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2020 - Shortlisted
Catch a Falling Star is a finely written novel for older children about an unusual episode in Australia’s history, the fall of the Skylab space station to Earth in 1979. This profound, sensitively told coming of age story is also an exploration of grief and loss as Frankie and her younger brother Newt anticipate what else might fall from the sky after the death of their father.
Frankie tries to be responsible and keep things from ‘crashing to the ground’. She is torn between sorrow and anger, while her mother neglects the family to deal with her own pain. Frankie has an affinity with the Australian classic, Storm Boy, believing its themes of death, life and love reflect her own experience. Like poet-author Meg McKinlay, Frankie believes words are important to and this forms a meta-layer in the text. The integration of the Greek Callisto myth also deepens this multifaceted, heartfelt work.