The Year the Maps Changed cover

Shortlist year: 2021

Shortlist category: Children's literature

Published by: Lothian Children's Books an imprint of Hachette Australia

One extraordinary year will change them all...

Sorrento, Victoria, 1999. Fred's family is a mess. Her mother died when she was six and she's been raised by her Pop and adoptive father, Luca, ever since. But now Pop's had to go away, and Luca's girlfriend Anika and her son have moved in. More and more it feels like a land-grab for family and Fred is the one being left off the map.

Even as things feel like they're spinning out of control for Fred, a crisis from the other side of the world comes crashing in. When a group of Kosovar-Albanian refugees are brought to a government 'safe haven' not far from Sorrento, their fate becomes intertwined with the lives of Fred and her family in ways that no one could have expected.

About the author

 Danielle Binks

Danielle Binks

Danielle Binks is a writer, reviewer, agent and book blogger who lives on the Mornington Peninsula. In 2017, she edited and contributed to 'Begin, End, Begin', an anthology of new Australian young adult writing inspired by the #LoveOzYA movement, which won the ABIA Book of the Year for Older Children (Ages 13+). 'The Year the Maps Changed', Danielle's debut middle-grade novel, was a CBCA Notable Book for Younger Readers 2021, longlisted for the ABIA Book of the Year Award for Younger Children 2021, shortlisted for the Readings Children's Book Prize 2021 and longlisted for the Indie Book Awards 2021.

Judges’ comments

This novel examines both the inevitable injustice, but also the wonderful kindness, emerging from the crises of world events. Against the backdrop of Kosova refugees being placed into a nearby 'safe haven', a young girl comes to terms with the moving-in of her adopted father's girlfriend and instant expanded family... and her place in this newly mapped territory. Fred is both generous and inclusive, in ways that are instantly engaging in regard to the newcomers from abroad. As an eleven-year-old, she has to face her own judgement and ability to be 'inclusive' when the boundaries and maps of her home and heart are challenged.

Ultimately this book is a heart-warming neighbourhood story of how things can change for the better with community connection, care and kindness. Readers are reminded how small actions by one young person, and her policeman dad, can change the maps that divide us, and create new homelands for those who desperately need our support, understanding and empathy.