Wednesday, 23 April 2014

Fiction - 11 years and up


NZ Writer
Jill Harris
The Red Suitcase
Submarine (Makaro Press) 2014  $24.99pb 238pp
ISBN 978 0 9941 0690 2
Themes:  Bullying// Friendship/ Indonesia/ Time slips/ World War 2
One day, by chance, Jill Harris found a red suitcase with nearly 100 blue aerogrammes written by her uncle to his mother when he was a bomber pilot operating out of the UK during World War 2. It was such amazing material that Jill, a committed writer of stories for children and young adults, realised at once she had the makings of what she calls ‘a rattling good yarn’ in front of her. With real skill she blends fact (the terror of the bombing missions and the people involved) during World War 2 with the fictional story of 14-year-old Ruth. In the story it is Ruth who, after returning to a lonely life in Takapuna, Auckland, having survived a terrorist attack in Indonesia where she and her family have been living, finds the red suitcase and the letters. Frighteningly and inexplicably the letters are a channel that cast Ruth back into the time of the war over 60 years ago. This always happens at an inconvenient and unexpected moment – during a social studies period at school, while she is swimming with her father off Takapuna Beach, out in her grandmother’s garden first thing in the morning. It is obvious from the meticulous detail that much research went into the production of the story – both here and in the UK. Memories of Jill’s time in Indonesia where she spent three years teaching English in Central Java are also used. . 
Year 7 up/ Age 11 up

Other books by Jill Harris:
At the Lake                        HarperCollins 2011
Notable Books Storylines 2012
Missing Toby                  Longacre Press 2007 
Sil                                   Longacre Press 2005
Honour Award 2006 NZ Post Children’s Book Awards / Notable Books Storylines 2006

The Red Suitcase 
will be launched 
The Children’s Bookshop, Kilbirnie
Thursday April 24th 2014 at 6pm 
If you would like to be there, please rsvp to

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