Allen and Unwin, 2017. ISBN 9781760290405
(Age: 13+) Highly recommended. AIDS, Australian history, 1990's, Prejudice. The focus of Gemma's life in year eleven is the formal at the end of the year. She and her friends, Linda and Andrea talk about it incessantly, Gemma relying on her brother's return to do their hair and make up. He is a stylist in New York, where he has lived for five years with his boyfriend, Saul.
But tensions are mounting in her household. Mum is distraught when Billy's first boyfriend, Matt dies, she is evasive when Gemma talks about her brother's return, and Gemma is cross when the swatches for the material for her dress are sent by Billy's friend, Claude.
It is the early 1990's and the setting is recreated by Burke with absolute clarity. No one could be unaware of the climate in Australia when AIDS first became known. Community attitudes are clearly delineated, posters of male-female love appear, accepting no other possibility, gay men are called a range of offensive names, some like Gemma's father simply leave the family, avoiding the issue altogether.
Gemma finds a photo of Saul and Billy at a party in New York, in her mother's drawer. Billy has used his talents to make Saul look like a zebra, and the line on the back alludes to something being well covered. The reader is alerted, and eventually Gemma finds that Saul has AIDS.
A fascinating set of decisions need to be made as she gets on with her life. Who to tell? She is hesitant to tell her best friend, Andrea because of her homophobic attitudes, and with her knowledge, other people's ignorances seem to stand out. Through her growing knowledge of the disease, the reader is also given information with which they can judge the reactions of the school and the community in which Gemma lives. In following Billy's decline and visits to the hospital, Gemma is in no doubt about the seriousness of the illness, and the reader is privy to the range of prejudices and reactions of other people when confronted by the disease. In the background, Gemma is becoming closer to Ralph, a boy she likes and his involvement with her lands him in some trouble. The year rolls to an end and the formal is close at hand but other more important events take hold of the family and their friends.
For information about AIDS in Australia today, an article about the decline in the number of HIV/AIDS cases. HIV/AIDS is no longer a death sentence and the number of deaths is insignificant, whereas in the 1990's about 1000 people died each year.
This is a beautifully told gripping story with some hard issues to follow. Burke makes the times ring with clarity.
Ill. by Gabi Swiatkowska. Carolrhoda books, 2017. ISBN 9781467739047
(Age: 4+) Highly recommended. Humour, Tea, Adventure, Quest. When the queen sips her morning cup of tea, she finds something is amiss. It simply does not have the taste she is looking for. Her servant James is puzzled:...
Allen and Unwin, 2017. ISBN 9781760293017
(Age: Yrs 2-4) Recommended. Henry Hoobler is a boy with worries. He is travelling with his family on a camping holiday but would rather stay at home with Nonna and not have to think about all the things that could go wrong or have to face the...
Little Steps Publishing, 2016. ISBN 9781925117998
(Age: 9+) Recommended. Themes: Mystery Adventure; Farm life; Bushfire. This charming story of the life of a young lad in rural Australia begins with the reporting of an unusual event after a bushfire, with a mystery involving a discovered...
Introduced by Simmone Howell. Text Classics. Text Publishing, 2017.
ISBN 9781925498318. First published Penguin Viking 1989
(Age: Middle school students) Recommended. Drug addiction. Friendship. Family breakdown. Eleven year old Seymour is spending his summer holidays with his mother's...
Ill. by David Lee. Diary of a 6th grade ninja bk 6. Allen
& Unwin, 2017. ISBN 9781760295608
(Age: 9-11) Buchanan Bandits is the sixth humorous novel focussing on Chase Cooper and his secret band of school ninjas. Each novel explores a week in his wild school life with...
Ill. by Sunshine. Empowering Resources, 2016. ISBN 9780994501073
At some stage in their young lives, children have an imaginary friend - one who likes to do the things that you like, eat the things you eat, be scared of the things you are scared of and share good times with you. ...
Ill. by Elise Parsley. Balzer and Bray, 2016. ISBN 9780062354846
Paxton C. Heymeyer seems to have forgotten his manners, so when he asks his babysitter for a cookie she asks him for the magic word. But instead of saying, "Can I have a cookie, please", Paxton C. Heymeyer shouts "Can I...
Random House, 2017
Alien invaders from beyond the stars/Night of the creepy carnival ISBN 9780143784029
Super sports spectacular/Trapped in the games grid. ISBN 9780143784036
Remember the frustration of finishing a book in a series that you have...
Ill. by Mike Curato. Balzer & Bray, 2016. ISBN 9780062386335
Worm loves Worm. So they decide to get married. It shouldn't be a problem but suddenly all their minibeast friends chip in. "You'll need someone to marry you. That's how it's always been done." You'll need a best man,...
