Archives

Strong and Tough

Strong and Tough

Strong and Tough

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Strong and Tough

Rico Hinson-King

Nick Sharratt

Bloomsbury, 2022

32pp., pbk., RRP $A14.99

9781526648631

With the FIFA World Cup well under way,  many young lads will have thoughts of becoming a Socceroo and representing their country in the future. 

So this is a timely story to share with them to show that dreams can come true if they hold on to their hope and stare down whatever difficulties might confront them on the way. They need to stay strong and tough. 

Written during homework club at Manchester City FC in 2020 by the amazingly talented ten-year-old Rico Hinson-King. an everyday boy with an extraordinary story to tell through the character of Charlie about being taken from his birth parents, being separated from his sisters and being placed in foster care and despite being scared and lonely at times, surviving because of his love of football.  Practising to be the best he could be helped keep his mind off things, his determination and resilience helped him to be brave, strong and tough no matter what and one day he scores a goal that is even better than scoring the winning sudden-death penalty at a cup final!  

But as much as it is about football, it is also about his journey in the foster-care system, something that many of our readers will know about but never read about.  So although they might not have the same dream as Charlie, they can be inspired to follow their own passion, to understand that it can be scary and lonely at times but there are ways to distract from those big feelings with even better ones.  

 

The Champ (series)

The Champ

The Champ

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Champ

The Champ 1

9781760526870

Rock ‘n’ Roll

9781761065620

Anh Do

A & U  Children’s 2022

192pp., pbk., RRP $A15.99

Popular and prolific storyteller is back with a new series for young readers transitioning to novels with all the supports these readers need including action-packed plots and relatable characters who have a touch of superpower to turn them from ordinary to extraordinary in times of need.

Summer loves sport, and there is nothing she would love more than to charge down the field towards an open goal, or soar through the air over the basket. She would love to be part of a team but instead she always seems to be the last one picked, probably because of her lack of co-ordination which even she recognises. Then one day something amazing happens and Summer discovers she is no longer the spectator but the superstar. The purple gloop that covered her and landed her in hospital has turned her life around. However what is magical for Summer is misery for her older brother Carl who goes from being a talented upcoming footballer to being in a wheelchair, and Summer finds herself with a lot more responsibility.

With her new expertise, Summer decides to enter contests to earn money to support her family, but as it turns out, there are far more important things for her to do, starting with sorting out a witch who looks strangely familiar and is causing trouble in her home town while keeping her new powers secret because  a government agency, armed with a robotic minion, begin to take an interest in her.  In the second in the series, she has to deal with the mysterious Book Witch again when everyone’s favourite rock band is kidnapped.

Younger readers who are just meeting Anh Do as an author will like what they read and easily be able to fit themselves into the story, perhaps even venturing into his many other series  as they wait for Summer’s next adventure, but those more familiar with his works, particularly SkyDragon may find parts of the plot familiar.  That doesn’t decry from the appeal of this new series as there is a reason Do is so popular and this is yet another way to get readers on the cusp of being independent to keep reading. 

 

 

 

Barefoot Kids

Barefoot Kids

Barefoot Kids

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Barefoot Kids

Scott Pape

Barefoot Publishing, 2022

224pp., pbk., RRP $A32.99

9781460763650

When 8 year old Levi Anderton was laughed at in class because he froze when his teacher asked him to read something aloud, the situation had the potential for any number of outcomes, all of them profound and some of them not good.  But Levi was able to turn the incident on its head and within 6 months he was the boss of his own company  selling reading rulers and cases online fielding and fulfilling orders from around the world. Like Sir Richard Branson, he turned his disability into an opportunity.

For years, Scott Pape, author of highly successful The Barefoot Investor has been engaged in programs to make financial literacy a key part of every primary and secondary school curriculum including having an annual 4-6 week money challenge similar to the Premier’s Reading Challenge, and, for primary students in particular, showing them the power of working, saving, spending and giving.  

And so, in this engaging easy-to-read step by step guide for young readers to make and carry out a financial plan, interspersed with success stories like Levi’s for encouragement, there is the blueprint to help them become financially savvy at the very least, if not world-leading entrepreneurs. Money may be the “root of all evil” but it seems to be something everyone desires. Regardless of how we might prefer it to be different, success still seems to be measured by salary and despite odds of one in 292 million of winning the recent mega US $2 billion lottery, millions around the world bought tickets in the hope of becoming rich.  Closer to home our students are probably seeing the consequences of the ‘cost-of-living crisis” that is reported on every news bulletin, so it would seem that a book by a recognised expert that has both sound advice and practical strategies would be very appropriate and timely.

Arranged into the six steps entitled Earn Some Money, Stash Your Cash, Be a Barefoot Boss, Get What you Want, Make Someone Smile and Grow your Money, readers are taken from that first basic understanding that money comes from working and even though they might resent pitching in with household chores there are ways that make them in charge so they are in control of both what they do and what they do with the rewards. There are charts and checklists so each child can map their own path (even those under 7) including being able to pitch the idea of being paid for chores confidently to parents. 

