Review Blog

Jan 04 2016

Harry's secret by Anita Heiss

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Scholastic Australia, 2015. ISBN 9781760152024
(Age: 7-9) Recommended. Subjects: Children's Secrets, Drawing, Friendship, Family Life. Eleven-year-old Harry loves to skateboard. He's won the King of Cowra Skate Park two years in a row, sharing the title with his best mate Gav. His friends love footy, fishing and camping. Gav has definite opinions about what is cool and teases kids who are doing nerdy things like reading. Harry has a secret talent, he loves to draw, and sketch everyday life, scenes at the skate park, and caricatures of his mates, special friend Lucy-Lowanna and even the relief teacher Mrs. Bee embellished with stripy antenna. No one else knows about his abilities, especially his Dad, who is a man's man, a carpenter who loves football and fishing as well.
Harry finds every opportunity to draw, at the pool, at the river, even camping on the weekend. Unfortunately, his drawings suffer a variety of fates, burnt in the campfire, carried away by a magpie or swept away by the wind. On the night of the NRL Grand Final, there's a big family and friends barbecue in their backyard. However, Harry hides out in his bedroom contemplating the local paper's announcement of an art competition. Of course, he decides to enter. Two months later, after a fun-filled family Christmas, January 10th finally arrives and the mysterious winner is announced - who is HB?
Anita Heiss's junior novel celebrates the everyday lives of Aboriginal kids living in Cowra, their friendships, love of sports, family relationships and deadly weekend activities. This story explores the development of a sense of identity and self-confidence, the concerns related to peer pressure and the realisation that all talents need to be encouraged.
Rhyllis Bignell

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