Between Us by Clare Atkins

Inside the CBCA Shortlist Why and how is the novel a powerful forum to alert people to the plight of refugees and those in detention centres? Clare Atkins tackles significant social and political issues in her books. Her second novel, Between Us (Black Inc) is set in the Northern Territory between a Darwin school and […]

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The Mediterranean by Armin Greder

Inside the CBCA Shortlist The Mediterranean (Allen & Unwin) is a picture book for mature readers. It is not for reading pleasure. It is deliberately confronting, aiming to shock the reader with the terrible issue of dead refugees. The quote at the end of the book tells us that the story is based on the […]

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Rainbow Bear by Stephen Michael King

Inside the CBCA Shortlist Rainbow Bear (Scholastic Australia) overflows with family love, especially the love between a father and his children. It is full of gentle humour, founded in the natural rhythms of day and night, night and day; watched over by the celestial bodies of the sun, moon and stars – Stephen Michael King […]

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Cicada by Shaun Tan

Inside the CBCA Shortlist Shaun Tan has won major Australian and international awards, including the Astrid Lindgren Award and an Academy Award for The Lost Thing. Australian authors and illustrators are breaking ground on the world stage in their portrayal of refugees and the displaced. (I have written about some of these books in Raising […]

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Changing Gear by Scot Gardner

Inside the CBCA Shortlist Scot Gardner explores the young male experience with authenticity, most unexpectedly in the incomparable The Dead I Know, set in a funeral parlour, and most recently in Changing Gear (Allen & Unwin), which is very well written and engaging. Gardner hooks the reader into Changing Gear with some retrospective interaction between 10-year-old […]

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The Slightly Alarming Tale of the Whispering Wars by Jaclyn Moriarty

Inside the CBCA Shortlist The Slightly Alarming Tale of the Whispering Wars (Allen & Unwin) is the stand-alone companion to The Extremely Inconvenient Adventures of Bronte Mettlestone. It is set in the same fantasy world and Bronte and her friend Alejandro reappear at strategic times to help the protagonists, Findlay of the Orphanage School and […]

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The Happiness Box: a wartime book of hope by Mark Greenwood & Andrew McLean

Inside the CBCA Shortlist The Happiness Box (Walker Books Australia) is written by a formidable pair of Australian picture book creators, Mark Greenwood and Andrew McLean, whose illustrations are in pen and watercolour. An adult character, Griff (Sergeant Griffin), features. He is a prisoner of war in Singapore when surrender is imminent but is moved […]

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