Winner of the 2016 Environmental Award for Writing for Children


Shortlisted for the WA Premiers Literary Awards


A Children's Book Council of Australia 2016 Notable Book 


From the internationally bestselling author of The Books of Pellinor comes a powerful story about the exploitation of indigenous people by the First World.


In Simbala’s village they have two treasures: the River, which is their road and their god; and the Book, which is their history, their oracle and their soul. Simbala is a Keeper of the Book, the latest in a long line of women who can use it to find answers to the villagers' questions. As developers begin to poison the River on which the villagers rely, the Book predicts change. But this does not come in the form that they expect; it is the sympathetic Westerner that comes to the village who inflicts the greatest damage of all.


Illustrations by Katie Harnett


Endorsed by Amnesty International UK



 A resonant, haunting story... a simply told and dreamlike tale that tackles huge questions about conservation, capitalism, colonialism and cultural appropriation.

— The Age


A topical tale, it is engaging, suspenseful and memorable. 4 1/2 stars 

— Adelaide Advertiser


It’s a powerful little story…I’d recommend it to anyone at all.

— Booksellers New Zealand


The River and the Book is one of those beautiful stories that will take your breath away 

— The Bookkat


A thought-provoking and wildly compelling book of magical realism, exploring colonialism, and exploitation of indigenous people 

— Alpha Reader


A beautiful piece of literature.  

— Readings














The River and The Book

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