Dorothy and her family have moved to the city, and life is very different to the rural one she has known. Ruby Road is bustling – full of families and children, horse-drawn carts and even a mysterious dog. Best of all her new home has a secret writing room that only she knows about.

There are many reasons for her family’s move, but Dorothy has her own plans. She has to settle into a new school, make new friends and find an ingenious way to help the suffragists in their fight for women's right to vote! Perhaps her secret writing room holds the answer.

Join Dorothy and the inhabitants of 11 Ruby Road in 1900, as Federation is dawning and a new century begins.


Charlotte Barkla is a Brisbane-based writer who worked as a civil engineer and physics teacher before rediscovering her love for children’s literature. As well as writing for children, Charlotte writes feature articles for publications including the CSIRO’s Double Helix, Beanz magazine and Kookie magazine. She regularly visits schools for creative writing workshops, sharing her passion for science, creativity and stories with children of all ages. Charlotte’s books include All Bodies are Good Bodies (Hardie Grant Children’s Publishing, 2020), the Edie’s Experiments series (Penguin Random House, 2020) and From My Head to My Toes, What I Say Goes (Hardie Grant Children’s Publishing, 2022).

Charlotte’s books have been translated in multiple languages and short-listed for awards, and she has been the recipient of grants and mentorships for her fiction writing.


This is a terrific read for ages 9–12.


This story gives us a wonderful insight into life in Australia in 1900. It highlights how different life really was—when children played and made their own fun; when there were no ’mod-cons’; when they learnt basic life skills— but also how different life was for women and migrants, during a time of immense inequality. With historical facts at the back of the book, this is a fantastic read for all those in middle primary and up, and will be particularly adored by fans of historical fiction.

Lamont Books

This is the kind of book that would have appealed to me as a child, and still does as an adult reader.

The Book Muse

This is a delightful step into history at a time that is so removed from 2024. Highly recommended.


Perfect historical fiction for middle grade readers.


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