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

Friday 6 July 2018

Review: Waves

Waves tells the stories of fifteen different children who came to Australia by boat.

As author Donna Rawlins explains in her notes about the characters at the end, 'If you are not an Indigenous Australian, your family have, at some stage, come to Australia from across the waves.'

The imagined journeys and experiences in Waves are typical of the real people who have made those same journeys.

They encourage us as readers to reflect on our own experiences and opinions.

Waves starts 50,000 years ago, with the story of Anak and his family on a raft, before jumping to Maarten whose ship is wrecked on rocks in the early 1700s. Stories from significant periods and events in history follow.

Each child's story, written in narrative style, is told over a double page spread and accompanied by evocative illustrations. They express peril, heartbreak, opportunity, and hope.

We meet cabin boy Henry, Finola who is a child convict, cameleer Karim, and Nianzu whose family arrives in search of gold. Later immigrants include refugees Olga from Europe in the wake of World War II, Hau from Vietnam, and Abdul from the Middle East.

This is history that we should remember. Donna Rawlins says that she hopes this book will encourage readers to learn more about how their families came to be in Australia, and perhaps to record that in some way.

Waves is a book that should, and I would like to think will, have a special place in homes and schools everywhere. Its themes are relevant for everyone.

Comprehensive teachers notes are available for Waves here.

Title: Waves
Author: Donna Rawlins
Illustrator: Heather Potter and Mark Jackson
Publisher: Black Dog Books, $27.99
Publication Date: June 2018
Format: Hardcover
ISBN: 9781925381641
For ages: 7+
Type: Narrative Non-Fiction