'The best books, reviewed with insight and charm, but without compromise.'
- author Jackie French

Thursday 3 November 2016

Review: The Bone Sparrow

Subhi was born in detention. He knows nothing of life beyond the wire fence that borders his barren world but he can dream: of a night ocean that brings messages from his never seen father and a time his family will be free. One day, when a sparrow flutters into his tent and settles on his bed, everything changes.

Jimmie lives up the road from the detention centre. Boys at her school say refugees have bicycles and everything they could ever hope for but she’s not so sure. Jimmie carries her courage around her neck in the form of a bone sparrow as she searches for the truth.

So begins a friendship that defies razor wire barriers. While Subhi longs to meet his ba and recognise the food on his plate, Jimmie yearns to read and struggles to recover from her mother’s death two years before. The two share hot chocolate and stories and weave a hope that is theirs alone.

The bone sparrow helps children as young as eight understand from the inside what it’s like to be a child refugee and to grieve for someone you’ve never met. I was caught by surprise at laugh-out-loud moments even as the heartbreak of Subhi’s hard lot left me breathless. I believe the bone sparrow is a treasure that will be enjoyed by all. However, scenes of graphic violence make this tale better shared than read alone by younger readers.

The Bone Sparrow is a unique, desperately needed tale that deserves a place in every library in Australia.

Title: The Bone Sparrow
Author: Zana Fraillon
Publisher: Lothian $19.99
Publication Date: July 2016
Format: Paperback
ISBN: 9780734417138
For ages: 8+
Type: Middle Fiction