Showing 20 of 950 results, most relevant first.
A world-famous Australian writer, an inspiration to Robert Hughes and Clive James, a legendary war correspondent who also wrote bestselling histories of exploration and conservation . . . and yet forgotten? In this dazzling book, Thornton McCamish delves into the past to reclaim a remarkable figure, Alan Moorehead.
As a reporter, Moorehead witnessed many of the great historical events of the mid-20th century: the Spanish Civil War and both world wars, Cold War espionage, and decolonisation in Africa. He debated strategy with Churchill and Gandhi, fished with Hemingway, and drank with Graham Greene, Ava Gardner and Truman Capote.
About the author
Thornton McCamish is a freelance journalist and writer. He was editor of the Big Issue (Australia) magazine from 1996 to 1999. His book Supercargo: A Journey Among Ports (2002) was published by Lonely Planet. Thornton received a 2013 Merlyn Myer Biography stipend to write Our Man Elsewhere - awarded on the strength of his outstanding proposal.
This is a highly readable biography of a significant Australian writer whose work was widely read in the 1950s and 1960s but who today is less well known in his home country.
Thornton McCamish gives us a generous, but not uncritical, portrait of Alan Moorehead – one of our earliest 20th century expats- and brings his journalism and non-fiction books back into the frame for a new generation of readers. But McCamish does much more: this is a book about the biographer’s journey of discovery of his subject. In the process, McCamish gives us a clever and well-observed picture of a mid-20th century world in which the push and pull between Australia and Europe defined our culture. Moorehead was essentially a “middlebrow” writer and McCamish has done a brilliant job of placing his work in the wider context of Australian history.
This is a book about a passion for writing, but it is also about culture, class and the challenges of the biographer.
Randolph Stow was one of the greatest Australian writers of his generation. His seven remarkable novels and several collections of poetry helped to change the way Australians viewed their land and their literature.
In Mick: A Life of Randolph Stow, Falkiner unravels the reasons behind Stow’s eventual quiet retreat from the literary world. Meticulously researched, insightful and at times deeply moving, Falkiner’s biography pieces together an intriguing life from Stow’s letters, diaries, and interviews with his closest friends. Stow’s own story provides us with keys to unlock the meaning of his rich and introspective works.
About the author
Dr Suzanne Falkiner
Suzanne Falkiner was born in Sydney and grew up in western New South Wales. After graduating from the University of New South Wales she spent several years travelling in Asia, Europe and South America, and has lived in Paris, Umbria, and New York, where she completed postgraduate courses at Columbia University.
Following various jobs in book and magazine publishing in Sydney, from the mid 1980s she has combined being a full time writer with editing, book reviewing, travel and other journalism. In 2005 she was awarded a Doctorate of Creative Arts at the University of Technology, Sydney.
This is a comprehensive biography of an important Australian writer, Randolph Stow, known to friends and family as Mick.
Suzanne Falkiner has undertaken extensive research and uncovered new material about an enigmatic novelist and poet who spent his final years as a recluse far from his country of birth. The text ranges from his childhood in wartime rural Western Australia to his formative years studying in Perth through to his years as a wandering ex-pat, and eventually as resident of the port town of Harwich Essex.
Stow’s brilliance was combined with personal battles against depression and mental illness and Falkiner handles this material with respect while never avoiding the truth of the writer’s life. In many ways this is a conventional biography but Falkiner’s curiosity and interest in the social and cultural context in which Stow worked, make it a compelling read.
September 2016 marked 60 years since the first British atomic tests were conducted at Maralinga in South Australia, decimating an Indigenous community and irreversibly contaminating the land and its people.
In 1956, Australia provided 3200 square kilometres of desert to the British Government, along with logistics and personnel. Australian prime minister Robert Menzies blithely agreed to the tests and relinquished control over them. This book reveals the devastating consequences of that decision.
Here, Elizabeth Tynan reveals how Australia allowed itself to be duped, and contributes to the fight for justice for nuclear veterans, Indigenous landowners and the contaminated land itself.
