Category Archives: Book Discussions






Have you ever faced a moment in life which changed everything for you. If your answer is yes, then you will definitely like this book. It’s a fast read with just 103 pages. But do not be fooled by the number. It contains a whole within those few pages. Since the length of  the book is not much, it is more plot driven with more or less linear characters.As there is not much for the character development. But still each character will strike a chord with you since they are real and identifiable.


The story of THE DARE is from the point of view of a twelve year old boy, Danny Delaney. Its in first narrative. The book talks of how a moment can change a family for ever. Danny is looking forward for a fun filled, trouble free summer in his school holidays. But everything changes in a moment, when he finds out that his mother has accidentally hit a small boy with her car. The boy is in coma at he local hospital. Driven by guilt and remorse , Mrs.Delaney retreats into herself . She is unable to forgive herself for the lapse. This results in disintegration of the family. They all fall apart, with Mr.Delaney and Danny trying hard to fix the pieces.  Danny feels confused and isolated when his mother refuses to behave normal and is hysteric, while his father is trying hard to compensate for the lack of her presence. But its not enough.

Danny leaves home in a desperate attempt to live a normal life. The author has skillfully managed to enter the mind of a twelve year old and express his pain and angst. A difficult thing to do but Boyne has done a beautiful job in this book. There is nothing dark in this book, its easy flowing and never for a moment does the plot stall. its fast paced and keep you at the edge of your seat to know what happens to the boy hit by the car.

We all have vivid memories of the that one moment that changed you or your life forever. This book speaks of such a moment.For those looking for a light read but with some essence, this is the perfect pick for you.


The Skin I’m In: Sharon G Flake







This book is the story of Maleeka Madison, who is a student at McClenton middle School.Maleeka is a very smart girl who had the chance to go to a better school, but she ‘chose’ this one by her refusal to communicate when she ‘interviewed’ at the other school. The story revolves around her trials and tribulations, which is that she’s the butt of racist comments from people of her own race simply because she’s blacker than they are! She’s also bullied relentlessly by Charlese, a spoiled brat of a girl who’s in serious need of a reprimanding and detention. But that is not the end of her problems. She is trying desperately to draw an identity for herself at the same time fighting low self esteem. She fights hard to keep it all together.After the death of her father and the subsequent mental break down of her mother, which is caused by the grief of loosing her husband, she has very little support to make good decisions.

And her life turns upside down with the entry of Miss Saunders. Miss Saunders has a blotch across her face due to which she has faced a lot of rude comments and remarks, yet she surfaced as a victor since she didn’t let her looks decide her life or her opinion about herself. She serves as a mirror to  Maleeka’s struggle against the burden of low self-esteem that many black girls face when they’re darker skinned. Miss Saunders is tough and through this, Maleeka learns to stand up to tough-talking Charlese. Maleeka learns to accept herself and love herself for what she is. Maleeka learns to identify her many beautiful qualities through Miss Saunders, like good writing skills.

She gains self confidence and speaks up against Charlese, thereby releasing herself from bullying and being mocked at. Maleeka realises her own worth and truly sparkles in the end.



Well, this is one of the books that strikes a cord with you as you read it. It did with me because I too have experienced some sort of bullying, and have faced self esteem issues. Its not easy as a teenager to be ridiculed or be mocked at. Everyone wants to be accepted as they are, irrespective of the differences. But the society is divided into the “IN” crowd and the “OUTSIDERS”. And the struggle to fit into the “IN” crowd results in image issues and lack of confidence.It can break a person if not dealt deftly and promptly. Very rare do adults understand the inner conflicts faced by a teenager. Luck has it that a few are blessed with parents or teachers who identify this and come up with solutions for the conflicts. The issues can drown a person into depression or lead to personality disorder. And if you find help like Maleeka did in Miss Saunders, one can emerge with confidence.

