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News & events

Get the latest news about events and book launches for the series.

Tyenna shortlisted in the 2023 Environment Award for Children's Literature

The Wilderness Society has announced the shortlists for the 2023 Environment Award for Children’s Literature and Tyenna: Through My Eyes - Australian Disaster Zones has been shortlisted in the Fiction category

Established in 1994, the Environment Award for Children’s Literature ‘promotes a love of nature in kids’ by showcasing the best children’s nature books.

The winners will be announced during Nature Book Week in September. For more information about the award, see the Wilderness Society website.

Read an excerpt from Julie Hunt's blog post for CBCA Tasmania

Julie Hunt, co-author of Tyenna, talks about the inspiration and key messaging in writing this first riveting title in a new segment of Allen & Unwin’s Through My Eyes series. Discover a unique wilderness in Tasmania through the eyes of Tyenna and be inspired to investigate this series further as future titles are published.

Anxiety is the currency of our times; social media and endless news footage give us no respite from pressing contemporary issues: the global pandemic, climate-change-generated extreme weather events, civil unrest and war. How to help young people develop resilience, hope and agency is a question with which parents, educators and mental health practitioners grapple. Story offers one possibility. Stories of children facing and successfully navigating challenging events.

Tyenna fits that brief as do all the Through My Eyes novels. The series was created by Lyn White with the idea of inspiring and informing young readers as they follow kids their own age into dangerous real-world situations. The first series looked at children in conflict zones and although I’m way beyond the target age group I can’t forget the main character in Emilio and everything I learned about crime in Mexico after his mother was kidnapped. The same goes for Shaozhen, a book from the next series which is about natural disasters. I could picture that village in China at the moment when the well ran dry, and feel what the character felt as he realised the implications. The stories are real, immediate and all too believable.

Continue reading at the CBCA Tasmania Blog

International Award News for Hasina

The Canadian edition of Hasina, titled Crossing the Farak River and published by Annika Press, was the winner for the Young Adult/High School Literature category in the 2020 Freeman Book Awards. Established by the National Consortium for Teaching About Asia, the Committee on Teaching about Asia of the Association for Asian Studies, and Asia for Educators at Columbia University in 2016, the awards recognises quality books for children and young adults that contribute meaningfully to an understanding of East and Southeast Asia. Find out more about the awards here.

This edition of Hasina was also included in the United States Board on Books for Young People’s (USBBY) Outstanding International Books List for 2021. Since the beginning of 2006, the USBBY has selected an honour list of international books that is then published in the School Library Journal. The Outstanding International Books committee is charged with selecting international books that are deemed most outstanding of those published during the respective calendar year. Find out more about the USBBY Outstanding International Books List here.

Read an excerpt from Lyn White's interview with Children's Books Daily

When I grow up I think I’d like to be Lyn White. She’s a teacher librarian, editor, marketing guru – she’s all of the things I love rolled into one. I’m always saying to my students at school ‘when I grow up I’d like to be…’ (usually it’s the owner of an endpaper art gallery!) and today I’d rather like to be Lyn.

Lyn is the editor of the ‘Through My Eyes’ series, a fiction series set in contemporary natural disaster and conflict zones. Lyn’s work with refugee children motivated her to create the series, to help spread understanding and so that Australian refugee kids feel represented in the stories they and others read. The inspirational stories of courage, resilience and hope give insight into environment, culture and identity through one child’s eyes. This series was the Winner of the Best Educational Picture or Chapter Book Category at the 2019 Educational Publishing Awards and deservedly so.

The ‘Through My Eyes’ series is such an important series to have in your home or school library collection and I cannot recommend them more highly. The stories of young people living in challenging circumstances allow readers to connect with others and develop empathy and understanding.

Each book in the series has an incredibly strong sense of place and any of of them would make an excellent class novel study for HASS or English for students from 9 years+. The personal impact of natural disasters or conflict zones is introduced with characters we can all connect with and while the stories depict the emotional and social implications of horrific situations, each story is full of courage, selflessness and hope ... always hope for a better future.

Continue reading the interview at Children's Books Daily

Hasina: Through My Eyes Launch at Readings Hawthorn

A wonderful crowd of over just over 60 people gathered in Readings Hawthorn for the September launch of Hasina: Through My Eyes, the seventh book in the conflict series. The evening began with a welcome by Eva Mills, Publishing Director – Books for Children & Young Adults. Lynne Bury a renowned Literacy Consultant and ALEA Principal Fellow spoke about the important contribution that all the books in the Through My Eyes series are making to the education of Australian students. Lynne’s experience delivering professional developments to teachers across Victoria gave testament to the unique ability of these texts to develop informed empathy and intercultural understanding in young readers. Lyn White, the series creator and editor, spent time in conversation with author Michelle Aung Thin. Michelle shared her motivation for writing Hasina, the painstaking research involved and some of the key themes of the novel.

