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Archive for the ‘Biography’ Category

songs-of-a-war-boyWith passion and incredible detail, Deng Thiak Adut, recounts his early life first in his family village in South Sudan and then as a child soldier in the Sudan People’s Liberation  Army where he was taught to use an AK-47 and sent into battle to kill or be killed.  Deng’s escape from this horror to life as a refugee in Australia describes the roller coaster of emotions and challenges he faced.  With strength and determination, Deng succeeded beyond hope to teach himself to read, to complete a law degree, to practice as a lawyer in Australia and to become a refugee advocate.  Very moving.

Rating: ****
Theme Fiction: 
Biography
Suitability:  Year 9-12+

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Thoroughly researched and pulling no punches, this biography of Harold Fingelton, as told by his son John, makes riveting reading.  Inspired to find out more about his Dad after watching the movie Swimming Upstream starring Geoffrey Rush, one has to admire the tenacity of a son to write such a candid account.  Abused and beaten by his alcoholic mother, Harold’s life in the orphanage to which he was sent at quite a young age, was almost as desperately bad as his life at home.  Accounts of Fingelton’s struggles include many mature age themes which may be confronting to readers.  It is, however, a powerful story told with love and respect.

Rating:  *****
Theme Fiction: 
Biography
Suitable:  Year 10-12

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Obsessed with tracking down a local hermit known to the locals as ‘Possum’, this book is an account of how Max Jones, a detective by profession, spent more than 30 years locating  and finding out who Possum was and why he was living the life he had chosen.  Rising above this account though is the story of the strong bond of friendship and understanding that developed between these two men and the incredible resolve that Possum had to live life the way he did.  David Harris has illustrated this account with a range of photos taken by Max Jones.

Rating: ****
Theme Fiction:
Biography; Survival
Suitable:
Year 7-12

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For those of  us who grew up with the TV series or those who enjoyed the blockbuster movies, Superman will, forever, have a very special spot in our hearts.   Reading about the life of Christopher Reeve before and after his devastating accident in 1995 is nothing short of inspirational.  The life and thoughts of a very special man are recorded here.    Informative and at times humorous, we gain an insight into the man behind the movies.  A great read.

Rating:  ****
Theme Fiction:
Biography
Sutiable: Year 10-12

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The search for love and belonging is the theme behind this heart rendering account of a woman who was born of a Korean mother and an American GI who abandoned them before her birth.  The honour killing of her mother and her subsequent life in an orphanage and eventual adoption by a fundamentalist American pastor and his wife, are the backdrop to a poignant tale of hope and despair.  Brilliantly written.  A first novel published in 2000.

 

Rating: *****
Theme Fiction: Biography
Suitable: Year 9-12+

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A compelling narrative which concurrently describes the life of both the author, a black journalist/musician and his mother, a white, Jewish woman who bore 12 children.  The alternating chapters in which in one James McBrides describes his take on growing up in this extraordinary family and the other, his mother’s story, makes fascinating reading.

 

Rating: ****
Theme Fiction: Biography
Suitable: Year 10-12+

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