I remember being ridiculed for wearing glasses and having acne over my face. It was hard to even sit and have lunch among classmates. Their eyes used to bore down, sneering at me. But my wonderful teachers like Mr.Santosh Joseph, Miss Nancy Victor, Mr.Salil ,Mrs.Lily Jacob,Mr.Chopra,Mrs.Brinda Nair,Mrs McClaren…and many more who helped me see my worth beyond my looks . They helped me get up whenever I was knocked down. At every stage a blessed angel was there to help me see myself for what I am.

Every one at some stage in his/her life has faced this doubt about themselves, and those who haven’t kudos to you. But those who have been sidelined for their looks will definitely strike a chord with this book. We are all unique and special in our own different ways. No two people are alike.So celebrate the difference and revel in the them. Love yourself because there is no one like you.





The Notebook:Nicholas Sparks




A man with a faded, well-worn notebook open in his lap. A woman experiencing a morning ritual she doesn’t understand. Until he begins to read to her.  The Notebook is an achingly tender story about the enduring power of love, a story of miracles that will stay with you forever. Set amid the austere beauty of coastal North Carolina in 1946, The Notebook begins with the story of Noah Calhoun, a rural Southerner returned home from World War II. Noah, thirty-one, is restoring a plantation home to its former glory, and he is haunted by images of the beautiful girl he met fourteen years earlier, a girl he loved like no other.



I am left speechless. I finished re reading this book, and what do I say I am lost for words to describe the emotions each sentence evoked in me. Each and every line resonates with life, love and passion .  We all dream of soulmates, of finding that perfect partner who would give you wings to fly. But how many of us succeed in doing so? Well, this book is just the perfect story of two completely different people, poles apart from each other, who come together and fall in love despite their differences. It reiterates the fact that true love overcomes differences. Love isn’t about finding someone who is like you, rather accepting differences and making that difference work as magic. Differences should make us like the perfect halves of an orange.


Even after years of no communication between and Noah and Allie, their love survives. Its victory of love. Love does not need words to describe, like its said in the book: “…The young, brash and impatient, must always break the silence. It is a waste, for silence is pure. Silence is holy. It draws people together because only those who are comfortable with each other can sit without speaking. This is the great paradox.”


Love does not need words. I have grown seeing my parents completing each other’s sentences, of understanding each other through just looks. That is love where the hearts are thus combined that they speak one language. Love transcends all human barriers. Another such example is the movie “BARFI” where a deaf and mute boy and an autistic girl fall in love. Their love is pure and based on acceptance for each other. They complete each other. Love is a strong feeling which differs from person to person. Each experiences it in a way quite unlike another, and that is what makes love so special.


Go read this notebook if you believe in soulmates and the power of love to perform miracles. A must read for all who have seen love perform miracles.







I have been wanting to re-read this book ever since I saw a girl reading it while commuting the metro. She was weeping silent tears while reading and was lost in a different world. Her muffled sobs made me go back to the first time I read the book. Well, my reaction was the same. Tears were streaming down my face as I read each line. It was not just a book, rather a story that touched your heart in a way that it left you happy yet heavy hearted.  The love between Jamie and Landon was something one cannot fathom to experience, and yet there is no denial that there are people who do love each other so much that even few moments together are enough to survive a lifetime. And this book is just that story.


The story starts with a prologue from Landon Carter at age 57. The remainder of the story takes place when Landon is a 17-year-old high school senior. Landon lives in the small, religious town of Beaufort, North Carolina. His father is a genial, charismatic congressman.

His father is not around very much, as he lives in Washington, D.C.Landon is more reclusive, which causes some tension in their relationship. Landon’s father pressures him into running for class president His best friend, Eric Hunter, who is the most popular boy in school, helps him and, to his surprise, Landon wins the election As student body president, Landon is required to attend the school dance with a date. He asks many girls, but none are available. That night, he looks through his yearbook, trying to find an acceptable date.Since nobody else seems to be available, Landon reluctantly asks Jamie Sullivan, the daughter of Hegbert Sullivan, the Beaufort church minister, who accepts his invitation.While Jamie is very religious and carries a Bible with her wherever she goes, Landon (one of the popular students) is reluctant to go to the dance with someone like her. When Landon is threatened by Lew, Jamie comes to Landon’s aid, to his appreciation. At the end of the night, he admits she was the best date possible.

