Kids Who Did

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Kirsty Murray, Kids Who Did, Allen & Unwin, April 2019, 224 pp., RRP $19.99 (pbk), ISBN 9781760524470

I don’t usually review non-fiction so it was a delight to get my hands on this collection of true stories about kids and courage. From kids who ruled and rebelled to kids who survived and thrived, Kids Who Did is jam-packed with inspiring tales of young people who have made a difference.

I particularly enjoyed the chapter on Feral Kids, who understood the world in a different way and survived against all odds, and also the chapter on Rebel Kids, who had the courage to fight against injustice. In fact, that is the theme of this collection – courage. Each of the stories features children who have demonstrated great courage, remaining true to themselves and their beliefs, even when faced with unspeakable challenges.

First published in 1999 as Tough Stuff, this latest edition includes an update of the original stories and the addition of eleven stories, for a total of forty. The thematic chapters, including a new one on Climate Warriors, make for easy reading. At the start of each one, and occasionally elsewhere, the author speaks directly to the reader in bolded text that hints at a change of direction, fleshing out some of the salient issues in the stories that follow.

Despite some stories not having a happy ending, Kids Who Did is a refreshing and uplifting read for 8+ years, showing kids who have risen to the challenge and are set to change the world. And what better message for the young people of today.

Reviewed by Maura Pierlot

1 Comment

  1. Maura:

    The Chinese warrior one would probably fit for people who are going to the National Gallery of Victoria and meeting the Terracotta Warriors for the first time [they’ve not come to Australia in a generation or more].

    Reminds me of Maxine Hong Kingston and the Warrior Woman and what a big impact it made on me when I read Masterpieces of Women’s Literature in 1997-98.

    And we learn more or less through the endings.

    Kirsty Murray is a great author.

    And kids can see and touch their greatness – “Rising to challenges; changing the world” as you, Maura, have said.

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