Contents indexed selectively.
'“I wrote my memoirs when I was in Grade 5.” Australian poet Alan Wearne absentmindedly ruffles a hand through tufting grey hair. “They were supposed to be memoirs of Grade 2, 3 and 4, but I never got to Grade 4. I called them The Good Old Days. Because back in those grades, we had the total run of the place. I mean, it was crazy.” Wearne chuckles, as if even now – some 60 years later – he still can’t believe he and his contemporaries’ primary school reign. My mind conjures grass-stained Lord-of-the-Flies-esque students cowboying around hapless teachers. “Then we suddenly had this teacher who ran a really tight ship. We hadn’t known anything like it. So we looked back with this kind of nostalgia on The Golden Days. I used to give recitations of these memoirs out and about the place.” ' (Introduction)
'Children in peril make for gripping stories – think The Brothers Grimm and Dickens, A Series of Unfortunate Events and All the Light We Cannot See. In Sign, Colin Dray’s debut thriller, the child in question is Sam, a young boy recovering from an operation to remove a cancer from his throat, leaving him mute. His father, Donald, shot through to Perth a while ago, so Sam lives with his younger sister, adorable and lively Katie, and mum, Joanne, in pre-mobile-phone Sydney. His father’s sister, eccentric Aunt Dettie, has been of steadfast practical and emotional help through the separation and Sam’s illness.' (Introduction)