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TyennaWhat teachers and librarians are saying about Tyenna


'This is the latest in this series that offers fictionalised accounts of world events that help our older, independent readers not only understand what happened but allows them to process it. By giving each story a central character such as Lyla who endured the devastating Christchurch earthquake in 2011, the story becomes one of courage, resilience and hope rather than an historical recount with meaningless facts and figures. It offers the ‘colour and detail’ to the stark monochrome sketches of news reports, websites and other information-only sources.

Like its predecessors, Tyenna is a well-written, well-researched blend of imagination and information that above all, tells a story of one girl's experience - sadly one similar to that of so many of our students who faced that dreadful Black Summer of 2019-2020 when the whole of the east coast of the country seem to be alight - and shows that it is OK to have been scared and fearful, but that natural human resilience can prevail. The first to focus on an Australian disaster (it will be joined by Mia later this year), it will resonate with many in one way or another and thus, if you have a system that places trigger warnings in your books, this may be one to consider.

While we would all like to protect our kids from the disasters of modern times, natural or otherwise, that can be an impossible task as the world now comes to them in the palm of their hands, but stories like this can offer insight, understanding and a feeling that they too, have come through the other side - often shaped by it but also more resilient and courageous because of it.
Barbara Braxton, Teacher Librarian, The Bottom Shelf

My over-riding feeling when I was reading Tyenna was its ring of authenticity to me, an ex-Tasmanian. The descriptions of places, particularly the unique lake country in central Tassie, the characters and their dialogue took me back in memory and struck a chord.

I think that this book achieves what it sets out to do, that is to act as a vehicle to bring the message of diminishing environments, climate change and increasingly violent natural disasters and their effect on our unique wildlife. Issues around family relationships, the learning of resilience strategies and problem solving, family relationships and human behaviour are explored. The authors use their writing craft to reflect their strongly-held values and concerns.

I would recommend this book for children from about year 5 through secondary levels because it is pertinent to what is causing anxiety amongst this cohort. Adults will also find it a good read. I applaud your term “Through my eyes’. The unwavering expression on Tye’s face especially in her eyes, on the cover, challenges us to ignore or put these issues under the rug at our peril.'
Joan Chamberlin’, Retired Head of English, VIC

This is a gripping yarn, with lively characters, and lots of bright dialogue. As part of a series on natural disasters, the take-away message has to do with the dangers of a warming planet, effects upon children (Tye is smart and thoughtful throughout) when these avoidable disasters happen, the suffering of human communities, and of the creatures of the bush. Most sadly in an immediate way, many Tasmanian pencil pines some of which were over 2000 years old were burned out in the fires of 2018-19. They will not regenerate. As the climate crisis worsens, the question for writers and artists becomes the urgent one of what kind of artistic projects are needed or will be adequate.

This series is one way in which writers are bringing history, science, and human stories to the children who will be the next generation that’s needing desperately to be both well informed, and compassionate towards each other and the planet. Both the co-authors are survivors of bushfires, so they have knowledge as well as passion for bringing this experience alive to readers.
Kevin Brophy, CBCA Reading Time

Julie Hunt and Terry Whitebeach have developed a suspenseful and engaging text. The threat of a dangerous bushfire and a runaway boy keeps the reader on edge and wondering if they will survive. The characters are strong, and their voices are gripping. Each character is distinct and well developed. A range of character age groups are included, along with a wombat called Myrtle who creates havoc. This story builds empathy and understanding on many topics including – the elderly, bushfires, conservation, Aboriginal perspectives, education, friendships, family dynamics, LGBT and foster children are a few.

Tye is raw and honest with a believable teenage voice. ‘Why didn’t you tell her where you really are?’ Bailey looks down. ‘She might send me away.’ ‘Your auntie wouldn’t do that!’ Tye says. The text is educational and layered with lots of information about bushfire preparation and firefighting. Scientific names for flora and historical facts are included. Immediately a text comes in from Lukas. Hey, RUOK Just seen footage of burnt World heritage areas down your way. Ecological disaster. Are they going to wait till all the Gondwanian species are wiped out before they act? Or is it up to us? The text is a mix of short and long sentences that pace the story beautifully. What I particularly like about this text is that the reader is encouraged to think and question and be curious.

Tyenna: Through My Eyes is a wonderful story about family, friendship and community all working together during a bushfire emergency. I can see this book being used in schools because it’s a multilayered text that raises discussion about bush conservation and climate change. It is a book that will be a gripping read for children aged 11 – 14 years.
Karen Hendricks, Buzz Words Books