Wednesday 21 April 2021

A Glasshouse of Stars

A Glasshouse of Stars by Shirley Marr (Puffin) PB RRP $16.99 ISBN 9781760899547

New York bestselling author Jessica Townsend says this book is ‘heart-twisting and hopeful, bursting with big feelings and gentle magic. This is a special book from a powerful, compassionate new voice in children’s literature, destined to be read and loved for generations…’ Shirley Marr, the author, is a first-generation Chinese-Australian who has published other YA and children’s novels and who describes herself as having a Western mind and an Eastern heart.

In A Glasshouse of Stars, told in second person, present tense, Meixing Lim and her family have arrived in a new house in a new land, inherited from the late First Uncle. The small girl is overwhelmed by the vastness of the house which she calls ‘Big Scary.’ She is embarrassed by the second-hand shoes given to her by kind neighbours, has trouble understanding the language of her new world, and with fitting in and making new friends. Her solace is a glasshouse in the garden that holds the sun and the moon, and secrets of her memory and imagination.

When tragedy strikes and Ma Ma refuses to face the world, Meixing finds herself trapped within the shrinking walls of Big Scary. The new home is supposed to be a blessing, but instead it is a heart-breaking experience for Meixing. Surviving will take all the resilience and inner belief of this brave girl to turn the family’s world around.

The book is based on the author’s experiences arriving in mainland Australia from Christmas Island as a seven-year-old who was faced with and had to overcome culture shock.

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