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y separately published work icon The Book Thief Markus Zusak , Sydney : Picador , 2005 Z1214315 2005 single work novel historical fiction (taught in 8 units)

'It is 1939. Nazi Germany. The country is holding its breath. Death has never been busier, and will become busier still. Liesel Meminger and her younger brother are being taken by their mother to live with a foster family outside Munich. Liesel's father was taken away on the breath of a single, unfamiliar word - Kommunist - and Liesel sees the fear of a similar fate in her mother's eyes. On the journey, Death visits the young boy, and notices Liesel. It will be the first of many near encounters. By her brother's graveside, Liesel's life is changed when she picks up a single object, partially hidden in the snow. It is The Gravedigger's Handbook, left there by accident, and it is her first act of book thievery. So begins a love affair with books and words, as Liesel, with the help of her accordion-playing foster father, learns to read. Soon she is stealing books from Nazi book-burnings, the mayor's wife's library, wherever there are books to be found. But these are dangerous times. When Liesel's foster family hides a Jewish fist-fighter in their basement, Liesel's world is both opened up, and closed down.'

[Source: Libraries Australia. Sighted 30/10/08]

y separately published work icon Lockie Leonard, Human Torpedo Tim Winton , South Yarra : McPhee Gribble , 1990 Z362664 1990 single work novel young adult humour (taught in 6 units)

'Lockie Leonard, hot surf-rat, is in love. The human torpedo is barely settled into his new school, and already he's got a girl on his mind. And not just any girl: it has to be Vicki Streeton, the smartest, prettiest, richest girl in the class. What chance have you got when your dad's a cop, your mum's a frighteningly understanding parent, your brother wets the bed and the teachers take an instant dislike to you and then you fall in love at twelve-and-three-quarter years old? It can only mean trouble, worry, mega-embarrassment and some wild, wild times ' (Publication summary)

y separately published work icon Seven Little Australians Ethel Turner , London Melbourne : Ward, Lock and Bowden , 1894 Z863667 1894 single work children's fiction children's (taught in 25 units)

'Without doubt Judy was the worst of the seven, probably because she was the cleverest.'

'Her father, Captain Woolcot, found his vivacious, cheeky daughter impossible – but seven children were really too much for him and most of the time they ran wild at their rambling riverside home, Misrule.

'Step inside and meet them all – dreamy Meg, and Pip, daring Judy, naughty Bunty, Nell, Baby and the youngest, 'the General'. Come and share in their lives, their laughter and their tears.' (From the publisher's website.)

y separately published work icon Sleeping Dogs Sonya Hartnett , Ringwood : Viking , 1995 Z238800 1995 single work novel young adult (taught in 8 units) The misanthropic, sadistic father of five children, ages 12 to 25, Griffin Willow runs a trailer park on his dilapidated farm in rural Australia. Isolated from all outside influences, even the neighboring small town, the Willow family has created its own oppressive, sheltered, and decaying world. Despite abuse from their father and a silent, withdrawn mother, all five children live at home and help run the trailer park. Twenty-three-year-old Michelle and her younger brother Jordan have found solace in an incestuous relationship, which they carefully conceal from their parents. When Bow Fox, an itinerant artist, comes to stay at the park, their 15-year-old brother, Oliver, accidently reveals their secret. So begins an agonizing, irreversible progression of violence and betrayal. (Source: Trove)
y separately published work icon Deadly, Unna? Phillip Gwynne , Ringwood : Penguin , 1998 Z517608 1998 single work novel young adult (taught in 20 units)

'"Deadly, unna?" He was always saying that. All the Nungas did, but Dumby more than any of them. Dumby Red and Blacky don't have a lot in common. Dumby's the star of the footy team, he's got a killer smile and the knack with girls, and he's a Nunga. Blacky's a gutless wonder, needs braces, never knows what to say, and he's white. But they're friends... and it could be deadly, unna? This gutsy novel, set in a small coastal town in South Australia is a rites-of-passage story about two boys confronting the depth of racism that exists all around them.'

Source: Publisher's blurb.

y separately published work icon The Arrival Shaun Tan , Shaun Tan (illustrator), South Melbourne : Lothian , 2006 Z1285263 2006 single work graphic novel children's (taught in 16 units)

"The Arrival is a migrant story told as a series of wordless images that might seem to come from a long forgotten time. A man leaves his wife and child in an impoverished town, seeking better prospects in an unknown country on the other side of a vast ocean. He eventually finds himself in a bewildering city of foreign customs, peculiar animals, curious floating objects and indecipherable languages. With nothing more than a suitcase and a handful of currency, the immigrant must find a place to live, food to eat and some kind of gainful employment. He is helped along the way by sympathetic strangers, each carrying their own unspoken history: stories of struggle and survival in a world of incomprehensible violence, upheaval and hope." (Source: Shaun Tan website)



Children's and adolescent fiction is an important and integral part of the Creative Industries for both writers and those wishing to increase their knowledge of contemporary (and historical) cultural practice.


This unit aims to acquaint you with (mostly) Australian childrens and adolescent fiction within its cultural and historical contexts. By indicating the increasing diversity and plurality of this kind of fiction, it exposes you to an exciting and growing area of literacy studies.


The unit content addresses a number of key texts and literary genres in children's and adolescent fiction. The texts set for close study are discussed in terms of their social, political and cultural contexts. Emphasis is placed firstly upon the fiction produced at the time of emergent nationalisation in Australia in the 1890s but the bulk of the unit engages with the significant and contemporaneous development of the late twentieth century in Australia, England and the United States. The unit explores discourses about gender and sexuality; class; social place; power and subjectivity; race, especially in the relationship between empire and colonised; the family and home. It utilises methods of literacy theory including post-colonialism, New Historicism and feminism.