Meet Pearlie is Book 1 in the Our Australian Girl series published by Penguin Books Australia
During World War Two Australia was bombed by Japan. It began in Darwin on February 19th, 1942 when 188 Japanese planes launched their attack. Many soldiers and civilians were killed. It was the largest Japanese attack since Pearl Harbour, 7 December 1941 and the first time that war had come to the shores of Australia.
After Darwin, other cities followed like Broome and Townsville. Most of the 1066 women and 900 children evacuated Darwin by sea. Others left by road, plane and train.
‘It’s 1941 and the war is changing Pearlie’s life every day. Darwin is full of soldiers, there’s a spy on the loose, and people are turning against Pearlie’s best friend, Naoko, because she’s Japanese. When everything falls apart, will Pearlie be brave enough to stick up for what’s right, or will her old fears get the better of her?’
“This exciting tale of two girls in Darwin at the outbreak of World War Two is engrossing. Gabrielle Wang has developed two easily identified characters who will reach out to the middle primary reader. These readers will learn about Australia’s involvement in war, the prejudice which existed in Darwin towards the Japanese, and certainly have a feel for that developing city.” – Fran Knight Readplus
THE FACE OF PEARLIE
When I begin a novel, I usually don’t have an image of my main character in my mind. So when my publisher sent me a photo of Faye, I knew she was perfect.
WHO IS PEARLIE?
Pearlie is quiet and not very brave. She likes to read and write. She’s scared of heights and of the dark. She loves animals.
Pearlie is a little like I was when I was a child except I used to draw all the time. I have always loved animals.
In Meet Pearlie, there’s a spy on the loose called Ron Beake. During the war there were many Japanese spies in Australia. I like reading spy stories so it was only natural for me to put one in Pearlie’s life. She already has plenty to put up with when her best friend Naoko gets sent away to an internment camp. But then the spy turns his attentions on her because she knows too much.
War is always a horrible thing. It separates families and friends. It destroys places and changes people.
If I had an Aladdin’s lamp and could be granted just one wish – it would be that there would be no wars in the world.