Storm Pearl by Kerry Anne Jordinson

cover image

A time slip story set in Broome, home of the Japanese pearl divers for many decades, sees Maggie visiting her grandmother. The young girl, accompanied by her dog, Buster, must cross the mangroves to get to the house she knows well. She sees friendly faces along the way and steps out in the mangroves. But a storm is coming. She lights upon some driftwood, wreckage from an old pearling ship and is transported back to the time of her grandfather, a pearl diver lost at sea many years before.

We see her grandmother feeling sad at the memories the storm brings, and the girl, coming to her senses after the storm passes makes her way to her gran. Here she relates the powerful story of meeting her grandfather and seeing him as he dived from the ship to bring up the pearl shells. She gives grandma the shell he gave her, and when they open it, find a pearl inside.

A charming story, bound up in the sights and sounds of the diving days at Broome, but also a modern story of the relationship between a girl and her grandmother, Storm pearl will have wide appeal. It reflects the history of Broome and its Japanese pearl divers, and talks of some of the pitfalls of the trade, resulting in the deaths of so many divers.

For older interested readers a fascinating look at Broome’s cemetery, can be found here

The soft, illustrations accompanying the text give readers a glimpse of life in Broome now and back in time: the low scrubby trees of the mangroves, the boab tree, the slipway at the boat builder’s, the lugger out at sea, a ghostly reminder of the past. And grandfather in all of his diving gear will grab the attention of the readers imagining themselves in such cumbersome gear being lowered into a stormy sea. It will make them shiver. Teacher's notes are available. The book can be purchased from the publisher.

Themes: Broome, Pearl divers, Japanese pearl divers, Australia-history, Time slip novel.

Fran Knight