The Bone Sparrow by Zana Fraillon
Published by Orion Children's Books on July 14th 2016
Genres: Contemporary, Childrens
Source: provided by Hachette Children's Books
Summary from Goodreads:
Subhi is a refugee. Born in an Australian permanent detention center after his mother and sister fled the violence of a distant homeland, Subhi has only ever known life behind the fences. But his world is far bigger than that—every night, the magical Night Sea from his mother's stories brings him gifts, the faraway whales sing to him, and the birds tell their stories. And as he grows, his imagination threatens to burst beyond the limits of his containment.
The most vivid story of all, however, is the one that arrives one night in the form of Jimmie—a scruffy, impatient girl who appears on the other side of the wire fence and brings with her a notebook written by the mother she lost. Unable to read it herself, she relies on Subhi to unravel her family's love songs and tragedies.
Subhi and Jimmie might both find comfort—and maybe even freedom—as their tales unfold. But not until each has been braver than ever before.
The Bone Sparrow revolves around the life of Subhi, a refugee born in an Australian permanent detention centre. Having never stepped foot outside of the fence, Subhi has no idea what life could be like. No matter if he has never known a life behind he fences, his world is bigger than the fences. When he meets Jimmie, a young girl from the Outside who needs someone to read her late mother's stories, he offers to help her.
The Bone Sparrow is a captivating book. It brings light to a situation that is horrifying but true. It is traumatic, saddening, and heartbreaking to read the way these people were treated. This is a story that delves into a situation that is still occurring to this very day. Just because one doesn't see it doesn't mean that it doesn't exist.
The title does have a meaning in the novel [a sparrow carved from bone that symbolizes hope, protection, courage and faith, has been in Jimmie's family for a long time] which is a pleasant surprise. Jimmie, now the owner of the sparrow, believes that Subhi needs it more. Zana Fraillon brings to life these characters and portrays them honestly well tackling such a saddening topic extremely well.
Overall, this is an captivating book that ensnares and engages readers from beginning to end. I definitely recommend that everyone, all ages, read this novel.
Zana Fraillon grew up surrounded by books. Her love of literature, children and magic were the motivation behind her becoming a primary school teacher and author after a brief stint as a professional magician. It should come as no surprise then that her first foray into the world of children’s literature is based on the theme ‘when no-one’s looking’.
When No-one’s Looking on The Farm was inspired by a walk through the Collingwood Children’s Farm with her two sons. Whist walking they discussed the animals’ daily business and realised that the donkeys had disappeared from their paddock – they began to speculate about where the donkeys might be, and what the farm animals might be doing when no-one’s looking.