ReadPlus is a collection of selected books and films arranged under themes. This web site provides lists, reviews and resources for librarians, teachers and parents about books for young people aged 5 to 18.
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Latest Review

Jan 16 2017

Life hacks by Girlfriend Magazine

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Hachette, 2016. ISBN 9780733635755
(Age: Teens) Highly recommended for all school libraries. Themes: teenagers, puberty, love, friendship, sex, gender identity, depression, bullying, health. 'All of the answers, none of the awks' claims this teen guide. Based on the Australian teen magazine's advice column and drawing on advice from an impressive number of named experts and commentators the information is attractively presented in a simple yet accessible format. The content unfolds logically in a chatty style with clear headings, diagrams, strategies and checklists, working through changes every teen will experience both physical and mental, then body image and friendships. The next chapter on Identity may challenge some school libraries celebrating, as it does, the whole spectrum of sexual identity. 'So if you're bi, trans, gay, sexual, cisgendered, or not quite sure yet, read on. There's something for everyone.' ('If you were born a girl and identify as a girl (or born a guy and identify as a guy), you are cisgendered'). The following chapters on love, sex, mental and medical awareness as well as how to help someone with problems and get help yourself are less controversial and very well presented. Chapter nine outlines where in Australia to get help and the acknowledgements and references might suggest sources for further study.
Overall it is a modern life guide all teens should read presented in a format they are likely to read and share. This guide would be a useful tool for teachers of health courses or for discussion topics in pastoral care sessions. It is supported by the magazine's website.
Sue Speck



More Reviews

Jan 16 2017

Applesauce weather by Helen Frost

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Candlewick Press, 2016. ISBN 9780763675769
(Age: 10+) Highly recommended. Applesauce Weather is a beautifully illustrated story told through poetry. Faith and Peter know Uncle Arthur will arrive when the first apple falls and the first two poems introduce this brother and sister...
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Jan 16 2017

Growing together by Taro Gomi

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Phaidon Press 2016. ISBN 9780714871264
(Age: 2-5) Recommended. Written by internationally bestselling author, Taro Gomi, Growing Together is a four book box set designed to share. Neatly backed in a sturdy display box, readers will find four small books titled Growing,...
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Jan 16 2017

The grabbem getaway by Adrian C. Bott

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Ill. by Andy Isaac. Axel and BEAST series. Hardie Grant Egmont, 2016. ISBN 9781760127800
(Age: 7+) Recommended. What happens when a giant shape-shifting robot BEAST crash-lands in Axel's garage? Twelve-year old gamer Axel's life changes dramatically. One minute, he is...
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Jan 16 2017

Danny Best : Never wrong by Jen Storer

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Ill. by Mitch Vane. Danny Best series bk. 2. ISBN 9780733333347
(Age: 6-8) Recommended. Diary narratives are an extremely popular genre for young readers. Now author Jen Storer's Danny Best is a larger than life character who believes he is a total legend, best by name and best...
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Jan 16 2017

You are oh so horribly handsome! by Eva Dax

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Ill. by Sabine Dully. Starfish Bay, 2016. ISBN 9781760360139
(Age: 3-7) Recommended. Gregor, the little green monster has all the right attributes, he loves to shout ear-splittingly loud, he is also horrendously strong, and frighteningly fast. Unfortunately, one day a nasty thought...
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Jan 16 2017

Signal loss by Garry Disher

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Hal Challis series. Text Publishing, 2017. ISBN 9781925355260
(Age: secondary to adult) Highly recommended. Crime fiction, Victoria. When a bushfire erupts over Mornington Peninsula a burnt out Mercedes is found with two charred bodies, and the remains of a rifle. DNA is the only...
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Jan 12 2017

Alice Springs: From singing wire to iconic outback town by Stuart Traynor

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Wakefield Press, 2016. ISBN 9781743054499
(Age: Secondary) Recommended. Stuart Traynor spent 8 years researching the history of central Australia for this book, and it shows in the meticulous detailed recording of the lives spent in the outback - from the explorers who tried to find a...
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Jan 12 2017

