Walker Books Australia
New Zealand RRP:$18.99
So this is another that took some time to reach me but when it did I was immediately picking it up to read. Firstly, because of that gorgeous cover art but secondly because it’s Zanni Louise. Not only is she a fine writer, but she’s local (well, Bundjalung country is local enough for me!). And given, I usually receive an average of 8-10 books a week, it can not only take some time for me to get to some but also to read them. Not so this beauty. Binged it over two nights and loved every moment of it.
The rental crisis in Australia is so appalling – and The Kid and I are fully caught up in it (currently looking again for somewhere to live that’s affordable and not likely to be demolished soon) – and the ramifications of that for low-income earners, single parents, welfare recipients – or me – older women is totally horrendous. So Queenie’s dilemma with herself and her mum having to leave the little cottage they’ve always lived in and being shuffled from temporary lodging to temporary lodging, really resonated with me.
There would be many kiddos in this same situation and I know of one personally and another, as related to me by a colleague, who came to school so elated with the news ‘We have a house to live in!!’. So I was with Queenie every step of the way, staying with friends, staying with acquaintances, and, finally, staying with a potential step-dad, which of course has it’s own special set of anxieties. Watching Queenie blossom from a talented singer/songwriter, but one completely hamstrung by her anxiety, to a confident performer, with the help of her circle of friends – and her frenemy – is a lovely journey. It is one that will resonate with other children I am sure, whatever their particular strength and solace is.
This is a beautiful narrative, punctuated with feel-good moments, Queenie’s own unique approach to life and her music which gives her such a solid foundation and a supporting cast of memorable and lovable characters.
If I get the slightest chance, I’ll be sharing this with some middle-school kids but certainly I know that it will not take much reader advocacy to get this one moving in a steady rotation.
Highly recommended for your readers from around 10 years upwards.
Over 100,000 Australians will be homeless tonight. 42% of people experiencing homelessness are under 24 years old. Over 17,845 are children under 12 years old. There are over 9,700 homeless people in Brisbane on any given night (an alarming 1.97% of the population) The Salvation Army * 15% of the national average in Qld.