Looking for Alibrandi: Australian Children’s Classics

Melina Marchetta

Looking for Alibrandi: Australian Children's Classics
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Looking for Alibrandi: Australian Children’s Classics

Melina Marchetta

I’m beginning to realise that things don’t turn out the way you want them to. And sometimes when they don’t, they can turn out just a little bit better.

Every so often, there comes a story so brilliant and lively and moving that it cannot be left in the past. Rediscover the magic of our country’s most memorable children’s books in the Penguin Australia Children’s Classics series of stories too precious to leave behind.


Growing up is hard. In Looking for Alibrandi, 17-year-old Josephine Alibrandi struggles to accept her culture, abandonment by her father and her social displacement at a wealthy girls’ high school. In her final year she begins to accept herself for who she is. In letting go of rigid expectations, Josie learns that the best things in life can come from the most unlikely places. She deals with loss, first love and the realisation of the sacrifices her mother has made to give her a better life. Josie’s stubborn, outspoken nature gets her into trouble, but she begins to manage it in her search to do the right thing.

Looking for Alibrandi is a coming-of-age novel that deals with difficulties of racial difference and what it means to be a teenage girl. It reminded me of the power of a supportive family and how family can provide young people with the opportunity to grow into strong and independent individuals. I am only a few years past Josie’s age, but truly wish I had read this book before I graduated. Perhaps the best lesson to take away from this book is that we should not focus on the terms that define us, but on who we feel we are.

For ages 14 and up.

Savannah Indigo works as a bookseller at Readings Malvern..

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