Elizabeth Mellor (The Awakening Network Inc., Seymour, 2010) 174 pages
Elizabeth won a prize in the twenty-third Annual Australian Family Therapists’ Award for Children’s Literature. Bushfire was put on the recommended reading list for therapists to use with their clients.
Read what they wrote: “Bushfire … [is] for therapists who may work with clients (adults or children) in the aftermath of a natural disaster which impacts on a whole community. It was placed in the top five books for “Older Readers (meaning children from about 10 years of age and up)."
Bushfire is a fictional story that is a great read for children and teenagers, and a powerful mentoring resource for adults.
This book is a gripping story about a child going through a bushfire and its aftermath. It also offers a path for dealing with the trauma and emotional upheaval experienced by anyone affected by bushfire. The book is written with children and teenagers in mind but speaks to all ages and provides parents, or anyone involved with young people, with a wonderful device to approach the issues surrounding traumatic events. Many adults have also benefited from reading it.
Bushfire begins on a very hot Australian summer day with the threat of bushfire in the air. The central character, Ruby, lives with her parents and her dog, Gypsy, on a property some distance from town. For over 50 hours, Ruby and her parents face the rigours of bushfire. After a long fight, they and their house survive, although other parts of their property are destroyed.
The story is written through Ruby's eyes and it takes us both through the fire and its aftermath. Having survived the fire, Ruby's family moves to a recovery centre set up on the local cricket oval where we get to know the other characters central to the book. This time of facing day-to-day difficulties and painful realisations is balanced by humour, good old fashioned common sense and an underlying theme of learning how different people cope with trauma and their recovery from it. While living there, Ruby returns to school where she faces problems with other students who didn't experience the fire and has to come to terms with her own grief. The story ends six months after the fires, as neighbours and friends gather at Ruby's home to celebrate their lives and to say goodbye to those who died.
Two resource guides are available for the book: one for parents and the other for teachers. These are free and available through Elizabeth's bushfire book website. See below.
For more book description, author information, contact details for Elizabeth, reviews and a blog, go to bushfirebook.com.au, or click here