Drowning in My Bedroom

Drowning in My Bedroom

By Author / Illustrator

Steve Cole, Oriol Vidal



Age range(s)



HarperCollins Publishers




Paperback / softback




The terrifying impact of global warming on vulnerable lives is laid bare in this gripping tale of survival from internationally bestselling author Steve Cole.

Gayla is trapped when floodwater pours into her bedroom in a residential centre for kids with disabilities. The other children have been evacuated while Gayla waited for her father, but now the streets around are cut off and she's all alone with no way out.

Junjun's makeshift shack has been washed away in the flood and he needs to find medicine for his sister, who's sick after drinking contaminated water.

At first these two young people seem to have little in common and pity each other, but as the waters continue to rise, can they find a way to work together to survive ...?



Drowning In My Bedroom is a fast-paced disaster story set in Manila. The author, Steve Cole, uses a torrential flood to throw light on a number of issues within this survival story: disability, poverty, inequality, modern slavery and climate change.

Using the chance meeting of a young boy who lives in a Philippines slum whilst begging on the street and a young girl who uses a wheel chair due to impaired mobility caused by cerebral palsy, Cole explores the danger of making assumptions about people from superficial judgements.  Both characters think about the other in a certain way, influenced by their own prejudices. The flood throws them together in a life-threatening situation as the flood waters rise and they have to put aside their stereotyped assumptions and help each other to survive.

The wider issue of climate change offers the reader a chance to explore these challenging issues and reading about the impact of the flood on the lives of Gayla and Junjun and the aftermath on their families is very thought-provoking indeed. The tension increases as the youngsters attempt to escape the treacherous waters and this equally readable page-turning narrative runs alongside the ecological, ethical and political arguments.

The author includes some valuable messages: 'Change starts with just one person';  'things will have to change….and people like us will have to change them'.  Highly recommended. An extremely well written and important story with the additional value of being published by Barrington Stoke in a dyslexia-friendly format to enable accessible reading for everyone about these vital current global issues.

128 pages / Reviewed by Ruth Cornish, school librarian

Suggested Reading Age 9+


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