A True Persontells the story of Zallah, a young girl who arrives in Australia by boat and is placed in a detention centre with her mother. My first reaction was that it is very political story and it needs to be. The reality of life in a detention centre is unknown to the majority of Australians, and more so for our children.
I love how the story is told from the child’s perspective, something that will draw on the emotions of adults, but will also allow children to relate to Zallah, even if they cannot relate to the experience. This story provides the perfect opportunity to introduce the concept of detention centres and illegal immigration in an age appropriate way.
If we want to change attitudes to major issues that we face today, we can start to do so through our children. Picture books such as A True Person give us the means to begin the process. It not only raises the question about what a true person really is, but allows us to think of this in light of our own experiences and those of others.
New Frontier has produced a beautifully written and illustrated book that gets both adults and children thinking. Once again, they are prepared to tackle some of the more important issues in life and should be congratulated for doing so.
I highly recommend this book to all adults and children alike.
A True Person, by Gabiann Marin, illustrated by Jacqui Grantford
New Frontier, 2007
HB rrp $24.95