GROW – Under the Southern Cross

Reviewed by Dale Harcombe

This collection of poems and stories for 8-14 year olds should be a must for every library or school. They’re the kind of poems and stories children will enjoy. Parents too will find plenty to read to or with their children.

GROW – Under the Southern Cross contains a number of poems and stories by award winning authors and well known names in the children’s writing scene, among them Elizabeth Fensham, Roseanne Hawke and Andrew Lansdown, as well as a number of other authors we’re sure to hear more of.

Yes, I have a poem, Hideaway and a story, Lions Don’t Dance, included in the anthology. Even if I did not, I would be still recommending this anthology. Variety is the key. There are stories that send a shiver up the spine like Shadows of the Night. Others are based on a true story or show relationships between family, like Desert Mermaid, Spoken Word or Curing Cousin George. Some have a historical slant. I particularly liked A Pair of Worn Sandals and Changing the Shadow. Others had a fantasy element like Song-Moon’s Dragon. And then there’s the laconic Aussie humour of Where the Wild Bush Horses are.

Some of the poems like Insight and Seasons Greetings rhyme. Others are free verse. And I loved Andrew Lansdown’s Waterlily Haiku, and Mosquito Haiku, John Malone’s Banana Moon and Ashley Clarkson’s view of a blowfly in Lucilia Cuprina, proves poems can be written about anything. The riddles will encourage children to put on their thinking caps as will the snippet from the great non fiction book The Singing Silence which is reviewed on this site and also at Write and Read with Dale blog.


Teachers will this anthology useful for lessons about different text types and helping children write their own stories and poetry.

The coloured illustrations combined with black and white drawings add to the appeal of what is a beautifully presented book that will provide hours of delight. The CD of poems and several stories professionally performed by members of Harvest Rain Theatre is an added bonus. Highly Recommended.

GROW – Under the Southern Cross:
Stories and activities for children and young teens

Edited by Lyn Hurry and Anne Hamilton
ISBN 9780980332124 paperback and CD
Published by Writerlynks Grow Magazine

The Singing Silence, by Anne Hamilton

Reviewed by Dale Harcombe

I’m not a scientific or mathematical person, but from the moment I first picked up this little book I was captivated by the ideas presented. It starts with the premise that that just as artists sign their work, God has put his signature mark on many aspects of creation. The booklet then goes on to provide proof of this statement and to give the reader examples and details of how to find God’s personal stamp on His creation. Anne Hamilton teaches mathematics, and is interested in medieval literature, old word lists and children’s fantasy. Her diverse interests show in the text. Starting from the humble bumble bee and the sunflower, she goes on to provide further examples of God’s trademark ratio. If you’ve ever wanted to know the answer to the question, ‘why is a banana bent,’ you need to get hold of this book. Or if you want to know the connection between maple leaves, limpets and peacock feathers, this book will provide the answer. One that really tickled my funny bone was the connection between a person’s teeth and a zebra. No, that is not a misprint. I did say a zebra. The patterns that emerge in this booklet about various aspects of creation will have you astounded, as I was.

Anne Hamilton also debunks the premise that Dan Brown came up with in The Da Vinci Code of the golden ratio being a symbol of goddess worship. She offers the reader a different and plausible explanation.

The amount of research that has gone into writing this little book is staggering, as it covers such a wide range of people and disciplines as Luca Pacioli, Leonardo Da Vinci, Pythagoras, history, mathematics, art, science and free will, other cultures and their beliefs – like the temple of Apollo at Delphi, English Poetry and fiction eg the Pearl manuscript including the poem Sir Gawain and the Green Knight, the anonymous poet of the 14th century and the Bible.

Be warned, this is not a book the reader will devour at one sitting and then forget about. After I read it, I found myself wanting to talk about it and share what I’d read with others. I wanted to explore more of the references Anne Hamilton gives, as well as to keep going back over what I had read and thinking about the implications of what she has written. This book is one that inquiring minds and teachers will find has much to challenge them. For those who want to investigate further, Anne has given endnotes and a link to a website which provides further details of what she has expounded in The Singing Silence. As I read this book, I found myself often echoing Anne’s own words on page 39- ‘Wow! Isn’t that stunning?’ or other similar comments. But it wasn’t only the amount of information and the connections that kept me reading, fascinated. Added to all the thought provoking information it provides, the book is beautifully written. The text sings. Try it yourself and see.

The Singing Silence is a joy to pick up and the photography adds to the beauty of this book. My only criticism is that I would have liked more pages as I wanted to keep reading. But I believe a sequel can be expected in due course. However as it is, the size of this book, only 64 pages, makes it perfect for slipping inside Christmas cards.

The Singing Silence, by Anne Hamilton
published by Phares, 2007.

This book can be purchased directly from the author for $7.50 posted. Email Anne Hamilton at There is also a website at