Hasina was very much a team effort. Interpreter May Kyel Win, advised on language issues and Tara Begum and her family, who are Rohingya refugees, provided invaluable assistance and insight into the Rohingya culture and experience.

It was an enormous privilege to have Tara Begum and her whole family present at the launch. Tara’s daughter Nurankis appears on the cover of Hasina and Shakilah Nur, her older sister was our reader and cultural checker. Tara Begum spoke about her journey to Australia and her unrelenting efforts to secure an education for her children – an education that was denied to her children both in Myanmar and in the transit country of Malaysia. It was a very moving account of the experience of Rohingya refugees who continue to seek a better life in our country.

Series creator Lyn White in conversation with author Michelle Aung Thin
Lyn White in conversation with author Michelle Aung Thin
Lyn White and Lynne Bury, Literacy Consultant and ALEA Principal Fellow
Lyn White and Lynne Bury, Literacy Consultant and ALEA Principal Fellow
Lyn White with Tara Begum and her family
Lyn White with Tara Begum and her family

Winner: Primary Education Picture or Chapter Book Category at the 2019 Educational Publishing Awards

We are so excited to announce that Through My Eyes – Natural Disaster Zones won the Primary Education Picture or Chapter Book Category at last night's award's ceremony.

The judges commented:

These high-quality, engaging narratives develop both knowledge and empathy through the use of first-person narrative. The series is supported by comprehensive teaching notes and has strong links to HASS and English curricula.

Thank you to our amazing authors John Heffernan, Wai Chim, Fleur Beale and Zoe Daniel for their hard work, and of course to Lyn White, the series editor.

Lyn White at the Educational Publishing Australia Awards ceremony
Lyn White at the Educational Publishing Awards Australia ceremony

Rutherglen Secondary School Welcomes Lyn White

Rutherglen Primary and Secondary Schools have been creating their own literature units around the Through My Eyes texts. Year six students had been studying Zafir by Prue Mason and year seven’s, Hotaka and Lyla. In October this year, Lyn White was invited to speak with students and teachers about both series of books.

The secondary school librarian had a wonderful display of the books and the class teachers shared with Lyn the exceptional work the students had done in response to the texts. Lyn spoke about the background to each of the 10 novels, read from the texts and totally inspired the young readers. Lyn received amazing feedback from the teachers and students who are already preparing to study Angel next year.
Leading Teacher Literacy, Kerrie Ware commented:

Lyn’s presentation was excellent and our students were engrossed. She was able to balance her talk with the obvious experience of a former teacher with a finely tuned feel for the audience. Her questions, her slides, her background to each of the books in the series, the details about authors and their experiences, and her role in the creation of each of the books was fascinating. Lyn gave away two copies of the latest book Angel to two students who were able to express clearly the idea behind the series and the intention of the series.

Lyn was here as a follow up to the Best of Both Worlds Program 2016-18, and her visit provided a way to further the work embarked on two years ago and her visit is a way of furthering the many transition opportunities between Primary and Secondary.

It was wonderful to see the Grade 6 students in attendance because Rutherglen Primary School has also embraced the serie, teaching Zafir amongst other titles. Next year, these students will be able to look at another couple of books in the series in the Year 7 Communicate Program. After discussing the excellent display of the work Year 7 have done with Hotaka, Jade Knight, English Learning Area Co-ordinator and Lyn have organised the purchase of a third novel in the series for next year.

Zoe Daniel at Ivanhoe Girls Grammar

Prior to the release of Through My Eyes: Angel, author Zoe Daniel and series creator and editor Lyn White visited Ivanhoe Girls Grammar. Lyn had given a draft manuscript to Junior School Teacher Librarian Marissa Caluzzi who had prepared the students so well for Zoe’s visit. The students are fans of the Through My Eyes books.

Zoe spoke to 120 year 5 and 6 girls about her experience as the ABC South-East ABC correspondent covering Cyclone Haiyan. She shared how this very moving and compelling time motivated and shaped the writing of Angel.

The girls were very engaged and asked Zoe’s some very insightful questions.

Fleur Beale visits Avonside Girls High School

Fleur Beale visited Avonside Girls High School on Tuesday May 29 to speak to three classes about her work and her latest book. Lyla is set in Avonside and previous students had spoken with Fleur about their experiences during the earthquakes. Enthusiastic students listened as Fleur spoke about her books and passed on writing skills. Copies of Lyla were awarded to students who asked the most insightful questions.

