Ella and the Ocean by Lian Tanner and Jonathan Bentley

One night Ella dreamt of the ocean.

Ella lives in outback Australia where the land cracks open, the red dirt gets inside the smallest of cracks and the rain clouds never appear.

She has never seen the ocean and doesn’t remember the last time it rained but following her dreams, she asks who else has ever seen the ocean.

As Ella asks each member of her family if they have ever seen the ocean, they liken it to the dry and desperate place they live in.

But it’s the power of Ella’s nan that brings the family together to realise how despite the starkness of the current landscape, the desperation that they feel and the never ending red – the ocean could be a place that gives them hope…again.

Teachers can use this book to explore the red outback soil and the vastness of Australia as they wonder how far away this farm is from the ocean.

Figurative language used throughout the pages paint a magical picture of a landscape that some might see as red dust, dry cracks and hungry cattle. 

The illustrations drawn by Jonathan Bentley really highlight the colours of Australia, the landscape that farmers live in and the refreshing spirit the ocean brings us. 

Ella and the Ocean is a powerful picture book about the harsh reality of farming in the Australian outback yet it is also a quiet reminder of the importance of hope, following your dreams and the importance of a supportive network of people. 

Ella and the Ocean by Lian Tanner and Jonathon Bentley.


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