who like twists at the start. I also can't wait to read the rest."

Erin Swancott, Harlescott Junior School, Shrewsbury


"I really like this book is all about a boy and someone in his school is being mean to him  and I do not like that in the book. I think  it will get better a long the book."

Millie Hope Williams, Harlescott Junior School, Shrewsbury


"This book...well, oh dear. I'm extremely disappointed with this book. When I was first given this book, just looking at the title made me think that this book would be, heartwarming,sad and happy...but I was obviously wrong when I found the layout switched between humans views. It's incredibly difficult to understand if it was good enough to rate I'd rate it 3/10!!!! awful...."

Sam Davison, St George's Junior School, Shrewsbury


"This book is about a boy who wants to make friends and a girl who shows him how.  This is an AMAZING book!It is very gripping.I couldn't put it down.I was in a whole different world when I read this book.I would deffinetly recommend this.I like the way the main character is quite different  to everybody else.In my opinion the ay Willem wants to fly very intresting.Wanting to fly is every childs dream but he makes it very obscure. It is brilliant!"

Laura Brian, St Lawrence Primary School, Church Stretton


"Wow,wow,wow,what an amazing book ! This book is the best book I 've ever read in my whole life. I don't think I will ever put it down! It's so good."

Alexander Birring, St Lawrence Primary School, Church Stretton


"This flying adventure takes you through the world of a boy who doesn't know how to make friends and a girl who shows him how. I think this book is gripping but quite confusing because the chapters are titled Willem and Sasha but as you get through the book you understand it's from different points of view."

Milly Liebrecht, St Lawrence Primary School, Church Stretton


"How to Fly with Broken Wings is a gripping and heart-breaking book. At first I found the book confusing but as I gradually read more of the book I started to get attached to the characters, Willem and Sasha. The book is just so heart-warming, it made me cry with happiness near to the end of the book. There are so many twists and turns in the book you won't know when it will stop. It will be a special book to you when you read it. You wouldn't want to miss out would you?"

Sydney Anderson, Castlefields Primary School, Bridgnorth


"I think, How to Fly With Broken Wings, is very creative in many ways. Also the description does not build up like most stories from the start. As well as that the characters (personalities) changes which makes this story good. I think this book should win the competition, Shrewsbury Bookfest 2016."

Owen Brown, Castlefields Primary School, Bridgnorth


“How to fly with broken wings was amazing and a real heart warming story .I love reading and I find it hard to find really gripping books and this is one of my new favourites it was so hard to put down and I will try to read more of Jane Elson books and I DEFINITELY RECOMMEND IT!”

Charlotte Edge, Stottesdon Primary School


"Jane Elson really pulled it off, this was by far the best book I've read. It's a book of friendship wonder and dreams. With a twist at every turn you can't put this book down. I will be looking out for a room full of chocolate. I thoroughly recommend it."

James Williamson, Stottesdon Primary School


"I love the book for 2 reasons. The first reasons is because love the tense emotional moments they are real moving.My second reason is because it tells a true story of friendship and tells you about how strong friendship can be.My favourite part is when the rampage happens because it is sad and well described! this story makes me feel like I am actually there watching by the side lines.When bad times are there my brain starts turning wondering what will happen next.This book is amazing I will defiantly recommend it to my friends!"

Isla Griffiths, Stottesdon Primary School



this book was my favourite. it was a great story about life for children. it really touched me a parts. i loved reading it in addition i couldn't put it down it was so good. the author is talented!

Evie Davies, Stottesdon Primary School





Shortlisted title