Review Blog

Aug 17 2014

Plenty by Ananda Braxton-Smith

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Black Dog Books, 2014. ISBN 9781742032429.
(Age: 8-12) Recommended. Journeys. Moving house. Refugees. When ten year old Maddy is told by her parents that they are moving to the small country town called Plenty because her grandmother is becoming less able to cope by herself, she is furious. Her best friend, Sophie-Rose and she have always done everything together, even sharing their birthdays every year in their back yard, sleeping in a tent and watching the stars.
Maddy knows stories about the stars, the Greek names for some of the constellations and Aboriginal stories about the movement of the stars.
But leaving Melbourne is not what she expected, and her behaviour over the next little while reflects that. But as she comes to know her grandmother better, and goes out into the scrub with her looking at the native orchids which grandma and her friends propagate and plant, she develops more understanding about her parents' decision. At school she meets Grace a refugee from Sudan, learning her story of moving. And she hears her grandmother's story, of being forced out of their home in Cyprus, of moving to Australia, and comes to realise that her mother's odd behaviour has been shaped by her own trauma at being forced to move...
This is a many-layered story of refugees, of finding a place to call home, a place of safety. Through the stories Maddy hears, she is better able to accept her change and dislocation, as well as learn more about her own family.
Fran Knight

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