Children's Book Review:
Teresa A New Australian by Deborah Abela
I was delighted when Australian author Deborah Abela agreed to send me a copy of her book, Teresa A New Australian.
I had read about it online and was intrigued, especially because like Teresa, the young girl in the story, I too have a Maltese background (as does Deborah). In fact, Deborah based the story on her own grandmother Teresa.
The story begins with Teresa Fontana living in war-torn Malta with her Mama, and Nanna Teresa. Her father is currently a gunner in the war. She has a best friend, George who lives close by.
Teresa experiences many awful things as a result of the war; constant hunger, and frequent bomb raids.
But most devastating of all is when her family home is bombed, and nothing but rubble remains.
Her parents make the decision to leave Malta with Teresa, and make a new life in Australia.
Teresa's Nanna doesn't make the journey as she loves her native country too much and can't bear to part with her memories.
Teresa is deeply saddened by this as she is very close to her Nanna.
On the journey to Australia, Teresa meets Anna, an orphan, and they become great friends, but sadly, they must part ways when the ship arrives in Australia.
It was lovely to read about Teresa's transition to a new country as she takes in all of the sights and sounds (and even tastes Vegemite for the first time!)
Teresa keeps in contact with George and her Nanna by writing to them often.
The apartment they rent is very run down, but her parents do their best to make it a home. Both get jobs, and Teresa starts school but gets teased for her ethnicity.
One day, in a neighbouring apartment, Teresa hears someone screaming out. She finds out that the resident of the apartment is 31-year-old Albert Donovan, who was a soldier in the war and suffers from battle fatigue.
Over time, they become friends, and help each other to overcome their personal battles.
As her parents continue to work hard to make life better, they decide to send Teresa to a convent while they save to build a home on their land.
Whilst she is scared to be away from her parents, some surprising news upon her arrival helps Teresa to adjust much easier.
I won't give too much more away, but I thoroughly enjoyed this story, and I like that the ending was filled with a lot of hope, as well as emotion.
This is a great book for young readers, or for any age!
Disclosure: I was given a copy of Teresa A New Australian in exchange for an honest review. I was not paid for this review. All opinions are my own and not influenced in any way