Aussie Kids: Meet Taj at the Lighthouse; Maxine Beneba Clark, illustrated by Nicki Greenberg
Taj never wanted to leave home. He loved living in the hot-sun village by the big blue sea, surrounded by friends who he could play with and family who his Mama could always borrow some bread-flour from. But then things turned bad…there were noises in the night, smoke filled the skies and house were destroyed. There was no choice but to leave. Australia isn’t home for Taj. Everything is strange…the way people talk, the food at the supermarket, no-one wants to give Dadda a job and Taj can’t settle at his new school. Even his favourite lightning bolt t-shirt isn’t cheering him up. But then a different kind of light comes into Taj’s life and things begin to look a lot brighter…
A story that any reader who has moved to a new country will be able to relate to. It is a gentle story that tells of the fears, anxieties and issues that migrant children have to deal with. There are heart-warming messages about being accepted and inclusivity within the narrative. As the story develops so does Taj. Taj gets used to his new surroundings and by the end of it he is fully immersing himself in Australian culture. He is settled in his new home, he has made friends and has even joined the local surf life-saving club (where he of course has the words Taj Lightning and the image of a lightning bolt emblazoned on the back of his swimmers). Illustrations in shades of blue and grey accompany the text and the facial expressions of Taj tell a story in themselves.
At the end of the read there are some facts about a particular subject matter but I’ll keep that particular subject a secret as I wouldn’t want to ruin the surprise.
A great length of book for emerging readers who are new to the world of chapter books.
Recommended for 6+.
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