'Subhi's imagination is as big as the ocean and wise as the sky, but his world is much smaller: he's spent his whole life in an immigration detention centre. The Bone Sparrow is a powerful, heartbreaking, sometimes funny and ultimately uplifting hymn to freedom and love.
'Sometimes, at night, the dirt outside turns into a beautiful ocean. As red as the sun and as deep as the sky. I lie in my bed, Queeny's feet pushing up against my cheek, and listen to the waves lapping at the tent.
'Subhi is a refugee. Born in an Australian permanent detention centre after his mother fled the violence of a distant homeland, life behind the fences is all he has ever known. But as he grows, his imagination gets bigger too, until it is bursting at the limits of his world. The Night Sea brings him gifts, the faraway whales sing to him, and the birds tell their stories.
'The most vivid story of all, however, is the one that arrives one night in the form of Jimmie, a scruffy, impatient girl who appears from the other side of the wires, and brings a notebook written by the mother she lost. Unable to read it, she relies on Subhi to unravel her own family's love songs and tragedies.
'Subhi and Jimmie might both find a way to freedom, as their tales unfold. But not until each of them has been braver than ever before.' (Publication summary)
'Zana Fraillon's The Bone Sparrow is an exceptional book for young adult readers, and this interview is an in-depth discussion of the themes and structure of the work.
'The Bone Sparrow was awarded the Amnesty CILIP Honour Award, the ABIA Book of the Year for Older Readers, the Readings YA Book Prize, the IBBY Australian Honour Book and was listed on the the CBCA Honour Book. The Bone Sparrow was also shortlisted for the Carnegie Award, the Guardian Children's Fiction Prize, the 2017 Prime Minister's Literary Award, the Victorian Premier's Literary Award, the Queensland Literary Award and the INKY Awards.'
Source: The Garret.
'This paper discusses some of the theories proposed in my monograph The Lost Child in Literature and Culture. It looks at the importance of the lost child figure in disrupting established narratives of history and culture. Using Fraillon’s two novels I discuss how the child is at the centre of abuses of power and also look at the author’s use of alternative forms of language and communication to counter this. The article locates Fraillon’s narratives within fairy-tale tropes such as a child’s quest, while arguing that such tales have also embodied endemic cruelty towards children. Ancient oral folk tales are entwined in the same narrative as modern media. The EASA Conference focused on the rise of nationalism, and the connections between Europe and Australia. The figure of the lost child is sadly pervasive in both parts of the world, showing the inter-connectedness of all our stories. The practice of Child Migration, referred to in this article, is an example of how lost children have been forcibly removed from Europe to Australia as one facet of a system of control.'
'Hear Reading Kids shop manager Angela Crocombe in conversation with author Zana Fraillon about The Bone Sparrow - the 2017 winner of the Readings Young Adult Book Prize.' (Production summary)
'The term empathy has become part of our everyday dialogue. As our world continues to face significant cycles of change, there is a growing need for people to connect with and understand one another, and reading can play a crucial role in helping us develop into empathetic human beings.' (Introduction)