Tag Archives: Justice

When the War Came Home – Lesley Parr


Bloomsbury Australia

March 2022

ISBN: 9781526621009

Publisher: Bloomsbury Publishing. Imprint: Bloomsbury Children’s Books

RRP: $14.99

A year ago I reviewed my first Lesley Parr historical fiction and absolutely loved it – I book-talked it for weeks afterwards to my kiddos, many of whom also enjoyed it hugely. So I was most excited to receive this new title, about to be published, and equally as fascinating, engaging and emotive.

This new tale is set post The Great War and 12-year-old Natty is a very truculent protagonist who has moved with her mother to the Welsh countryside. Her mother, Ffion, has been sacked from her factory job after sticking up for workers’ rights and, unable to afford the rent on their very humble lodgings, the pair must go and live with family, Natty’s aunt and uncle. For Natty, it’s a combination of everything that makes her so miserable and antagonistic – feeling like a charity case, having to change schools, living in the countryside and, above all, having to share a room with her cousin, Nerys, – the ultimate paragon and insufferable know-it-all. She gets on much better with her older cousin, Huw, but his terrible mental state after returning from the war has reduced his capacity to moderate his moods and to re-connect with his family and friends.

Then Natty encounters some of the convalescing soldiers hosted in the village and her friendship with them, along with her determination to help, especially, Johnny whose amnesia has robbed him of his entire life. Natty becomes more and more sure that not only might she be able to help Johnny solve the mystery of his past, but perhaps, along the way, she can help Huw as well.

If that’s not enough, Natty and Nerys become reconciled through their joint campaign to demand equitable access for all the students at the local school, and in doing so, Natty develops a true understanding of her mother’s passion for equal rights and justice.

It’s a great read for sure and, more than that, explores so many important themes that will provide fodder for much rich discussion with your readers.

I highly recommend it for your readers from around Year 5 upwards, particularly those eternally fascinated with stories of children in difficult circumstances.

Pre-order now here

Azaria: a true history – Maree Coote



Walker Books Australia

March 2020

ISBN: 9780648568407
Imprint: Melbournestyle Books
Australian RRP: $29.99
New Zealand RRP: $32.99

I’ll be frank. When I first received this book I thought initially that it was odd subject matter for a picture book – in spite of my immense admiration for the fortitude and forgiving nature of Lindy Chamberlain (and if you missed the Anh Do Brush with Fame episode – you would be sorry I’m sure). But as I read it I realised that it is exactly right for a picture book for younger readers because we all need to engender in our kids an awareness of justice and injustice and that tragedies can occur, even more so when the media becomes both judge and jury.

The story of arguably the most horrible miscarriage of justice in Australian legal history is one that deserves to be told and while Coote’s narrative of the events does not shy away from facts it is not presented in a way that would cause deep trauma in readers but instead will create a wave of compassion for someone so cruelly wronged.

For many of us the events are burned forever in our memory. I clearly remember that when the news first broke, I rushed in to check my Jen, who was herself a tiny baby at that time. The surreal sequence of unfolding events was both shocking and unbelievable. Rarely in my memory has any individual been so thoroughly villified under the public scrutiny while the media indulged in a feeding frenzy like the piranhas they are.

In the typical fashion of the lowest common denominator just the very fact that Lindy and her family were Seventh Day Adventists marked them as ‘different’ and as our current circumstances will confirm this is still a deplorable failing among many Australians who reputedly are so tolerant and welcoming. Don’t get me wrong, of course many of us are but there is still a sector of society that seem to delight in their vile intolerance of any who don’t fit their perception of ‘true-blue’ Aussies.

Perhaps the most stunning aspect of this book are the absolutely fabulous illustrations which not only encapsulate the events but convey the mystic majesty of Uluru and Anangu country – a place that was such a joy to both The Kid and I when we visited a year or so ago.

Needless to say I feel this book is a ‘must have’ for your collection and in fact, not only suited to younger readers but I can see it as a terrific provocation for Legal Studies in the secondary school.

Highly recommended for both children from around 8 years upwards and adults.

Go well, Lindy.


The Good Thieves – Katherine Rundell




ISBN: 9781526608130
Imprint: Bloomsbury Children’s Books

RRP $14.99

I have quickly become a fan of Katherine Rundell’s writing. After The Wolf Wilder and especially The Explorer (still the most visited blog post I’ve put up!) it would be hard to ignore such magical and adventurous narratives.

Once again Katherine has put a group of children, all quite dissimilar, into a position where they forge bonds and achieve significant outcomes despite all odds.

The New York of the 1920s – speakeasies, brilliantine hair, the rise of gangsters – is not the best place for children but to Vita it is a challenge rising up to meet her. She and her mother have travelled from England to ‘rescue’ her grandfather. Jack has lost his beloved wife and also his grand family home which has been swindled from him by an unscrupulous character with certain Mafia connections.

Where her mother is more concerned with the mundane such as sorting Jack’s bank accounts and passports, Vita determines to pursue justice and restore her grandfather’s property.

Her early attempt is fraught with danger and difficulty but in the course of it she runs across Silk, a girl about her own age, who has ‘skills’ which are useful in the course of recovering property. Next she encounters two boys from a circus performing at Carnegie Hall who also have amazing attributes and so the plan begins to take shape.

It’s a narrative that is packed with tension and excitement, bravery and daring and it will completely entrance readers from around the age of around ten upwards.

Vita is not your average heroine. With a crooked foot from an early bout of polio she is not physically strong, but her mental attitude along with her unerring accuracy with throwing (marbles, stones, knives), not to mention her perfect planning skills make her a formidable team member of the ‘good thieves’ gang.

Don’t miss this one! It’s a ripping read and your kids will love it!