by the river is a verse-novel for young adults. And just between me and you, it's probably my favourite.
Life for Harry means swimming in Pearce Swamp, eating chunks of watermelon with his brother and his dad, surviving schoolyard battles, and racing through butterflies in Cowpers Paddock. In his town there's Linda, who brings him the sweetest-ever orange cake, and Johnny, whose lightning fists draw blood in a blur, and there's a mystery that Harry needs to solve before he can find a way out...

* Winner of the 2005 NSW Premier's Literary Awards
  (Ethel Turner Prize for books for young adults)

* Honour Book in the 2005 Children's Book Council Of 
  Australia Book of the Year.  (Older Readers)

* Winner of the 2005 Australian Speech Pathologists of Australia Book of the Year (Older Readers)

by the river - Allen & Unwin 2004
The colour of my town

was Johnny Barlow
with his lightning fists
that drew blood in a blur.
was Urger,
who stood behind,
with crooked teeth,
spitting, and cursing;
were Miss Spencer's eyes,
pale, and shining,
and fading distant grey
as the taxi drove away.
was my Dad's handkerchief,
pressed into the pocket
above his heart;
a box of handkerchiefs
Mum gave him on his birthday
two weeks before she died.
was dry grass all summer,
a dead snake,
cane toads squashed flat,
our house smeared in oil;
nothing that lives,
nothing that shines.
was Mum's nightgown,
the chalk Miss Carter used
to write my name;
hospital sheets,
and the colour of Linda's cross.

(page one)

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