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Soraya, the Storyteller

Soraya's stories from Afghanistan keep her memories alive in Australia as she starts a new life as an asylum seeker under a Temporary Protection Visa. She just wants to be safe. Soraya the Storyteller is a magical and uplifting story that will capture your heart.

Themes: Asian content, Afghan culture and folklore, asylum seekers


Shortlisted in CBCA Awards, Younger Readers, 2005

Shortlisted in Adelaide Festival Awards, 2006

Shortlisted in Australian Family Therapists' Awards, 2005

Commendation in Victoria Premier's Awards, 2005

Chosen for One Book One Salisbury for Younger Readers 2005.

Published 2004



What people are saying

A powerful and moving story.

     Tom Shapcott

This is a beautiful book with a powerful message.

      EC, Reading Time, Vol 49, No 3


Soraya the Storyteller makes a fictionalised version of one of many untold stories of Afghan refugees accessible to children form 10 years onwards. Although tragic situations are recounted the telling is not so graphic as to be distressing to children in the later years of primary school. Strongly recommended.

      Annette Dale Meiklejohn, Magpies, Vol 19

A delightful yet heartrending book, it is impossible to read Soraya the Storyteller and remain unchanged.

      Wendy Noble, Good Reading

I loved this story and would love to read another of Rosanne Hawke's books. This is probably one of the saddest, but best books I have ever read.

        Claudia Rush, age 10

Soraya the Storyteller is one of the most moving and captivating novels I have ever read. Never before has a book altered my ways of thinking like Rosanne Hawke's has.

        Bianca Quagliata, Year 10

Soraya the Storyteller in its sensitivity and spareness represents not only Hawke's best work to date hut also the most moving and convincing portrait of a refugee family I have read.. Soraya's story of adjusting to life in Australia is interweaved with her memories of life in Afghanistan - memories whose frequent horrors are tempered by the lyricism of their telling and by the child's articulate love of her homeland and her lost family members.

      Her poetic metaphors spring appropriately from the old life which formed her and her responses are often at odds with Australian custom. Illuminating, authenticating insights are conveyed frequently with gentle humour and always with the unobtrusive delicacy that informs the whole book and makes it a growing experience for readers from nine to infinity.

     Katharine England, reviewer

Soraya the Storyteller  is a poignant and moving story of the emotional journey of a young Afghan refugee from forgetting to remembering ... Rosanne Hawke elegantly and sensitively provides a window of understanding into the complexities and difficulties faced by refugee families in Australia.

     This novel beautifully reinforces the psychological appeal stories have for children and adults alike. For, it is through stories that children are able to experience, imagine, remember and in Soraya's case, heal. Soraya discovers the value and and importance of listening to stories and telling stories as a way to find herself and feel alive once more. 

... The implicit message in this book is one of understanding and compassion for fellow human beings but the explicit message is that the importance of stories and storytelling has no boundaries and definitely no borders.

     MT, Viewpoint



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