About the author
Dr Elizabeth Tynan
Elizabeth Tynan is a science writer and academic at the James Cook University (JCU) Graduate Research School in Queensland, Australia. A former journalist, she completed a PhD on aspects of British nuclear testing in Australia, and is co-author of the book Media and Journalism: New approaches to theory and practice, now in its third edition.
This book reveals new details about one of the most important stories in recent Australian history - the atomic tests by the British government in the South Australian desert at Maralinga in the 1950s. This well-executed work offers compelling and at times shocking information about an exercise that has been mired in secrecy and controversy for decades.
Elizabeth Tynan has produced a readable account, which mixes excellent knowledge of science and social and political history. The research is detailed and balanced and the narrative is well paced. Tynan is a clear writer and her tone remains confident yet curious throughout. The book shows an astute understanding of the Cold War context in which the tests took place yet does not avoid the betrayal of Australians by their political leaders nor the shameful treatment of the health and safety of Aboriginal Australians in particular.
Atomic Thunder is a book that speaks to Australian audiences and raises issues of government responsibility and transparency that continue to resonate today. It is an impressive work of history - a book that is long overdue and one that is likely to remain the definitive account of that period.
Matthew Flinders and George Bass, two obscure young men from Lincolnshire, arrived in Sydney in 1795 determined to achieve greatness. Flinders wanted to be an explorer ‘second only to Cook’, Bass a naturalist, another Sir Joseph Banks, and a rich Sydney trader. For eight years these two pursued their destiny. Their voyages changed the map of Australia, and Flinders gave it its name. But then it was all over. This book is historically rigorous, yet its protagonists’ fascinating and contrasting characters and the extraordinary events of their lives make it as gripping as any novel.
About the author
Josephine Bastian is the daughter of a Danish goldminer and a school teacher of Irish descent. She spent her childhood in the bush and lived for several years on the goldfields near Mudgee, NSW, where her mother started a one-teacher school. She attended the University of Sydney on a government scholarship and subsequently took a higher degree at London University. She has travelled widely, and worked in several countries as teacher, author and editor; her writing includes articles, radio documentaries and history.
The passion of Bastian’s title operates as a theme throughout this important book. The narrative that emerges is a much more intimate story about the relationship of Flinders and Bass than has previously been told. Setting these men against the context of their families and those they left behind, importantly the author considers the effect of these tumultuous lives on others. With a strong sense of the value of archival research, the author’s fresh approach uses new material and brings the context of exploration and the Imperial need for mapping to light. The people and their relationships are seen as constrained and contained by the larger project.
Grounded in diaries and primary sources, the author gives a wonderful insight into this period in Australia’s history. The book is very readable and accessible and deserves to be read and appreciated by a large audience. It explains and reminds the reader of the incredible energy, dedication, and sacrifice of the explorers of this time as they attempted to map, understand and claim new lands.
Chester Wilmot (1911–1954) was a renowned Australian war correspondent, broadcaster and writer. Covering the North African battles of Bardia, Tobruk and Derna, the disaster of the Greek Campaign, the epic struggle along the Kokoda Track, the invasion at Normandy and the defeat of Nazi Germany, his voice stood above all others during BBC and ABC broadcasts throughout World War II.
Following the war he continued reporting and published The Struggle for Europe, his classic account of the Normandy invasion, before he was tragically killed in 1954.
Valiant for Truth charts Wilmot’s exceptional life as he reported key events of the twentieth century.
About the author
Neil McDonald is a film historian and author. His books include Kokoda Front Line: the amazing story of legendary Australian war cameraman Damien Parer (Hachette 1994, 2004, revised edition 2012). He is co-author with Peter Brune of 200 Shots, a pictorial account of Australian fighting on the Kokoda Track.
Peter Brune is bestselling author of A Bastard of a Place: the Australians in Papua; Those Ragged Bloody Heroes: from the Kokoda Trail to Gona Beach 1942 and most recently Descent into Hell: The fall of Singapore – Pudu and Changi – the Thai Burma railway.
