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Little Exiles

3.66  ·  Rating Details ·  156 Ratings  ·  31 Reviews
Jon Heather, proud to be nearly nine, keeps a vigil at the end of his lane. Determined not to be beaten by the cold he stands and waits for his Father. It is Christmas Eve, 1948. Christmas, a time of family and a time of miracles. Although he has never once seen his Father, Jon knows that he is coming home.
But Jon’s Father does not return, and one evening no longer able to
Hardcover, 424 pages
Published February 1st 2013 by HarperCollins Australia (first published January 1st 2013)
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“Everyone must come out of his Exile in his own way.”

---Martin Buber, an Austrian-born Jewish philosopher

Robert Dinsdale, one of my favorite English authors, has woven a spectacular tale about illegal immigration of little children to Australia with or without the consent of their guardians, in his book, Little Exiles .

In Leeds in the year of 1948, a eight year old’s father doesn't return home, weeks later, that same boy is sent off to Chapeltown Boy’s Home of the Children’s Crusad
Jo Barton
Feb 06, 2013 Jo Barton rated it really liked it
Leeds, Christmas 1948, and nine year old Jon Heather anxiously awaits his father’s return from the war, but times are hard for the Heather family, and even though Jon’s mother tries to hold her family together, she is in desperate circumstances. When she leaves Jon at the Chapeltown Boy’s Home of the Children’s Crusade, she promises to return for him in two months time, but as weeks pass with no news of his mother, Jon like all the other abandoned boys at the Children’s crusade must watch and wa ...more
Cleo Bannister
Aug 17, 2013 Cleo Bannister rated it liked it
The Little Exiles chiefly tells Jon Heather's story of how he was sent to the Chapeltown Boys' Home when his mother's health declines. Jon is convinced through the early weeks that his mother will come for him but it is not to be and instead he finds himself on a boat to Australia. Not long ago he had been an eight year old boy waiting for his father to return home from World War II, now he has lost his mother, his twin elder sisters and gained a group of boys, both friendly and unfriendly, for ...more
Dec 27, 2012 Becky rated it it was amazing
A highly moving and thought provoking story of the 'export' of children in the mid twentieth century, from children's homes in the uk to Australia. The story follows boys transported at the end of the second world war but draws in details from other 'crusades' Also touched upon is the shameful practice of the forced adoption of aboriginal children. Beautifully written with a compelling story and believable characters, this should do very well this year.
Jodie "Bookish"  Cook
Dec 21, 2016 Jodie "Bookish" Cook rated it liked it
Shelves: reviewed
Book review
Title: Little Exiles

Author: Robert Dinsdale

Genre :Family/Mystery/Drama


Review: After World War II, around 3,300 children, most of them aged between three and 14, were shipped to Australia; some 1,000 more were forcibly dispatched to Rhodesia, New Zealand and Canada. Many were sent to start grim new lives on the other side of the world without their parents’ knowledge, let alone their permission. These statistics come from the Child Migrants Trust, a charity that is still help
Jul 25, 2015 Kate rated it liked it
For a book that covers deeply distressing topics – the forced child migration between Britain and Australia that took place after WWII, and the Stolen Generations, Robert Dinsdale’s historical novel, Little Exiles, is strangely devoid of emotion.

I began expecting to become quickly invested in the characters, particularly given that story begins with an eight-year-old boy, Jon Heather, who is taken by his near-destitute mother to the Chapeltown Boys Home of the Children’s Crusade. Jon believes he
Dec 24, 2012 Anne rated it really liked it
Over 3000 children aged between 3 and 14 were shipped to Australia after the end of the War. Around 1000 more sent off to other countries including New Zealand and Canada. Many of these children were sent without their parent's consent, some without their parent's knowledge.
John Heather, the lead character in Little Exiles is one of these children. He's been living in a drab children's home in Leeds, his mother could not care for him, his father never returned from the war. Jon and a group of ot
Feb 25, 2013 Jo rated it it was amazing
Shelves: epubs, amazing
Little Exiles is a beautifully book that has an underlying thread of sadness that makes it a compelling read.
Leeds in 1948 Jon Heathers father has not returned at the end of world war two, and Jon's mother is unable to cope with the pressures of life and leaves Jon at the Chapeltown Boy’s Home of the Children’s Crusade with the promise to return for him in two months time. But as time passes there is no word from his mother and Jon is forced to go to leave England as part of the forced child mig
Mar 15, 2013 Mark rated it really liked it
Compelling, captivating, provocative and moving are some words to describe this remarkable book about the deportation of English children during the 1950s. This is the story of a small number of boys from Leeds who are given into the care of a "religious organisation" by destitute parents and then after being told their mothers are dead are sent to remote Western Australia. The story is well written, with magnificently drawn and complex characters. My only negative is that it tended to get a bit ...more
Oct 10, 2015 Jane rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I wanted to give up on this book several times for the first hundred pages or so but am really glad I didn't. I found it very hard to get into and stay engaged but I'm glad I persevered as I learnt about a period of Australian/English history that I knew very little about. What suffering those poor little children went through being sent to the other side of the world as orphans and at the hands and whims of 'fathers'. Not a pleasant book by any means, I was forced to skip a few pages where the ...more
May 29, 2016 Suzy rated it liked it
I liked the idea for this book more than the execution. Based on real stories /research my heart goes out to the vulnerable young boys who were told their parents were dead and then shipped from the UK to Australia, where they endured hardships from the system and the environment. However I found the pace of the novel too slow and the characters to be less well developed than I would have liked. I wasn't gripped to find out what happened to Jon, George and Peter and struggled to keep motivated t ...more
Feb 28, 2013 Nigel rated it it was amazing
I loved this book. Deeply compelling and at times quite hard to read it is the story of children sent to Australia for a "better life". Often told they are orphans and housed in poor accommodation the life they have to endure at times cannot be described as "good" by any stretch of the imagination. Focussing on three boys who are friends on the journey out it is fascinating to see the differing approaches to surviving the situation they find themselves in.