A few days later, Jamie asks Landon to participate in the school’s production of The Christmas Angel. While Landon is not very enthusiastic about participating, he agrees to it anyway.Jamie, on the other hand, could not be happier about her new cast mate. Landon knows that if his friends learn about his role in the play, he will be teased relentlessly.One day at rehearsal, Jamie asks if Landon will walk her home, after which it becomes routine.A couple of days later, Eric mocks the couple during their walk home and Landon becomes truly embarrassed to be with Jamie. Meanwhile, Landon continues to learn about all the people and organizations Jamie spends her time helping, including an orphanage. Landon and Jamie visit the orphanage one day to discuss a possible showing of The Christmas Angel, but their proposal is quickly rejected by Mr. Jenkins.When Jamie and Landon were waiting to meet Mr. Jenkins, she tells Landon that all she wants in the future is to get married in a church full of people and to have her father walk her down the aisle.While Landon thinks this is a strange wish, he accepts it. In truth, he is beginning to enjoy his time with her.

One day, while they are walking home, Landon yells at Jamie and he tells her that he is not friends with her.The next day at the first show of The Christmas Angel, Jamie enters the stage dressed as the angel,making Landon simply utter his line, “You’re beautiful,” meaning it for the first time. Following that, Jamie asks Landon if he would go around town and retrieve the jars containing money collected for the orphans’ Christmas presents.When Landon collects the jars, there is only $55.73, but when he gives the money to Jamie, there is $247. Jamie buys gifts for the orphanage, and Landon and Jamie spend Christmas Eve there.Jamie’s Christmas gift to Landon is her deceased mother’s Bible.As they get in the car to go home, Landon realizes his true feelings for her. “All I could do is wonder how I’d ever fallen in love with a girl like Jamie Sullivan.”He invites her to his house for Christmas dinner. The next day Landon visits Jamie at her house, where they share their first kiss on her porch. Afterward, Landon asks Hegbert if they can go to Flavin’s, a local restaurant, on New Year’s Eve. While Hegbert initially refuses, after Landon declares his love for Jamie, Hegbert allows it.

On New Year’s Jamie and Landon go to dinner, where they share their first dance. A couple of weeks later, Landon tells Jamie that he is in love with her. To his surprise, Jamie replies by insisting that he cannot be. In response, Landon demands an explanation,and Jamie reveals that she is dying of leukemia.

The following Sunday, Hegbert announces to his congregation that his daughter is dying.Jamie does not return to school the following Monday and that it is eventually learned that she is too ill and will never return to school. While they are having dinner at Landon’s house, Jamie tells Landon, “I love you, too,” for the first time.A couple weeks later, Eric and Margaret visit Jamie’s house, where they apologize for ever being rude to her.Eric gives Jamie the $400 that he collected for the orphanage.Jamie refuses to stay at the hospital, because she wants to die at home. In turn, Landon’s father helps to provide Jamie the best equipment and doctors so she can spend the rest of her life at home.  This gesture helps to mend the gap between father and son. One day, while sitting next to Jamie while she sleeps, Landon comes up with an idea.He runs to the church to find Hegbert and asks him for permission to marry Jamie. While Hegbert is reluctant his refusal to deny Landon’s request is seen by Landon as approval.Landon runs back to Jamie’s side and asks, “Will you marry me?”

