06 August 2009

Don’t Breathe a Word

by Marianne Musgrove
Random House. Australian, Junior. Paperback rrp $16.95

What happens when eleven year old Mackenzie (Kenzie), promises her older sister, Tahlia, that she will never to tell a soul about what happened that night? Lots!

Kenzie and Tahlia live with their grandfather. Their much older half-sister, Lydia, rarely comes to visit but when Grandpa hurts his ankle, Lydia comes to visit constantly and interferes in EVERYTHING. Kenzie and her happy world start to slowly fall apart, little by little and Tahlia is no help!

Kenzie’s school holidays aren’t turning out to be much fun, in fact everything and everyone is making it hard for her to keep that secret! Her best friend Annie is busy hanging out with the twins, Regan and Tegan, and doesn’t see that Kenzie may need help. Mahesh, the boy down the street, tries to help but because Kenzie has to keep the secret he might think she is avoiding him. And nowadays, Tahlia is never home!

Luckily that when Kenzie finally turns to Tahlia for help, her sister has a plan! But who does it really help - Tahlia, Kenzie, or Grandpa? Secrets sometimes need to be broken.

This is a wonderful story that gives a child’s perspective of dementia and the responsibilities that a carer has to face. Without lecturing, it gently teaches through story - awareness, consideration and compassion.

Musgrove’s first novel, The Worry Tree, won the Australian Family Therapists’ Award and was shortlisted for the 2008 Queensland Premier’s Literary Award for Best Children’s Book and the 2007 Australian Children’s Peace Literature Prize.


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