Where do you belong when you feel you do
May 29, 2013 N rated it liked it
The story starts out well (horrible subject obviously) and it's very easy to get lost into the story until the shoehorned Aboriginal bit (also horrible subject). After that the narative gets too jumbled and jumps to much to keep a hold of it, the time pacing feels off like the Author only had a few chapters to go from boy to Man and he rushed it to finish the story. By the end I wasn't interested with the ending - disappointed.
Mar 05, 2013 Kate rated it it was amazing
I picked this book for an assignment at uni, and it was incredibly well-written and captivating read. There's not quite any space in my brain at the moment to write a review for this as that is what I am doing for my assignment, but I will post a shorter version of what I hand in for assessment in a few weeks. In a nutshell, Little Exiles is thought-provoking and really triggered an emotion response in me. It has a very engaging story and excellent characters. Definitely worth a read.
Mar 10, 2013 Linda rated it it was amazing
This was an eye-opening read. With people focussing on the 'Stolen Generation' (aboriginal children) I often would think "What about all the kids taken from the UK; told their parents were dead and sent to Australia". Their story needs to be heard too, and Robert Dinsdale did a fine job. I found I wanted to know the characters better, and to find out how their lives turned out.

I was left wanting more!
Jun 30, 2015 Emma rated it really liked it
I don't usually get on with a present tense narrative but this was written so well that I barely noticed it. There were points where the story seemed to slow down but overall the story was intriguing. I really liked Jon Heather as the protagonist but he did seem a little older in his attitude compared to a normal 10 year old.
Jan 18, 2015 Soozee rated it really liked it
You know its not going to be an easy read, given the subject matter, but it is well written and its hard to determine whether the tale is clever fiction, or based on true lives. I agree aboriginal abductions are rather shoe-horned into the tale, but other than that its a compelling read. Well worth while, I finished it in a day.
Simone Guest
Apr 25, 2013 Simone Guest rated it really liked it
This was one of those rare little finds that you just can't put down. Jon Heather is one of those unforgettable characters. You feel his pain and ultimately you cheer when he feels at peace with living.
Jun 23, 2014 Tracey rated it liked it
Quite a low read at times and found that the prose jumped around at times making it harder to follow the story.
However, I persevered and whilst I wasn't blown away by the story, it was interesting to read about this part of our history which I knew little about.
Sep 21, 2013 Xroldx rated it it was amazing
This book is based upon the forced migration of children aged 5 - 15 from Britain to Australia right after World War 2. The story centers around 9 years old Jon Heather who promises himself he'll return to England and his family one day. A very compelling book.
Penny Little
Jan 04, 2016 Penny Little rated it liked it
I didn't enjoy this book until after half way, when I was glad I'd kept going because it got much better. By the end I actually cared about the characters.
Karen Richards
Jun 25, 2013 Karen Richards rated it really liked it
A really good read - heartbreaking at times. Historical fiction that would appeal to both genders. Useful as a Text for Pleasure study
May 16, 2014 Alison rated it really liked it
A story about children taken to Australia to start a new life in harsh conditions. Well-written and thought-provoking
May 24, 2014 Jennifer rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2014-top-five
Beautifully written book, the sadness of the children is compelling. I cried at the end, and a book hasn't moved me like that for a long time. Highly recommended.
Michael Wood
Oct 31, 2013 Michael Wood rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is more of a journey than a story; for the characters and reader alike. A sad and disturbing story in places but thoroughly likeable characters and a satisfying ending.
Karen rated it liked it
Aug 30, 2016
Briohny rated it it was amazing
Apr 03, 2015
Anita Iversen
Anita Iversen rated it liked it
Dec 18, 2014
Ashika rated it liked it
Feb 25, 2013
Sarah rated it it was amazing
Apr 22, 2013
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I was born in Northallerton, North Yorkshire in 1981 and went on to study at the University of Leeds.

In 2010 I spent four months in Australia researching the novel that would become LITTLE EXILES, which was published by Harper Collins in February 2013.
More about Robert Dinsdale...

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