Eleven year old Digger J Jones is a terrific character – a feisty little scamp with a lot of personality. His diary entries make up the story – short, snappy observations from an alert, smart and funny kid.
The book, set in 1967 at the time of the Vietnam War and the Australian referendum for Australian Aboriginal people to finally be counted in the national census, looks at these historical events through a child’s eye. Digger’s straightforward assessment of how they impact on his life cut to the chase.
The loss of his brother Paul in Vietnam and his determination to ‘fight that discrimination’ and be counted as a citizen are explored alongside his day to day adventures – making enemies and friends, trying to live up to his new-found love for the nun Ally, discovering that poetry isn’t just for girls, and getting up to shenanigans with his best friend.
Digger J Jones is bursting with humour and heart. It might be a good book for any child – particularly boys – who have trouble getting into reading.
As an education resource the book is ideally suited for Years 4-11 (But adults can enjoy the book as well).
This is an important book for young boys. It is a boy’s story that deals with male relationships, how males grieve, how males deal with anger and, indeed, how they deal with girls! — Anita Heiss, Aboriginal writer