Allen & Unwin, 2020
36 pp., hbk., RRP $A29.99
A young girl watches her mother get ready for a night out, curious about the diamond earrings she is wearing. Using a child’s logic and train of thought she asks about their origins, but her mother cuts the conversation short ostensibly because it is time for her to go but perhaps she doesn’t really want to delve too deeply into their story.
When the young girl is put to bed by the maid, clearly of African descent, the story continues without words, tracing the journey of those diamonds from the African mine workers through the hands of various “brokers” each seemingly driven by the riches they will bring regardless of the poverty and plight of those whom they exploit until the earrings are presented to her mother by Winston.
Greder is well known for looking beyond the story to the story beneath and presenting this with a minimum of text but the most powerful illustrations, and this is no exception. What really does go on in the mysterious netherworld of international trade so that those with a lust for power and riches can satisfy their hunger?
This is a picture book for older readers that, like The Mediterranean and Australia to Z, is confrontational but it is one way to raise awareness and start conversations. The afterwords by Francesco Boille and Riccardo Noury are not only powerful but also add extra information and insight making this a unique must-have for any school curriculum and library collection that has a social justice focus.