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Beth: The Story of a Child Convict

Mark Wilson

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For National Curriculum Key Stage 1, Interest age: from c 5 years, Fiction, Picture books, Picture storybooks, History & the past: general interest (Children's /

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A story of the First Fleet, from the acclaimed author of MY MOTHER'S EYES and ANGEL OF KOKODA.

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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Mark Wilson

Mark Wilson is first and foremost a famous magician, who the New York Times has recognized as probably the nation's leading authority on magic." He is also the hugely successful author of numerous kits and books devoted to instruction in the magical arts including the newly released Complete Course in Magic (Revised Ed.). Additionally, has made countless guest appearances throughout his career on every major TV talk show in the country. Mark Wilson resides in southern California.

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