Dirrarn by Carl Merrison & Hakea Hustler

Our Rating
Author: Carl Merrison & Hakea Hustler

Category: Children's, teenage & educational

Book Format: Paperback / softback

Publisher: Magabala Books

ISBN: 9781922777027

RRP: $17.99

We first met Mia in the authors’ award-winning book Black Cockatoo as she struggled with family relationships. Dirrarn is the sequel to that important book.

This story kicks off a few months later and Mia is now on a scholarship in a big boarding school in the city, thousands of kilometres away from her remote Kimberley home.

Mia has Naya, her best friend, by her side. They support each other as they navigate this different world. There are no rows of photos of Indigenous kids on the walls. This place and all that is in it is foreign and she yearns for family and Country. But her appreciation for the city is growing with each outing as she visits places including the Perth zoo.

Unfortunately at school Mia has a nemesis. Her name is Charlotte. She is a bully with Mia in her sights. Mia is trying to not let Charlotte get under her skin but it is hard. Finding belonging when you are away is hard too. The teachers know that sometimes when Indigenous kids go home during the holidays they decide not to come back. They are worried for Mia and all the other Indigenous kids on scholarships.

This is another important book. It exposes the challenges these young kids have. The straddling of the two worlds to get a good education. Acceptance by others. The importance of education to make change. Simply written but so much to understand and learn from.

Reviewed by Merle Morcom
Age Guide 9+



Hakea and Carl are friends who write deadly stories for children, middle readers and teens.They shared passion for improving literacy outcomes for remote outback kids by writing books with First Nations protagonists in First Nations communities.

Hakea is an avid reader, nature lover, vege eater, writer, artist and adventurer. She loves to spend time imagining and daydreaming on long drives, in baths and around the garden.  Hakea holds her Bachelor of Education (P-12 English and Humanities), Graduate Certificate of Special Needs and is a facilitator of Trauma Informed Teaching and Classroom Management Skills (CMS).

Carl is a Jaru/Kija man from Halls Creek in the Kimberleys in Western Australia. Carl loves spending time out bush with his family; fishing, hunting and swimming in waterholes. He loves AFL- he is a Level 3 coach!

Carl was awarded State Finalist of the Australian of the Year Award- Local Hero for Western Australia in 2016 for his work as lifeguard, football coach, Clontarf worker and youth mentor. Carl was the 2020 Black&Write Fellowship recipient for his series of picture books: Backyard Sports. He was a shortlisted author for the Western Australian Writing Fellowship.

Visit Carl Merrison’s & Hakea Hustler’s website

Reader Reviews

Notify of
Inline Feedbacks
View all reviews

The Latest List