Book Club Books Part 3

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If you’ve been reading along, you’ll know that Part One of this series is here and Part Two is here. This is my final instalment of fav books that have been read in Girl Zone Book Club over the last few years.

Book Clubs help us to…

Connect with others through a shared love of literature

Discuss the big ideas and messages in literature

Personally connect with a story or character

I don’t shy away from books with heavy topics for this age group, as I find that from 11+ years, young readers want to learn more about this wild and wonderful world that we live in and explore the lives of others through literature. As we are discussing them with trusted adults, I feel this is a great way to explore some of the ‘big ideas’. Let me know of any other titles you’d add to my lists!

To purchase these books in a single click, see here. To purchase individual titles, click on title links or cover images throughout this post.

List Three: Book Club Titles

Clink on title link or cover image to purchase

Hotaka‘ – Through My Eyes–Natural Disaster Zones by John Heffernan
When the Lyrebird Calls‘ by Kim Kane
Henry Hoey Hobson‘ by Christine Bongers
Molly and Pim and the Millions of Stars‘ by Martine Murray
Marsh and Me‘ by Martine Murray
Murder Most Unladylike‘ by Robin Stevens
How to Bee‘ by Bren McDibble
The Turnkey‘ by Allison Rushby
Raymie Nightingale‘ by Kate DiCamillo
The Flyaway Girls‘ by Julia Lawrinson
Withering-by-Sea‘ by Judith Rossell
The Apple Tart of Hope‘ by Sarah Moore Fitzgerald
A Waltz for Matilda‘ by Jackie French
Bleakboy and Hunter Stand Out in the Rain‘ by Steven Herrick
Smile‘ by Raina Telgemeier
The Ratcatcher’s Daughter‘ by Pamela Rushby

Add entire list to your shopping cart here.

Hotaka‘ – Through My Eyes–Natural Disaster Zones by John Heffernan

When the tsunami strikes the Japanese seaside town of Omori-wan, the effects are utterly devastating. Three years later, much of what happened on that day is still a mystery. As Hotaka sets about convincing local performers to appear at the town’s upcoming Memorial Concert, he finds himself increasingly haunted by memories of best friend, Takeshi, who perished without trace in the tsunami. Then his friend Sakura becomes involved in an anti-seawall movement, and all too quickly the protest gets serious. As the town and its people struggle to rebuild their lives, can Hotaka piece together what happened that day – and let go of the past?

When the Lyrebird Calls‘ by Kim Kane

When Madeleine is shipped off to stay with her eccentric grandmother for the holidays, she expects the usual: politics, early-morning yoga, extreme health food, and lots of hard work. Instead, Madeleine tumbles back in time to 1900, where the wealthy Williamson family takes her into their home, Lyrebird Muse.

At a time when young girls have no power and no voice, set against a backdrop of the struggles for emancipation, federation and Aboriginal rights, Madeleine must find a way to fit in with the Williamson family’s four sisters – beautiful, cold Bea; clever, awkward Gert; adventurous, rebellious Charlie; and darling baby Imo – as she searches desperately for a way home.

Meanwhile, the Williamson girls’ enchanting German cousin, Elfriede, arrives on the scene on a heavenly wave of smoke and cinnamon, and threatens to shatter everything…

Henry Hoey Hobson‘ by Christine Bongers

Henry Hoey Hobson arrives at his sixth school, Our Lady of Perpetual Succour, to discover he’s the only boy in Year Seven. Friendless, fatherless and non-Catholic, Henry is not only a Perpetual Sucker, but a bloodsucker, according to his catty classmates.

When he’s caught moving a coffin into the creepy house next door, it drives a stake through the heart of his hopes of fitting in. His only chance to fight back is the school swimming carnival – sink-or-swim time in the treacherous waters of Year Seven.

Molly and Pim and the Millions of Stars‘ by Martine Murray

Molly’s mother is not like other mothers: she rides a yellow bike and collects herbs and makes potions, perhaps even magical potions. Molly wants to be normal, like her friend Ellen, and watch television and eat food that comes in packets. But when Molly’s mother accidentally turns herself into a tree, Molly turns to the strange and wonderful Pim for help. And as they look for a way to rescue her mother, Molly discovers how to be happy with the oddness in her life.

Marsh and Me‘ by Martine Murray

There’s a hill out the back of Joey’s house. Hardly anyone goes there-it’s not a beautiful place, just a covered-over old rubbish tip. But Joey likes it up there. It’s his hill-somewhere he likes to go to wonder about life. He longs to be the best at something, to be a famous astronaut, or mountain climber, to stand out.

When Joey discovers a tree house in an old peppercorn tree on the hill, he is annoyed that someone has invaded his special place. But he is also curious about who the intruder could be. But making contact isn’t easy. The tree-house girl is wild and hostile and full of secrets-Joey needs to work out a way to win her over. And as he does, he finds a way to shine.

Murder Most Unladylike‘ by Robin Stevens (plus sequels)

When Daisy Wells and Hazel Wong set up their very own secret detective agency at Deepdean School for Girls, they struggle to find any truly exciting mysteries to investigate. (Unless you count the case of Lavinia’s missing tie. Which they don’t.) Then Hazel discovers the Science Mistress, Miss Bell, lying dead in the Gym. She assumes it was a terrible accident – but when she and Daisy return five minutes later, the body has disappeared. Now Hazel and Daisy not only have a murder to solve: they have to prove one happened in the first place.

Determined to get to the bottom of the crime before the killer strikes again (and before the police can get there first, naturally), Hazel and Daisy must hunt for evidence, spy on their suspects and use all the cunning and intuition they can muster. But will they succeed? And can their friendship stand the test?