This book is to be commended for its well-researched and well-documented World War II accounts. Chester Wilmot was an Australian journalist and war correspondent. The authors of this sensitive biography illustrate that Wilmot was a reporter with integrity and a strong moral code. At times this led to Wilmot finding himself at odds with censors, who were known to redact large sections of his reports, for fear that his accuracy would aid the enemy.
Wilmot was an extensive traveller having gone to both Japan and Europe before World War II. In these contexts he noted and wrote of growing nationalism, racism, and what he regarded as developing fanaticism. In a prescient and informed manner Wilmot contextualised and historicised these feelings.
As a war correspondent Wilmot was witness to battles in Europe and Papua New Guinea.
As a broadcaster for both the BBC and ABC he became a trusted commentator by both the general audience and members of the military.
This comprehensive and finely researched book sheds new light on the career and experiences of one of Australia’s most renowned War correspondents. Of particular note is how the book deals with Wilmot’s early years, which provide good insight into his life at that time.
John Murphy’s Evatt: A Life is a biography of Australian parliamentarian and jurist HV Evatt. Remembered as the first foreign minister to argue for an independent Australian policy in the 1940s and for his central role in the formation of the UN, Evatt became leader of the Labor party in the 1950s, the time of the split that resulted in the party being out of power for a generation. Murphy places Evatt in the context of a long period of conservatism in Australia, treating his personal life as just as important as his controversial and eventual tragic public career.
About the author
Professor John Murphy
John Murphy is a professor of politics at the University of Melbourne. He is also Assistant Dean in the Faculty of Arts. He writes prolifically on Australian social and political history and is editor of the Australian politics and policy series in Melbourne University Publishing's Academic Monograph series. He is author of many books, including Harvest of Fear: A history of Australia's Vietnam War (Allen & Unwin, 1993); Imagining the fifties: Private sentiment and political culture in Menzies’ Australia (UNSW Press, 2000) and was a contributor to Half a Citizen: Life on Welfare in Australia (Allen & Unwin, 2011).
This is an excellent book, by an established and respected scholar. With polish and complete control of the material John Murphy has written a book that captures the extraordinary public and private life of Evatt.
Murphy’s portrait of Federal Labor leader Herbert Vere “Doc” Evatt is revealing and definitive. Murphy’s careful research has shown Evatt to be a combination of brilliance and dedication though occasionally foolish; given to grandiosity. Across a career that led him from jurist to the youngest High Court judge onto a NSW State and later Federal politician; and perhaps most importantly as Australia’s foreign minister involved in the establishment of the United Nations.
This book revises the orthodoxy of Evatt and provides valuable insights into Australia’s political and social history. The work is mature and objective, yet it is a very accessible book at the same time. Undoubtedly this will be the “go to” book on Evatt in future years.
Fifty years ago, a group of striking Aboriginal stockmen in remote Northern Territory heralded a revolution in the cattle industry and a massive shift in Aboriginal affairs. This book tells the story behind the Gurindji people’s famous Wave Hill Walk-off in 1966 and questions the meanings commonly attributed to the return of their land by Gough Whitlam in 1975. Written with a sensitive, candid and perceptive hand, A Handful of Sand reveals the path Vincent Lingiari and other Gurindji elders took to achieve their land rights victory, and how their struggles in fact began, rather than ended, with Whitlam’s handback.
About the author
Mr Charlie Ward
Charlie Ward is a writer and historian, based in Darwin. He worked in the Gurindji communities of Kalkaringi and Daguragu between 2004 and 2006 and then as a researcher with the Stolen Generations' Link-up program in Alice Springs. Now an oral history interviewer with the National Library of Australia, Charlie’s work has appeared in journals including Griffith Review, Meanjin and Southerly. A Handful of Sand is his first book.
More than 50 years ago, in very top of the Northern Territory, two-hundred Gurindji, Mudburra, and Warlpiri workers walked-off the remote Wave Hill cattle station and declared themselves to be on strike. Led by the now legendary Aboriginal leader Vincent Lingiari these men set in motion a new future, which led to better pay, more control and ultimately land rights.
