Beth : The Story of a Child Convict

  • Hardback
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Beth is a child convict, caught stealing on the streets of London and sent to Australia on the First Fleet. Through Beth's story, we discover the unbearable hardships those first convicts suffered, not only on the long journey to Sydney Cove but also in the two years of near-famine following their arrival. The story also explores the new arrivals' relationship with the Indigenous population, and the devastation that the Europeans brought with them.

But through Beth's experiences we also see the sense of hope that many in the new colony held for the future, and how they survived - and in some cases thrived.

This moving story, illustrated with Mark Wilson's beautifully crafted and evocative artwork, was inspired by the experiences of Elizabeth Hayward, the youngest female convict with the First Fleet, and the journals of naval officer William Bradley and Arthur Bowes Smyth, the surgeon and artist from the First Fleet vessel 'Lady Penrhyn'.
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Product details

  • Hardback | 32 pages
  • 266 x 287 x 9mm | 460g
  • Lothian Children's Books
  • Sydney, Australia
  • 0734416776
  • 9780734416773

Review quote

When Beth, who is very young, and being transported form England to the Colony of New South Wales by herself, meets Molly on the ship, Beth becomes much happier because Molly is older and able to help Beth cope with all the strangeness of arriving in a rough new settlement, as a convict. The two girls become good friends are placed in work together. The readers will learn of the difficulties with work, the weather, and the diseases which ravaged both the new settlers and the indigenous people. Molly eventually dies from smallpox, but Beth survives. The story is based on the life of the youngest convict to come to Australia-Elizabeth Hayward. This book makes interesting, thought-provoking reading, and will appeal to readers, probably mainly girls of 7-12 years. Janet Croft This book is a perfect trifecta - interesting story, incredible illustrations and information for Australian history projects! Karen Comer
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About Mark Wilson

Acclaimed author/illustrator Mark Wilson's picture books include the war-themed series, MY MOTHER'S EYES: THE STORY OF A BOY SOLDIER (2009), ANGEL OF KOKODA (2010), VIETNAM DIARY (2013) and DIGGER, THE DOG WHO WENT TO WAR (2015). He has also written and illustrated MIGALOO, THE WHITE WHALE (2015), BETH: THE STORY OF A CHILD CONVICT (2016), NEVER LOSE HOPE: THE STORY OF AUSTRALIA'S FIRST SCHOOL (2018) and the art-themed books BEN & GRACIE'S ART ADVENTURE (2011) and INSIDE THE WORLD OF TOM ROBERTS (2012). His other titles include the Wilderness Society and Whitley Award-winning Extinction series I SAW NOTHING: THE EXTINCTION OF THE THYLACINE; I SAID NOTHING: THE EXTINCTION OF THE PARADISE PARROT and I DID NOTHING: THE EXTINCTION OF THE GASTRIC BROODING FROG and YELLOW-EYE (2002), which also won the Wilderness Society Award. Mark lives in Frankston, Victoria.
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