Tuesday 2 May 2017


Out by Angela May George, illustrated by Owen Swan (Scholastic Press) HB RRP $24.99 ISBN 978-1-74362-900-0

Reviewed by Jenny Heslop

A young girl and her mother flee the dangers of their home country and travel by boat to safety. They begin to feel happier and safer but the young girl still misses her Dad and hopes he can join them soon.

Out is a powerful, sensitive and touching story about asylum seekers. It cleverly illustrates the hardships of a family’s new life without being heavy or dark. Beautifully written, it is full of hope and optimism.

Now that we’re here, life on the boat seems so long ago.
These days, I run to win races.
These days, we camp for fun.

A traditional picture book, the text is sparse with carefully chosen words. The short, simple sentences make for easy reading but are wonderfully evocative.

The illustrations, soft and gentle, are integral to the story and add information which the words do not provide. To begin with the pages are mostly black and grey, with small glimpses of colour used to emphasise the emotions of the story. The happier and safer the young girl feels, the more colour is incorporated, until the last few pages are full colour illustrations. A yellow ribbon on every page, ties in with the emotions also.

This is a timely book. Refugees, asylum seekers and freedom are important and current issues right now. Out provides an insight into the lives of asylum seekers for young children in a relevant and age-appropriate way – through the magic of story and without talking down. Any book which may encourage tolerance and care for others is an important one.

Out is suited to the preschool age, from 4 years and up, but will also interest and resonate with primary age readers. 

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