Writers Write: My Favourite Book 5

Scot Gardner

Today’s Guest Blogger is Scot Gardner. Scot is a much loved and much lauded writer for young people. His many books since include ‘Burning Eddy’, which was short-listed for both the CBCA and NSW Premier’s Literary awards.

As a kid, I read about the world. I memorised the Latin names of Australia’s deadliest snakes and could name all the birds that frequented our neighbourhood. I loved Cayley’s ‘What Bird is That?’ but I’d never read it from cover to cover, just flicked until I could pick a raptor in flight. I still have my coverless and dog-eared copy, but the first book I truly read—that hooked me and took me away—was a novel by an obscure American writer. The librarian at school handed me the copy—the one with the hand-drawn boy wearing the falconry glove and the Peregrine falcon in stoop. ‘My Side of the Mountain’ by Jean Craighead George. The librarian had handed me books before, but this was the first story. I took it home, lost myself and found myself between the pages. It’s a story about a boy who runs away from home and shelters in a hollow tree, lives off berries and nuts and has a falcon who hunts rabbits for him.  Autonomy. A glorified Northern hemisphere reflection of my antipodean summers. I was seventeen. I never had a falcon. From that moment on, when I spotted one in the sky, I’d hold up my wrist and whistle … just in case.


Scot’s latest book is ‘The Dead I Know’, from Allen and Unwin. For more, visit Scot’s website.