The 12th dog by Charlotte Calder

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Ill. by Tom Jellett. Lothian, 2017. ISBN 9780734416926
(Age: 4+) Highly recommended. Dogs. Animals. Pets. Cricket. Friendship. Family. Arlo the dog simply adores cricket. He can't bowl or bat but he excels in the field. He is the fastest in the field to get to the ball, keeping his eye...
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Jan 12 2017

Diary of a Minecraft zombie series by Zack Zombie

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Scholastic, 2016.
A scare of a dare. ISBN 9781943330140
Bullies and buddies. ISBN 9781943330140
(Age: 7-9) Another fan fiction series recorded in the ever-popular diary style format made famous by Jeff Kinney's Wimpy kid. These books are simplistic, easy to...
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Jan 12 2017

Piggy by Trevor Lai

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Bloomsbury, 2017. ISBN 9781681190655
(Age: 6+) Recommended. Friendship. Reading. Loneliness. A little pig called Piggy simply loves to read. He reads day and night in his library, and his favourite book is about two friends. But one day he realises that he is down to his last book. He...
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Jan 10 2017

Night lights by Lorena Alvarez

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Nobrow, 2016. ISBN 9781910620137
(Age: 12+) Recommended. Picture book for older readers. Night lights is a beautifully illustrated story, touching on how fear can make us doubt ourselves. At night, Sandy's imagination allows her to catch the lights that come into her room. She...
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Jan 10 2017

The secret cooking club by Laurel Remington

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Chicken House, 2016. ISBN 9781910655245
(Age: 9+) Recommended. The secret cooking club is a delicious story, filled with family, food and friends. Twelve-year-old Scarlett's life is a mess, her mother is a blogger who writes about the ups-and-downs of family life. These blogs...
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Jan 10 2017

The roadman boogie by Nikki Slade Robinson

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Starfish Bay, 2016. ISBN 9781760360146
(Age: 3-5) New Zealand author-illustrator Nikki Slade Robinson brings a true story to life in The Roadman boogie. The Roadman controls the traffic with his large stop sign as the digger fills the truck at the side of the highway. He is...
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Jan 10 2017

Gemina by Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff

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Ill. by Marie Lu. The Illuminae Files bk. 2. Allen & Unwin, 2016. ISBN 9781925266573
(Age: 14+) Recommended. Science fiction. Futuristic space travel. Mystery. Adventure. I was initially reluctant to read this book for review because it contains some features that are...
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Jan 07 2017

The Call by Peadar O'Guilin

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David Fickling Books, 2015. ISBN 9781910989203
(Age: 13+) Highly recommended. Dystopian fiction, Future, Mythology, Survival. Crippled Nessa must make more effort than most if she is to survive the school and learn to beat The Call. It will happen as it does to all of them, only one in...
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Jan 07 2017

Ellyse Perry series by Sherryl Clark

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Random House Australia, 2016.
Pocket rocket. ISBN 9780143781240
Magic feet. ISBN 9780143781264
(Age: 9-12) Recommended. High school, Sports, Self image. This series of books (and there are two more due in January 2017) follows Ellyse Perry as she begins high...
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Jan 07 2017

Nathalia Buttface and the embarrassing camp catastrophe by Nigel Smith

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Ill. by Sarah Horne. Nathalia Buttface series bk. 5. HarperCollins, 2016. ISBN 9780008167127
(Age: 9-11) Recommended. Nathalia Bumole (Bew-mow-lay) or Nat Buttface to her fans is ready for a new 'cringe-tastic' adventure, an eco-camp experience with her 8H classmates. At Assembly...
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Jan 07 2017

Zombified! Outbreak by C.M. Gray

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Zombified series bk. 3. ABC Books, 2016. ISBN 9780733334238
(Age: 7-9) C. M. Grey's Zombified is a funny and slightly spooky series featuring young Benjamin Roy half-zombie who has learnt to manage his special skills - infra-red vision and super strength. At home, his...
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Jan 07 2017

Doug the pug - king of the internet by Leslie Mosier

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Pan Macmillan, 2016. ISBN 9780752266039
(Age: 0+) You don't see many A5 coffee table books, but then pugs are small dogs. Predictably, Doug the pop culture icon, is anthropomorphized by being photographed in a variety of costumes.
A body of research exists which attempts to explain...
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Jan 06 2017

