Remembering can be risky.
“I don’t know where we came from. Several times when it had seemed important to know, I had tried asking, but mum never really answered.” Eleven year old Steven is curious about his past. When he hears a stranger’s name, odd memories come back to him. A large house. Being left on the side of the road. But does he really want to remember everything?
Remembering can be risky in Change the Locks, an unforgettable junior fiction novel by multi-award-winning Australian author Simon French. This novel deals with family issues, belonging and acceptance. In 1992 it was an Honour Book at the Children’s Book Council of Australia (CBCA) Awards and winner of the Australian Family Therapists’ Award for Children’s Literature. If you enjoyed this book, read Simon’s other stories: Cannily, Cannily and Other Brother.
“Change the Locks is a book of rare insight and great emotion with sensitively drawn characters and a readable and varied literary style.” Reading Time magazine
“Compelling and thoughtful … French handles issues of honesty, fear and family responsibility with skill and compassion.” The Horn Book Magazine
“A tightly wrought novel of a protective youngster trying to keep his family functional … This has plenty to entice readers: a tautly written story, good characterisation...” School Library Journal
“French's tender treatment of Steven, and the careful exploration of Steven's relationships with his best friend, Patrick, his mum, Darryl and his adored baby brother makes this book deeply moving. The love (and dysfunction) are so real they resonate long after you finish reading.” The Courier Mail
Simon French grew up in Sydney's west, and had his first novel published while he was still at high school. He has written many novels and picture books, and been published in Australia and overseas. His work is praised by critics and has won several awards, including the 1987 Children's Book Council of Australia Book of the Year Award for All We Know. Change the Locks was an Honour Book in 1992. Where in the World won the 2003 NSW Premier’s Literary Award for Children’s Literature, and was short-listed for the 2003 CBCA Book of the Year for Younger Readers, long-listed for the 2003 Guardian Children’s Fiction Prize and nominated to the IBBY Honour List in 2004. His most recent novel, Other Brother, was short-listed for the 2013 CBCA Book of the Year for Younger Readers award. Simon is a primary school teacher in the Hawkesbury region of New South Wales.
Change the Locks is a moving story of survival from the perspective of nearly twelve-year-old boy. Simon French has a light touch with heavy material and ‘Change the Locks’ is compellingly readable. Recommended for upper-primary, early-secondary readers.