The Bone Sparrow by Zana Fraillon

A deeply moving story of life in an Australian detention facility for refugees and asylum seekers, where hope comes from powerful imagination and stories.

Subhi has never stepped foot Outside. He was born in the detention centre. It’s red dust, gritty food, family tent and fences are the only life he has ever known. His days are spent as a runner with Eli, his best friend, looking after his Maá, and annoying his sister, Queenie. His nights are spent waiting for the Night Sea to come and bring him treasures from his Ba, who will join them soon.

Jimmie lives at the top of the hill, with her Dad and brother. Unable to read, she longs for someone to tell her mother’s stories again, as she rubs the bone sparrow charm at her neck. She heard that the trucks rolling into the Centre take the children there bikes. All she wants is a new bike; the last one her Mum bought is too small.

One night, with the bone sparrow for luck, curiosity beats Jimmie and she goes to see what the Centre is really like. She finds the weak links and she’s in.

Subhi hears the Night Sea calling and is outside his tent. This time the treasure appears to be a girl, one that definitely doesn’t belong in the centre.

The two strike up a friendship, based on Subhi’s ability to read Jimmie’s mums book of stories. But can they save each other?

A devastatingly beautiful, enlightening heart wrenching tale of the invisible and ignored people in our world today.


Great for fans of The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas, Looking at the Stars and Welcome to Nowhere.


One thought on “The Bone Sparrow by Zana Fraillon

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