Blink and you die by Lauren Child

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Ruby Redfort series bk. 6. Harper Collins, 2016. ISBN 9780007334285
(Age: 9+) Highly recommended. Blink and you die is the final amazing book in Lauren Child's Ruby Redfort's crime-fighting spy series. With ruthless enemies, near impossible situations to overcome, ruthless...
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Jan 06 2017

Fancy Nancy: Saturday Night Sleepover by Jane O'Connor

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Ill. by Robin Preiss Glasser. HarperCollins, 2016. ISBN 9780007560912
Fancy Nancy's mum has won a weekend at a resort , and sadly for Nancy, children are not included. So she and little sister JoJo are going to have a sleepover at Mrs DeVine's. Even though both girls love Mrs DeVine,...
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Jan 06 2017

The crayons' book of numbers by Drew Daywalt

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Ill. by Oliver Jeffers. HarperCollins, 2016. ISBN 9780008212865
In 2013 Daywalt and Jeffers introduced us to a most unlikely set of heroes, or at least a set that they probably didn't realise would become so popular they would become a series. But that is what has happened to Duncan's...
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Jan 06 2017

Star Wars Galactic Atlas by Tim McDonagh

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Hardie Grant Egmont, 2016. ISBN 9781405279987
While Star Wars: The Original Trilogy: A Graphic Novel told the story of the original three Star Wars movies, this magnificent tome is for the aficionado who want to know more and understand more.
In full colour and measuring 37cm...
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Jan 06 2017

Star Wars: The original trilogy: A graphic novel

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Hardie Grant Egmont, 2016. ISBN 9781760128180
A long time ago in a galaxy far far away - well it was actually 1977 and the world was very different then - George Lucas released the first of his Star Wars movies and such was its impact that almost 40 years on those who saw it then...
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Jan 05 2017

Starchaser by Angie Sage

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The magykal world of TodHunter Moon series, bk. 3. Bloomsbury, 2016. ISBN 9781408882009
(Age: 10+) Recommended. Angie Sage concludes her fantasy adventure series in Starchaser, with a huge cast of characters, multiple story threads and chapters focussed on different...
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Jan 05 2017

The day the mustache took over by Alan Katz

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Ill. by Kris Easler. Bloomsbury, 2015. ISBN 9781681191485
(Age: 8+) Recommended. Humour. Childminding. Nathan and David are twins. Terrible twins! So terrible that they have made life impossible for hundreds of Nannies over the years. Their constant bickering and competitiveness, plus...
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Jan 04 2017

The dry by Jane Harper

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Macmillan, 2016. ISBN 9781743548059
(Age: 14+) Highly recommended. Crime, Australian rural life, Drought. Driving to Kiewarra a small town some five hundred kilometers from Melbourne, Aaron Falk argues with himself about why he is going to his friend's funeral. A message from Luke's...
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Jan 04 2017

Illuminature by Rachel Williams

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Ill. by Carnovsky. Wide-Eyed, 2016. ISBN 9781847808868
"Nature never stops. With every tick of the clock, an animal wakes up and goes in search of food. The sky might be dark when the creature first stirs; night-time is ruled by the nocturnal animals. During the light of day diurnal...
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Jan 04 2017

The bike ride by Jan Ormerod

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Ill. by Freya Blackwood. Hardie Grant Egmont, 2016. ISBN 9781760128982
Bear's world revolves around Maudie, and so does Maudie's. Bear is the hero that every little person needs in their life. The one that does everything for them, no matter how trying they are; the one that is...
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Jan 04 2017

Blue sky, yellow kite by Janet A. Holmes

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Ill. by Jonathan Bentley. Little Hare Books, 2016. ISBN 9781760124229
High above a bright yellow kite soars in the bright blue sky and as it dips and dives, flits and flies with its tail feathers flying it catches the eye of Daisy. Intrigued she follows its string to see who is flying...
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Jan 03 2017

