Friday 25 May 2012


Whisper Whisper by Chrissie Keighery (hardie grant Egmont)
PB RRP $16.95
Reviewed by Vicki Stanton

Whisper has been short-listed for the 2012 Children's Book Council of Australia Book of the Year Older Readers. It is easy to see why. Chrissie Keighery has penned a wonderful book about Demi, a girl who has become totally deaf following a vicious bout of meningitis. The whole way Demi experiences life and how she reacts to the world, and how the world reacts to her, has changed.

Keighery's  meticulous research is apparent. She opened up a whole new world to me in her portrayal of the deaf community and its interactions within and with the hearing world. All this is handled perfectly through a range of sympathetic and unsympathetic three-dimensional characters, in both the deaf and hearing worlds.

The strength of the story lies in its depth. It is not merely a story about a girl who goes deaf and how she deals with it. Whisper explores aspects of everyday life for an Australian teenage girl: changing schools, making friends, blossoming love, family friction. These issues are exacerbated by Demi's deafness but her enduring spirit and strength guide her through. Demi also learns that sometimes those that may seem the most privileged may also have their own cross to bear.

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