Review Blog

Dec 12 2012

Barefoot kids by Steve Hawke

cover image

Fremantle Press, 2007. ISBN 978 1920731533.
(Age: 12+) Highly recommended. Environment, Aboriginal themes. Written after living in the Kimberley for 15 years, Hawke has created a telling story of life for kids in the remote north west Western Australia. A family group along with a few friends have formed a local band, the Barefoot Kids, which plays in the pubs and clubs. They get to hear of the local developer pushing through plans for a resort at nearly Eagle Beach. This is an area many people know and love, some more so than others as they are the custodians of this particular piece of land, and have been given the task of looking after it for the next generations.
The story builds up as the developer and the local community, lead by the kids, tries to stop the plans for the resort going ahead, clash. Involved within this story is another of a stolen black pearl which has a bearing on the fate of the land being sought by the developer.
Rather neatly resolved, Barefoot kids is nevertheless a fascinating story about Aboriginal people's struggles for their land, alongside the non indigenous populations who see that the future of this pristine site is at risk. The environment is beautifully presented, the issues at stake tellingly told and the characters well developed, making this a good read which will enable its readers to have a sound grasp of the issues involved.
Fran Knight

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