With language and layout chosen so that the reader is encouraged, supported and successful on each page, this is a must-have for every child so that they not only get the things they want without having to wait for Christmas or birthdays but they develop the critical understandings and foundations for their future financial security as they learn so much in a practical, personal real-life way.  You could not give a child a better gift. 

And kids could give their parents The Barefoot Investor for Families so everyone wins!

The Sun and the Mayfly

The Sun and the Mayfly

The Sun and the Mayfly

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Sun and the Mayfly

Tang Tang

Zhang Xiao

Little Steps, 2022

44pp., pbk., RRP $A16.95

9781922678041

As Little Mayfly is born in the depths of the lake, moving upwards through the water she greets the sun who is rising over a new day. 

“Hello”, she says, ” you are amazing. You light up this world as soon as you wake up. Who are you?” 

Sun tells her but when it learns that Little Mayfly only lives for one day and when it’s journey is over so will be her life, it has no words because it knows just how brief a day is.  But to Little  Mayfly, a day is a lifetime and there is so much to see and do, and even though she learns that she is going to miss out on things like the tadpole turning to a frog and the flowers booming., she remains cheerful and optimistic, determined to make the most of the time she does have.

Tagged as “an uplifting story about the power of positivity and making the most of every day” this is an enchanting story from a leading Chinese author that not only introduces young readers to the passage of time and encourages them to make the most of their time, it also helps them start to see the world through a different lens – an abstract concept that is tricky for little ones.  It is like that saying that not stepping on the ant makes a huge difference to the ant, if not the walker.  If we only have one day, do we spend it in despair or delight?

Even though the reader longs for a happier miraculous ending as the sun gradually sinks in the west, the inevitable happens and so this is also an opportunity to introduce the concept of life cycles  the tadpole’s is illustrated in the story but in a joyful way – and so the focus becomes not the inescapable but what can be done in the time we have.  Definitely one for the mindfulness collection and to inspire positive  mental health. 

Wizelda

Wizelda

Wizelda

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Wizelda

Maggie May Gordon

Natasha Hagarty

Little Steps, 2022

32pp., pbk., RRP $A16.95

9781922358608

Everyone knows what a witch looks like – always dressed in black with a funny old black hat.  And what they do – stirring strange brews in big pots with large spoons. And what they have – broomsticks that they fly around on at night, with cats perched on the back and accompanied by owls and bats. 

But what if that’s not what you want?  If you’re left out of the other children’s games because of your black dress but you can’t afford to buy the coloured fabric they are all wearing? And your black pointy hat crushes your curls? Then one day you spot a beautiful  rainbow, full of colour and your mother tells you about the pot of gold at the end of it? Of course you climb it – but is this a case of be careful what you wish for or is there a more magical ending?

An interesting book to share at this time of the year with Halloween and all things witches in the spotlight, or any time you want to introduce children to the concepts of colours and rainbows and they are as curious as Wizelda. 

Nice Garry (series)

Nice Garry (series)

Nice Garry (series)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Nice Garry (series)

Bowled Over 

9781460761342

In A Spin

9781460761359

Michael Wagner, Nathan Lyon

David Williams

HarperCollins, 2022

192pp., pbk., RRP $A14.99

On the eve of the 2022 ICC Men’s T20 World Cup, this is a new series featuring renowned spin bowler Nathan Lyon that is going to appeal to young cricket loving readers. While Lyon himself will be in the commentary box this year (although he is determined to be good enough again to make it into the Australian T20 side), nevertheless the comments of “Nice, Garry” will be heard on the cricket pitch in other formats as the season wears on.

Inspired by the talent and passion Australian Test cricketing great Nathan Lyon has for the game, nicknamed Garry after AFL star Garry Lyon, this is the story of an ordinary kid with an extraordinary gift, but the talented 10-year-old discovers that sometimes gifts like his can present new, unexpected challenges that have to be faced.  

Following in the format of other sports series which focus on leading lights in a variety of codes, readers not only learn about their heroes and tips and tricks of the games they play, but also what it takes to be both a leader and a team member and that sometimes being really good at a particular thing is not always enough.  There are responsibilities that come with the rewards.

As well as being one to hand to the aspiring young cricketers, it is also one to hand to the reluctant reader who has to read it and decide whether it is a series worth purchasing for the library’s collection.  Among all the other series available, what will make this one stand out and appeal to many, making it a worthwhile investment?  

 

Charlie’s Whale

Charlie's Whale

Charlie’s Whale

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Charlie’s Whale

Libby Gleeson

Hannah Somerville

Lothian Children’s, 2022 

32pp., hbk., RRP $A24.99

9780734420886 

Charlie loved the sea, and all the creatures that lived within it- seashells and seahorses, sharks and stingrays, crabs and crayfish. He loved the gentle tickly waves and those that crashed and trembled. But most of all, Charlie loved whales- minke whales, orcas, beluga whales and humpbacks, sperm whales and right whales, and especially the great blue whale. He loves to read about them, research them on the internet and play with his toy whale and imagine… But most of all, he wants to see one.  Will his patience, persistence and perseverance pay off?

