Tag Archives: Carole Wilkinson

Inheritance – Carole Wilkinson

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Walker Books

ISBN: 9781760650360
Imprint: Black Dog Books
Release Date: September 1, 2018
Australian RRP: $17.99
New Zealand RRP: $19.99

Carole Wilkinson has created a superbly plausible narrative which realistically weaves historic realism from Australia’s past from the perspective of both First Australians and early white settlers putting an ugly side to the beginnings of our modern nation in full view. For too long much of this history has been ignored or whitewashed (pun intended) in order to placate a national consciousness.

Fourteen year old Nic (Veronica) has been left in the care of her taciturn grandfather in the old family homestead out in the country. Her mother, whom Nic lost when she was born, grew up here and Nic longs to find out more about her. She also wonders why the once grandiose sprawling homestead has become so rundown and neglected and so finds more than one mystery to solve.  Her start at a new school is not very encouraging but she at least can assimilate into the ‘loners’ group. Most especially disturbing for her is the instant antipathy from Thor, another loner, whose grievance against her seems to be solely based upon her family name.

While Nic discovers a strange gift inherited from her Scottish female side – the ability to time travel – and begins to unravel secrets about her pioneering family, Thor is trying to find evidence of a truth he knows to be so with regards to the tragedy of his own people, the Djargurd wurrung, original occupiers of the area.

After their inauspicious start Nic and Thor end up joining forces to uncover the truth of their own family histories and a start to reconciliation though not without many disconcerting discoveries, including the real story of Nic’s mother.

For those who have not read Bruce Pascoe’s excellent book Dark Emu there will be much to learn here about largely unknown First Australian culture, settlements and agriculture. The oft-repeated stereotyping of the ‘hunter/gatherer/nomadic’ society who did nothing to entitle them keeping their land is thoroughly de-bunked – a falsehood perpetuated as some kind of justification for the dispossession of our indigenous peoples.  For those who are not aware of the heinous actions of some early settlers, there will also be disturbing revelations about the conduct of some of those often held up as examples of founders of white settlements.

Young readers may well be dismayed to find out such history but it is important to know if we, as a nation, are to move forward with the gathering momentum towards full recognition and reconciliation. It has already taken too long and many older people would prefer to ignore the truth so it is essential that our youth know the real facts.  Historical fiction such as this, based squarely on actual events, goes a long way towards this.

I highly recommend this book to readers from Upper Primary upwards and think it is a valuable addition to a ‘read around your topic’ for students of history.

 

Bronze Bird Tower: Dragonkeeper #6 – Carole Wilkinson

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Walker Books

ISBN: 9781925381412
Imprint: Black Dog Books
March 2017
Australian RRP: $24.99

In 2002 Carole Wilkinson introduced us to a small downtrodden Chinese girl with no name and a marvellous world of beautiful, mysterious and terrible dragons. Set in ancient China where dragon hunters and warring feudal lords, oppression of the miserable poor and contemptuous dismissal of females were commonplace, the girl who became Ping the honoured dragon keeper is a heroic figure.

Six books later 400 years have passed in the history of the dragons and their keepers and now Ping’s descendant Tao, a young Buddhist boy partly trained as a monk, and Kai, the dragon Ping cared for as a hatchling are escaping from the dreaded Jilong, avowed dragon hater, and his horde of nomads.

They finally reach their destination, the dragon haven, where Kai is destined to fulfil his role as leader and Tao hopes to become dragon keeper for all dragons only to find much is amiss with the remaining dragons. A mysterious sickness afflicts the beasts and that is only the beginning of the many trials Tao must overcome before he, and Kai, can attain their desire and destiny.

There are, as usual, so many beautiful moments and themes in this latest instalment – the strength that resides within even the smallest of sentient beings, the connections between all living things, the loyalty and faith of friends, acceptance of differences and more. So much richness in Carole’s writing always has readers hooked in readers from the very start and so many of us have eagerly anticipated each forthcoming new adventure.

This is ostensibly (is that a perhaps Carole?) the final in the saga but we can all hope that we may yet get to find out if the future of the dragons is assured.

Read more about the series and Tao’s guide to dragons here.

Highly recommended for readers from around 8 years upwards.