Dianne Wolfer is one of Western Australia’s treasures in children’s literature. She’s the author of a number of picture books, early chapter books, middle-grade books, junior fiction, and young adult fiction. I’ve included a full list of Wolfer’s books at the end of this review.

Border Line is one of Wolfer’s early novels and it was published in 1998 by Fremantle Press. Border Line tells the story of Cassie Falconer, a teenager from Perth whose world is shaken by her father’s redundancy. All is not lost, however, because the family relocates to Eucla, a small dot on the map 1,500kms away from Perth. Eucla feels to Cassie as if it is a million miles away from school and her friends. What could be worse to a vegetarian teen than a dad whose new job is to shoot starlings?

While I thoroughly enjoyed getting to know Cassie, two other things I absolutely loved about this book were:

  1. Wolfer’s evocation of a stark setting. Eucla is a place of red dust and mozzies, few friends, and an ocean that’s no good for swimming. But yet the reader and Cassie grow to love the remote location. Wolfer perfectly captures the sense of wide open spaces, shifting sand dunes and blue skies. The Australian bush has a magical quality which Wolfer captures effortlessly on the page. I guarantee you’ll be itching for a road trip out West!
  2. Cassie’s new friends–Ella and her brother, Bernie–who are warm, gentle characters. I really enjoyed watching their friendships unfold.

Border Line is a book about a girl growing up in the Australian bush and has themes of friendship, diversity, family, and appreciation of nature. Wolfer gently tackles themes of racism and conservation, and gives readers a sense of the vastness and wonder of the Western Australian bush.

Highly recommended. This book was reprinted in 2003, so if you have trouble tracking down a copy, why not try The Literature Centre where I found my copy.

Dianne Wolfer’s books:

  • The Dog with Seven Names (2018)
  • In the Lamplight (2018)
  • Nanna’s Button Tin (2017) 
  • The Shark Caller (2016) – 2017 CBCA Notable Book and shortlisted for WAYRBA
  • Annie’s Snails (2014) 
  • Granny Grommet and Me (2013) – Shortlist 2014 Children’s Book Council of Australia Awards, Early Childhood Book of the Year
  • Lighthouse Boy (2013) – Honour Book 2014 CBCA Book of the Year (younger readers), Winner 2014 WA Premier’s Book Awards
  • Lighthouse Girl (2009) – Winner West Australian Young Readers Book Awards, Shortlist NSW Premier’s History Awards, Shortlist WA Premier’s Awards, Shortlist CBCA Crichton Award, Shortlist CBCA ‘Notable Book’
  • The Kid whose Mum Kept Possums in Her Bra (2006)
  • Photographs in the Mud (2005) –  shortlisted for multiple awards and is used as a peace reference internationally.
  • Jungle Trek (2005)
  • Horse Mad (2005)
  • Scuba Kid (2004) 
  • Being Billy (2004)
  • Ironkid (2003)
  • Butterfly Notes (2003)
  • Choices (2001)
  • Dolphin Song (1995)

You can find out more about Dianne Wolfer and her books by checking out her website here.

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