Disclosure: I received this complimentary product (Dawn Raid) through Raincoast Books. Affiliate Links will be used, thank you for your support of my blog, costs you nothing to do so. 🙂
It’s not every book that does this, but Dawn Raid, by Ms. Smith peaked my interest in an historical event. Let me explain. This past weekend I went camping with the family, I brought Dawn Raid along with me. As I read I would stop and talk to my lad about what I was reading. I had never heard about the dawn raids in New Zealand before so this was all new to me. My son was quite surprised as well. It made for some interesting discussions that my hubby joined in on as well. When I got home I headed to youtube to learn more. I think every country has sad periods like this in it’s history don’t you?
Racism is such a hard topic to have a discussion about isn’t it? In the states they deal with it as we learned in Uncomfortable Conversations with a black Boy. In Canada we have the First Nations people which a book I am reading slowly communicates about, Five Little Indians. But learning about it and how it affects people, helps to change behaviour a bit doesn’t it?
About Dawn Raids
Anyways, we should probably get on with the book eh? 🙂 Dawn Raid was written by Pauline Vaeluaga Smith, she also started a small museum that helps people to better understand the dawn raids. At 304 pages it is an easy read for most middle schoolers especially with illustrations on many of the pages. Written from the point of view of a 13 year old girl. She talks about family and school life, as well as life as an Islander in New Zealand. Published by Levine Querido c/o Chronicle Books. Reviewed for Raincoast books.
One thing you need to understand. Sofia’s family is of Islander stock. They came over to New Zealand to help when they had a labour shortage. Many stayed…some legally, some not so legally. Other nations of the world did the same thing. Coming to help, and sometimes overstaying their welcome. The thing is, ONLY islander people were targetted in these Dawn Raids conducted by the government via the police force. This is the story of one such Islander family.
Details about Dawn Raid
13 year old Sofia, a New Zealand girl, gives us a first person account of her families life in the mid-1970’s. We learn about her brothers who have more energy than brains. My son couldn’t believe the antics those boys got into. Their antics provided comic relief to the rest of the story. A hard-working family teaching their children to be good citizens.
The language is typical of a 13 year old and easily relatable to middle school age children. For me it was a bit of a walk back into time with go-go boots and the Osmonds. 🙂
Illustrations liberally dot the pages. I appreciated the addition of maps so that I understood better just where those islands where. There is a continent game I play on my phone but it’s not clear enough to really show the detail needed to see where all the islands are. Having the maps helped me practice my geography skills for sure!
I loved the natural way history and community flowed within the diary pages of Sofia. I often felt like I was there helping Sofia do her milk run, or attending the doctor with her mom and younger brothers, and her father dealing with the oldest brother. The fear of being woken up so early in the morning… Sofia expresses emotion well.
Should you Get Dawn Raid?
Should Dawn Raid be part of your library?
It’s an interesting read. I have to admit, when I first started I wondered what the purpose of this diary was. But seeing how the family lived, how school life progressed and some of the daily life experiences shared. Gradually the politics of the time were introduced until you wanted to know what would happen.
If you are studying New Zealand, add this book to your shelves. Gain some understanding about the politics of the time and what it meant to the people involved. It would either be a good way to introduce the topic of racism in New Zealand or be a finish out the study. It would also be a good way to show the racism isn’t just in Canada, or the United States, but is actually a world-wide concern.
If you are just looking for a good story to read that tells of a family’s experience living in New Zealand during a hard rough time in it’s history, it’s a good read in and of itself! 🙂