Say her name with love

My Brother's Name is JessicaMy Brother’s Name is Jessica by John Boyne

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

This book is important. It is raw and real and doesn’t pull any punches. The reactions of the adults are totally believable. Sam is a young boy trying to process his brother Jason’s recent revelation that he is, in fact, a girl. Their parents (mum is an MP with PM aspirations and Dad is…well, a jerk really) react with alarm and incredulity. Sam is confused and doesn’t want to lose his brother. Hurtful words are said, misunderstandings are addressed and then exacerbated, Jason/Jessica is trying to find her way in an increasingly messed up world. Jessica’s Aunt Rose, and her soccer coach, Mr O’Brien, are shining beacons of acceptance and love – and provide great counterpoints to Sam’s parents and schoolmates. I really enjoyed this novel. It’s honest and simple and does a great job. There is hope at the end, and a wonderful sense of the love of these two siblings breaking through all the other stuff and winning the day.
For ages 10 and up.

Democracy sausage FTW!

From Secret Ballot to Democracy Sausage: How Australia Got Compulsory VotingFrom Secret Ballot to Democracy Sausage: How Australia Got Compulsory Voting by Judith Brett

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I really enjoyed this book – Judith Brett has produced a genuinely interesting account of how Australia came to be one of the few countries in the world to have compulsory voter registration, and compulsory voting. I learned a lot, and along the way I was introduced to historical figures I had never heard of until now. I would recommend this fascinating read to everyone who has even a passing interest in Australia’s history. It’s great!