Sarindi's dragon kite by Janine M Fraser
Ill. by Elise Hurst. Angus and Robertson, 2011. ISBN 9780 7322 8776 4.
(Ages 9+) Warmly recommended. Asian themes. When Sarindi is asked what he wants for this birthday he knows immediately that the dragon kite he has seen in the village is his dream. But the date is May 27, and is the day an earthquake strikes Indonesia, destroying villages and killing thousands. Sarindi's mother is heartbroken, as their house although shaken, is relatively untouched, but she has not heard from her sister and her family in Bantuil. So Sarindi and his father set out in their becak to the town to find out what has happened. They survey the appalling damage, finding that their relatives' house has been completely demolished and Sarindi finds his cousin's doll in the wreckage. Going to a camp set up for the survivors, they find that Sarindi's cousin, Agi is in the orphan tent, she is the only one left from her family.
In a story form, the author tells a moving tale of the destruction of the earthquake which struck Indonesia recently. The view taken by Sarindi allows younger readers to see the devastation clearly, to feel the impact on one family and how it has affected them, and then the wider impact on a beloved family living closer to the eye of the storm.
It is a wholly moving and involving read, augmented by Elise Hurst's drawings, which convey the closeness of the families in the story and gives a glimpse into the lives led by Indonesian children.