This red dirt, it takes a hold of you. The blue skies, the sunsets, the starry nights, the river... Country holds onto you. Then you meet the people. Within one week of living in Wilcannia, I had signed up to stay until the end of the year.

When Sarah Donnelley left Sydney to take up a teaching post in Wilcannia, a small town two-hours drive east of Broken Hill, she was determined to ignore the rumours of Wilcannia's reputation for danger and dysfunction. Four fulfilling years later, Sarah is an active member of a rich, complex school community that is transforming the idea of the conventional classroom experience.

Making deep connections with Aboriginal Elders and local families, and taking her students out on Country as often as she can, Sarah has focused her teaching practice on empowering, listening and creating space for respectful conversations.

Big Things Grow is a powerful memoir about community, music and passion, laying bare the beauty and challenges of living in a part of Australia that is often overlooked.