Landon and Jamie are married in a church full of people. Although she was weak and was in a wheelchair, she insisted on walking down the aisle so that her father could give her away which was part of her dream. Landon remembers thinking “It was…the most difficult walk anyone ever had to make. In every way, a walk to remember.”When they reach the front of the church, Hegbert says, “I can no more give Jamie away than I can give away my heart. But what I can do is let another share in the joy that she has always given me.”Hegbert has had to experience so much pain in his life, first losing his wife, now knowing his only child will soon be gone, too. The book ends with Landon 40 years later at age 57. He still loves Jamie and wears her ring.He finishes the story by saying, “I now believe, by the way, that miracles can happen.”



Memorable Quotes:


1. “Love is like the wind, you can’t see it but you can feel it.”

2. “Without suffering, there’d be no compassion.”

3. “I dont think that we’re meant to understand it all the time. I think that sometimes we just have to have faith.”

4. “There are moments when I wish I could roll back the clock and take all the sadness away, but I have the feeling that if I did, the joy would be gone as well.”

5. “Do you ever wonder why things have to turn out the way they do?”

6. The problem isn’t finding out where you are gonna go-its figuring out what you are gonna do once you get there that is! (Jamie Sullivan)”

7. It was, I remembered thinking, the most difficult walk anyone ever had to make. In every way, a walk to remember.”


New project


Okay! for quite sometime I have been wanting to do this. Finally I have come around to doing it. There are times when lines from the books you’ve read seem to have a  lasting impression on you, like they were written just for you. I know I have experience it every time I finished reading a book. So here is my new project, I will be sharing lines from the books I’ve read .These are words that not only hold meaning but also help you in facing various situations in life. I will begin with” The Skin I’m In” by Sharon G Flake.



Memorable quotes: The Skin I’m In by Sharon G Flake

1. “Gotta realize that all you are is all you got.”

2. “To look in the mirror and like what you see, even when it doesn’t look like your idea of beauty.”

3. “Don’t go getting full of yourself because once you do, somebody’s going to come and let the wind out of your sails”

4.  “I took a lot of wrong turns to find out who I really was. You will, too.”

5. ” It’s not about color,….It’s about how you feel about who you are that counts”.

6. “….you got to see yourself with your own eyes. That’s the only way you gonna know who you really are.”

7. ” Remember the acorn. Even when you don’t see it growing, it’s pushing past the dirt. Reaching for the sun. Growing stronger.”





12th AUGUST, 2010

MADHVI BANGUR (VII-A): “When first our teacher Sigy Ma’am told us that we are going to the Australian High Commission to meet an author, Jane Jolly, I was really excited. I had all sorts of things running in my mind like she might give us a little story t write and the one whose she finds the best, she will allow that child to help her write a novel. But nothing like this happened. Jane Jolly instead told us about her ups and downs in life. How some of her story’s were rejected and then taken. She even read her first published novel to us which is “Limpopo Lullaby”. She told us that whatever she saw as interesting or unusual she notes them down and at the end of the day she tries to make it into a story or poetry. She wrote her book “Limpopo Lullaby” by seeing a newspaper article in which there was a flood n a village in Africa and the villagers all climbed a tree, and a woman gave birth to a baby on the tree itself. Then the children all started asking questions about her life and her books. She answered them all and then again told us about the books she had written. We took pictures with her and took her autograph as well. In the end I would say that I too will keep a diary and note down things so that I could also write a story.”

SAI MANOHAR (VII-A): “We reached the Australian High Commission on 12th August to meet the author, Jane Jolly. We met a representative from UNESCO, Ms.Aparna. At 11.00 am, the author came and explained her first book “Limpopo Lullaby”. She also read the book. Her second book was “Glass Tears”. Then we had an interaction with her. We asked her many questions. There were three other schools present also. They are Tagore International School and the other schools were Amity International, Pushp Vihar and Saket. We asked the author a lot of questions and she answered only a few she knew. She gave us a lot of ideas to write a story. She told keep a small diary and note down things we find interesting. I found the meeting really fun.”

