It’s a No-Money Day is a vitally important book. It is narrated by a young girl whose mother works in some capacity in the health service. The little girl is desperate to own a kitten but knows that this is highly unlikely. She and her mother are compelled to visit the food bank. She understands that her mother dislikes having to do so. She herself doesn’t mind. The people at the food bank are very kind. She gets a drink and a biscuit and enough food to keep her mother and her going for a few days.
There are two scenes that made a particular impact on me. In one there is no cereal at home so the little girl has toast. Luckily, she remarks, Mummy wasn’t hungry. The illustration shows the mother as exhausted and close to starvation. In another scene the little girl asks a food bank helper for her favourite cereal. Her mother gets cross: they should take what they are given and be duly grateful.
It takes enormous courage to tackle in a children’s book such a loaded political issue as austerity and its aftermath. The book raises a fundamental question: what does it say about our society, our rulers and ourselves that such a dire situation needs to be explained to young readers? In the opinion of this reviewer every school and every college should carry a copy of Milner’s book.