Walker Books Australia
‘Red Day’ gives so much to its readers. Firstly, there are two fascinating and distinct genres working here—historical fiction and magical realism. Then there are fascinating and multi-faceted characters whose perspectives allow readers to experience intense emotions. Young Charlie has synaesthesia. She’s prickly, intelligent and hard-headed but not without empathy. Charlie’s experiences are very real to the reader, sometimes frighteningly so. There is also young Kenichi, who comes as a Japanese exchange student to Cowra in New South Wales. Located here are the remnants of the 1940s Cowra Prisoner of War Camp. Kenichi’s father tasks his son with finding where his grandfather, a war pilot, was buried. Kenichi must arrange to ‘bring him home’. The story thus blends the historical fiction element of the Cowra Prisoner of War Camp breakout with contemporary times. Charlie and Kenichi are inextricably linked as both have lost people with whom they need to reconnect. The prose is crisp and often transports the reader inside Charlie’s synaesthesia experiences. Kenichi’s search for the whereabouts of his grandfather’s remains becomes the reader’s search too. There are several fascinating and complex adult characters. Such is this author’s skills that moments of high tension, danger and disagreements are deeply felt by the reader. The historical recreation of the 1944 Cowra Prisoner of War Camp breakout is seamlessly woven into this contemporary story of two young teenagers whose intertwined lives bring about a satisfying resolution.
Conflict, Compassion, Cross cultural relations, Cultural traditions, Detention centres, Empathy, Family, Friendship , History , Hope , Kindness , Racism , Social justice , War,
Secondary, Upper Primary
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