Saturday, October 3, 2015

Sister Heart by Sally Morgan

Just by chance here is another verse novel.  I read this last week before reading The Crazy Man.  Sister Heart and The Crazy man do not have a lot in common on one level - one is set in Canada in 1965 and the other in Australia between 1905 and 1970.  On an emotional level, though, both are such important stories.

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
Birds swoop
call out
make nests

Annie's brother Tim gives her a laughing stone.

If ya feel sad
squeeze the stone
and laugh
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


Pauline said...

Hello Momo. Beautiful review and a question? Where do you find the books you read? I do live in a small town and have access to a library but you seem to have an amazing collection of AWESOME books!
Thank you for your time! And a wonderfully helpful blog!

Momo said...

Thanks for your kind words. I am lucky to work in a well resourced large Primary school. I enjoy reading review journals and sourcing books for my library. I search for books online, I go to shops and I am lucky to have a library budget that allows me to purchase books for the students in my school - books that meet their reading needs and match our school curriculum.