The Big Family Read

Big Family Read

Join Derby Libraries on our Big Family Read, and encourage your family to join in too. Rediscover the joy of reading, reading together and talking about what you have read!

One Book

The book we have chosen is ‘The Unforgotten Coat’ by Frank Cottrell Boyce, a hard-hitting story that explores the refugee experience and issues of identity in a realistic and accessible way.

Set in Liverpool, this is the story of a cross-cultural friendship between two refugee brothers Chingis and Nergui from Mongolia, desperate to fit in with their new schoolmates in the UK and Julie who becomes their 'good guide'.  The story is told from Julie’s viewpoint, typed on paper that looks like a school exercise book, interspersed with Polaroid photographs taken by Chingis of his homeland. 

One Month

The Big Family Read will take place during January 2019. Throughout the month Derby Libraries will have multiple downloads of both the eBook and eAudiobook available, and lots of paper copies to borrow. Check our Library catalogue, visit your local library or download our BorrowBox app to get yours.

One City

We chose this story because of its very real connection to our city.  Derby has welcomed migrant populations for many years and is home to many asylum seekers and refugees. In many ways 'The Unforgotten Coat' is their story. This book can help promote understanding and compassion amongst citizens of Derby from all walks of life.


6 to 12 year-olds can enter our Big Family Read Poetry Competition. Simply choose a sentence from ‘The Unforgotten Coat’ and use a name, a place, words or themes that appear in it as inspiration for your poem. Your poem doesn’t have to retell the story or any part of it. We are looking for creativity, imagination and originality.

The competition starts on Saturday 5 January and the closing date is Saturday 23 February. Entry forms and further details will be available in all Derby Libraries.

There is one iPad Mini 4 for the overall winner, donated by Bolinda. There are two runner-up prizes of a goody bag, including a copy of the book signed by the author.