Reading is one of my favourites go-tos for learning, both for myself and for my girls. A story captivates us and draws us in, making that information stick. I was so excited to join the Reading Together: A Family Exploration Book Club and I knew I wanted to co-host for the country of Australia. It’s a special country to me since we spent a couple weeks there in our first year of marriage and now we have a few friends who live there. I’m looking forward to reading these books with my girls and learning more about Australian culture. The books we’ll be reading for July and August are a picture book, middle grade and a non-fiction book.
Grandma Poss uses her best bush magic to make Hush invisible. But when Hush longs to be able to see herself again, the two possums must make their way across Australia to find the magic food that will make Hush visible once more.
“After all, if you don’t ask the world questions, then you won’t ever work out where the rainbow begins.” And, boy, does Cedar B. Hartley have questions! Like, why won’t her Mum tell her about her father, who died when Cedar was a baby? And what happened to her older brother Barnaby, who ran away from boarding school and keeps in touch sporadically through cryptic postcards? The only thing that helps Cedar forget these troubling questions is her new hobby; acrobatics. When she goes tumbling with her new friend Kite, who can fly just like the bird he was named for, she comes close to finding the start of that elusive rainbow. Missing brothers, mysterious fathers, and the funny, more-than-friends feeling she has for Kite aren’t going to keep Cedar B. Hartley from finding the answers she’s looking for to fulfill her plan for an “unusual life!”
Debut Australian author Martine Murray is a writer to watch. Equal parts Pippi Longstocking and Anastasia Krupnik, her audacious Aussie tomboy Cedar will quickly charm the Capri pants off the female pre-teen set with her pithy sayings and sweet naiveté. A thoughtfully placed glossary of Cedar’s slang is included at the end of the novel for those young readers unfamiliar with the jargon “down-under.
This extraordinary story of courage and faith is based on the actual experiences of three girls who fled from the repressive life of Moore River Native Settlement, following along the rabbit-proof fence back to their homelands. Assimilationist policy dictated that these girls be taken from their kin and their homes in order to be made white. Settlement life was unbearable with its chains and padlocks, barred windows, hard cold beds, and horrible food. Solitary confinement was doled out as regular punishment. The girls were not even allowed to speak their language. Of all the journeys made since white people set foot on Australian soil, the journey made by these girls born of Aboriginal mothers and white fathers speaks something to everyone.
We’ll be having all the discussion on our Facebook page, I hope you’ll join us!