Subhi’s imagination is as big as the ocean and wide as the sky, but his world is much smaller: he’s spent his whole life in an immigration detention centre. THE BONE SPARROW is a powerful, heartbreaking, sometimes funny and ultimately uplifting hymn to freedom and love.
Sometimes, at night, the dirt outside turns into a beautiful ocean. As red as the sun and as deep as the sky. I lie in my bed, Queeny’s feet pushing up against my cheek, and listen to the waves lapping at the tent.
Subhi is a refugee. Born in an Australian permanent detention centre after his mother fled the violence of a distant homeland, life behind the fences is all he has ever known. But as he grows, his imagination gets bigger too, until it is bursting at the limits of his world. The Night Sea brings him gifts, the faraway whales sing to him, and the birds tell their stories.
The most vivid story of all, however, is the one that arrives one night in the form of Jimmie, a scruffy, impatient girl who appears from the other side of the wires, and brings a notebook written by the mother she lost. Unable to read it, she relies on Subhi to unravel her own family’s love songs and tragedies.
Subhi and Jimmie might both find a way to freedom, as their tales unfold. But not until each of them has been braver than ever before.
2017 ABIA Book of the Year for Older Children
Winner, Readings Young Adult Book Prize 2017
CBCA Honour Book 2017 – Older Readers
Shortlisted for the 2017 Prime miniser’s Literary Awards
Shortlisted for the 2017 Queensland Literary Awards
Shortlisted for the 2017 Victorian Premier’s Literary Awards
Shortlisted for The Guardian Children’s Fiction Prize 2016
Shortlisted for the Gold Inky Award 2017
Shortlisted for the 2017 CILIP Carnegie Medal
Carnegie Medal Amnesty CILIP Honour Book 2017
IBBY Australia Honour Book 2018