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Contemporary Australian Children's Literature (ENGL310)
Semester 1 / 2015


y separately published work icon Into That Forest Louis Nowra , Crows Nest : Allen and Unwin , 2012 Z1881708 2012 single work novel young adult (taught in 2 units) 'Me name be Hannah O'Brien and I be seventy-six years old. Me first thing is an apology - me language is bad cos I lost it and had to learn it again. But here's me story and I be glad to tell it before I hop the twig. So begins this extraordinary novel, which will transport you to Australia's wild frontier and stay in your mind long after you've finished reading.' (Publisher's blurb)
y separately published work icon My Place : The Story of Australia from Now to Then My Place Nadia Wheatley , Donna Rawlins , Donna Rawlins (illustrator), Blackburn : Collins Dove , 1987 Z795146 1987 single work picture book children's historical fiction (taught in 7 units)

'My Place, the classic Australian picture book, is a "time machine" which takes the reader back into the past. It depicts the history of one particular piece of land in Sydney from 1788 to 1988 through the stories of the various children who have lived there. It aims to teach the reader about the history of Australia, about families, settlers, multiculturalism, and the traditional owners of the land. Each child's story covers a decade in time, showing their particular dress, customs and family life.

'The book also features maps that the successive generations of children have 'drawn' which demonstrate the things that have changed - as well as the things that have remained constant. My Place ultimately aims to show "that everyone is part of History" and that "every place has a story as old as the earth".' -- Provided by publisher (2008 ed.)

y separately published work icon The Lost Thing Shaun Tan , Shaun Tan (illustrator), Port Melbourne : Lothian , 2000 Z668356 2000 single work picture book children's (taught in 11 units) 'A boy discovers a bizarre looking creature while out collecting bottle tops at the beach. Realising it is lost, he tries to find out who owns it or where it belongs, but is met with indifference from everyone else, who barely notice its presence, each unwilling to entertain this uninvited interruption to their day to day lives. For reasons he does not explain, the boy empathises with the creature, and sets out to find a 'place' for it.'
(Source: The Lost Thing website)
y separately published work icon Town James Roy , St Lucia : University of Queensland Press , 2007 Z1421487 2007 selected work short story young adult (taught in 5 units)

'In Town, James Roy turns his hand to the short story, using it to explore the lives of the young residents of an Australian town. This town doesn't have a name. But if it seems familiar, it's because we recognise the people who walk its streets.

'From the serendipity of an unexpected moment of connection, to the sadness of leaving home, and the pain of the desperate decisions we make, these stories take a personal and uncompromising look at life. Love and loss, grief, humour and passion. Hope and hopelessness. Thirteen linked short stories, spanning a year in the lives of thirteen young people, from a town near you.' (Publisher's blurb)

y separately published work icon Boys of Blood and Bone David Metzenthen , Camberwell : Penguin , 2003 Z1042804 2003 single work novel young adult war literature historical fiction (taught in 6 units) Two parallel stories about two young men, separated by nearly nine decades in two different eras. As Andy and his mates head inexorably towards the bloody torturous Great War, Henry faces challenges, dangerous situations and tragedies of his own. (LA)
y separately published work icon The Binna Binna Man Meme McDonald , Boori Pryor , St Leonards : Allen and Unwin , 1999 Z492840 1999 single work novel young adult (taught in 7 units) 'The powerful story of an Aboriginal teenage boy who is caught between the attractions of city life and the ways of his people. After a terrifying encounter with the Binna Binna man he knows what he must do in order to be true to himself.' Source: Libraries Australia.
y separately published work icon The Divine Wind Garry Disher , Sydney : Hodder Headline , 1998 Z268319 1998 single work novel historical fiction young adult (taught in 8 units)

'Friendship is a slippery notion. We lose friends as we change and our friends don't, or as we form other alliances, or as we betray our friends or are ourselves betrayed ...

'Alice, Hartley, Mitsy and Jamie are kids growing up in Broome before the Second World War. Their lives, although very different, are bound by friendship. Hartley and Alice Penrose are the children of an uneducated pearling master and a cultivated, disgruntled mother. Mitsy Sennosuke is Japanese, the daughter of Zeke, a diver working for Hartley and Alice's father, and Sadako, who makes soy sauce in a tin shed factory. Jamie Kilian is the son of a local magistrate, recently moved north from the city. Together, they unconsciously cross the boundaries of class and race, as they swim, joke and watch films in the cinema in Sheba Lane.

'But these happy, untroubled times end when lives are lost in a terrible cyclone, Alice falls for a wealthy cattleman pilot, a young woman is assaulted, and Hartley and Jamie compete for the love of Mitsy. The Second World War brings further strain into their lives. The four friends are no longer children but old enough to fight for their country. As Japanese bombs begin to fall like silver rain on northern Australia, loyalties are divided and friendships take on an altogether different form …

'This thrilling and beautifully written new novel from Garry Disher evokes an era of Australia caught up in the events of war and its effects on people torn apart from all they know and hold dear in childhood.' (Source: Publisher's website)

y separately published work icon Only the Heart Brian Caswell , David Phu An Chiem , St Lucia : University of Queensland Press , 1997 Z243861 1997 single work novel young adult (taught in 6 units) From the chaos and fear of post-war Saigon, and the terror of pirates on the open ocean, to the triumph and tragedy of a new life, Only the Heart is the story of Toan and Linh, and a family that endures the nightmare, in search of the dream. When logic says the dream is beyond your reach, only the heart knows the truth.
y separately published work icon Ten Things I Hate about Me Randa Abdel-Fattah , Sydney : Pan Macmillan Australia , 2006 Z1311393 2006 single work novel young adult (taught in 5 units) There are a lot of things Jamie hates about her life: her dark hair, her dad's Stone Age Charter of Curfew Rights, her real name - Jamilah Towfeek. For the past three years Jamie has hidden her Lebanese background from everyone at school. It's only with her email friend John that she can really be herself. But now things are getting complicated: the most popular boy in school is interested in her, but there's no way he would be if he knew the truth. Then there's Timothy, the school loner, who for some reason Jamie just can't stop thinking about. As for John, he seems to have a pretty big secret of his own. (Source: Trove)


This unit examines the relationships between Australia's changing culture and society, and the literature that society produces for its children. It deals mainly with the literature of the past 20 years, and explores the representations of such issues as: maturation; relationships of self to place; structures of power and authority in society; and the quest for reconciliation between the white settler society and the Aboriginal peoples of Australia. These issues are examined in fiction, picture books, and film.