Through My Eyes - Lyla Launch

Lyla by New Zealand author Fleur Beale, published in March 2018, is the third book in the Through My Eyes – Natural Disaster Zones Series. Lyla, set around the Christchurch earthquake was officially launched by Eirlys Hunter at The Children’s Bookshop in Kilbirnie, Wellington, New Zealand. Jenny Hellen, Publisher, Allen & Unwin New Zealand together with other children’s authors, friends and school librarians attended the launch.

Fleur Beale with Eirlys Hunter
Fleur Beale with Eirlys Hunter
Fleur Beale speaking at the Lyla launch

School's Launch of Shaozhen at Glen Waverley Primary School

Shaozhen by Wai Chim, the second book in the Through My Eyes- Natural Disaster Series, was officially launched at Glen Waverley Primary School by Kirsten Sayer CEO of RedR, a leading humanitarian agency for international emergency relief. Kirsten shared her experiences of working in China and the role of RedR in first response disaster relief in the Asia-Pacific.

Wai presented to the year 4 students who had been reading Shaozhen and conducted writing workshops with some very excited English as an Additional Language (EAL) students.

Lyn White, series editor and Wai Chim visited six Melbourne schools including Mount Waverley Primary School, Mount View Primary School, Hillcrest Christian College and Blackburn English Language School and Brunswick South West Primary School. It was a fantastic week celebrating Shaozhen and connecting with young readers full of enthusiasm for the Through My Eyes texts.

Wai Chim with Rengying, cultural and linguistic checker for Shaozhen
Wai Chim with Rengying, cultural and linguistic checker for Shaozhen.
Wai Chim at Glen Waverley Primary School
Wai Chim at Glen Waverley Primary School
Wai Chim with Lyn White at the launch
Wai Chim and Lyn White at the launch

John Heffernan captivates students and their parents at Brunswick South-West Primary School

Over 200 students and parents at Brunswick South-West Primary School were certainly not going to miss the opportunity to meet their favourite author John Heffernan. John took on celebratory status as devoted fans lined up for author signings and a chance to speak with the man that created the amazing story of Hotaka. It was a truly exceptional experience for John and series editor Lyn White to see young and old so excited about reading.

John Heffernan visits Brunswick South-West Primary School

John Heffernan Signing

Series Launch at Readings Hawthorn

On Wednesday 8 March 2017 Nick Ireland, Manager of Specialised Technical Group, Save the Children officially launched the Through My Eyes - Natural Disaster Zones series. Judy Mraz, Director of Projects at Geography Teachers’ Association of Victoria outlined the curriculum relevance of the series and its potential for developing disaster preparedness and global empathy amongst young Australians. The invited audience enjoyed listening to John Heffernan and series creator and editor Lyn White in conversation.

School's Launch of Hotaka at Mount Waverley Primary School

On Tuesday 7 March 2017 Kate McFarlane and Emily Dunstan from Save the Children officially launched Hotaka by John Heffernan at Mount Waverley Primary School in Melbourne’s south-east. John Heffernan presented ‘LIVING WITH THE WAVE – An exploration of the tsunami through the eyes of one young Tokohu boy.’ to more than 200 year 5 & 6 Mount Waverley students and Japanese extension learners from Ashburton PS and Huntingdale PS. Cultural presentations by the students included a traditional Japanese tale and a delicious Japanese-inspired luncheon was shared in this wonderful celebration of Hotaka.

Hotaka School Launch

Hotaka School Launch

Hotaka School Launch

Robert Hillman visits Nossal High School

Robert Hillman, author of Malini, spoke to year 10 students at Nossal High School in Berwick as part of a Humanities unit of work that focussed on the study of recent conflicts through novels. Shelly Warner, Law and Humanities teacher at Nossal High, had contacted Lyn White, series editor, to share her idea of developing the unit of work around the six books in the Through My Eyes series. Shelly was keen to use the Teaching and Learning Guides, which she felt could easily be geared towards 15-16 year olds.

The year 10 students worked in groups to read a text from the series, participated in in-depth discussions and then created a variety of text responses. Students were challenged to explore the historical, geographical and cultural context of the novels and the local and global impact of the ongoing conflicts. The students shared some of their understandings with Robert Hillman who spoke about the background to Malini.

To see some of the incredible student responses, click here.

More Awards News

Naveed by John Heffernan was named Honour Book in the KOALA awards - the NSW children's choice awards.

Lyn White, series editor, and Rosanne Hawke, author of Shahana, attended the 2015 YABBA awards at Sacre Coeur in Melbourne. Shahana was shortlisted in the year 7 - 9 category of the Victorian children's choice awards.

