The Song Walker by Zillah Bethell
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
The Song Walker is a children’s story suitable for the ages of 9-12+. The two protagonists are both 13 years old so this would easily suit middle grade readers.
The story is set in the Australian outback, primarily in the Northern Territory, a very hot dry place with large open areas and few towns or people.
A young girl is alone walking through the wild landscape; she can’t remember who she is, where she is or why she is here. After a long cold night out in this place she is found by another young girl. This one is native to the land, a First Nation Australian; her name is Tarni.
Tarni is on a journey to find her sister; she is using her knowledge of the land and she invites the unusual girl with no name to go with her. Tarni gives the girl a name —Moonflower. Together they follow unseen ‘Dreaming Tracks’ as they make their way from one place to another.
This is a journey of discovery and friendship while it gently teaches the reader about Australia and some of its history and ancient belief in ‘The Dreaming’. I learnt quite a lot myself. The ending pulls together another aspect of First Nation beliefs, and flows easily into the final chapter.
I really enjoyed this; it would suit young readers who are looking for a friendship and adventure story or who are interested in cultural fiction.
There are no colour pictures, but chapter headings are decorated with black and white images of birds. The book is also split into four main parts; each begins with a double page depicting the Australian setting. Happy to recommend.
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“There are three questions that I need to find the answers to:
-Where am I?
-What am I doing here?
– And… Who am I?”
When a young girl wakes up in the middle of the desert, she has no idea who she is. She’s wearing one shoe, a silky black dress, and she’s carrying a strange, heavy case.
She meets Tarni, who is on a mysterious quest of her own. Together, the two girls trek across the vast and ever-changing Australian Outback in search of answers. Except both are also hiding secrets…