A Handful of Sand is a significant book by a young researcher who has worked in and studied indigenous communities for many years. The story has been covered at length in the press, however this book provides a perspective missing from much daily journalism.
Charlie Ward deals with the complexities of the Wave Hill walk-off and the return of the Gurindji land in a sophisticated manner. The narrative is honest and told with an appropriate reticence: Ward is an insider/outsider who never loses his professional judgement nor his respect for the protagonists in this inspiring but sometimes tragic story.
He is an historian who interrogates his material to dissect the complex issues of the state versus individuals and the internal tensions between generations of established leaders and younger Aborigines with different ambitions and capacities.
Abandoned by the priestess of the island at birth, Aissa is an outcast, surviving by her wits - until she joins the acrobatic bull dancers who are sent away to compete on the island of the Bull King. A gripping and powerful adventure by acclaimed author Wendy Orr.
About the author
Wendy Orr was born in Edmonton, Canada, but grew up in various places across Canada, France and the USA. She started writing for children after a career as an occupational therapist. She's the author of many award-winning books, including Nim's Island, Nim at Sea, Raven's Mountain and Peeling the Onion.
In a breathtaking blend of stunning verse and poetic prose, this tragic tale of loss and abandonment, courage and resilience tells the story of Aissa the firstborn child of the Lady. Born with a minor imperfection, Aissa is shunned by the Lady, but spared by Keyla, the wise-woman, and given to a family far away. Tragedy stalks Aissa though and four years later raiders kill her adopted family, and she is an outcast once more. Enslaved, mute, considered cursed and shown to be worthless, she is given the name of No-Name. But when Aissa turns thirteen, she seizes upon the unexpected opportunity to become the island’s female tribute to the Bull King. No tribute has ever returned to the island, but for Aissa this dangerous “honour” represents her only means of escape.
Set in Bronze Age Crete, impeccably researched and inspired by the legend of the Minotaur, the ancient culture depicted is richly imagined and realised. Aissa is a wonderfully complex character, whose struggles take the reader on an epic journey, exploring themes of acceptance and rejection, perfectionism, difference and worthiness, identity and resilience.
Dragonfly Song is more than an ancient myth re-visioned. Its songlike narrative is poignant and wise, brave and ambitious. Quite simply, it is storytelling at its very best.
Francie's going to have a new baby sister very soon. But what will her name be? Francie has so many ideas! On a long drive home with Mum, in the pouring rain, maybe they'll find one that's just right... From multi-award winning author-illustrator Bob Graham comes a tender, touching story of family life, perfect for sharing when a new baby is on the way. A beautifully observed celebration of the way inspiration can, and often does happen in the most ordinary and unlikely of places.
About the author
Bob Graham is a Kate Greenaway-winning author-illustrator who has written and illustrated many acclaimed children's picture books including How to Heal a Broken Wing, How the Sun Got to Coco's House, Max, Jethro Byrde: Fairy Child and April Underhill: Tooth Fairy. His 2011 title, A Bus Called Heaven, is endorsed by Amnesty International UK and was the winner of the 2012 Children's Book Council of Australia Picture Book of the Year Award - a prize Bob has won an unprecedented six times. In 2014, Silver Buttons was awarded a prestigious Prime Minister's Literary Award in Australia.
Bob lives in Melbourne.
This remarkable book begins with a leave-taking from a grandmother’s house, and ends with a welcome home from a father who has returned from a journey. The pages in between describe the rain-lashed and lorry-filled drive from one home to the other. On the way, mother and daughter amiably ponder suitable names for the girl’s yet-to-be-born sister. In the space of a few pages, this narrative captures the vast and the minute, the distant and the immediate. The viewpoint switches back and forth from the confines of the valiant little red car in which mother and daughter battle through the highway traffic, and an omnisciently distant perspective from the cloud- heavy sky.
With effortless grace, and with delicate shifts between seemingly disparate observations, this picture book explores absence and presence, safety and vulnerability, intimacy and the impersonal. From the roar of rain and thundering trucks to the squeak of a finger writing on wet glass, from the quiver of a hiding mouse to the hovering of a kestrel, from a humble roadside picnic in the tiny car to a highway stretching to the horizon, the text and illustrations of this elegantly realised picture-book offer the reader a suite of subtly linked observations that combined, portray a moment in the life of the world.
Sometimes we want a thing so much we can't prevent ourselves from taking it. But when a girl steals her friend's beautiful yellow kite, she is swamped with turmoil. A story about desire, guilt and forgiveness.
About the author
Janet A. Holmes
Janet was born and grew up in Perth, Western Australia. She has worked as a teacher librarian, an education officer in the Parliament of Australia, a researcher/writer and finally a secretariat manager in the Senate and House of Representatives committee systems. Duck, Janet's first book with Little Hare, has just been published as a Little Hare Classic.
About the illustrator
Jonathan has been an editorial illustrator at the Courier Mail newspaper for ten years, and has illustrated books for Margaret Wild, The Wiggles and Andrew Daddo. He has illustrated several books for Little Hare including Holmes' debut Duck.
This beautifully produced picture book is a celebration of friendship as well as reminding us all of the importance of saying sorry if one has done something to hurt another person. Daisy is a small girl who sees a wonderful yellow kite, shaped like a fish, soaring high in the blue sky. She follows it to where William is flying it from his front garden. He shares the joy of flying it with her but her reaction is unexpected as she runs away with the kite and hides it in her bedroom. This does not give her the pleasure she expects, however, as she cannot share the kite, is consumed with guilt and wonders how to make it right. Eventually she writes sorry on the path outside William’s gate and, in a delightful moment of reconciliation, William demonstrates his forgiveness by making Daisy a kite of her own.
The spare and carefully constructed written text is wonderfully complemented by the illustrations which are full of colour and movement. Daisy’s black cat appears in most of the illustrations providing a link between them as well as a counterpoint to Daisy’s emotions – it is the cat who sits disapprovingly outside her bedroom door when she hides the kite on her wardrobe, and he joins in the joyful play as the two children fly their kites together. It is significant that no adult appears in the story; Daisy has to find her own way of dealing with her actions and William devises his own way of demonstrating forgiveness. There are intriguing spaces in both the illustrations and the written text which allow the reader to be an active participant in constructing the narrative. This is a story with a strong moral without being in any way moralistic.
Funny, original story from a young, award-winning author. The sequel to NSW Premier's Literary Award winner Figgy in the World. Figgy gets a role in a movie, and her friend Nana wants to be the President. But Figgy's mama is sick and expecting a baby, and Nana's father takes him away. Suddenly, Figgy's life changes course. This is an inspiring story about resourcefulness, courage and helping others.
About the author
Tamsin Janu lives in Sydney. Her debut novel Figgy in the World, and its sequels Figgy and the President and Figgy Takes the City, were born from memories of her three month trip to Ghana, West Africa in 2009. Many of the locations she visited and kids she met are depicted in her novels. Her standalone junior novel Blossom, set in Australia, was released in 2017.
Tamsin won the Children's Literature Award and Premier's Award at the 2016 Adelaide Festival Awards for Literature, and was joint winner of the Patricia Wrightson Prize at the 2015 NSW Premier's Literary Awards.
Figgy is an endearing, warm-hearted girl who lives with her grandmother and other children in a village in Ghana. Tamsin Janu introduced Figgy, and her stoic attitude towards her damaged eye, to young Australians in her debut novel, Figgy in the World. Figgy and the President can be read independently as an original and exciting narrative. This tale highlights and develops Figgy’s joyous voice, thoughts and ingenuous yet independent character. Her best friend, exuberant Nana, aspires to becoming the President of Ghana. Even though only ten years old, Figgy feels pressure to plan her own career but her path diversifies when she is given the opportunity to act in a movie, playing the role of a girl from a background like her own. Although materially poor, the characters in this community are rich in friendship, respect and love.
The children face disturbing situations and weighty issues when Figgy’s dysfunctional mother returns and Nana is stolen and sold by his father. Figgy’s strong agency to effect change, despite her childhood innocence, is shown deftly and with authority. In clear, fresh prose the author creates an authentic picture of her characters, their interaction and the colour and spirit of Ghana within an engaging, empowering and sometimes humorous storyline.
