To and Fro by Anton Clifford-Motopi

Our Rating
Author: Anton Clifford-Motopi

Category: Children's, Teachers Resources

Book Format: Paperback / softback

Publisher: A & U Children

ISBN: 9781761180378

RRP: $17.99

Sam is in his last year of primary school … well, it will be the last year so long as he passes his assessments, one of which relates to culture and identity. His background is complicated. His mum, Kate, is a single parent. Sam had always known that his dad was Black African, which helps to explain his afro hairstyle (and which kids at school – especially Lachlan Bott – tease him about). He has white skin like his mum, though, and always assumed he was white.

When his dad, Lebone, a paediatric surgeon, arrives unexpectedly from South Africa, it has special significance for Sam’s assignment. Sam’s still confused as to who he actually is.

Lebone had promised to go to school with Sam as he made his presentation but has to return to South Africa beforehand. Sam is disappointed. Sam, his best friend, Aiden, the school vice-captain, Charlee, and Lachlan are put in a group to work on a performance as part of the assessment. Charlee is the brainiest kid in school and also Aboriginal. She’s proud of her culture and tries to help Sam understand what it’s like to be Black. Sam makes many mistakes as he learns.

Sam needs his father to help him understand his cultural identity. Thankfully, Lebone arrives in time for the performance, where Sam finally ‘gets it’. Sam’s anger issues relating to his mum detract a little from his otherwise funny characterisation in To and Fro. That’s a pity, but is still an otherwise engrossing story reflecting common cultural issues.

Reviewed by Bob Moore

Age Guide 8+



Anton Clifford-Motopi, children's authorAnton enjoys writing stories that make children laugh. His stories explore themes of self-identity, family relationships and friendship, drawing from his experiences of being mixed race, growing up in a large adoptive family and raising four children.

Anton first became interested in writing for children while teaching Health and Physical Education and English at a high school in Mount Isa, but it would be many years before he put pencil to paper. That day arrived when he was shopping for a book to buy his daughter for her birthday. Browsing through children’s books he decided it was time he followed his heart.

Over the next decade Anton wrote three children’s books while completing post graduate studies in public health, working as a university lecturer, and raising four children – phew!

Alas, none of these books were published but they developed Anton’s love for storytelling and were important steps to him becoming a published children’s author. At the moment, Anton’s other job is a health researcher at a university. The job involves a lot of thinking, reading, and writing, but his passion is writing funny and thought-provoking stories for children.

Anton lives in Brisbane, Australia.

Visit Anton Clifford-Motopi’s website


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