Those Sugar-Barge Kids
When three Tasmanian children meet a couple of home-alone kids who live on an old barge in New Zealand’s Bay of Islands, they soon find themselves heavily involved in a conflict with one of the local oyster-farmers. The outcome is a triumph of lateral thinking, and a signal to youngsters everywhere that it is possible to bring about changes that will help shape the future of the world.
A fast-paced boating adventure which brings the Ransome genre squarely into the 21st century and promises to capture the imagination of even the most reluctant young reader.
Although this is essentially a work of fiction, it is based on real people and places. There really is a sugar-barge near Opua that two generations of kids have lived aboard, doing their best to cope with rising sea-levels just like these kids. To protect their privacy I have located the barge in a different mangrove-jungle for this story. Percival was a real seagull too, as was Captain Bamford’s wonderful old ketch Swallow.
As for the lifestyle of the three Tasmanian kids – my own Kiwi children have lived exactly this way, sailing off for a year or longer with all their schoolwork in boxes, plotting expeditions, camping on deserted islands and living a lifestyle similar to Arthur Ransome’s ‘Swallows and Amazons’ kids.
And as for the ever-increasing plastic in our oceans, I believe that it is possible for kids all around the world to persuade grown-ups to change their ways, just like the kids in this book.