When a gentle creature sets out to search for a lost brother we are taken on an ethereal journey across land and sea to strange, beautiful and faraway places. To fantastic, floating cities, and mediaeval towns full of dark alleyways and winding staircases – to vast open grasslands and eerie, silent forests – and eventually to a place of timeless beauty and light. My Brother is a metaphorical picture book story for older children that looks at loss and grief from a sibling’s perspective.
About the author
Dee Huxley studied design and craft at the National Art School, East Sydney. After graduating she taught visual arts in secondary schools in Australia and London. Between 1984 and 2012 she taught Design and Illustration at TAFE Enmore Design Centre, and Life Drawing at NIDA.
A freelance illustrator since 1976, her works include the short-listed CBCA Picture Books of the Year, Mr Nick’s Knitting, Rain Dance and You and Me Our Place, and the 2009 CBCA Honour Book, Tom Tom, written by Rosemary Sullivan. My Brother is the fourth picture book Dee has both written and illustrated.
About the illustrator
I started drawing before I could tie my shoelaces.
I have always loved sketching animals, and drawing strange imaginary creatures - mythical monsters and fantastic beasts - in my sketchbooks.
After closely watching my mother’s successful career as a picture book illustrator and the beautiful books she has done, I spent several years studying both Graphic Design and 3D animation, with the goal of becoming a children’s book illustrator, like her.
During this time I created character for a story I wanted to write about a gentle but strong creature living in an apocalyptic world. My brother Morgan loved this character and kept a tiny canvas of tit on the mantelpiece in his apartment. The creature was never designed to be Morgan, but after his death in tragic and destructive circumstances, this character became the focal point of the story my mother and I decided to dedicate to him.
It was an honour and also a moment of peace to collaborate on this book together with my mother and my sister Tiffany who was the designer.
The book was important for us all. We did not know where Morgan had gone or why. We wanted to try and create a place for him. We wanted to make sense of what was happening around us when there was no sense.
Working on the book gave us gave us a reason to smile, which was hard to do at times. It also gave us hope –and the belief that our story might help a child to find some hope during an equally dark despairing time – when the words, even of loved ones, cannot help.
I am currently working on a book about a chihuahua in Japan, while working nightshifts in a large Swedish company famous for its furniture.
I live in Sydney with my strong willed and very supportive wife, Elizabeth, and my wonderful short haired black Chihuahua Kolo.
This is a moving story about overwhelming grief and loss. Longing for his lost brother, a distressed and lonely creature searches for him. He searches high and low, visiting all their old haunts, both joyful and scary. When his search is unsuccessful the creature is exhausted and lies down to sleep for a while. On waking he senses a new understanding and acceptance of his loss. The use of soft watercolour in the final pages replaces the earlier monochromatic images to reflect the realisation that his brother is not lost. Rather he is everywhere and in every memory.
Beautifully designed, My Brother uses careful placement of well chosen, minimal text, almost stream of consciousness and plenty of white space to create the profound sense of pain and loss. Each detailed image engages us in the search and each can be explored at length and re-visited many times. A tiny donkey gently leads us forward to the next page, leading us to the bitter-sweet realisation and relief that we can learn to live through loss and grief and begin to think about the future. While grief is an intense and personal journey, this book will resonate with older children and adults who have lost someone dear.
Second-hand bookshops are full of mysteries
This is a love story.
It's the story of Howling Books, where readers write letters to strangers, to lovers, to poets, to words.
It's the story of Henry Jones and Rachel Sweetie. They were best friends once, before Rachel moved to the sea.
Now, she's back, working at the bookstore, grieving for her brother Cal. She's looking for the future in the books people love, and the words that they leave behind.
Sometimes you need the poets
About the author
Cath Crowley is a young adult author published in Australia and internationally. She is the author of The Gracie Faltrain trilogy, Chasing Charlie Duskin, and Graffiti Moon. In 2011, Graffiti Moon won the Prime Minister's Literary Award for Young Adult Fiction, the Ethel Turner Award for Young People's Literature, and was named an Honour Book in the Children's Book Council, Book of the Year. Cath lives in Ballarat, Victoria.
