Review Blog

Oct 14 2014

Plenty by Ananda Braxton-Smith

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Black Dog Books, 2014. ISBN 9781742032429.
(Ages: 7-12) Recommended. This is an uplifting story which brings into focus the feelings of dislocation, homelessness and home sickness from the perspective of a child moving house within Australia and marrying it to the experience of refugees who have moved to Australia from across the world.
Maddy is angry, very angry. Angry enough to feel like running away as she already feels homeless. Her parents have announced that they are moving from Melbourne, and the world Maddy has always known, her sanctuary, to the country, a place called Plenty, where they will be closer to Nana, who is getting older, and where there are trees.
Maddy is determined not to forget her old home and does not settle easily into her new home and takes time to warm to her Nana. At school she is seated next to Grace Welk, a refugee from the South Sudan whose family are grateful to have escaped the camps in Kenya. Maddy and Grace are partnered on the class project, choosing to investigate the indigenous orchids which Nana has introduced Maddy to.
Maddy is still home sick for her old home and friends and tensions rise as her parents refuse to return to Melbourne. Her friendship with Grace blossoms as does her relationship with her Nana. It is only after rescuing Nana from the creek that Maddy learns of Nana's developing dementia and that her mother's family came to Australia as refugees, from Cyprus after the war.
Refugees come in all forms and whether as Maddy they have moved a short distance or as Grace and Nana a world away. There is sadness loss and home sickness to overcome. Maddy like the others finds sanctuary in her new home.
Sue Keane

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