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A middle-grade coming-of-age story inspired by true events in Australia’s not-too-distant past.


One extraordinary year will change them all . . .

Sorrento, Victoria, 1999. Fred’s family is a mess. Her mother died when she was six and she’s been raised by her Pop and adoptive father, Luca, ever since. But now Pop’s had to go away, and Luca’s girlfriend Anika and her son have moved in. More and more it feels like a land-grab for family and Fred is the one being left off the map.

Even as things feel like they’re spinning out of control for Fred, a crisis from the other side of the world comes crashing in. When a group of Kosovar-Albanian refugees are brought to a government ‘safe haven’ not far from Sorrento, their fate becomes intertwined with the lives of Fred and her family in ways that no one could have expected.

Danielle Binks is a writer, reviewer, agent and book blogger who lives on the Mornington Peninsula. In 2017, she edited and contributed to Begin, End, Begin, an anthology of new Australian young adult writing inspired by the #LoveOzYA movement, which won the ABIA Book of the Year for Older Children and was shortlisted in the 2018 Gold Inky Awards. The Year the Maps Changed is Danielle’s debut middle-grade novel.

For the latest news on Danielle:
Instagram: @dbinks
Twitter: @danielle_binks


‘This timely and beautiful story reveals the invisible lines of kindness and empathy that connect us all.’—Sally Rippin, author and illustrator

‘A brilliant gem that will make you see the world—and your place in it—in a new way.’—Emily Gale, author of I Am Out With Lanterns

‘I can wholeheartedly say that I absolutely love everything about this book. It approaches some big issues with gentleness, tenderness and the right amount of sensitivity. Highly recommended!’—Suzie Bull, Farrell’s Bookshop

‘A beautiful, heartfelt, gorgeously written book. Debut author Danielle Binks is an incredible talent and the world is a better place for having her wonderful story in it.’—Angela Crocombe, Readings Kids

‘Every now and then you get a chance to read a truly special children’s book, one that you want to press into the hands of every young person you know. This is a story for kids (and grown-ups) with big minds, hopeful hearts and generous dreams, and I love it with the fire of a thousand suns.’—Danielle Carey,


This book took five years to research and write; but in many ways, it’s been two decades in the making.

You see, I grew up on the Mornington Peninsula, out Frankston way. Throughout my childhood I visited the beaches of Portsea and Sorrento, Mount Martha and Mornington, attended high school in Mt Eliza and rode the Arthurs Seat chairlift (back before the 2003 collapse).

In 1999 I was also in Year Six; the same as my protagonist Fred is in the book. And I do have only the vaguest memories of ‘Operation Safe Haven’ – the biggest humanitarian exercise undertaken by the Australian government, when they welcomed some 6000 Kosovar refugees into ‘safe havens’ around the country, including to an abandoned Quarantine Station on Point Nepean.

I wish I could say I drew on my own memories of this time for Winifred – Fred’s – story, but since I’ve been digging into these historic events, I am no longer certain where my own remembering ends and researching begins.

There are still parts of myself that I gave to Winifred though – like a grandparent who lived out the back of the main house, and a father in the police force; which my own was, retiring after 17 years.

The old writers advice is to ‘write what you know’… I didn’t do that, exactly. I wrote instead what I wanted to know. I wanted to remember this time from the depths of my childhood; when the outside world came to my back door, it seemed. And in writing and researching, I found it to be a turning point in Australia’s policies, and the blueprint for how our government and society still treats asylum seekers today.



We have 10 advance reading copies of The Year the Maps Changed to give away! Email with ‘The Year the Maps Changed’ in the subject line for the chance to win 1 of 10 copies.




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