Jack's Island


Jack and Banjo are close friends living on a small island off the coast of Australia in a time of war and threatened invasion. Pearl Harbour, Darwin and Broome have all been bombed. Is their island to be next? The very real threat is always present. Danger lurks when the boys discover a Japanese soldier’s helmet and rifle at the base of a cliff. But where is the Japanese soldier? Is he a scout for the invasion, living rough on the island, just waiting for the opportunity to ‘murder them in their beds?’This is an exciting story of adventure, bravery and courage but most of all it is a story of friendship and loyalty. Jack and Banjo are forced to find dormant reserves of character when they a face fierce storm and their canoe is washed out into shark infested waters, when Jack is badly injured in a fall, when their best friend is lost at sea, and all the while they have to keep terrible secret from all the adults on the island, a secret they could devastate many lives.It is also a fascinating look into a time and an episode in Australian history that is now largely forgotten but one now told with warm and humour, with characters lifted straight from World War II

Publisher: Fremantle Press


Local Winner. WA Young Readers’ Book Award 2009

Honour Book. The Children Book Council of Australia Awards 2009

Shortlisted. The WA Premier’s Award 2009

Jack’s family is based on Rottnest Island during WWII while his father helps build an airfield. Jack and his best friend Banjo have the run of the island and a remarkable knack for getting into trouble — but as Jack says, ’I’m not that bad, I just get caught a lot!’ Dafty, a simple but loveable young boy, dotes on Banjo and Jack. When Dafty seeks revenge against the local schoolmaster for a punishment inflicted on Banjo, life suddenly becomes more serious. This poignant, multi-layered text offers young readers a valuable insight into life in Australia during the war.

The whole novel captures, with great perception and thoughtfulness, a slice of life from Australia, … a great read for 10-15 year olds

Reading Time

… a fine and well written story.