ANKIT KATARIA (VII-B): “I was on seventh heaven when I came to know I would be meeting an Australian author. We went to the Australian High Commission where a guard led us to a large auditorium where I saw the author, Jane Jolly. We had a good time with her. She told us about her experiences, the book she wrote and about the struggle she faced for getting her first book published. She told us that she had to wait for 4 years to get her book published. I asked her a question- Why have you chosen the profession of an author, as you earn less money in it? She was unable to answer that question. More questions were put up. Children asked a lot of questions and this program ended. It a meeting I would remember forever-meeting an international author!!”

DHRUV KALRA (VII-B): “My heart knew no bounds when I was asked to meet an Australian author. My stomach gave a sudden leap and was too excited to meet the Australian author, Jane Jolly, to interact with her and share my experience with others. When we reached the Australian High Commission we were howling with excitement. The interaction began with the author telling about her books, how she wrote the stories, rejections and so on. She told us that best stories come up from real life observations. So we should all be aware of our surroundings and observe things. After that were firing some brilliant questions which she left unanswered. The interaction boosted our creativity and imagination. The wonderful day ended with a picture taken with the author.”

DEVEN CHHABRA (VII-C): “I was bursting with excitement when I got to know that I have the opportunity to meet an Australian author. When we reached the Australian High Commission, I was thinking that there would be lot of fun. We were seated in a big room or we can say a small hall, and we were asked to wait there. The first glimpse of the author sent layers of excitement through my body. The interaction started. Her name was Jane Jolly and she worked as a teacher and also wrote books. She told us something about her books and how stories are written. We asked her a lot of questions and she answered them happily. Then we asked her to give us her autograph. She gave her best wishes and we clicked a photo with her. This was an experience that I will remember throughout my lifetime.”

M.SONALI (VII-D): “We were off to the Australian High Commission to meet the Australian author, Jane Jolly. I was excited that I got the chance to be part of the group. During the conversation Jane Jolly talked about the way in which she wrote books from manuscripts. She told us that she noted every moment that she found unusual, then whenever she got the time, she compiled it and turned it into a story. She also told that she had also done mistakes many times. Once when she had given her story the “Limpopo Lullaby” almost three times to the publishers, but every time her story was returned by the editors saying that she had made many grammatical mistakes. But she never lost her patience and always corrected her mistakes, and sent it again. Finally, her book was published. Other than ‘Limpopo Lullaby’, she wrote many other books but only few of her books were published such as “Glass Tears” and “Ali, the bold heart”. All of her books were awesome. The meeting was fantastic and would definitely want to meet more authors and learn of their experiences.”

Faces in the water:December 4’2010



It’s not the first time I went for a Book Discussion with Sigy Ma’am. I really look forward to them because the books they select are different from what children generally read. The activities we do after each discussion is also fun and the topics are really interesting.

This time we went for Ranjit Lall’s book “Faces in the water”. For this book, Sigy Ma’am told us to find information about female infanticide. I was shocked to read the information on net. Even today, in the 21st century there are people who do not want a girl child. They think she is a burden, and who will carry the family’s name forward. It is more seen in villages where there is lack of education and awareness. But there are people even in cities that kill the girl child and think it is a shame when a girl is born. I was shocked to think that how could parents kill their child just because it’s a girl.

In the session, Ranjit Sir first read a few passages from the book. Some were humorous while some were sad. The way he has described the characters, they seemed real. Sir did not tell what happens in the end. I want to read and find out myself. Then we were given a writing activity to do. We were asked to write on the topic: Would you like to read books dealing with social issues? I definitely want to read such books but only if they are not very serious, and written in a manner like this book. It should have some humour and should put the issues in a way that it is not very unpleasant. My other friends Deven, Srijan, Siddhant, all wish to read such books but they should have some comedy and the topic should not be too serious for us to read. Writers should write more such books that will inform us of more social evils. Some we have studied in school textbooks, but through stories they are better understood. I am waiting for more book discussions. It was a day that made me aware of a social evil present even today. I learned and enjoyed in the session.


