The Bone Sparrow
6th February 2017
'The Bone Sparrow' by Zana Fraillon
This Australian children's novel published last year is an important read for children over 10, and for adults.
Reminiscent of John Boyne's 'The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas', this is nine-year-old Subhi's story of growing up in the Immigration Detention Centre in which he was born. As he constructs his world from within the razor wire, he introduces the reader to the people around him, his family, his friends, and the 'Jackets' who are in charge.
Then along comes Jimmie, a girl from outside the centre who has her own problems to face. The two children share stories of their worlds in hidden nightime meetings after Jimmie finds a way into the centre.
Tensions are running high in detention, building to an inevitable climax that is explained from Subhi's innocent child's perspective.
Nominated and short-listed for numerous international book awards, this is a book that had to be written, and also has to be read.