In her deeply layered, eloquent exploration of different kinds of love, Cath Crowley celebrates story, the importance of family, the meaning of friendship and the power of words. The story is set in and around Howling Books, an extraordinary second-hand bookshop in Melbourne where readers can scribble margin notes or leave letters in their favourite books in the Letter Library, the heart of the bookshop.
The central characters Rachel Sweetie and Henry Jones are richly drawn through a dual narrative alongside the many letters that tell their complex stories and those of their friends and families. Henry can’t understand why Rachel ceased to be his best friend after she moved to live on the coast with her grandmother. Rachel, profoundly grieving for her brother Cal, can’t understand why Henry didn’t share ‘the last day’ with her after reading her letter. Rachel’s move back to the city marks the beginning of their journey back to friendship. Rachel starts to accept her brother’s death and finds herself again so she can move forward into the future. The imminent sale of the bookshop signals a real crisis of identity for Henry’s family and some of their longstanding friends but may actually emancipate them.
The book has many thoughtful design features that help to engage and extend the reader from the brief fragments of text that precede each chapter to the quotes from well-known novels and poems that remind us of the different meanings individuals bring to their reading of texts, to the explorations of complex concepts (the transmigration of memory, the block universe theory). Words in Deep Blue shows us how deeply words do matter.
Subhi is a refugee. Born in an Australian permanent detention centre after his mother fled the violence of a distant homeland, life behind the fences is all he has ever known. But as he grows, his imagination gets bigger too, until it is bursting at the limits of his world. The Night Sea brings him gifts, the faraway whales sing to him, and the birds tell their stories.
The Bone Sparrow is a powerful, heartbreaking, sometimes funny and ultimately uplifting hymn to freedom and love.
About the author
Zana Fraillon was born in Melbourne, but spent her early childhood in San Francisco. Zana has written two picture books for young children, a series for middle readers, and a novel for older readers based on research and accounts of survivors of the Forgotten Generation. She spent a year in China teaching English. The Bone Sparrow won the 2017 ABIA Book of the Year for Older Children.
Told poignantly and authentically through the naïve lens of the irrepressible nine-year-old Subhi, this powerful story is timely and important.
Subhi has known only one life - behind the razor wires in a detention centre. His world is confined, brutal and with many hardships. He longs to meet his poet father, wishes his mother would have enough energy to tell him her stories of Burma again, dreams of a beautiful Night Sea that brings him treasures, and talks to the wise-cracking Shakespeare duck. With his rebellious friend Eli, Subhi runs “packages” around the camp, a dangerous pursuit.
Jimmie, a young girl who lives near the centre, provides a second narrative voice, with a number of clever parallels to Subhi’s story. Jimmie has her own struggles: she is grieving for her mother and yearns to be able to read. When Jimmie discovers a way into the centre, an unlikely friendship results. Jimmie brings Subhi thermoses of hot chocolate and Subhi reads out Jimmie’s mother’s stories. But tensions are rising in the centre and soon violence erupts and tragedy strikes.
Set against the harshness and brutality of life in the detention centre, The Bone Sparrow celebrates human courage, spirit and imagination; the power of story, especially in our understanding of self; the importance of friendship; and our right to freedom. It is a beautifully written story, deeply layered and with rich imagery and evocative use of language. The motif of the Night Sea is particularly moving and the humour of Subhi’s Shakespeare duck provides some welcome relief to his dire circumstances.
Honest, deeply affecting and thought provoking, The Bone Sparrow is a story that stays with you long after the last page.
Forgetting Foster, is the powerful story of a young boy whose father develops Alzheimer's disease, from the highly acclaimed author of A Small Madness.
Foster Sumner is seven years old. He likes toy soldiers, tadpole hunting, going to school and the beach. Best of all, he likes listening to his dad's stories.
