Find Your Voice: Read an Extract from If Not Us by Mark Smith

Find Your Voice: Read an Extract from If Not Us by Mark Smith

Hesse slipped his board into the rack on the side of his bike and swept down the Russell Street hill. If he was lucky he’d get an hour in the water before dark. May was the best month for waves, with gentle offshore breezes and in-between-sized swells, like the whole coast was drawing breath before the arrival of winter. He loved this feeling of flying down the hill, with the promise of waves ahead of him and his weekend homework buried in his backpack in his bedroom.

School was done for the week and the next two days he’d be tied up working in the surf shop. That didn’t worry him, though—the water was crowded on weekends with surfers from the city. But Friday arvos were golden: just the local crew, the tradies finishing early and the schoolkids racing each other from the bus stop to the beach.

He reached the corner and swung left onto Ocean Road, past the general store with its two petrol bowsers standing out front like sentries, and on to the surf shop. It was a converted mechanic’s workshop, a big barn of a place that Theo Turnbull had been running forever.

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Teaching Notes: If Not Us by Mark Smith

Review | Extract | Our Review

21 October 2021

Teaching Notes: If Not Us by Mark Smith

Important and Impactful: Read Our Review of If Not Us by Mark Smith

Review | Our Review

20 October 2021

Important and Impactful: Read Our Review of If Not Us by Mark Smith

Publisher details

If Not Us
Mark Smith
Text Publishing
Children’s Fiction
28 September, 2021


Recommended for ages 14+.

Hesse lives a small coastal town, where a coalmine and power station are a part of the scenery, and a part of the ever-growing problem of climate change. His mum is a member of a local environmental group campaigning to close the mine and shut down the power station. It’s a no-brainer, of course, but Hesse is more interested in surfing—and in Fenna, the new exchange student from the Netherlands.

But when someone seems to be trying to derail the campaign, and his friends’ families face losing their jobs, Hesse begins to realise that things are complex.

Even though he’s reluctant to step into the spotlight, with Fenna’s encouragement he decides it’s time to make a stand. Because some things are too important to leave to everyone else. And even one small, nervous voice can make a difference.

When Hesse agrees to speak at a protest meeting he has no idea of the storm he is about to unleash.

If Not Us is Mark Smith’s first standalone YA novel following his hugely successful Winter trilogy. It’s another great story with an engaging and relatable protagonist, as well as an impassioned plea for climate-change action that will inspire and empower readers of all ages.
Mark Smith
About the author

Mark Smith

Mark Smith lives on Victoria’s Surf Coast where he writes and runs outdoor education programs for young adults. His writing has won a number of awards and has appeared in Best Australian Stories, Review of Australian Fiction and the Big Issue. The Road to Winter is his first book.

Books by Mark Smith


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