Tuesday 28 August 2018

Looking Up - Sally Murphy and Aska

Looking Up
Aska (Illustrator)
ISBN 9781925164572
eISBN 9781925164602

I have been a fan of Sally Murphy's works for a half dozen years now. The problem is, is that, many of them are not available in North America. When I came across this one, I was very excited that the eBook edition was available in Canada at the same time the physical book was published in Australia. In the three books I have read by Sally Murphy she has a way or penetrating to the heart of a matter. And this book hits on the hearts mark. 

This is a very powerful book, in part because in society today we could see these events happening. A child caught in a struggle either between parents or between parents and grandparents. Part of the description for this book is:

"Looking Up by Sally Murphy is a moving story about family, forgiveness and the stars. Pete lives with his Mum. His dad lives far away and, as far as Pete knows, that's all the family he has. Until one day, just before Pete turns ten, a birthday card arrives in the mail with stars on the front and signed 'Love, Grandad'. Mum reveals the card is from her own father, but when she won't give Pete more information he decides to locate this mysterious Grandad for himself. Pete and his best friend Tyler use the phone book to find Grandad and even visit his home. When Grandad insists they need Mum's okay to meet, Pete spills all to Mum."

It is not a long book, and it has wonderful illustrations by Aska. But it is the story that has the most impact. Pete has loved the stars his whole life, and all he really wants for his birthday is a telescope. But days before his birthday the mysterious card appears, addressed to Pete, and he never gets mail. The writing he does not recognize, and when he reads the card and it is signed 'Grandpa' it sends his mind reeling. So, he decides to take matters into his own hands. And that is when he slowly learns the whole story.

This story captures what a child can feel and experience in the middle of struggle between adults. It also captures what happens when people say things in pain and hurt, and those issues get left unresolved for years. It shows how we can make mistakes in our grief, mistakes that will haunt us for a long time to come.

This book is masterfully done. It is just so sad that we need books like this. Another excellent read by Sally Murphy and as mentioned the illustrations by Aska are wonderful.

Books by Sally Murphy:
Verse Novels
Pearl Verses the World, illustrated by Heather Potter
Toppling, illustrated by Rhian Nest James

Picture Books
Snowy's Christmas, illustrated by David Murphy
Pemberthy Bear, illustrated by Jacqui Grantford
The Floatingest Frog, illustrated by Simon Bosch
Meet Mary MacKillop

Chapter Books
The Big Blowie, illustrated by Craig Longmuir
R is for Rolf, illustrated by Trevor Pye
Bugged, illustrated by Stephen Axelsen
Stuck, illustrated by Stephen Axelsen
Doggy Duo, illustrated by Teresa Culkin-Lawrence

Educational Titles
Two Tricky Tales
Marty's Birthday
Buzzy Fly
Be Careful
Remember Me
Over the Fence
Sonoran Desert Animals
The Extraordinary House
Who Wants to Be a Millionaire
Desert critters
Frogs: Awesome Amphibians
Aussie Authors
Aussie Authors 2
Writing the News
Speak Out
Speak Up
The Book Book
Assembly: Poems to perform

1 comment:

Sally Murphy said...

Wow, Steven. Thank you for such a thorough and thoughtful review. You have mademy day.