That Stubborn Seed of Hope by Brian Falkner

That Stubborn Seed of Hope by Brian Falkner

that-stubborn-seed-of-hopeThat Stubborn Seed of Hope is something beautifully strange in the YA literature market: a collection of short stories that deal with fear.

It seems strange that Brian Falkner, award winning, bestselling author of seventeen books for young adults, should write a collection for teenagers about fear. Young adult literature is so often about overcoming adversity, making it through the other side of the battle – but That Stubborn Seed of Hope does something very different.

They don’t always make it out the other side.

In this collection, Falkner weaves tales about fear, death, and loneliness, over ten brilliantly crafted short stories. Each has a different character, with a different world, and different fears. There’s a boy who wakes up in the body of an eighty eight year old; a kid in rural NSW who is forever changed by something that his gang sees; a girl who lives in a world where an epidemic virus has changed how human contact works.

The stories are harrowing and sad, but wonderfully crafted and engaging. Even in moments where you’ll feel like your heart is being ripped out, you can’t seem to stop turning the pages. And that’s because it’s not just about fear, about death, about loneliness. It is, as the title suggests, about that stubborn seed of hope that lives inside all of us.

author photoIn the introduction, Falkner poignantly says, “These are stories of fear, heartbreak, and tragedy, but they are also stories of endurance, of coping, and overcoming.” While they are undoubtedly quite sad, Falkner deftly handles such complex topics in a language accessible and relatable to young adults.

Falkner writes in ‘Santa’s Little Helper’, one of the stories, “I get worried about the world and then I get you on the line. And now I’m not worried so much.” While about hope and fear and the complex relationship between the two, That Stubborn Seed of Hope is ultimately about connection.

Whether it’s allowing yourself an illegal kiss, painting a strawberry on your sister’s face, or talking to a little girl who just wants a brother for Christmas, That Stubborn Seed of Hope will leave you sad, scared, but ultimately hopeful – for the world around us and those in it.

We recommend That Stubborn Seed of Hope by Brian Falkner for ages 15+.

Buy your copy here, and follow Better Reading Kids on Facebook for even more kids’ book recommendations.

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Publisher details

That Stubborn Seed of Hope
Brian Falkner
University of Queensland Press
Young Adult Fiction
03 July, 2017


A boy helps his sister disguise her birthmark on her first day of school. A seventeen-year-old awakens to find himself trapped in an elderly body. A teenage girl discovers her boyfriend has a life-threatening virus the day after they share their first kiss. A high school student tries to communicate to his hospitalised brother who is in a vegetative state.Brian Falkner serves up bite-sized tales of fear – fear of rejection, fear of dying, fear of disease, fear of the unknown, fear of exclusion, fear of being caught and fear of embarrassment – showing how that stubborn seed of hope hungers our darkest moments.
Brian Falkner
About the author

Brian Falkner

Brian Falkner loves telling stories, either in his books, or standing in front of an audience. He is the award-winning, bestselling author of seventeen books for children and young adults, including Northwood and The Real Thing. His 2015 novel Battlesaurus: Rampage at Waterloo won the New Zealand Children’s Book Award for Young Adults and was shortlisted in the NSW Premier’s Literary Awards.His action-adventure sci-fi novels The Tomorrow Code and Brainjack were both shortlisted for the New Zealand Post Book Awards with Brainjack winning the Children's Choice Award (Young Adult). Brainjack also won the 2010 Sir Julius Vogel Award, Best Young Adult Novel. His books have been published in over twelve countries in seven different languages.

Books by Brian Falkner


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  1. Harley says:

    I read this book and loved it, it moved me near instantly in some of the stories