Fizzlebert Stump and the great supermarket showdown by A. F. Harrold

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Fizzlebert Stump series, bk. 6. Ill. by Sarah Horne. Bloomsbury, 2016. ISBN 9781408869451
(Age: 7+) A.F. Harrold's Fizzlebert Stump comical stories come packed with quirky individuals, farcical situations, general silliness and mad mayhem. We begin with Chapter 4; luckily,...
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Jan 03 2017

Fridays with the wizards by Jessica Day George

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Castle Glower series, bk 4. Bloomsbury, 2016. ISBN 9781408858417
(Age: 9+) Recommended. Fantasy. Adventure. Castle life, Mythical creatures. Jessica Day George's Castle Glower fantasy series continues in Fridays with the wizards. Twelve-year-old Celie's life is...
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Dec 30 2016

The Chemist by Stephenie Meyer

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Hachette, 2016. ISBN 9780751568233
(Age: Adult) Recommended for fans of thriller and romantic suspense. Using different names, an ex-agent, skilled with chemicals and interrogation, is hiding from killers desperate to put her away. Her boss and friend has already died in a laboratory...
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Dec 30 2016

Turbo twenty-three by Janet Evanovich

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Stephanie Plum bk 23. Hachette Australia, 2016. ISBN 9781472201706
(Age: Adult) Strong language and sexual content. Another one for anyone who is a fan of Stephanie Plum and her very funny friends. Stephanie is again trying to pick up a bond evader, who is trying to hijack a...
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Dec 29 2016

Sting by Sandra Brown

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Hachette, 2016. ISBN 9781444791518
(Age: Adult) Recommended for readers of romantic suspense. Author of many bestselling novels, Sandra Brown brings her signature thrills and sexual tension to Sting. When Jordie Bennet sees Shaw Kinnard across a crowded disreputable bar, sparks...
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Dec 27 2016

Doodles by Daley Pearson and Francis Stanton

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Allen and Unwin, 2016. ISBN 9781760295448
(Age: 7+) Recommended. Doodles. Based on the ABC television show Doodles, the Doodles activity book is a humorous book, filled with special drawings that should appeal to children who like to draw and doodle. What makes it unique...
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Dec 27 2016

The woman on the stairs by Bernhard Schlink

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Hachette, 2016. ISBN 9781474604994
(Age: 15+) Bernhard Schlink's novel, written in 2016 and in translation from German, is a sleekly woven tale of one woman, Irene, the gloriously beautiful and enigmatic Irene, whose portrait was painted by the artist, Schwind, as she stood still on...
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Dec 27 2016

Taking a punt by Peter Endersbee

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Wakefield Press, 2016. ISBN 9781743054093
(Age: Adult) Peter Endersbee, a photographer and former football star, was confronted with the shock diagnosis of serious prostate cancer at the age of 59. He describes how he came to the decision to go ahead with the surgery which, whilst...
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Dec 20 2016

Jack and Mia by Robert Vescio

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Ill. by Claire Richards. Wombat Books, 2016. ISBN 9781925139730
Before Mia moved in next door, Jack was lonely. But Mia brought rainbows, jungles, concerts and lots and lots of giggles. Even their mums thought they were 'two sides of the one coin' and 'fit together like a puzzle.' Mia's...
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Dec 19 2016

Beck by Mal Peet with Meg Rosoff

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Walker Books, 2016. ISBN 9781406331127
(Age: Adults - senior secondary). Highly recommended. Warning: Violent sex scene. Reading this novel is like being plunged deep into a maelstrom. The writers take us back in time to the devastatingly poor world of the early 1900s. Here a woman and a...
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Dec 19 2016

Signal loss by Garry Disher

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Inspector Challis bk 7. Text Publishing, 2016. ISBN 9781925355260
(Age: 15+) Recommended. The seventh book in the Inspector Challis series, set on the Mornington Peninsula in Victoria, sees Hal investigating not only the spread of the drug ice, but the reason that two hit...
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Dec 19 2016

