Life is pretty grim at the Emu Swamp Children’s Home during the Great Depression. Twelve-year-old Adversity McAllister, aka Addie, longs for the day when her parents, travelling Shakespearean actors, will return for her and she can join them on the stage.
Matron Maddock runs the orphanage with an iron fist and her eyes and ears, Algernon Parris, is all too willing to carry out her bidding. Especially when it involves punishing spirited Addie.
Fortunately, she has friends in Tomas the grounds keeper and Mary the cook and seeks comfort in her friendship with Jack and cockatiel Macbeth – a gift from her parents – who has a talent for quoting Shakespeare. Addie’s performances for the other children are highly prized and her optimism and energy make her a favourite at the orphanage.
Sheryl Gwyther is an award-winning author from Brisbane, Australia. Her first children’s novel, Secrets of Eromanga was published by Lothian Books/Hachette Australia in 2006.
Her chapter books are also in many Australian schools and across the globe. Sheryl’s short stories and plays are found in Australia’s The School Magazine, Ireland’s The Looking Glass Magazine and New Zealand’s Junior Journal, and most recently, a new Chapbook of children’s flash fiction, Seven Tales.
Sheryl’s awards include two Australian Society of Authors’ Mentorships, two May Gibbs Children’s Literature Trust Fellowship Residencies; and a 2015 Work-of-Outstanding-Progress Grant from SCBWI International (the first non-American to win) for her manuscript, Sweet Adversity.