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Friday, 9 August 2013

Review: Lina at the Games (Our Australian Girl Lina #3)

This is the third book in a terrific Aussie series on Lina, an intelligent twelve-year-old daughter of migrants who wants to be a writer, set in Melbourne 1956. There are other interesting four-book-stories in the Our Australian Girl series that are easy to read, using a history revisited theme, and with a strong and courageous young girl as protagonist.

In this the third book on Lina’s life, we find Bruno, Lina’s brother, mixed up with the Carlton Park Gang and Pierino her other brother, ignoring the family taboo of seeing an Aussie girl. But there are more important things filling Lina’s mind.

Mother Superior has tickets to the Olympic Games for herself, Lina and her classmate Sarah, so they can report on the Games for their school magazine. Lina’s passion for writing and her longing to become a reporter like her father fill her every thought. The anticipation of this new writing project pushes Bruno and other family problems to the back of Lina’s mind.

She meets John Ian Wing, the son of Chinese migrants, who ends up writing to the Olympic Committee with a suggestion for a different kind of closing ceremony. She feels the stirring of her first attraction and a rush of pleasure at having a boy show a friendly interest in her.

While Lina is working with rich girl Sarah on the school magazine, she wonders if it is possible for a former enemy to become a friend. But overhearing a shocking revelation from Sarah to another former friend, Lina realizes that although she is born in Australia, she will always be seen by many as a ‘wog’.

Sally Rippin has grasped the true essence of being a migrant. She has created a perfect sense of time and place for her characters, blending this together with the difficulties faced by migrants and the racism rife in the early years of open migration. By including real events and real people, she has breathed life into the story and created an easy to read chapter book for younger readers. Look out for Book 4: A Lesson For Lina.

Title: Lina at the Games (Our Australian Girl - Lina #3)
Author: Sally Rippin
Illustrator: Lucia Masciullo
Publisher: Puffin $14.95 RRP
Publication Date: 26 June 2013
Format: Paperback
ISBN: 9780143307020
For ages: 8+
Type: Junior Fiction

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