Malini Launch

John Heffernan Keynote Speaker at 2015 Scotch College Festival

John Heffernan, author of Naveed, delivered a keynote presentation and workshop sessions to years 7 & 8 students at the 2015 Scotch College Festival. The students were captivated by John's sessions, and in particular, his description of his journey writing Naveed.

Malini Launch

Awards News

Naveed by Robert Hillman and Shahana by Rosanne Hawke have both been nominated for the Victorian, NSW and Northern Territory ABBA awards.

Naveed by John Heffernan has been selected as a state final text for the CBCA Queensland branch Readers Cup. Zafir by Prue Mason and Malini by Robert Hillman were also selected for the regional finals.

Malini by Robert Hillman has named in the Children's Book Council of Australia notables list for 2015. This is the second title in this series which has been listed as a notable. Shahana by Rosanne Hawke was named in the Children's Book Council of Australia notables list for 2014.

Through My Eyes launch of Zafir by Prue Mason

Zafir was launched at Serpell Primary School as party of Harmony week. Read the wonderful article featured in The Age about the launch and the entire series here.

The launch included writing workshops with Prue and a middle eastern lunch prepared by the school's Islamic community.

Visit the Serpell Primary School Blog to learn more about the visit.

Malini Launch
Malini Launch
Malini Launch

Through My Eyes launch of Malini by Robert Hillman Readings, Carlton – 11 September 2014

More than 50 people of all ages crowded into a great literary space at Readings Carlton to hear Lyn White (series editor) in conversation with Robert Hillman, author of Malini, the fifth book in the series.

Using the motif of journey, Lyn guided the conversation to provide moving insight into both the author’s own journey in writing Malini and the plight of so many Tamils who were forced to flee their homes and suffer displacement and hardship within the wounded paradise of Sri Lanka. Robert shared some of the challenges of writing about such a brutal war for a young readership and his hope that Malini’s story would motivate us all to achieve a more just world.

Two young friends of Roberts read extracts from Malini with great charm and confidence. There was a palpable jubilance as books were signed, congratulatory messages offered and poignant stories shared. A wonderful evening!

Malini Launch

Using Through My Eyes to support Australian Curriculum Primary Geography

Lyn White (series editor) recently presented at the Geography Teachers Association of Victoria’s (GTAV) Annual Conference 2014. Lyn demonstrated how well the Through My Eyes texts support AC Geographical Knowledge and Understandings for years 5 and 6. Lyn advocated the use of narrative as a powerful tool for learning – stories help students make sense of their own lives and those of others. Global education is committed to the realisation of the ‘ unity and interdependence of human society, developing a sense of self and appreciation of cultural diversity, affirmation of social justice and human rights, as well as building peace and actions for a sustainable future in different times and places” (Global Education, 2014). Lyn introduced teachers to the many excellent activities in the Teaching and Learning guides that have been prepared for each title and are available for download from this site.

Lyn was subsequently invited to write her presentation for inclusion in the GTAV’s Interaction journal. Read the article here.

Through My Eyes launch of Naveed by John Heffernan Caulfield Grammar School, Wheelers Hill Campus - 19 March 2014

Lyn White (series editor) welcomed the 150 year 8 students and introduced the Through My Eyes series. Nathan Mullins, ex-Australian Army Special Operations Task Force officer and author of Keep Your Head Down, launched Naveed, the third book in the Through My Eyes series. Nathan currently works in many countries as a Security and Risk Advisor with Australian Volunteers International. He praised John Heffernan for creating a sensitive uplifting account of life in the warzone of Afghanistan.

The students were captivated as John Heffernan shared his journey of writing Naveed. Students questioned both Nathan and John on a range of related issues.

John conducted a writing workshop with a select group of students. Di Wilson (Head of Libraries and Information Services at Caulfield Grammar) commented that it was the best author-led workshop the library had organised.

John and Lyn also visited Hillcrest Christian College in Berwick and Mount Waverley Primary School. John spoke to almost 1000 students over the three days. Heather Zubek and Michelle Nye (Discovery Centre teachers at Hillcrest College) created a fantastic military-themed day complete with a boot camp and army ration lunch. Jacqueline Griffeth (Mount Waverley Primary Teacher-Librarian) was thrilled with the enthusiasm shown by the 5/6 students who are currently reading Naveed.

