Sand Swimmers

The Secret Life of Australia's Dead Heart

Illustrator: Narelle Oliver

Binding: Paperback

Imprint: Walker Books Australia

Walker Classic Series

Age 7+

Picture Books Nature, The Natural World

The secret life of Australia’s Dead Heart.

The Dead Heart is a desert wilderness in the centre of Australia. It is difficult to imagine anything can exist in such a harsh place. But the Dead Heart has a secret. It holds amazing stories of adaptation and survival.

Follow in the footsteps of early explorers like Charles Sturt and learn what the Indigenous people of this land first discovered: not all is quite as it seems.


Narelle Oliver (1960–2016) grew up in Queensland, Australia, in a family who spent every spare moment pursuing interests in visual and performing arts. The linocut print medium, often combined with other media, was a special feature of her illustrations. Narelle was the author–illustrator of a number of award-winning children’s picture books: The Hunt won the 1996 Children’s Book Council of Australia (CBCA) Picture Book of the Year Award; Sand Swimmers was short-listed for the 2000 CBCA Eve Pownall Award for Information Books and the Queensland Premier’s Award for Children’s Literature; Home was the winner of the 2007 Patricia Wrightson Prize, part of the NSW Premier’s Literary Awards; and in 2010 Fox and Fine Feathers was a CBCA Honour Book and short-listed for the Picture Book of the Year Award. Don't Let a Spoonbill in the Kitchen! was winner of the Queensland Literary Award for Children's Literature in 2014. Her latest book, Rock Pool Secrets, will be published with Walker Books Australia in 2017.


A remarkably effective combination of history and natural history of a mysterious ecosystem.


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