Author(s): Pip Harry
When a Manly school sets out to bring a country class to the city for a beach visit, three very different kids find each other and themselves.Noah is fearless in the surf. Being at the beach makes him feel free. So where does his courage go when his best mate pushes him around?Lottie loves collecting facts about bugs, but she wishes her dad would stop filling their lonely house with junk. She doesn't know what to do about it. Jack wants to be a cricket star, but first he has to get to school and look after his little sister. Especially if he wants to go on the class trip and see the ocean for the first time.
CBCA Shortlist 2020:Book of the Year: Younger Readers
CBCA Review:Expertly written in verse form, the story revolves around three plausible, three-dimensional characters who alternate their narration. Primary school children, they have been given an assignment by their teachers to write to a pen pal and thus the two contrasting settings, a beautiful surfing beach and a remote outback town, serve to highlight the challenges which the children experience. The story flows smoothly with the three plots becoming increasingly interwoven, creating complex layers and parallels: Lottie is dealing with her father’s grief and consequent hoarding, Noah is being bullied by his ‘best friend’ and Jack is challenged by his family’s poverty and his mother’s addiction. There are themes of grief, family, bullying and poverty which are explored with an overarching theme of supporting each other through connection: Jack and Lottie have aunts who support the family; Lottie’s and Noah’s dads connect to provide emotional stability. The plot development is compelling and the inclusion of the pen pal letters is a clever device to add information and enhance the connections. The cover is colourful and appealing.