Archive | March 11, 2022

Return to FACTopia!

Return to FACTopia!

Return to FACTopia!











Return to FACTopia!

Kate Hale

Andy Smith

Britannica Books, 2022

208pp., hbk., RRP $25.99


Did you know that bacteria from between people’s toes has been used to make cheese? Or that the world’s most expensive cheese is made from donkey milk? Or that the milk from one species of cockroach is the most nutritious substance on Earth? Or that a cockroach can survive for weeks without its head?

In this choose-your-own adventure journey through more than 400 facts, all of which have been verified by Encyclopedia Britannica, every fact  is connected to the next in an ingenious trail of information, where you will hop from topic to topic in unexpected and hilarious ways. And there’s not just one trail through these pages: sometimes your path branches and you can choose to jump to a totally different (but still connected) part of the book. Let your curiosity lead you through this witty wonderland of facts!

There are connections made between a vast range of topics from history and geography to science and nature, including astronauts, polar bears, rollercoasters, sabre-toothed cats, shipwrecks, bananas, pirates, orangutans, medieval knights, and more, all accompanied by more than 300 fabulously witty colour illustrations and photographs.

And while disclosing that bacteria from between people’s toes has been used to make cheese may not be quite the best to share at the family dinner table, nevertheless these are the sorts of weird and wonderful things that kids of a certain age love to pore over and absorb for just the right (or wrong) occasion.  The format of taking your own path which is indicated by a dotted line and then branching out with diversions to other pages is unique to this series which includes FACTopia and the upcoming Gross FACTopis and ensure that each time the reader devles into it, new discoveries are made. 

Something a little different for your non fiction lovers. 



Eyes that Speak to the Stars

Eyes that Speak to the Stars

Eyes that Speak to the Stars











Eyes that Speak to the Stars

Joanna Ho

Dung Ho

HarperCollins, 2022

40pp., hbk., RRP $A24.99


The little boy is just like any other little boy in a bedroom that could be anyone’s  with a train tack on the floor of his bedroom and s solar system above his bed. But when his friend Kurt draws a pictures of his friends. and drew the little boy with two straight lines for eyes, he is devastated.  It had never occurred to him that he was any different to his class mates.  When he tells his Baba, his Baba is very wise and tells him, “Your eyes rise to the skies and speak to the stars.  The comets and constellations show you their secrets, and your eyes can foresee the future,  Just like mine.”

And for the first time the little boy realises that his eyes are not only like his baba’s but also his old and wise agong’s and his baby brother Di-Di’s.  And he begins to understand…  as he discovers that his eyes are a mirror of those of the those whom he so adores and admires, both past and present, he realises that his eyes are powerful and visionary too. “My eyes shine like sunlit rays that break through dark and doubt, They lift their sights on paths of flight that soar above the clouds.  My eyes gaze into space and glimpse trails of light inviting my into impossibilities.”  His eyes are so much more than their shape, and a depiction in a picture. 

Like its predecessor, Eyes that Kiss in the Corners, this is a story of awareness, acknowledgement and empowerment written in the most poetic language that we are coming to associate with this  author’s writing, and accompanied by glorious pictures that are so full of colour and detail and upward movement that the reader is as uplifted as the little boy . 

Rather than just being a parallel to Eyes the Kiss, this book builds on that and together would make the most powerful foundation for this year’s Harmony Day celebrations. 

You Matter: Be Your Own Best Friend

You Matter: Be Your Own Best Friend

You Matter: Be Your Own Best Friend











You Matter: Be Your Own Best Friend

Sue Lawson & Sue Hindle

Prue Pittock

Wild Dog, 2022

64pp., hbk., RRP $A24.99


With pandemic restrictions easing and life returning to a “COVID-19 normal” one of the most concerning things emerging from the lockdowns and limitations is the amount of global research focusing on the impact the time has had on children’s mental health.  And, with RATs and masks in schools bringing the disease to them directly, the anxiety and discomfort is likely to have  even greater consequences.  But while that might be the black cloud of the last two years, the silver lining is the focus that has been placed on the mental and emotional health of our young people – no longer is it just an illness of older people.

According to the experts, one of the greatest tools we can provide youngsters with is resilience -“the ability to recover from setbacks, adapt well to change, and keep going in the face of adversity” – and this book, which talks directly to the reader, offers the tools to build this. Beginning with the affirmation that no one else in the world is like you, if offers practical ways to explore emotions and build a toolkit to help with the days when they “feel worried, worn out or just not quite right.” From learning to breathe deeply, tune into their emotions, and creating a place – physical or mental – that is safe and peaceful, the young person is offered ideas that are simple, doable and achievable.  They’re explicitly stated rather than being embedded in a what-would/could-you-do story that needs to be unpacked and have step-by-step instructions from learning to finger-breathe to writing anxieties , fears and feelings on paper and physically ripping them up. 

Mental health is a curriculum focus, even moreso now, and mindfulness part of everyday activities so as well as helping individuals directly, the suggestions could also be a toolkit for teachers to work through with students whenever there is a moment or a need. Sharing stories such as The World Awaits is an essential part of showing children that their feelings are real, shared and validated and this book is the perfect follow-up, empowering them to not only manage their emotions now but building strategies for the future.