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

Saturday, 11 May 2019

Review: The Secret of the Youngest Rebel

‘Death or liberty? … Which will you choose, boy?’

For Frog, an orphan trying to survive on the streets of Parramatta in 1804, the draw of the rebels is strong. The idea of having freedom to live the life you want is definitely worth risking everything for.

This is a masterfully written historical novel with action, fear and high stakes. Kids will be drawn in from the first word as they follow Frog’s adventure and get a sense of the challenges facing people in the early 1800s in Australia.

Rebellion is coming. The convicts want to fight for their freedom and take over the colony. Mr Cunningham, a rebel leader, tells Frog about his vision of freedom, a future in which you can make your own decisions and everyone will have the right to education and their own land.

For the first time ever, Frog feels heard and valued. A taste of what freedom might feel like. A life without hunger, without living in daily fear.

But when the battle starts, and Frog stands with the rebels, it is suddenly very real and very dangerous. How will Frog escape, with gunfire ringing and rebels falling all around? What will be the cost of freedom?

This is the fifth book in Jackie French’s Secret Histories series, and is a powerful story that brings humanity to history. It is fairly short but the content and language are rich and there is plenty there for discussion with upper primary students. A great introduction to Australia's past as well as a starting point for discussion about social issues such as poverty, oppression, equality and social uprising.

Title: The Secret of the Youngest Rebel
Author: Jackie French
Publisher: HarperCollins, $14.99
Publication Date: 29 January 2019
Format: Paperback
ISBN: 9781460754801
For ages: 8 - 12
Type: Middle Grade Fiction


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