Treasure!

Pirates and octopuses, parrots, hats and boats. Families and more pirates.

Today, I did a reading of Treasure in the beautiful Williamstown Botanic Gardens courtesy of their fabulous Friends group. There are so many corners and little nooks in these gardens that we were able to set up in the least windy spot. This is not to say that the wind didn’t find its way down paths and through garden beds, but it mostly waited until the end of my session.

Participants were encouraged to turn up dressed as pirates and that they did, one with a hook hand and another with both a parrot and an octopus! Such riches! We speculated what a pirate might look like and a few hardy souls donned jacket, stripy trews that I’d brought with me.

After the reading, we made hats and then, using the simple magic of paper folding, turned them into boats.

I told two new pirate jokes and I collected a few more.

Sail on Treasure!

Heroes of the Secret Underground

Cover image - Heroes of the Secret Underground

Twelve-year-old Louie lives with her two brothers and their Hungarian grandparents in the Majestic Boutique Hotel. It’s a life full of love and family, although Louie wishes their famous musician parents didn’t have to be overseas so often. The family is very close, but there are secrets here. When Louie finds a locket, she’s is determined to solve its mysteries, but her investigations see her transported with her brothers back to 1944 Budapest during WWII. They meet their grandparents as young people and find themselves caught up in Underground activities. The past connects to the present in an exploration of war horrors and the cost of keeping secrets.

‘Heroes of the Secret Underground’ by Susanne Gervay, takes history on a wild time-slipping ride and explores a lesser-known story of resistance in Nazi-occupied Budapest. It is inspired by Gervay’s own family history and imagines what it would be like to ‘walk a mile’ in the shoes of others. Literally as well as figuratively. What inspired her grandparents’ responses to war? What was the cost? Why do they not talk about it? Louie and her brothers are exposed to the best and the worst of human behaviour, in the most extreme circumstances for civilians in wartime. Courageous Louie, resourceful Bert and delightful little Teddy are a formidable team, united by love. For mid-primary to early secondary readers.