’This is it. The beginning of our new lives. Ready?
Teresa and her mama nodded. ‘Ready.’
They stepped into the cheers and music and beneath flying streamers and confetti. All around them were people in tears, hugging and laughing.
People made sure they stood together to take their first steps onto Australian soil. When they did, he wiped his sleeve across his eyes. Mama kissed his cheek. ‘You old softie.’
War rages across Europe, and Teresa and her family endure tough times in their homeland, Malta. There are bombing raids every day, and her father is away fighting alongside the allies. Even when peace finally comes, life is difficult, so Teresa’s family make a difficult decision – they will leave Malta and start a new life in Australia.
In Australia life is safer, and Teresa’s parents find jobs, but there are still many obstacles to overcome, including getting used to Australian ways. Not everyone is welcoming of new Australians, but Teresa is determined to succeed in this strange new land.
Teresa: A New Australian is wonderful new historical fiction, exploring the life of one new migrant in the years following World War 11. Teresa is a feisty, loyal girl who faces each new challenge head on. Readers will enjoy getting to know her and at the same time will become familiar with aspects of Australia’s history they may not know.
Teresa is an outstanding addition to the New Australian series.
Teresa , by Deborah Abela
Omnibus, an imprint of Scholastic, 2016
‘You don’t want to be stopping here, me young colleen,’ he said. ‘In England, the Irish are bottom of the heap – kept poor and treated like eejits ’cause of our Catholic faith. Go someplace where you’re as good as the rest. That’s what I’d do, if I was young like you.’
Life has been tough for Bridget, but now she setting sail for Australia, where she is to start a new life. She isn’t afraid. Nothing could be worse than staying in Ireland and starving to death. Still, she cries for what she is leaving behind – her mother and brothers in the work house and her father and grandmother, both dead. In Australia, too, she finds that though life might be better, her strong spirit might land her in trouble.
Bridget, part of Omnibus Books’ New Australian series is set in and after the time of the Irish potato famine of the mid nineteenth century, and shows both that famine’s effects as well as the resultant scheme which saw poverty stricken Irish shipped to Australia. Although not convicts, Bridget and her fellows travellers have few rights and must adapt to life in a very foreign land.
Suitable for readers in middle primary and older, Bridget is historical fiction with broad appeal. Bridget is a likeable narrator who readers will enjoy getting to know.
Bridget, by J. Maloney
Available from good bookstores and online.