Paper Planes

by Allayne Webster

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Book Cover: Paper Planes

The powerful account of living in a city under siege—based on a true story.

The city is under siege. Bombs are commonplace and food has grown scarce. Eleven-year-old Niko and his family need to escape—but can they really get out?
Based on the true story of South Australian vet, Jarko Dobes, a Bosnian refugee who experienced of the Siege of Sarajevo as a boy.

‘Vividly realised, particularly Niko’s teenage brother and sister who rise to the occasion with courage and inventive flair.’ 4 stars. Katharine England, SA Weekend Magazine
‘This compelling and at times heartbreaking story is based on real experiences. … It is important for our young people to read stories like this, to feel empathy, to experience vicariously and to be hopeful for a better future. This story is a must for libraries.’ Sharon Seymour, Reading Time

First published in 2014, Paper Planes was a Children’s Book Council Notable Book, shortlisted in the Adelaide Festival Children’s Literature Awards and selected for South Australian and Victorian Premiers’ Reading Challenges. The book has also been studied in schools around the country. Teaching notes can be found at

Allayne Webster is a children's author and South Australian Premier's Reading Challenge Ambassador. She is the author of nine books shortlisted for various awards. That Thing I Did (Wakefield Press), a young adult comedy, was released in 2022 to reviews and Selfie (Text Publishing, Young Adult) will be out in 2023. For more information visit

Published by Untapped: the Australian Literary Heritage Project

Once out of print, these lost Australian books have been brought back to life as part of Untapped: the Australian Literary Heritage Project. You can borrow them from your local library as ebooks, or buy from all major online booksellers.

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