A Pale View of Hills 

Dulwich Hill branch manager, radio personality, and book selling superstar, Morgan Smith tells us how it is.

Chasing Shadows

 - Wednesday, July 30, 2014

The school holidays have been and gone. I don’t know whether fewer people went away this winter, but we seemed much busier than usual. People are still, after four years, coming to D’Hill, saying ‘I didn’t know you were here. How wonderful!’ Also wonderful this month was the news that 90% of readers under thirty prefer books to e-readers. Onward and upward!
I had a terrific conversation last month on the Gleebooks’ events stage with Leila Yusuf Chung, the author of Chasing Shadows, a debut novel centred on the issue of Palestinian refugees in Lebanon. While not an overtly political book, the story of Ajamia and her family highlights the terribly difficult situation Palestinians live in—unable to gain citizenship, banned from a myriad of professions and even banned from building, they live in 12 refugee camps around the country and in Beirut, forever in limbo. Fiction can be powerful and informative, while also being emotionally engaging.
My favourite children’s book this month, is The Lost Girl by Ambelin Kwaymullina and beautifully illustrated by Leanne Tobin. Suitable for 5+, the book tells the simple story of an indigenous girl who becomes lost but survives through the nurture of country. Being lost and alone is an almost mythical trope in children’s stories and here it is not as frightening as often portrayed, but a lesson in the beauty of country and the all-encompassing care of Mother Nature. I especially like the figurative illustrations which are full of warmth and earthy colour. An absolute joy.       Morgan Smith