Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Home and away by John Marsden & Matt Ottley

"Everyone wants a place of safety, a place to share with the people they love. A place to relax. A home.
"Right now, more than a billion people don't have a home - that's one in seven of the world's population.
"There are only two places you can be in life: home or away."
The blurb and the front cover - depicting a small boy trapped behind a tall wire fence topped with barbed wire - are good indicators that despite this being a picture book, it's not a warm and fuzzy read for small children.
And the fact that it's written by John Marsden is a good indicator that Home and away has something important to say. And that something seems to me to be that 'they' - the refugees who flee their countries for an undertain future elsewhere - could so easily be 'us'; that safety and security can't be taken for granted.
The story begins innocently enough, with details and a photo of the happy family - Mum, Dad, the 15-year-old narrator, his 11-year-old sister Claire, five-year-old Toby and their grandmother. A child's drawing illustrates the next pages, with the text detailing their preparations for school and work.
Then suddenly, the mood of the text and illustrations changes. War is declared. And after months of near-starvation, Dad pays almost everything the family has to secure places on a boat. They are now refugees.
With John Marsden's gripping, heart-wrenching text and Matt Ottley's illustrations that combine child-like drawings with realism, this book - nominated in the Australian Children's Book of the Year awards - is a must-read for adults and older children alike and is sure to spark lively discussions.
Rating - I give this 5/5 GREAT!!
Get this from the library
Reviewed by Jan @ Ballarat

1 comment:

not tellin ya said...

im 11 and i read this book
it is absolutely heartbreaking
when i finished i felt like i had been punched in the guts and i literally was about to cry
this book tells the other side of refugees
the story many people here about refugees
r that they r bad people coming to live here for free
this book is totally different
its SOOOOO sad at the end
i had the same feeling as i had(maybe even worse)after reading the diary of anne frank
although this book is sad-it is a must read for older kids and even adults