Thursday 29 July 2021

Mina and the Whole Wide World

Mina and the Whole Wide World by Sherryl Clark and Briony Stewart (UQP) University of Queensland Press PB RRP $14.99 ISBN: 9780702263231

Reviewed by Jeffery E Doherty

Mina wants her own bedroom more than anything else in the whole wide world. And it is almost ready! Just one more lick of sunny yellow paint and it is hers.

Mina and the Whole Wide World is a verse novel by award winning children’s author, Sherryl Clark, and illustrated by Briony Stewart. Mina shares a room with her little brother, and none of her precious treasures are safe around him. Her new room and the freedom and privacy that she longs for, is almost ready… But Mina’s parents take in an unexpected guest, and they give her room away. Mina is so heartbroken that she cannot speak or listen. She doesn’t care that this new boy, Azzami – whose name sounds like a bumblebee – needs a place to stay.

At school, Azzami attracts the attention of bullies and Mina, caught in the crossfire, is left on the outside as well. She wishes Azzami would talk or stand up for himself. When she finds Azzami’s drawings, Mina discovers his story and really thinks about the life of this quiet boy, staying in her room.

Mina and the Whole Wide World is my second exploration into verse novels. I found it easier this time to get into the flow of the story. I read it in one sitting. The text was poetic and evocative, but simply written. The connection to Mina’s shifting feelings draws the reader into her mind and builds an emotional connection to her, and to Azzami, as her connection with him grows.

This book is beautifully written. It is emotional and heart-warming and shines a light on the heartbreak and uncertainty facing refugees, fleeing the dangers of their war-torn homes. But it does this in a gentle way that children can understand and empathise with.


This is a beautiful book and the lovely illustrations by Briony Stewart lift it to another level. I believe this book is both topical and important. It is a book I highly recommend for readers, both young and old.

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