Worse Things
Sally Murphy (Illust: Sarah Davis)
Publisher: Walker Books Australia
ISBN: 9781760651657
Awards Year: 2021
Category: The Book of the Year: Younger Readers
The publisher says...

From the award-winning author of Pearl Verses the World and Toppling comes a story about connections, the ways they are made and what happens when they are lost. When you’re part of the teamthe sidelineis a place of refugeof restof reprieve.But when you’re out of the teamthe sideline changes.Suddenly it’s the loneliest placeof them all. After a devastating football injury, Blake struggles to cope with life on the sideline. Jolene, a gifted but conflicted hockey player, wants nothing more than for her dad to come home. And soccer-loving refugee, Amed, wants to belong. On the surface, it seems they have nothing in common. Except sport. A touching and inspirational story about the things that bind us all. 

The CBCA judges say...

Beautifully illustrated and presented, the language of this verse novel is poetic and lyrical. As the three characters reveal their troubles, Murphy shows they are connected through their feelings of being left out and alone through their relationships to the sports they play — Jolene hates hockey but is forced into it; Blake loves football but is left out through injury and Amed would like to play soccer but language difficulties are an obstacle. Making connections through kindness is a theme, as is friendship and it certainly opens up conversations about what goes on behind the front that people share. The text enables readers to empathise with the characters and to develop responses and ideas around each of their situations. The outstanding thing about this book is the use of language, including poetically framed definitions which highlight the themes. The poetic narrative is accessible for all levels of readers. It flows beautifully when read aloud. The presentation is impeccable and appealing.

Shortlist Books 2021