We climbed over the rocks and at last sank into the cool water. Lazily we swam out through the narrow entrance looking down through our masks at the slowly moving underwater world: little brown waving trees, bunches of green lettuce, long strands of brown leather kelp. I hung there, weightless, floating in the clear water until I noticed something strange wedged into the rocks. I surfaced and dragged off my mask.
‘Hey, Jodie,’ I yelled. ‘Come over here!’
It’s school holidays and summer is well and truly here. While swimming with Jodie, Zena discovers a bag of abalone on the floor of Stingray Pool. She takes some home and shares them with her friends. Sean’s policeman father warns her to be careful, abalone poachers can be dangerous. Zena and her friends are uneasy but not too worried until their friend Tran disappears. They learn more and more about abalone and the risks poachers will take to harvest it. Summer is about to get much more exciting than they expected.
The front cover of Sea Secrets shows a view from underwater looking upwards. A diver floats next to the reef and seems oblivious to a shark swimming nearby. But it is the human ‘sharks’ who present most danger for Zena and her friends. Like the shark, danger circles closer and closer as they search for their friend. Gillian Wadds’ characters reflect the ethnic diversity in an urban environment without making a feature of their similarities and differences. They are just children, experiencing and responding to their environment, alternately excited by and fearful of what they find. There are family and cultural elements interwoven with the story, providing many topics for further discussion. Recommended for upper primary and early secondary readers.
Sea Secrets, by Gillian M Wadds
Hachette Children’s Books