Sachiko: A Nagasaki bomb survivor's story by Caren Stelson

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Carolrhoda Books, 2016. ISBN 9781467789035
(Aged 12+) Highly recommended. Themes: War; Conflict; Resilience; Peace; Nagasaki. If war was only about winning and losing, we would not know this story. Sachiko's story is the story of loss, of finding a voice in the face of incredible...
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Dec 19 2016

The great barbie disaster by Tania Ingram

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Ill. by Christina Miesen. Mates series. Omnibus, 2016. ISBN 9781742991245
(Age: 6+) Highly recommended. Humour. I love the Mates series of books, giving newly independent readers short easy read chapters, copiously illustrated, with some words in a different font to...
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Dec 19 2016

Island of Glass by Nora Roberts

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The Guardians trilogy, bk. 3. Piatkus, 2016. ISBN 9780349407906
(Age: Adult) Romance. Fantasy. The third in The Guardians series see Roberts return to Ireland as her setting where Doyle, the immortal, must come to grips with his past when he finds that the house they are...
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Dec 19 2016

Owl Bat Bat Owl by Marie-Louise Fitzpatrick

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Walker Books, 2016. ISBN 9781406364392
Themes: Wordless Picture Book; Differences. A family of owls (is that a small 'parliament'?) settles for the day in a tree. Their rest is interrupted by the arrival of a family of bats. There is room for them all as one group is up, and the other...
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Dec 19 2016

Chronologica compiled by the Whittaker's Almanack Team

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Bloomsbury, 2016. ISBN 9781472932945
(Age: 10+) Recommended, History, Non fiction. Subtitled The incredible years that defined history, this massive tome is a fascinating book to dip into and read about an event which readers may not know a lot about. Beginning with 753 BC, and...
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Dec 16 2016

Crooked Kingdom by Leigh Bardugo

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Six of Crows bk 2. Indigo, 2016. ISBN 9781780622309
(Age: 14+) Highly recommended. Fantasy. Goodreads Choice Award Nominee for Young Adult Fantasy and Science Fiction (2016). The stunning sequel to Six of crows, see Kaz Brekker and his crew fighting for their lives. They...
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Dec 16 2016

Dog on a digger: The tricky incident by Kate Prendergast

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Old Barn Books, 2016. ISBN 9781910646144
(Age: 3+) Recommended. Kate Prendergast draws from her transport industry background creating detailed images of machinery set against an urban landscape filled with heavy machinery. This wordless picture book with detailed black and white pencil...
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Dec 16 2016

Girl in pieces by Kathleen Glasgow

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HarperCollins, 2016. ISBN 9781460751053
(Age: 15+) Recommended for mature readers. Charlie is really messed up. But so is everyone at Creeley, the health facility for girls who self-harm. Part One of Girl in Pieces chronicles their despair fuelled by anxiety or abuse of one kind...
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Dec 15 2016

The song from somewhere else by A.F. Harrold

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Ill. by Levi Pinfold. Bloomsbury, 2016. ISBN 9781408879337
(Age: 9+) Recommended. Fantasy. Bullying. Acceptance. Fear. Friendship. This is an amazing story of bullying and friendship, yet it also enters into the fantasy world that lives in parallel to our own world. Frank (or Francesca)...
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Nov 28 2016

Literature to Support the Science Curriculum Foundation - 7 by Fran Knight and Pat Pledger

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Pledger Consulting, 2016. ISBN 97801876678470
Teacher reference. Primary School. Highly recommended. Literature to Support the Science Curriculum Foundation - 7 is a collection of fiction and some non-fiction books linked to the Australian Science curriculum. Teachers and...
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Nov 02 2016

Literature to support the Science curriculum Foundation - 7 by Fran Knight and Pat Pledger

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Pledger Consulting, 2016. ISBN 9781876678470
Teacher Reference.This publication is an outstanding tool for the study of science for these year levels.
Fran...
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Feb 22 2016

Fiction gems: Recommended fiction lists for Upper Primary and Lower Secondary students by Fran Knight and Pat Pledger

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Pledger Consulting, 2016. ISBN 9781876678456
Teacher reference. What a great resource for those charged with purchasing or recommending reading material for Upper Primary and Lower Secondary students. The Middle School aged reader can have specific interests or reading demands and keeping...
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