Review Blog

Sep 08 2011

Meet Grace by Sofie Laguna

cover image

Ill. by Lucia Masciullo. Our Australian Girl (series). Penguin, 2011 ISBN 978 0 14 330528 6.
(Ages 9+) Recommended. Australian History. Grace, an eleven year old struggling to find discarded and lost items amidst the mud on the River Thames, is only one amongst many in London on 1808. At a time when London had a bulging population, many of whom were poor, illiterate and starving, Grace's few finds ensured her begrudging uncle would feed her. But this relationship is dependent upon his good will, and this is not often evident, so Grace finds herself in the streets dreaming of a better life. Stealing an apple to give to a horse lands her in Newgate Prison, ready for trial. From there she is sentenced to seven years transportation and penal  servitude and from there taken to a ship where she will be part of the convict cargo, bound for Sydney Cove on the other side of the world.
This little book, (about 100 pages, with large clear print) is part of the series, Our Australian Girl. With the new Australian Curriculum set to be used across the nation with an emphasis on Australian History, this series is well placed to be picked up by students and teachers alike.
This story, Meet Grace is the first in a group of four novels about Grace and her journey from the banks of the River Thames to the ship, Indispensible, her prison until she reaches New South Wales. Students will not only read an engaging historical novel, with a sympathetic main character, but will also learn details about our forebears and how they came to this country.
At the end of each novel several pages giving information about the life a child such as Grace would have lived, plus information about the three novels following her life after London, with a teaser, a few pages from the start of the next novel, A friend for Grace.
Fran Knight

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