Publisher's synopsis

Once upon a time, in a dark city far away, there lived a boy called Walter, who had nothing but his name to call his own…

The handwritten book, with its strangely vivid illustrations, has been hidden in the old house for a long, long time. Tonight, four kids and their teacher will find it. Tonight, at last, the haunting story of Walter and the mysterious, tragic girl called Sparrow will be read – right to the very end…

From one of Australia’s most renowned children’s authors, comes an extraordinary story within a story – a mystery, a prophecy, a long-buried secret. And five people who will remember this night for the rest of their lives.

Upcoming resource


  • Winner – 2019 Prime Minister’s Literary Awards (Children’s Literature)
  • Winner – 2019 Australian Book Design Awards (Children’s Fiction Book)
  • Winner – 2019 CBCA Book of the Year Awards (Younger Readers)
  • Shortlisted – 2019 Davitt Awards (Children’s)
  • Shortlisted – 2019 QLD Literary Awards (Griffith University Children’s Book Award)
  • Shortlisted – 2018 Aurealis Awards (Best Young Adult Novel)