The January Stars

The January Stars

By Author / Illustrator

Kate Constable


Family & Home

Age range(s)



Murdoch Books




Paperback / softback




When 12-year-old Clancy and her 14-year-old sister, Tash, visit their Pa at his aged-care facility, they have no idea that the three of them will soon set out on an intrepid adventure.  Along the way there are many challenges for Tash and Clancy to overcome and in the process, they discover their own resourcefulness and resilience and demonstrate their heartfelt love for their grandfather.

'A warm-hearted tale of the complications and magic of family life.' WENDY ORR



Occasionally in society, we so easily forget the importance of our elderly, the importance of the bond between generations and how the elderly were once young and had dreams too. The January Stars is a stark reminder that we need to embrace our elderly, enable them to chase their dreams and also remember our children deserve to have that special relationship with their grandparents.

If you are looking for a recommendation for a teen/young adult read, then this is it. This story is filled with messages for the next generation, but also captures your heart and speaks of the tender relationships within a family.

The January Stars tells the tale of Clancy, 12, and her sister Tash, 14, as they are left temporarily in the care of their aunt. The aunt, however, has a holiday booked and trusts the girls can look after themselves for a day or two. The girls visit their grandfather (Pa) who is in a care home after suffering a stroke. Pa is wheelchair bound, reliant on medication and can only speak a few words. Yet, he still has dreams and the girls take it upon themselves to help him find a better place to live.

As the girls begin their journey they meet, almost comically, complications on the way. The girls need to learn to work together to meet each challenge and support each other in assisting Pa. However, Clancy strongly believes the ghost of her grandmother is sending signs to help them assist Pa as Clancy is encouraged to 'look up at the stars'. With magic, mystery and a bit of luck along the way, the two girls visit old friends of Pa and unacquainted family. With each challenge, her grandmother sends a sign until eventually the whole family is reunited and a more suitable home is found for Pa.

The care and love Clancy and Tash show for their Pa is beautiful. This story speaks of the honest, strong relationships grandchildren have with their grandparents and how children should be brought up with family around them. Tash is an incredibly mature 14 year old and I love how Kate Constable (author) has included details such as Tash taking her Pa to the toilet, reflecting the love and care of the characters.

This story is about complicated family relationships, generations and growing up. However, embedded are messages about racism, as Clancy and Tash's mother is Chinese and their father is not, meaning they are often questioned about their relationship with Pa. There are many other complicated messages that Kate Constable has interwoven into the narrative and this is what makes it such a great read.

288 pages / Reviewed by Joanna Hewish, teacher

Suggested Reading Age 11+


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