Saturday, 10 September 2016

The Bone Sparrow

 The Bone Sparrow by Zana Fraillon (Hachette) PB RRP $19.99

Reviewed by Kel Butler

I was given The Bone Sparrow by Zana Fraillon to read at the CBCA conference this year. There was something about it that compelled me to start reading it as soon as I had the chance. As I started reading I realised this was an important, powerful story and before long I couldn’t put it down, even though every couple of pages my eyes were welling so full of tears I had to look away and regain my composure before I could read anymore. 

The Bone Sparrow tells the tale of a boy, Subhi, born in detention, his daily life and how, through his imagination and spirit, he finds colour in a very bleak existence, the only existence he's ever known. This story parallels the story of Jimmie, a young girl dealing with the crippling loss of her mother and shell of a father. One night Jimmie ventures "down" to find out about the detention camps she’s always hearing stories about, lies it turns out, and meets Subhi. A meeting that will change both their lives forever. 

In current times this book captures the devastating reality of people living and growing up in detention. Through strong, rich, powerful characters the story is told with emotional honesty and hope. Any human "worth a salt" can't help but be moved beyond their core reading this book. 

I highly recommend this book to every adult and any child 9 plus but much more than that, this is a book I strongly recommend adult and child read together. It’s not an easy book to read but you will grow as a person and find levels of compassion you didn't even know existed.

This book will change attitudes. It is courageous and raw and beautiful.

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