Dust Review: 'I died last night.' So begins Colin Thompson's,
Dust, a painful and heart rending first person
account by an African child who narrates the final hours of his own death and the death of his mother
The text is spare and to the point. There is no sentimentality, for Dust is, in essence, a dry description of facts. And the facts are brutal. The child
dies a preventable death while the wealthy western world chooses to look away.
In the book's introduction Colin Thompson states, 'In a perfect world this book would not exist,
but we do not live in a perfect world.' (excerpt from Dust, by Colin Thompson).
Also in the introduction, Margaret Douglas, the CEO of Save the Children congratulates Colin and the
brave illustrators for bringing the plight of children to the public's attention. All royalties from sales
of the book go to the Save the Children organization.
Dust Review cont...
Colin Thompson enlisted the aid of many fine and well regarded illustrators to provide images for the book.
There 14 double page illustrations that support the slender text with colour and, at times, harsh beauty.
My favourite illustration is by Kim Gamble. It features two African children as if drawn
in the hand of a child. The children are part of a tapestry that has images of war on the left panel and an idyllic view of
a coastal town on the right panel.
Dust is not for everyone. It is a confronting book, but also a brilliant book.
Dust deserves to be read
and understood, and can certainly be used as a text that teaches children about the daily fight for survival many
communities on our planet endure in the modern age.
Recommended for children aged 10-14.
Thompson, C. (2007) Dust Published by ABC books
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