Children’s Book Week review – Azaria: a true history by Maree Coote
This book is notable for the Children’s Book Council of Australia (CBCA) Eve Pownall Award for Information Books, which is the category for children’s non-fiction books.
“Entries in this category should be books which have the prime intention of documenting factual material with consideration given to imaginative presentation, interpretation and variation of style.” (CBCA, 2021)
What happens when the truth gets lost? Where wild animals and people meet, tragedy can strike. But when a tiny baby is stolen by a dingo, people simply cannot accept such a thing. Prejudice and gossip grip the nation, and the tragedy transforms into a fight for the truth. This is a true Australian story of innocence, ignorance, and the perils of mob thinking.
Azaria: a true history by Maree Coote looks like a picture book for younger children but is actually a true story in Australian history. This retelling of a tragic event also encourages readers to consider the trust we place in the media, and the way that public opinion can influence the collective memory.
The illustrations in this book are remarkable. The style is very unique, and the colours perfectly reflect the landscape of central Australia. As I read, I was engrossed by the pictures on every page and after finishing the text, I immediately “re-read” the images.
This book is recommended for ages 8+ and best shared with an adult, as it will lead to discussion on topics such as justice, animal instincts, media sensationalism, and emotions.
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