Carly Mills pioneer girl: A new world by Jane Smith

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Big Sky Publishing, 2020. ISBN: 9781922265074.
(Ages: 8-11 years). Recommended. Carly Mills Pioneer Girl: A New World by Jane Smith is the first book in a new series which looks at famous women in History. In this story Carly and her friend Dora travel back in time to 1841 to meet Caroline Chisholm. Carly has arrived in Sydney from rural Queensland to spend time with Dora before she attends boarding school. While they are exploring Sydney they visit Customs House where two shawls from an exhibition are dropped and then given to the girls after they try to return them. When Carly places the shawl around her shoulders she is immediately transported back to the docks of Sydney Harbor and meets Caroline Chisholm who is in the process of setting up a home for young female immigrants who are being taken advantage of by unscrupulous males. While there Carly endures a night far removed from her modern life and learns how dangerous life is for young girls travelling alone. After she returns to the present day, Carly encourages Dora to join her on the next adventure and they experience life as two new immigrant girls being placed safely in a caring home in a rural area. Carly has been experiencing great trepidation about attending boarding school but on returning to the 21st century, learning Dora will also be going, and after surviving life in 1841, she realises she is brave enough to cope with the major schooling change in her life.
This book is a clever introduction to early Australian History for middle grade readers. Later books will look at Dr Lillian Cooper, Dame Nellie Melba, Florence Nightingale, Amelia Earhart, Marie Curie and Miles Franklin. Themes: Women in History, Australian History, Friendship, Time Travel, Adventure.
Kathryn Beilby