You may have seen Harriet, a Galapagos tortoise who lived at Australia Zoo on Queensland's Sunshine Coast. She died not long before Steve Irwin in 2006. The book Harriet describes what has been discovered about Harriet's origins in the Galapagos Islands, and where she lived when she was brought to Australia. Her story reflects some of the early history of Australia, especially of south-east Queensland.
One of the most interesting features of Harriet is that no one has yet discovered how Harriet actually got to Australia. She travelled by ship but it is still unknown if it was on Charles Darwin's ship, the Beagle,with Darwin or Captain Wickham, or on a whaling ship, or by some other means. Some primary sources show that Charles Darwin had a pet tortoise, but other papers of his imply that he didn't, or forgot that he did! Over time, missing papers and historical records have been discovered to fill in the gaps in Harriet's story, but more records still need to be found before the picture is complete.
Harriet's story is told as a mixture of fact and fiction. Several generations of a family, beginning with John and ending with Ellie and Zac, are fictional, but they help to show the long timespan of Harriet's life and more of Australia's history.
Anthony Hill is probably best known for his short novel The Burnt Stick, which tells a gripping story about stolen children. His other novels include Forbiddenand Spindrift.
In recent years, Anthony has specialised in writing historical non-fiction for young adults, such as Young Digger and Soldier Boy,which won the 2002 Ethel Turner Prize in the NSW Premier's Literary Awards and was shortlisted for the Children's Book Council of Australia Book of the Year. He has also written both non-fiction and fiction about animals – Animal Heroes and Shadow Dog.
In Harriet, Anthony has combined his interests in history and animals with his skill in writing both fact and fiction.
Coral Tulloch has illustrated more than 50 non-fiction and fiction books for children. She is best known for her non-fiction book Antarctica, the Heart of the World which she wrote and illustrated, and which won the Environment Award for Children's Literature in 2004. Her interest in the environment gave her the opportunity to visit Antarctica in 1999, providing a 'hands on' research experience.
Carol's fictional character, Barry the Burglar, has remained popular over the years with primary age readers.