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Never Lose Hope: The Story of Australia's First School

Mark Wilson

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Picture books, School stories (Children's / Teenage), History & the past: general interest (Children's /

A touching tale from Australia's convict past, written and illustrated by award-winning author Mark Wilson

John is a child convict, transported to New South Wales for stealing a shirt. Life is grim in the fledgling colony and when food runs short, John once again has to steal to survive. Starving and alone, he is taken in by Australia's first schoolteacher, Isabella Rosson. In her simple classroom, John learns to read and write and soon becomes her star pupil - until he is discovered by the soldiers and again sent away in chains.

Yet John never forgets Isabella's lessons, the power of words - and the hope for a brighter future.

Inspired by the life of convict Isabella Rosson, the first teacher in the colony at Port Jackson, and John Hudson, the youngest First Fleet convict, this touching story is illustrated with Mark Wilson's vividly realistic and evocative artwork.

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Mark Wilson

Acclaimed author/illustrator Mark Wilson's picture books include the war-themed series, MY MOTHER'S EYES: THE STORY OF A BOY SOLDIER (2009), ANGEL OF KOKODA (2010), VIETNAM DIARY (2013) and DIGGER, THE DOG WHO WENT TO WAR (2015). He has also written and illustrated MIGALOO, THE WHITE WHALE (2015), BETH: THE STORY OF A CHILD CONVICT (2016) and the art-themed books BEN & GRACIE'S ART ADVENTURE (2011) and INSIDE THE WORLD OF TOM ROBERTS (2012). His other titles include the Wilderness Society and Whitley Award-winning Extinction series I SAW NOTHING: THE EXTINCTION OF THE THYLACINE; I SAID NOTHING: THE EXTINCTION OF THE PARADISE PARROT and I DID NOTHING: THE EXTINCTION OF THE GASTRIC BROODING FROG and YELLOW-EYE (2002), which also won the Wilderness Society Award. Mark lives in Frankston, Victoria.