But then Foster's dad starts forgetting things. No one is too worried at first. Foster and Dad giggle about it. But the forgetting gets worse. And suddenly no one is laughing anymore.
A heartbreaking story about what it means to forget and to be forgotten.
About the author
Dianne Touchell was born and raised in Fremantle, Western Australia. Her debut novel Creepy & Maud (Fremantle Press) was Shortlisted for the Children's Book Council of Australia's Book of the Year Award in 2013 in the Older Readers category. Her second novel, A Small Madness, was published by Allen & Unwin in 2015.
She has worked as a fry cook, a nightclub singer, a housekeeper, a bookseller and manager of a construction company. Sometimes she has time to write books for young adults, who she thinks are far more interesting than grown-ups. She lives with animals.
In a refreshing departure from the self-conscious and sometimes cynically introspective world-view of many young adult book characters, this novel plots the progress of an intensely adult situation from the point-of-view of a child. Seen through the eyes of seven-year-old Foster, the narrative is a naïve, clear-eyed and often brutally candid observation of the cruelty of Alzheimer’s. Foster’s father has always been a lively, charismatic storyteller, but then holes begin to appear in his memory and his behaviour starts to become erratic. Foster valiantly refuses to acknowledge the gravity of the changes in his dad, but is all too conscious of the changes in his mother’s attitude: overworked, over-tired and overwrought, she has little emotional energy left for Foster. Duplicitous family members and neighbours contribute to the emotional wreckage.
This novel is an elegant and agonising portrait of the breakdown and realignment of family configurations, the pressures on friendships, and the spectrum of emotional damage experienced by both child and adult characters. Foster wades through extremes of puzzlement, betrayal, loyalty, mortification, estrangement, rage, guilt, compassion and love. He must navigate the behaviour of the flawed adults in his life, the unthinking childhood cruelty of his classmates, and finds himself battling between filial loyalty and social self-preservation, while clinging hopefully to his father’s brief moments of lucidity. But, in an enigmatic ending, and without fanfare, Foster silently and with gentle finality comes to terms with the inevitable.
From the multi award-winning author of The Protected and The Sky So Heavy comes a ground-breaking young adult masterpiece about lost young men.
After his mum dies Sam goes to live with the strangers she cut ties with seven years ago: Aunty Lorraine and his cousins Shane and Minty.
Sam is soon surfing with Minty to cut through the static fuzz in his head. But as the days slowly meld into one another, and ghosts from the past reappear, Sam has to make the ultimate decision … will he sink or will he swim.
About the author
Claire Zorn lives on the south coast of New South Wales with her husband and two small children. Her first young adult novel, The Sky So Heavy, was a CBCA Honour Book for Older Readers and was shortlisted for the Aurealis and Inky Awards. Her second book, The Protected, was the winner of the 2015 Prime Minister’s Literary Awards for Young Adult Fiction, Victorian Premier’s Literary Awards – Young Adult Fiction and CBCA Book of the Year for Older Readers. One Would Think the Deep is her third book for young adults.
Claire Zorn has created a sensory allegory of grief and rage in One Would Think the Deep. Set in a quintessential beachside community in 1997, Zorn traces Sam’s relocation from the city as he reels, baffled and angry, from the death of his mother. He finds some solace in surfing. His encounters with the waves and the unseen Leviathan monster of the deep become a metaphor for sparring with depression and destruction. His growing mastery of surfing signals a possible outcome of hope and healing. Sam begins a tentative relationship with athletic Gretchen. Another pivotal character is Ruby who challenges the misogyny of surfing culture and whose Aboriginal heritage forms a counterpoint to Sam’s hidden family background. However, the authentic male characters are the heart of the novel, with popular cousin Minty and honourable Jono a foil to smouldering Sam.
Jeff Buckley’s music and “the space between the notes” in his song Grace provide a soundtrack to the era and template for the writing shape and style. The allusive title and epigraph about rousing the Leviathan who “leaves a glistening wake; one would think the deep had white hair”, comes from the Biblical book of Job, a picture of the suffering that now ensnares Sam. This powerful novel embodies the layered depths of masculine grief and struggle to maturity.