Mr.Oliver’s Diary:October 23’2010



Excited, thrilled, jubilant, I was all these and more. When Sigy Ma’am told me that in October we have a book discussion on Ruskin Bond’s book, I just could not control myself. I gave Ma’am my name in advance because I didn’t want to miss the opportunity at all.

So, on October 23, I and my friends reached India Habitat Centre with Sigy Ma’am. We were the first ones to arrive at the venue, and were unable to hold our excitement. Deepa Ma’am and Devika Ma’am were also there. They began a discussion on the books written by Ruskin Bond. We all answered “Rusty”, “The hidden pool”, “Blue Umbrella”, etc. Then other schools also arrived. When we were all seated, Devika Ma’am welcomed us all and then gave an introduction about the Book Forum for those who were new. We were then shown a PowerPoint presentation on the life and books of Ruskin Bond. We were aware of some facts while some were new.

Then Devika Ma’am read a few passages from the book “Mr.Oliver’s Diary”. The book is a diary entry of Mr. Oliver, a teacher. About his life at school, the pranks children played, the problems caused by the frogs and so on. It was really funny and amusing to hear the diary entries. After the readings, Deepa Ma’am asked us to write a diary entry imagining ourselves as a teacher, and write pranks played by students. Everyone wrote funny entries. After everyone had written, Devika Ma’am called out children to read what each had written. From our school Avni and Sneha of class VIII, and Madhvi of class VII read their entries. Everyone clapped aloud when they finished reading.

The session then ended. I enjoy these discussions a lot especially the writing activity because I am in creative writing club and these help me write better. They are fun and since I love books these discussions become fun with learning.

Thank you Ma’am.


Terror on the Titanic:August 28’2010



The Titanic started its journey towards New York on April 14, 1912. And onboard were Morningstar Agency’s star agents, Nathaniel Brown and Genevieve. They are sent on a mission to prevent a stolen jewel, a ruby known as the Eye of the Empire, from reaching America. The mission seemed simple enough were it not for the monstrous aliens who are also seeking the jewel. The monsters known as Parloks were hybrid monsters, who under the guise of human skin hid their monstrous elves. There were Golems, who were at loggerheads with the Parloks.

So on August 28th we embarked on a historic journey aboard the Titanic, we sailed back in time to reach the Titanic in 1912. We were introduced to the captain of the ship, author Samit Basu. Instead of the usual reading of the passages, Mr.Basu showed us a movie based on his book. The visuals were fabulous. The aliens were fighting to acquire the jewel, the Eye of the Empire. It was as if the book had come alive before our eyes. It was anew turn from the usual reading of the book. We were transported to another realm witnessing the fight between Parloks and Golems.

The students were then asked to write a story with a real life setting. It can be in the past or even the present day scenario. Some children took historical settings like wars, some took 9/11 episode, some wrote with Tsunami as setting. All these writing activities make the children exercise their brain cells and lets their imagination soar. Children look forward to these activities as each time there is something new to write and something that makes one think really hard.

After everyone had finished writing, they were asked to read out their works. Samriddhi from class VIII wrote against the backdrop of Battle of Plassey, and was applauded by everyone. Soon we came to the end of our journey on the Titanic, with memories of the horrifying fight between Parloks and the Golems, and how the world was saved from these beasts thanks to Agents Brown and Genevieve Lupin.

Meet the author:JANE JOLLY(August 12’2010)



UNESCO and Times foundation launched the ‘Donate a Book’ initiative on April 24.Under the initiative on August 12, UNESCO organized a ‘Meet the Author’ session with Australian author, Jane Jolly. Six students of class VII accompanied me to the Australian High Commission for the meet.

About Jane Jolly:

JANE JOLLY has been a primary school teacher for twenty-five years. She has always taught in country schools. Presently she lives and works about an hour away from Adelaide. She loves organic farming and spending time with her family. Jane loves picture books and is drawn to the picture book section in bookshops. Inspiration for her stories often comes from real life.

