The Grace Stories, by Sofie Laguna

Pegasus looked so thin and hungry. If he had food in his belly, perhaps he would have the strength to pull the cart. That way the cab driver wouldn’t take him to be butchered.
She crossed the road, dodging carts and carriages and men pushing barrows, back to the man selling fruit. Without waiting to make sure his back was turned, or his attention elsewhere, she grabbed three apples, tossed them into her kettle and dived back into the traffic.

It is 1808 and Grace’s life is hard. She spends her days as a mudlark, sifting through the muddy bottom of the Thames in search of anything her cruel uncle can sell. Her only pleasure in life is a horse called Pegasus who she visits when she can. But when Pegaus’s life is in danger, Grace takes a terrible risk, and soon is sentenced to transportation to Australia.

Previously published as four separate books in the Our Australian Girl series, The Grace Stories traces Grace’s adventures in London, on the journey to Australia, and as she makes a new life in the colony.

Bound in hardcover with a magnetic clasp, this is a sturdy collectable edition which will delight history-loving readers.


Book Cover:  Our Australian Girl: The Grace Stories

The Grace Stories , by Sofie Laguna
Viking Penguin, 2013
ISBN 9780670077540

Available in good bookstores and online.

Meet Rose, by Sherryl Clark

In her bedroom, Rose poured cold water from the flowered jug into the bowl and washed her hands and face, shivering at how icy it was. She used the hand towel to clean her boots, and brushed her dark, unruly hair. There. Surely Mother wouldn’t scold her on her birthday?

It is 1900 and Rose is growing up in a wealthy Melbourne household. Life should be easy, but Rose’s mother expects her to always act like a young lady – which means no cricket, no adventurers, and no school. But Rose desperately wants all of those things. When her favourite Aunt Alice comes to stay, Rose is happy – but Mother isn’t. She thinks Aunt Alice is a bad influence.

Meet Rose is the first of four stories about Rose which form part of the Our Australian Girl series. The series comprises four sets of four books, each exploring the story of one girl from a different period of Australian history. Rose differs a little from the other three girls because she comes from a more privileged background, yet, just like the other girls, she faces struggles and challenges as she tries to find her place in the world.

Meet Rose will appeal to middle and upper primary aged readers.

Meet Rose (Our Australian Girl)

Meet Rose (Our Australian Girl), by Sherryl Clark
Puffin Books, 2011
ISBN 9780143305361

This book can be purchased in good bookstores, or online from Fishpond. Buying through this link supports Aussiereviews.

Meet Grace, by Sofie Laguna

Grace screamed as men grabbed at her legs. She heard whistling and shouting and then she fainted as she fell, half-dragged, into the arms of a runner.
When she came to, the policemen hauled her into a cart. Grace didn’t need to ask where she was going. She already knew. To the gallows to be hanged.

It is 1808 and orphan girl Grace lives in London, surviving by working daily as a mudlark – scouring the muddy bottom of the Thames for things to sell. Her one joy in life is watching the horses on Fleet Street. But one day Grace’s hunger gets the better of her and she steals an apple. Even her horse friend can’t save her from being arrested, and soon she finds herself in prison facing the possibility of a death sentence.

Meet Grace is the first of four stories about this convict girl and forms part of the Our Australian Girl series from Puffin books. The series traces the lives of four girls in different periods of Australian history, with each girl the heroine of four books, and each set of four written by an eminent Australian author.

Meet Grace not only introduces Grace, enticing young readers to sek out the next instalment, but is self-contained enough to be satisfying on its own.

Meet Grace (Our Australian Girl)

Meet Grace (Our Australian Girl), by Sofie Laguna
Puffin, 2011
ISBN 9780143305286

This book can be purchased from good bookstores, or online from Fishpond.