International Youth Library White Ravens Catalogue Judges
Debut author Deryn Mansell first travelled to Java when she was seventeen and has been fascinated by its rich history ever since. On of her aims is to arouse more interest in Indonesian culture and language – and her adventure story is the perfect tool for it. Filled with a sense of mystery and the supernatural, the book plunges readers into the fourteenth century, a time when Java is torn apart due to a political intrigue between its two rivalling kingdoms. Young Kancil and her mother are forced to seek refuge in a tiny Majapahit village. To hide her Sunda origins, the fourteen-year-old girl has to remain mute while she works as a lowly kitchen maid for her important uncle. When she learns of a plot to destroy the village, she enlists the help of he only friend, the mysterious kitchen boy. Interspersed with Indonesian terms, which are explained in a glossary at the back, the third-person narration creates an authentic atmosphere that easily captures the attention of young readers. (Age: 11+)
"Tiger Stone not only represents a significant step in the right direction in encouraging an interest among young Australians and other English-speaking youth in Indonesia’s language, history and culture, but also serves as a reminder of the unique ability storytelling has in breaking down barriers and cultural stereotypes." Read the rest of Elena Williams' review in Inside Indonesia
Susan Green: Author
“I hadn’t known anything much about Tiger Stone. I’d seen the cover at the conference, and I knew the book was set in Indonesia in the 14th century. A place and time I knew almost nothing about. Then Tiger Stone arrived in the mail, and when I began to read it, I didn’t want to stop. It wasn’t just that it was a good, tricky mystery with two very engaging main characters. The pages were opening onto a time and place I knew nothing about…and that was exciting.”
Susan Green is an award-winning author of many books (I’m looking forward to reading her third Verity Sparks novel when it comes out in 2015, I think this will be her 12th published book). Susan is also a fellow Castlemaine writer and was kind enough to agree when I asked her to launch Tiger Stone at the Castlemaine Library in August 2014. The quote above is from the speech she gave at the book launch. You can read Susan’s speech in full on her blog veritysparks.com.
Magpies: Talking about books for children
Joy Lawn reviewed Tiger Stone for the September 2014 edition of Magpies (wwww.magpies.net.au). Here’s an excerpt:
“The main narrative is set 700 years ago and is framed, briefly but with elegance, by a story set in a village and Yogyakarta of the present… The narrative is quite dense and intricate, good for readers in the early years of secondary school but ideal for those avid readers in upper primary who need something to stretch them with age-appropriate content. Tiger Stone is a very strong debut by a knowledgeable and talented writer.”
Jackie French: Author, Australian Children’s Laureate
Jackie French chose Tiger Stone as one of three ‘books of the year’ for Australian Book Review’s December 2014 edition.
Virginia Hooker: Emeritus Professor, College of Asia and the Pacific, Australian National University
The University of Melbourne’s Indonesia Forum invited Professor Virginia Hooker to speak at its launch of Tiger Stone in November 2014. It was a wonderful night with musical accompaniment from Melbourne Community Gamelan and delicious Indonesian snacks. Professor Hooker gave a thoughtful and thought provoking speech in which she identified important elements of the narrative:
- Several mysteries which need the two young characters to piece together information they have acquired
- Adventure sequences which require courage and risk-taking to survive
- Identity and what it means - is it based on birth, appearance, achievement?
- Establishing and maintaining relationships with trustworthy people
- Fear of loss, facing fear and overcoming it
- And, for realism, a little teenage rebellion
And some of the themes from Indonesia’s history that appear in the novel:
- The competition between coastal and interior regions of Java
- The boundary between forest or ‘wild’ world and village or civilised world
- The fear of strangers from across the sea – that is, non-Javanese
- The interdependence of ruler and ruled
- The constant threat of natural disaster which destroys or displaces populations
- The building of alliances through strategic marriages
You can read Professor Virginia Hooker’s speech in full here.