As the humpback highways of our east and west coasts reach their peak as over 30 000 whales make their way north to warmer waters to breed,, many, like me, will have been privileged to see these amazing creatures, and, just like Charlie will have waited in anticipation and then been overwhelmed with joy.  For something that appears for just a few seconds, maybe as it breaches or just sends a plume of spray into the air, it gives immense pleasure and all the waiting is worth it as a lifelong memory is made.  As well as being a story about waiting for a dream to come true, it is also one about having the patience to wait for something so fleeting, particularly in this world of instant gratification and click and collect.

Libby Gleeson’s words are lyrical, and Hannah Somerville’s illustrations are almost ethereal as they combine to make a story that is as magical as the whales themselves. 

 

Jørn’s Magnificent Imagination

Jørn’s Magnificent Imagination

Jørn’s Magnificent Imagination

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Jørn’s Magnificent Imagination

Coral Vass

Nicky Johnston

EK Books, 2022

32pp., hbk., RRP $A24.99

It is the backdrop to the lives of so many, draws millions of visitors from around the world, and yet is so familiar now that many don’t even see it.

Who would have thought that such a magnificent structure could grow from a little boy playing with sailboats, watching swans land on water, collecting seashells and flowers, even playing with his breakfast orange peel?  And yet it did and in this beautiful retelling of the young life of  Jørn Utzon, the reader learns not only of the beginnings of one of the world’s most recognisable buildings but the power of the imagination, and the importance of letting dreams lead us into amazing places.

Where might today’s discovery take a young person in years to come? Even if it is a wet, indoors day, what might they build from “rubbish” that could become the start of something magnificent?  In 50 years, will a nation be celebrating their dreams as they are about to celebrate Jørn’s?  

Sensitively written and illustrated in a way that doesn’t reveal the mystery to the end, this is a book that not only celebrates a little life that has big dreams that come true, but inspires the reader to drift away and imagine… If Jørn could begin a building with orange peels, could they make a city floodproof by playing in their porridge and milk?

Frank’s Red Hat

Frank's Red Hat

Frank’s Red Hat

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Frank’s Red Hat

Sean E. Avery

Walker Books, 2022

32pp., hbk., RRP $A25.99

9781760654283

Frank is a penguin with ideas. Some are better than others but often they are  not so good.. So when he  he shows the other penguins his strange new creation, they are very nervous. It’s something they’d never seen or expected to see in their cold and colourless Antarctic world — a red hat. and when Neville puts it on and is immediately taken by a killer whale, they definitely don’t want anything to do with it –  or the lime, copper, apricot, cobalt, lilac versions Frank offered.  In fact, they didn’t care for any of his colour variations – it was the hat itself that was evil.

Despite his perseverance, Frank had to admit defeat and declared he would not make any more hats until…

Sometimes it just takes someone with a belief in their ideas, in what they do and can offer to bring colour into a monochrome world thus changing that world forever, and Frank’s determination and resilience to be and make the changes is a lesson to all those who have a talent or an idea. Encouraging those with the big ideas to not give up, to persevere while being willing to listen to their audience and even modify their prototypes to address concerns and meet new needs, this is a story that offers the boost to continue that might be needed.

On the other hand, it opens up opportunities for discussions from the penguins’ perspective about how we are naturally resistant to change that takes us beyond our comfort zone, this is a great story to share with those about to embark on new adventures such as moving house or graduating to high school.  While there will be anxiety about leaving what is known, there is also the chance for new, exciting doors to open, such as the new friends Frank meets and the potential to expand both ideas and learning.  

While the publisher recommends this as a story for 4-7 year olds, it has the potential to have a much wider audience in the hands of a skilled teacher. 

 

Hot Dog

Hot Dog

Hot Dog

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Hot Dog

Mark Sperring

Sophie Corrigan

Bloomsbury, 2022

32pp., pbk., RRP $A14.99

9781408876114

On the fast food stand at the beach lies a hot dog – a sausage and bun – who is very glum as he watches all the real dogs gallivanting and cavorting in the waves and sand. How he longed to be like them with heads and tails and feet. But when the Mustard Fairy makes his dreams come true, will he be accepted by the other dogs? Or will he have to fight for his place in the sun?

How refreshing it is to just read a story for the share joy and silliness of it, to just savour the rhyme and rhythm rolling off your tongue with no underlying didacticism, although there could be a slight flavour of “be careful what you wish for.”  From the team behind Santa Jaws, Mince Spies, and Jingle Smells , this is another hilarious fast-paced romp that needs to be shared just for the fun of it, to entertain the reader and make them laugh.  And as our beach days approach, let our imaginations roam wild with what if…