Going through primary school in the 90’s, we were always being introduced to new authors and their books. I remember hearing about Emily Rodda (real name Jennifer Rowe) and her two series “Rowan of Rin” and “Teen Power Inc” (now known as the Raven Hill mysteries) as well as “Finders Keepers” and “The Time Keeper”. I even got into the Teen Power books. But it wasn’t until I was at university and studying my teaching degree when I really began to appreciate the works of this amazing and established Australian author.
I started my degree not long after the Deltora Quest series first came out and it was taking the primary schools by storm. Reluctant readers, especially boys, were picking up this series and being absorbed in the adventures of Lief, Barda and Jasmine as they battled the monsters on their quest to restore the Belt of Deltora and defeat the evil Shadow Lord. Tutors and lecturers were raving about this series and the difference that it had made to children who had previously had little or no interest in reading.
In 2007, Emily Rodda brought out the Key to Rondo, the first in her Rondo trilogy and I was once again hooked, this time into a world painted on a music box. This trilogy once again has all the classic Rodda elements that draw the reader in and get them captivated.
I suppose what I enjoy most about Emily Rodda is her ability to take the impossible and turn it into a story, whether it be about a parallel universe that is separated only by a barrier that is visible on the other side and not ours, a group of teenage detectives, a world where dragons exist and seven magical gems keep evil at bay, or even about two children who get sucked into a world painted onto a magical music box. (And I haven’t even mentioned her Fairy Realm or Squeak Street series or that she has written books for adults under her real name, Jennifer Rowe). After 17 years of being a very active part of the Australian literary world and with numerous awards to her name, Emily Rodda is one of the greats of Australian literature.