The fun and laughter left Merrina’s face: she sprang lightly to the ferns and came to Lexie. Squatting before her on the ground she patted her shoe and looked steadfastly at her face as she said softly, ‘I’ll always know when you want me, Weetah – always.’
The way she said it made Lexie want to cry. After a little pause she blurted out, ‘I’ve got to go home soon. You won’t come and play with me then, Merrina?’
‘You must come here.’
First published in 1960 and winner of the CBCA Children’s Book of the Year, 1961, Tangara is now back in print under UQP’s Children’s Classics imprints.
As well as being regarded a classic, the book is important because it was the first novel to explore the treatment of the Aboriginal people in Tasmania from the Aboriginal perspective.
In Tangara young Lexie finds a shell necklace which belonged to her great-great Aunt Rita. This is the start of an adventure similar to the ones her aunt had. Lexie meets Merrina, an Aboriginal girl living in Black’s Gully, and the two form an unlikely bond. But Lexie will have to be strong to endure the nightmare that is about to confront her.
This is an absorbing read which is well deserving of the title ‘classic’. It is wonderful to see it back in print.
Tangara, by Nan Chauncy
This edition UQP 1997
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