Whitlam Institute

What Matters 2019 Shortlist

What Matters 2019 Shortlist

Letter to Libby Gleeson

Letter to Libby Gleeson

Sophia Franze

Year 8, Domremy College

Dear Libby Gleeson,

I thought your book, Mahtab's Story, was amazingly written. The way you described the utter turmoil the characters had to go through in order to get to Australia and start a new life was brilliant. I thought it was a very good idea in the beginning, when Mahtab had flashbacks about what it was like before the Taliban and what it was like when they were just starting to come into power and changing their everyday lives, one small change at a time. Slowly adding more rules that had to be followed and enforcing terrible punishments when people did not obey. I thought you made the novel extremely inspiring in the way you displayed Mahtab as an optimistic person, who tried to believe that they would eventually reach safety. But, I also was grateful for the way you also displayed her as an aware person who was quick to understand if she was in a dangerous situation. I felt tense in the part of the novel where Mahtab, her Mother and her siblings were on a refugee boat heading to Australia. I thought it was very well written in the sense that you described Mahtab's' worries throughout the trip very well and the way you shone a spotlight on Mahtab's emotions was very eye opening. I personally found the ride to the refugee camp very interesting as well, as I got to understand how different Australia must have been to Mahtab compared to Afghanistan. I remember in the book reading how shocked Mahtab was to see what people were wearing and how they looked. I think this shows just how fortunate we are in Australia to have the free will to look the way we want to look. I congratulate you on writing such an eye opening book that shows us what refugees have to sometimes have to go through. I hope you work on writing many more, because I know that they will touch more people and open their eyes to the struggles some people have to go through. If you read this letter I would like to thank you for finding the time to do so. Maybe you could try and interview more people who have gone through difficult times to keep the next novel you write even more eye opening. Once again, thank you for reading this letter and I hope you have a lovely day.

Kind regards,

Sophia Franze