The January Stars by Kate Constable
Clancy and Tash have kidnapped their grandfather from an agedcare home. He’s a stroke survivor in a wheelchair whose main form of communication is just a few words: ‘yes’, ‘nah’ and ‘sp-sp-sp-’. They don’t really have any plans at first beyond taking him back to his now-empty house in Rosella, a place outside the city the girls now live in. When it is revealed on their trip that Pa hates the home, the girls set off to find him somewhere else to stay, successfully avoiding police and nosy waitresses, and meeting and making old and new friends along the way.
The January Stars is wonderfully written. The characters are all beautifully brought to life. Clancy is quiet and anxious but when she needs to she steps up, and Tash is bossy and sometimes mean but you never stop loving her, and Pa, who as mentioned spends most of this book being pushed around in a wheelchair and can barely communicate, could easily have been a mere device, but he’s not, he’s so well-drawn that by the end of the book I felt like I knew him well enough to work out what he was saying without the girls translating. This is a beautiful story about family, elders, and disability – great for kids aged 9+.