To and Fro by Anton Clifford-Motopi

Reviewed by Gail McDonald

This book is the first published book by Anton Clifford-Motopi although he wrote three other books while completing post-graduate studies in public health, working as a university lecturer and raising four children. The author’s stories explore themes of self-identity, family relationships and friendship drawing from his experiences growing up in a mixed-race family and raising his family,

This is an engaging story about Sam who is a child of mixed race, his mum is white and his dad is black. He has never met his dad, but his mum has told him just a little bit about him and Sam has decided that he has an afro because of his dad. A weird looking while kid with an afro.

Sam lives with his white mum, who he describes as annoying but not smelly, and his dog Trevor, smelly but not annoying.

Sam loves his afro because it makes him look taller and though he had never met his dad he assumed that he would have an afro too.  But a surprise visit from his dad who lives in Africa, put a stop to that thought because although he had an afro, his was short, not long like Sam’s.

Sam was so excited to meet his dad.  He had a school assignment about his family tree and now that he had met his dad, he could add him to the tree. Sam spent the time of his father’s visit to get to know him and for him to meet Sam’s friends Charlee and Aiden and his nana too. It was an exciting time and he enjoyed getting to know his dad.

Sam discovered that he has a stepbrother and sister living in Africa and he eventually talked to them over the phone sharing information and getting advice. He was going to meet them – his dad planned to bring the family out to Australia for a holiday.

This book, To and Fro, is a great story for young readers, engaging them in stories about Sam’s school and exploring many thoughts about identity and family. I would certainly recommend it.

To and Fro


by Anton Clifford-Motopi

Allen and Unwin

ISBN 978 176118 037 8

$17.99; 304pp


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