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The Simple Gift: A Novel


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A special reissue of a bestselling and award-winning Australian classic from popular author Steven Herrick.

About the Author

Steven Herrick is one of Australia's most popular poets. He has published books of poetry for adults, young adults and younger readers. Love, ghosts and nose hair was shortlisted for the 1997 Children's Book Council of Australia Book of the Year Awards and the New South Wales Premier's Literary Awards. A Place Like This has been shortlisted for both the 1999 Children's Book Council of Australia Book of the Year Awards and the New South Wales Premier's Literary Awards. Over the past ten years Steven Herrick has performed his poems throughout Australia in schools, pubs, universities, festivals, rock venues and on radio and television. He has also toured Canada, the United Kingdom, the United States and Singapore. He is one of Australia's most travelled and widely heard poets.


Gr 8 Up-A free-verse novel told in three voices. Billy, 16, says good riddance to his abusive father and hops a freight train. Settling in a small town in Australia that has a friendly librarian and a train yard with abandoned cars to call home, he adjusts quickly to life, figuring out how to eat and keep clean. Intelligent and mature, the teen thinks about cruelty, compassion, and what his life has become-"I'm poor, homeless, but I'm not stupid." He meets and falls in love with Caitlin, a rich and dissatisfied girl who quickly sees there is more to Billy than a starving bum grabbing leftovers off the tables in McDonald's. He also befriends Old Bill, a homeless drunk who teaches him a few things, including how to earn money. Billy has little to offer but compassion, and that's what these two people so desperately need. All three of them are able to give the simplest gifts to one another in this beautiful, subtle, and sensitive story. Tough language is occasionally and appropriately used, and the sexuality is indirectly portrayed, sweet and full of love. A dramatic and compelling story that will appeal even to reluctant readers, this book exceeds Herrick's pair of verse novels, Love, Ghosts, & Facial Hair and A Place Like This (both Pulse, 2004).-Susan Oliver, Tampa-Hillsborough Public Library System, FL Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information.

The third of Australian author Steven Herrick's free verse novels that began with Love, Ghosts, and Facial Hair, The Simple Gift, centers on 16-year-old Billy Luckett, who runs away from his alcoholic father to make his own way: "I'm poor, homeless/ but I'm not stupid." The poems are written from the points of view of Billy, Old Bill (who he meets while living in a train car) and Caitlin, Billy's love interest-a girl from a wealthy family who works at McDonald's. Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information.

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