Josef sat there, his mind churning over and over. Maybe this man was his uncle, maybe he wasn’t, but this could never be his land – or his home. He closed his eyes. His insides ached and he wanted to curl up in a ball. At the back of his mind he could hear Sasich saying, ‘Our village is kaput … gone … zapped.’
When Josef’s parents are killed in the Balkans conflict, he must flee with the women and children across the border. After months in a refugee camp, he is sent to Australia to live with an uncle he didn’t know about.
In Perth Josef must adapt to life with a new family, a new language and a countryside that is alien to him. He thinks he will never fit in here –and he isn’t sure he wants to.
No More Borders for Josef is one boy’s story of survival as he faces issues which most Australian teens will never have to deal with – war, loss of his parents and becoming a refugee. Yet in spite of its difficult subject matter, it is accessible to teens because of the familiarity of the setting and scenarios – school days, school camps, family life and so on. Teen readers will also relate to Josef’s quest for identity and difficulties in fitting in.
An outstanding read for children aged 10 to 14.
No More Borders for Josef, by Diana Chase
Fremantle Arst Centre Press, 2006
With no daisies growing in its gardens, Daisy Street wasn’t living up to its name, so Grandpa and Grandma Jacobs decided to have a daisy planting day. Soon all the gardens, tubs and hanging baskets were full of daisies of all colours, but the best part was that the whole street now knew each other.
Daisy Street is a collection of stories about the people who live in Daisy Street. Each story is self contained, focussing on a different family. There are James and Emma who come to stay with Grandma and Grandpa Jacobs for the holidays and Danny, who is desperate to be different, as well as Anna who manages to lose a pot of Irish Stew.
These six stories are each different, but blend well together with gentle humour and plenty of warmth. Likely to appeal to children aged six to ten, these tales are suitable for newly independent readers as well as for reading aloud by parents or teachers.
Daisy Street, by Diana Chase
Fremantle Arts Centre Press, 2005
Chloe’s family tell her that wishes aren’t real – even her little brother Eli tells her they’re ‘kid’s stuff’. But Chloe is sure that wishes float around in the air like invisible bubbles. All she has to do is wish at the right time and pop the wish bubble will burst and come true.
So Chloe isn’t as surprised as you might expect when she wishes for a fairy godmother to help her decide what to wish for, and pop, whizz, a fairy godmother appears in a cloud of pink and mauve fuzzy stuff. What she is surprised to learn is that some fairy godmothers aren’t exactly expert at granting wishes.
The tale of Chloe’s Wish, by Diana Chase, will delight six to ten year old readers. They will laugh out loud at the antics of Gloria, Chloe’s fairy godmother, and thrill at the idea that wishes really can come true. The illustrations of Heather Himmel also add a special touch to the book.
Chloe’s Wish, by Diana Chase
Published by Fremantle Arts Centre Press, 2001