Children’s Book Review: Everything I’ve Never Said

children's book brisbane author

What is Everything I’ve Never Said about?

Bestselling author Samantha Wheeler’s new novel is a remarkable story about finding your voice.

Ava wants nothing more than to tell her family she loves them, particularly her big sister, Nic. But Ava has Rett syndrome – she can’t talk, nod her head or even point at a communication card. She understands everything, but no-one understands her.

When tragedy strikes her family, Ava becomes even more determined to talk. But it’s not until she meets occupational therapist Kieran and new friend Aimee that she is hopeful for change – and to be heard at last.

Samantha Wheeler is best known for her eco-adventure stories but, inspired by her youngest daughter who has Rett syndrome, she thought about writing Everything I’ve Never Said for many years.

‘Everyone has a voice, whether or not they communicate in a conventional way and I wanted to convey that message to younger readers,’ said Samantha.

‘Children with disabilities and the families who love them are rarely found in novels and one of my aims with this book was to create characters who are role-models, who show us that it’s okay to ask for help.’

Main themes of the book

  • Relationships
  • Hope
  • Disabilities/Rett syndrome
  • Persistence
  • Communication
  • Love

Samantha Wheeler

Why we love this book

It’s a wonderfully empowering story for anyone aged 9 to 110.

Courageous and resilient, Ava and her family are quiet heroes who cherish each other, tackle the tough days and never give up.

About Samantha Wheeler

Samantha Wheeler studied agriculture, worked with dairy farmers, and taught science before writing her first children’s book in 2011. Five novels later, her stories have been shortlisted for the Queensland Literary Awards, Speech Pathology Australia Book of the Year Awards, the Readings Children’s Book Prize, the Wilderness Society Environment Award for Children’s Literature, and commended in the Royal Zoological Society of NSW Whitley Awards. When not writing, she spends time with her husband, pets and two beautiful daughters, the youngest of whom has Rett syndrome. Samantha hopes her stories will encourage everyone to speak up for what they believe in.

Everything I’ve Never Said is published by UQP and you can buy a copy here.


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