How to Bee‘ by Bren McDibble

Peony lives with her sister and grandfather on a fruit farm outside the city. In a world where real bees are extinct, the quickest, bravest kids climb the fruit trees and pollinate the flowers by hand. All Peony really wants is to be a bee. Life on the farm is a scrabble, but there is enough to eat and a place to sleep, and there is love. Then Peony’s mother arrives to take her away from everything she has ever known, and all Peony’s grit and quick thinking might not be enough to keep her safe.

How To Bee is a beautiful and fierce novel for younger readers, and the voice of Peony will stay with you long after you read the last page.

The Turnkey‘ by Allison Rushby

Flossie Birdwhistle is the Turnkey at London’s Highgate Cemetery. As Turnkey, Flossie must ensure all the souls in the cemetery stay at rest. This is a difficult job at the best of times for a twelve-year-old ghost, but it is World War II and each night enemy bombers hammer London. Even the dead are unsettled. When Flossie encounters the ghost of a German soldier carrying a mysterious object, she becomes suspicious. What is he up to? Before long, Flossie uncovers a sinister plot that could result in the destruction of not only her cemetery, but also her beloved country. Can Flossie stop him before it is too late?

Raymie Nightingale‘ by Kate DiCamillo

Raymie Clarke has come to realize that everything, absolutely everything, depends on her. And she has a plan. If Raymie can win the Little Miss Central Florida Tire competition, then her father – who has run away with a dental hygienist – will see Raymie’s picture in the paper and (maybe) come home.

To win, not only does Raymie have to do good deeds and learn how to twirl a baton, but she has to compete with the wispy, frequently fainting Louisiana Elefante with her show-business background and the fiery, stubborn Beverly Tapinski, who’s determined to sabotage the contest. But as the competition approaches, loneliness, loss and unanswerable questions draw the three girls into an unlikely friendship – and challenge them to come to each other’s rescue in unexpected ways.

The Flyaway Girls‘ by Julia Lawrinson

Chelsea is the hardest worker in her gymnastics club and she’s determined to make the Nationals team, and then the Olympics.

But new girl Telia has more natural talent. Chelsea gets jealous, which feels awful, because she really likes Telia, who isn’t stuck-up like some other girls at gym. And it’s not only envy that’s bothering Chelsea – she’s got family issues to worry about and her school friends are acting weird.

It’s time for Chelsea to figure out what’s really important – and just maybe take a leap into the unknown.

Withering-by-Sea‘ by Judith Rossell (plus sequel)

High on a cliff above the gloomy Victorian town of Withering-by-Sea stands the Hotel Majestic. Inside the walls of the damp, dull hotel, eleven-year-old orphan Stella Montgomery leads a miserable life with her three dreadful aunts. Stella dreams of adventuring on the Amazon-or anyplace, really, as long as it isn’t this dreary town where nothing ever happens.

Then one night Stella sees something she shouldn’t have. Soon she finds herself on the run from terrifying Professor Stark and his gang of thugs. But how can one young girl outwit an evil magician, much less rescue his poor, mistreated assistant?

With the help of a mysterious maestro, his musical cats, and a lively girl named Gert, Stella Montgomery sets out to do the impossible.

The Apple Tart of Hope‘ by Sarah Moore Fitzgerald

Oscar Dunleavy, who used to make the world’s most perfect apple tarts, is missing, presumed dead. No-one seems too surprised, except for Meg, his best friend, and his little brother Stevie. Surrounded by grief and confusion, Meg and Stevie are determined to find out what happened to Oscar, and together they learn about loyalty and friendship and the power of never giving up hope.

A Waltz for Matilda‘ by Jackie French

In 1894, twelve-year-old Matilda flees the city slums to find her unknown father and his farm. But drought grips the land, and the shearers are on strike. Her father has turned swaggie and he′s wanted by the troopers. In front of his terrified daughter, he makes a stand against them, defiant to the last. ′You′ll never catch me alive, said he…′

Set against a backdrop of bush fire, flood, war and jubilation, this is the story of one girl′s journey towards independence. It is also the story of others who had no vote and very little but their dreams.

Drawing on the well-known poem by A.B. Paterson and from events rooted in actual history, this is the untold story behind Australia′s early years as an emerging nation.

Bleakboy and Hunter Stand Out in the Rain‘ by Steven Herrick

Some things are too big for a boy to solve. Jesse is an 11-year-old boy tackling many problems in life, especially fitting in to a new school. Luckily he meets Kate; she has curly black hair, braces, and an infectious smile. She wants to “Save the Whales” and needs Jesse’s help. But they haven’t counted on Hunter, the school bully, who appears to enjoy hurling insults at random. With Hunter’s catchphrase “Ha!” echoing through the school, something or someone has to give. But will it be Jesse? Kate? Or is there more to Hunter than everyone thinks? This book is an inspiring and funny story about the small gestures that can help to make the world a better place.

Smile‘ by Raina Telgemeier

Raina just wants to be a normal sixth grader. But one night after Girl Scouts she trips and falls, severely injuring her two front teeth, and what follows is a long and frustrating journey with on-again, off-again braces, surgery, embarrassing headgear, and even a retainer with fake teeth attached. And on top of all that, there’s still more to deal with: a major earthquake, boy confusion, and friends who turn out to be not so friendly.

The Ratcatcher’s Daughter‘ by Pamela Rushby

It’s 1900. Thirteen-year-old Issy McKelvie leaves school and starts her first job – very reluctantly – as a maid in an undertaking establishment. She thinks this is about as low as you can go. But there’s worse to come. Issy becomes an unwilling rat-catcher when the plague – the Black Death – arrives in Australia. Issy loathes both rats and her father’s four yappy, snappy, hyperactive rat-killing terriers. But when her father becomes ill it’s up to Issy to join the battle to rid the city of the plague-carrying rats.

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