She has published three books: ‘Limpopo Lullaby’; ‘Glass Tears’; ‘Ali, the bold heart’.


Inspiration for Jane’s writing often comes from real life. Her friends know she loves to write. They save up stories that they hear to tell her. When she first heard the story of a woman who gave birth to a baby in a tree with floodwaters swirling below, she was ‘gob smacked’.

In 2000, as Mozambique was ravaged by floods, many people found that their only choice was to take shelter in trees. The media spotlight fell on one tiny village where a woman, stuck with her family in a tree, was about to give birth. The remarkable story of this woman and her miraculous child is the inspiration for “Limpopo Lullaby”. Jane Jolly’s lyrical prose captures the rhythms of village life while Dee Huxley’s vibrant pastels portray nature in all her moods, ranging from brooding skies to swirling floodwaters to a glimpse of sun.

Once Jane hears a story she embellishes it in her mind. This process of forming the story may take months. During this time she researches the story as well. In the case of Sophia and Rosita’s story, she spent time looking at newspaper articles on the internet and then reading about Mozambique.


Leroy dances as the rain begins to fall. His sister and his pregnant mother join in his celebration of the coming of rain. But the rain keeps on falling and soon the Limpopo River rises and breaks its banks. Leroy, Aimee and Josette go with the other villagers to higher ground. They climb into the giant milkwood tree near the village as the river continues to rise. For three days they cling to the branches of the tree and on the fourth day Josette gives birth to her baby. Along with the rest of the villagers, they are rescued by helicopter and taken to a safe, dry place. Finally the rain stops.


The inspiration for Glass Tears came from a lonely grave on the cliff tops at Stenhouse Bay that she first saw when she was on a camping trip around ten years ago.

A plaque near the grave tells how in 1940 a Vietnamese sailor on the SS Notue was hit in the head by a bag of coal. A doctor was sent for but the bosun, Dao Thanh, was already dead by the time he arrived. Other Buddhist crewmembers on the ship held funeral rites for Dao Thanh and he was buried overlooking the sea. When the ship left a few days later, the crew lined the deck as a mark of respect for their friend.

The simple gravestone bears Dao Thanh’s name and age and on top sits a rectangular glass case with a bouquet of glass bead flowers inside. This bouquet was made and sent by his family. Sailors continued to visit the grave and pay their respects until 1975 when ships no longer stopped in the bay. Recently, members of the Vietnamese community have once again begun visiting and tending the grave.

When Jane first read the story and saw the grave, it made her shiver. She could imagine his family far away hearing of his death and making the bead bouquet for him. This was the starting point for her story.

A telegram arrives for Tian and Dao’s family. Their father has died in a country far away. The family lights incense in front of Father’s photo. As they make a bouquet of beaded flowers, they talk about his burial and remember him. The bouquet is packed away and sent to the strange land where he died to be placed on his grave. Tian hangs a blue bead in the window as she tries to remember her father.


The inspiration for Ali the Bold Heart came from the story of a refugee she heard from a lawyer who works with refugees in detention centres in Australia. Jane Jolly based her story a true story about an Iranian refugee who was locked up in the Woomera Detention Centre. After trying for five years to get a visa to allow him to stay in Australia, he was deported, never to be heard of again. When she heard of how he never gave up she was inspired to write a story about him.
When Jane heard that the man from Iran was a magician, it sparked her imagination, setting her wondering what he might have brought with him in that one bag – what might a magician consider his personal treasures to be? She also wondered what it might feel like to be so afraid that you leave your homeland, and what it might be like to be locked up for years behind barbed wire with nothing to do, hoping and waiting.


Ali is a magician who flees from his homeland because life has become dangerous there. After a long, difficult journey to a new land, Ali is locked up. Although he is downhearted, Ali performs his magic for the children and the adults he is locked up with and he never gives up asking for his freedom. One night there is a sandstorm, the gate clangs, and in the morning Ali is gone.