Review Blog

Apr 15 2019

Bushfire by Sally Murphy

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My Australian Story. Scholastic, 2019. ISBN: 9781742994307.
(Age: 9-12) Themes: Bushfires, Climate Change. The My Australian Story series focuses on different historical events that have impacted and shaped our nation. Sally Murphy's fictional account of the 2009 Black Saturday bushfires commemorates the 10th anniversary of this disaster. She draws from real-life accounts, creating an important message about the effect natural disasters can have on communities. Between the chapter's summaries of bushfire and other catastrophic events are included to open the readers' eyes to importance of planning and the way people rally to support after these tragic events.
In Bushfire we encounter school girl Amy, her older brother Aaron who's leaving home for a gap year, her mother who is a climate change scientist and park ranger and volunteer fire fighter father. They live in the Victorian town of Healesville. Her Grandma who lost her home in the Canberra bushfires now lives nearby in Marysville. Discussions with her family often turn to being bushfire ready and the science of climate change. Over the summer holidays, Amy visits her grandma and forms a friendship with a local lad Jackson and they enjoy swimming at the local pool and lunches from the bakery. Amy loves collecting information about natural disasters, plane crashes and rescues. When the bushfire sweeps through the town both youngsters play a vital role in saving grandma.
Sally Murphy's carefully crafted novel presents an authentic picture about the reality, the unpredictability and the devastation of bushfires. Even though the community and family are prepared, nothing can stop the powerful and overwhelming catastrophe. Central to Murphy's emotional story is the resilience of the community, the support of the state and the nation in rallying together to help in the aftermath. Bushfire is a useful resource for Year 5-6 classrooms, exploring the themes of climate change and practical preparation in the Australian bushfire.
Rhyllis Bignell

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