Aussie STEM Stars by Wild Dingo Press. Munjed Al Muderis: From refugee to surgical inventor. Story told by Diane Wolfer.

That’s one of the things Munjed loves most about his father – the way he encourages Munjed to discover things for himself. Abdul has taught him that it’s okay to fail. Failing is another way to learn.

Wild Dingo Press have created three great books as part of a new series called Aussie STEM stars and the first one to be up on my page is: Munjed Al Muderis: From refugee to surgical inventor. Story told by Diane Wolfer.

This book in the series looks at the life of Munjed Al Muderis, his life in war torn Iraq and Iran and how he came to live in Australia.

Written by Dianne Wolfer, children will not only learn about Munjed’s life but they will also experience how he feels through each life changing event. They will feel his happiness and struggle as they wade through the joys of his childhood, his dream of becoming a surgeon a reality but then war overtaking and his significant losses until life in Australia becomes a reality – despite the difficulties he overcomes to finally live here as a free citizen.

Munjed is an orthopaedic surgeon, author and human rights activist. He was born in Iraq and became a surgeon under the regime of Saddam Hussein, before fleeing to Australia as a refugee where he was eventually held for nine months at the Curtin Detention Centre. He developed an improved osseointegration prosthetic limb, a new surgery that inserts a titanium impant into the bone, allowing patients to recover a certain level of feeling and greater mobility. His humanitarian work for refugees is equally as impressive.

This story is moving and touches on so many different topics in our world. Teachers can use this book as a class novel study to not only look at biographies but to also look at how people live in other countries, the effects of war and what life really is like for refugees who want to settle here.

With simple illustrations scattered throughout the book (maps & diagrams) alongside short facts or word definitions, this book is a great read for those aged 8-12.

There are some concise teacher notes on Aussie STEM stars Website

 Aussie STEM Stars is a fresh and unique series for children and young teens aged 10-13 years that focuses on our Australian STEM heroes. Each book is written by an award-winning children’s author and follows the real-life stories of Australia’s top scientists and inventors, chosen on the basis of their pioneering work. Themes explored in the series include childhood, school, family and formative experiences, what inspired them to pursue their chosen path, how they persevered in the face of challenges and what they have contributed to science in Australia.

Reason for studying this book

Wild Dingo Press publisher Catherine Lewis is excited about their publication. “These disciplines are more important than ever as we look to our inventors and innovators to solve contemporary problems facing humanity and the planet. Our Aussie STEM Stars series uses narrative non-fiction as a tool for educating children – making it as fun and interesting as fiction books in this market. Our writers are passionate about doing justice to their chosen subjects – and their lives – providing teachers, parents and librarians a wonderful series aimed at encouraging children to develop an interest in STEM at a young age.”

About the author

Dianne Wolfer grew up in outer Melbourne, where she made tree-houses and imagined she was Silky from The Magic Faraway Tree. Other days she was the Muddle-headed Wombat. When she was ten, Dianne moved to Bangkok. She went on to study back in Melbourne before backpacking through Asia and teaching children in remote western Nepal. 

Dianne’s award-winning books have been published in China, Japan, Poland, USA and made into stage plays. She is a bookworm who reads every day. She especially loves animal stories and spent five years researching her favourite word, anthropomorphism (for her PhD). 

Inspiring kindness and imaginative thinking is Dianne’s life work.


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