The Bone Sparrow is a Middle Grade novel focused on the life of Subhi, a 9 year old refugee living in an Australian detention centre, along with his Mother (Maá) and sister (Queeny). To say this novel is heart-breaking is an understatement, and that’s coming from someone with the cold heart of an ice queen.
So, why is this story so heart-breaking? Because, it’s more than just a story. This book is a cold hard truth that I know a lot of Australian’s (admittedly, including myself) try to avoid. And it’s not just Australia, all around the world those who flee death and persecution in their own countries are treated like criminals. They’re locked up in detention centres and treated more poorly than murderers and rapists. The Bone Sparrow really gave me pause, especially as a nurse, about how we value the lives of some over others. But, I digress… It’s time for my thoughts on the book!
The Bone Sparrow is written poetically, but still remains raw. It’s honest, but doesn’t use gruesome tactics. I think it’s the perfect book to read in school tbh. I would have much preferred to read this book over The Great Gatsby. It’s highly relevant to the lives of Australians, while being educational as well. It teaches the importance of family and friendship, and focuses on the humans ability to survive. I also urge you to make sure to read the Author’s Note at the end, which is a powerful message within itself.
I’ll leave you with some of the resources mentioned by Zana Fraillon in her Author’s note if you’re interested in finding out more about asylum seekers and how to help: