Monday 13 February 2012

44. Our Australian Girl: Meet Nellie by Penny Matthews

Our Australian Girl: Meet Nellie by Penny Matthews
Published February 2012 Penguin

From the publisher:
It's 1849 . . . and Nellie O'Neill is arriving in South Australia on a ship bringing orphan girls from Irish workhouses. Nellie and her best friend, Mary, have left the famine in Ireland far behind, and are full of hopes and dreams for the future. Nellie longs to learn to read, to be part of a family once more, and never to be hungry again. But with no job and no one to turn to, how will Nellie make her wishes come true?

Meet Nellie and join her adventure in the first of four stories about an Irish girl with a big heart, in search of the freedom to be herself.

The latest in this extremely popular historical fiction series for girls.  Each of the different series with the Our Australian Girl series looks at a different time in Australia's history.  In the first book about Nellie we are in South Australia in 1849.  Nellie is one of many girls that have left their families behind to make a new life far from the famines they left behind.

Nellie is lucky enough to get a job with Mrs Thompson who runs a boarding house.  Nellie's job is to prepare meals, clean and look after the baby when necessary.  While she does work for Mrs Thompson, she also becomes part of the family and the older son Tom, even helps Nellie to learn to read and write.

Disaster strikes when the two younger children Will and Hetty play with some left over crackers, and Nellie's good luck might just come to an end.

There will be four books about Nellie, and this book really just sets the scene, with the story continuing  in the next three books.  The books are easy to read, full of interesting historical information that is woven into the story.

Who will like this book: Girls age 8+
Read it if you like: the other books in the Our Australian Girl series

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