Review Blog

Apr 30 2014

Meet Pearlie by Gabrielle Wang

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Our Australian Girl series. Puffin, 2014. ISBN: 9780143307945.
Pearlie and her best friend, Naoko, live in Darwin in 1941. As the war continues Naoko, because of her Japanese origins, begins to be treated differently by the other local residents. Evidence that there is a spy living in the town seems to have placed Naoko's family under suspicion. When the two girls go out together to investigate, they come across some indications of who may really be involved in plotting against Australia and sharing information with the enemy. Will Pearlie be able to maintain her belief in and friendship with Naoko, knowing that she may well be given the same poor treatment as her friend?
The Our Australian Girl series is one which has become incredibly popular, especially with our female students from Year 4 and above. A large part of the appeal would seem to be due to the large font and double spacing which make the titles easily accessible to confident readers, as well as the adventure element being introduced to these stories which involve children 'just like them'. Daily activities and routines are broken by the introduction of a mystery which the children seem likely to be able to solve with little help from the adults in the stories. With four titles about Pearlie and each girl in the series, readers who begin Pearlie are more than likely to want to keep reading until the resolution has been reached at the end of the fourth book. A number of our classes from Years 5 to 7 are now completing English units which focus on students reading historic fiction as a basis for their assignments. These titles sit beautifully alongside the My Australian Story series favoured by many of the boys from the same age group and have motivated the students to read more titles in this genre.
This is the first title I have read from the series, but the appeal of the books was immediately apparent. I now very willingly recommend these books to many of our confident younger readers.
Jo Schenkel

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