Sally Morgan herself says complex topics such as the Stolen Generation can be more deeply explained through a personal narrative. In this book we meet a little girl who has been named Annie. We never discover her true name or learn where she is from. As the book opens Annie has been taken away from her mother and family. She travels over many days by ship and is placed in institutional care. It is here that Annie makes an important friend. A girl of the same age called Janey who befriends Annie and helps her to cope with her loss, bewilderment and the brutality of the care in this place which is now her home.
One of the best parts of this book is when Annie and Janey are able to wander away from the care home to a nearby creek.
The bush nearby smells damp
Annie's brother Tim gives her a laughing stone.
If ya feel sad
squeeze the stone
Only don't laugh in school!
Here is a set of very detailed teaching notes. This book should be considered as essential reading for a senior primary grade. It could be used along side the book and movie of The Rabbit Proof Fence and The Burnt Stick.
You can read an interview with Sally Morgan here. You should also listen to this Radio National interview. It goes for about 14 minutes but is worth spending the time to listen right to the end.
I will make another of my bold predictions and say this book will surely be short listed for the CBCA prize in 2016. Once it is available in paperback I plan to add a class set of this book to our library.
Here is a selection of other books on this topic which you might explore
With the lightest of touches, Sally Morgan deftly weaves the reader into the lives of these young people,