Naveed Launch
John Heffernan, Michelle Ny and Hillcrest students competing in the boot camp at the school’s Equestrian Centre
Naveed Launch
John addressing Mount Waverley 5/6 students
Naveed Launch
Book signing at Mount Waverley, almost 50 books sold on the day
Naveed Launch
Lyn White and Nathan Mullins at launch

Building Harmony Project 2013 Shared Literary Activity Day

On Monday 28 October Rosanne Hawke and series editor Lyn White attended the Building Harmony Project 2013 Shared Literary Activity day. The project is a partnership between Windermere Child and Family Services, Cardinia Shire Council, and Monash University. Participating schools include Berwick Grammar School, Maranatha Christian School, Minaret College, Officer Primary School and St Brigid’s Catholic Primary School.

Australian Community Foundation (auspicing organisation of philanthropic group Sunshine and Crocodiles Pty Ltd) has funded the project to support the participating schools to embrace cultural diversity, with an expected change of demographics to occur within the Cardinia Shire over the next 10 years.

The schools that attended were Officer Primary School, Maranatha Christian School, St Brigid's Catholic Primary School and Minerat College. A group of students from each school had selected Shahana as the text for discussion. Rosanne and Lyn White attended this gathering held at Officer Primary School. Over eighty year 5 and 6 students had read Shahana and prepared responses to the text which they shared with each other throughout the morning. Rosanne gave a wonderful session on writing Shahana that was very well received by students and teachers. The students' responses to the text were positive, insightful and had great poignancy.

Large group study
Minaret girls group

Australian School Library Association (ASLA) XXIII Biennial Conference presentation

Lyn White (series creator and editor) presented a concurrent session entitled 'Supporting the Australian Curriculum. Through My Eyes: using literature to engage students with contemporary conflict zones' at the ASLA national conference in Hobart Tasmania on the 30th September 2013.

Lyn outlined the background to Through My Eyes and demonstrated why the series is a wonderful gift to teachers and librarians – the series supports the Australian Curriculum across English and Geography learning areas and provides a powerful literary catalyst for discussion of many contemporary issues. Lyn introduced librarians to the Teaching and Learning Guides for Shahana and Amina. She received an overwhelmingly positive response from the audience who praised the series concept, the relevance of Shahana and Amina and applauded her passionate delivery of the engaging session. Many librarians were already familiar with the series and were very keen to start using the guides.

Mary Blake, Teacher-librarian with the Department of Education Tasmania chaired Lyn’s session. She comments:

It was my great pleasure to chair Lyn White’s session – Through my eyes: using literature to engage young readers with contemporary conflict zones – at the recent Australian School Library Association (ASLA) Conference in Hobart. 
Lyn told a very engaged audience of her decision to change careers, her subsequent creation of the six-book Through My Eyes series and its partnership with UNICEF.
Lyn’s very extensive teacher notes (linked to the Australian curriculum) are a beautifully packaged gift for teachers and teacher librarians and the audience were keen to show their appreciation in the discussion that followed.
This series ensures that young students will develop a deep understanding of the experiences of children in conflict zones – children they may well meet in a future classroom. - Mary Blake, Teacher Librarian

'I have just been inspired by Lyn white at the ASLA XXIII 2013 conference. Congratulations on making the decision to publish this wonderful through my eyes series.' - Jane V, teacher

School Visit to Mount Waverley PS (VIC)

Rosanne Hawke and Lyn White spoke at Mount Waverley PS during the week of the book launch of Shahana.

Below is a sample of the many posters that the children in Years 5 & 6 created from reading Shahana.

Sample poster from Mt Waverley PS
A couple of student reviews on Shahana can be viewed here

Through My Eyes series launch
East Melbourne library, 5pm, 6 June 2013

The event was launched by Dr David Corlett, with speakers Lyn White (series editor), Rosanne Hawke (author of Shahana, book 1 in the series) and John Heffernan (author of Naveed, book 3 in the series).

The theme of the night was stories. All the speakers mentioned the power of individual stories to allow us to empathise with others; and the importance of telling the stories of children in conflict zones.

In Dr David Corlett's speech, he said, "Stories bridge the emotional gap between 'us' and 'them'... I congratulate you."

Through My Eyes launch audience
Dr David Corlett addressing the audience.
Through My Eyes launch Lyn White and Rosanne Hawke signing books
Rosanne Hawke (L) with Lyn White (R), signing books on the night.
Through My Eyes launch Lyn White with authors Rosanne Hawke and John Heffernan
John Heffernan with Rosanne Hawke and Lyn White
Through My Eyes launch - Rosanne Hawke and Lyn White with winners of Mount Waverley's annual writing competition
Rosanne Hawke and Lyn White with the winners of Mount Waverley PS's annual writing competition. The winners were invited to attend the launch as part of their prize.
The winners of Mount Waverley's annual writing competition at the Through My Eyes launch
The winners of Mount Waverley's annual writing competition at the launch. Congratulations!