Review Blog

Nov 05 2015

At my door by Deb Fitzpatrick

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Fremantle Press, 2015. ISBN 9781925162707
(Age: 10+) Highly recommended. Family, Abandonment, Police, Refugees. When eighteen month old Mei is left on Poppy's doorstep late one cold night, the family works together to make the child feel loved and wanted. Dad goes to the shop to get milk, a bottle and nappies, Poppy dives into her box of old toys to find something that Mei might like to play with, Mum finds a pillow for her to snuggle into as she sleeps on the couch and next day, Harry brings in his football to play with Mei. The police have been summoned and Community Services alerted to the child being there. Eventually it is decided that she stay overnight, a social worker arriving to take her to a foster family the next day, but during the time she is in their home, Poppy thinks about what it means to be part of a family, and what being part of a family means to a young child.
This is a wonderfully open ended story. I can't stop thinking about all the discussions a class may have as Poppy and her family discuss a range of reasons that Mei has been left on their doorstep. No judgement is given about who might have done this, only sympathy for what may be happening in their lives and the continued hope that they be reunited. Similarly the number of police and social workers who turn up to the house are shown to be sympathetic and caring only for the needs of the child, although the number of them may be a gentle criticism.
The parting of the child from the family is a tearful moment, but will underline the impact a family has upon a child.
Discussions with a class may take the path of discussing the obvious issues of abandonment and fostering, leading to the more complex issues of responsibility, not just at a family level, but at a state and nation wide level. At my door suggests all sorts of issues much wider than a single child as Australia and the world struggles to help displaced families coming to our doorsteps. And all this in 91 pages.
Fran Knight

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