This evening I will be on ABC Radio (612ABC) at 8:30pm talking with Trevor Jackson about my favourite books of the past month or so. I’ve got way too many to talk about and I know I won’t get through them all unless I talk at a millions miles an hours, but I simply could not delete any from my list of ten.
‘Pig the Star’ by Aaron Blabey (Early Childhood)
Breath a sigh of relief, it’s a GREAT as the other ‘Pig the Pug’ books! I’m always a little nervous about sequels, but Aaron Blabey, Pig and Trevor continue to impress and keep us all extremely entertained.
‘I Just Ate My Friend’ by Heidi McKinnon (Early Childhood)
Every.Single.Time I pick up this picture book I chuckle and in my head I say, ‘I just ate my friend’ in a low grumbly little monster voice. I don’t even need a child to read this book to in order to enjoy it! I can happily sit alone and chuckle over it. Of course, a child to read to is also nice, and all the little people I have read this to have totally GOT this book.
It’s tough making friends, and if you have a tendency to eat your friends, well, it’s hard to keep them too. In the school context we’ve had lots of meaningful discussions about why it’s important to be kind to our peers and it is just so nice to have this conversation with the added element of humour (“it’s really not kind to eat your friends Mrs Daley!”).
This is Heidi McKinnon’s debut picture book and if this is where she starts her picture book career, I can’t wait to see where she ends up.
‘Big Hug’ Series by Shona Innes (Early Childhood)My full review of this series is here. Your mind is a bit like an amazing garden. A garden has lots of tracks and paths that lead in different directions. It has wide open spaces where we can create and play. A garden has places to grow things and do work. It has clever parts that help us to grow and learn.
‘Fluke’ by Lesley Gibbes and Michelle Dawson (Lower Primary)
In 2012 a Southern right whale gave birth to a calf in Sydney Harbour. It was the third time in recorded history that a Southern right whale had been born in the harbour. The mother and calf stayed in the sheltered waters of the city’s inlets and bays for several months before heading south to the Antarctic waters. The people of Sydney were entranced by the presence of these whales so close to the city. Since then there have been numerous other sightings of whale calves in Sydney waters, including one which was found nestling next to a boat after being separated from its mother. The story of Fluke is based on these events.
Lesley Gibbes’ text captures the excitement, joy and awe that the presence of these magnificent mammals create among the citizens of Sydney, while Michelle Dawson’s tender illustrations bring the character of Fluke and his rich underwater world to life.
‘Ginger Green, Playdate Queen’ series by Kim Kane (Lower Primary)
The ‘Ginger Green, Playdate Queen’ series is utterly perfect for young readers just starting off on their independent reading journey. My six year old has taken to this series with great gusto and last night she asked if we could go on a plane trip. Why? I asked…expecting to hear a moan about how all.her.friends go on planes except her. “I want to read these chapter books on a long ride”. Definitely the daughter of a librarian. The ‘Ginger Green’ books are a fabulous way to explore friendships and social etiquette in a way young readers will love. Ginger Green navigates a range of tricky social situations with a lightness of touch and gentle humour and my own six year cannot wait for more in the series to appear. If you have readers in this age group, check out yesterday’s review of the D-Bot books.
The second volume of The Fairy Dancers stories will reunite readers with the lives of Mia, Emma and Grace. There’s a fairy ring at the bottom of the garden, and the fairy dancers are wishing hard for dancing days. Join Mia, Emma and Grace in their most magical dancing adventures ever – my full review of the first book is here.
‘Play Like a Girl’ series by Jo Stanley (Middle Primary)
Look I’m not known for my sporting prowess at all, but since I’ve become friendly with the PE teacher at school I do rather enjoy shoving books about sport in front of her! I don’t want to play sport, but I’m happy to read about it! The new series ‘Play Like a Girl’ is a celebration of Aussie girls kicking goals in the sport they love and has been done in partnership with the AFLW.
Written by radio personality Jo Stanley with humour and fun, ‘Play Like a Girl‘ weaves realistic fiction with a hefty dose of AFL, an increasing popular female sport (I’m told). Each of the books focuses on one girl and her experiences playing footy and her general life of friends, school, hanging out at the shops, and being a good sport. The football, essentially, is the scaffolding of the books, but they’ll be relatable to all readers, regardless of whether or not they’re footy mad. Jo Stanley has created a series which will have wide appeal, from readers who would prefer football to readers who need just want a good realistic fiction series.
Support one of favourite local (and online) bookstores in Brisbane, ‘Where the Wild Things Are’/’Avid Reader’ by purchasing through the link below. If you are local to Brisbane you can order online and pick up in-store.
‘To the Lighthouse’ by Cristy Burne (Middle Primary)
I enjoyed this story so much that when Year Four left the library and we had only finished half the book, I read it write through my spare lesson and finished it. I’ve not done that in years and years as there is no time to sit and read when you’re in a school. I loved, loved, loved the relationship between the son, Isaac, and his terribly well meaning but overprotective mum. It was just so darned nice to see a positive mother/son relationship. Isaac arrives on Rottnest Island hoping for an awesome holiday adventure, but his mum would rather he stayed inside, where it’s safe. Then Isaac meets Emmy. She’s allowed to do whatever she wants. With Emmy daring him on, Isaac’s life gets much more exciting. But when things go horribly wrong on their secret midnight adventure, they both wonder whether this time they’ve gone too far .
‘That Stubborn Seed of Hope’ by Brian Falkner (Lower Secondary)
A boy helps his sister disguise her birthmark on her first day of school.
A seventeen-year-old awakens to find himself trapped in an elderly body.
A teenage girl discovers her boyfriend has a life-threatening virus the day after they share their first kiss.
A high school student tries to communicate to his hospitalised brother who is in a vegetative state.
Brian Falkner serves up ten bite-sized tales of fear – fear of rejection, fear of dying, fear of disease, fear of the unknown, fear of exclusion, fear of being caught and fear of embarrassment – showing how that stubborn seed of hope hungers our darkest moments
‘Because of You’ by Pip Harry (Upper Secondary)
My full review of this wonderful book is here.