Ill. by Wesley Robins. Usborne, 2016. ISBN 9781409598725
Take a city, an English city, and then take a journey back through time and discover how people have lived and worked there over the centuries right back to its Stone Age camp beginnings.
Interspersed with double-page spreads...
Ill. by Emma Chichester Clark. HarperCollins, 2016. ISBN
Hilda Snibbs is not like other people. She doesn't have a dog or a cat or even a goldfish - she has three little monkeys. Their names are Tim and Sam and Lulu and they are very lively. Every time she leaves the house...
Macmillan Australia, 2017. ISBN 9781925481488
(Age 14 - Adult) Recommended. Following other successful books from the CSIRO, The CSIRO low-carb diet is sure to be popular with people who are seeking advice about a more healthy lifestyle and diet. Based on research from around the...
Ill. by Anil Tortop. EK Books, 2017. ISBN 9781925335392
The Blossburn family are engaged in their usual activities - parents engrossed in a television program while J.J. is playing with toys on the mat. No one is taking any notice of the books on the shelves, least of all the one that is...
Lift-the-flap questions and answers about Science by Katie Daynes
Ill. by Marie-Eve Tremblay. Usborne, 2016. ISBN 9781409598985
From the time they are born children are innately curious and as soon as they are able to articulate the words, they ask questions so they can make the...
Bloomsbury Children's, 2016. ISBN 9781408872734
"Bedtime and time to say goodnight to the world.
Goodnight planet, goodnight world,
Peaceful clouds around Earth curled."
In a gentle, lullaby-like rhyme the little one is getting ready for bed and wishing everything a...
William Wenton bk 1. Walker, 2017. ISBN 9781406371703
(Age: 9+) Highly recommended. Norwegian film director Bobbie Peers' debut children's novel is a written like a cinematic thriller packed with action, intrigue and drama. His creative attention to detail is outstanding, with the...
Ill. by Marjorie Crosby-Fairall. Penguin Viking, 2017. ISBN
(Age: 5+) Highly recommended. Difference. Pigs. Tapir. Understanding. Tapir and Pig see that they are similar, both in colouring and size, shape and interests. But when they swim together they see that they are...
The Legend series. Ford St Publishing, 2017. ISBN
The Legend of sport competition has started for another year and students score points for skill based sessions, their knowledge of the sport and their game skills. The winner of the Legend of football and netball...
Maisy's first experiences series. Walker Books, 2017. ISBN
(Age: 3+) Recommended. Bookshops. Books. In the series, Maisy's first experiences, which includes stories of Maisy as she goes camping, or visits the library or goes to a hospital, the wonderful Maisy...
Bloomsbury, 2017. ISBN 9781408882016
(Age: 10-14) Highly recommended. Historical fiction. Miss V. Conroy is a very good girl. She is quiet, well-mannered and wants to obey her father Sir John Conroy, the comptroller of the household of the widowed Duchess of Kent. When her father takes...
Ill. by Tang Yun. New Frontier Publishing 2017. ISBN 9781925059762
(Age: 3-6) Recommended. Written by award winning Chinese author Xiao Mao, I love you sees Little Badger's teacher sharing her favourite words with the class. At the end of the day, Little Badger goes home to...
Ill. by Tom Jellett. Walker Books, 2017. ISBN 9781922244635
(Age: 8+) Recommended. Flight. Adventure. Invention. This engrossing hard cover book details the role of ten early Australian aviators who through their efforts helped change the face of Australia's aviation industry, bringing...
Ill. by Helen Magisson. New Frontier Publishing, 2017. ISBN
This is a great version of a traditional story and describes a young girl overcoming her fear to protect her father. The realisation of what is inside is far more important than what the outside looks like....
Hot Key Books, 2017. ISBN 9781471406362
(Age: 14+) Highly recommended. Science Fiction. Artificial intelligence. Robots. Space travel. Relativity. Pollution. Earth is dying, and there is a war between it and Genesis, one of the colony planets. The people of Genesis have closed down...
ABC Books, 2017. ISBN 9780733334856
(Age: 5-6) Recommended. 'For the grown-ups: Okay, Batwig. We have a challenge for you. It's your job to convince the nearest kid that everything in this book is actually red. And we mean everything. It will not be easy! They'll try to persuade you that...
Ill. by Jules Faber. HarperCollins Australia, 2017. ISBN
(Age: Mid primary) At 260 pages long, this is a wonderful porridge of putrid humour for readers in mid primary. They will find really sick jokes, disgusting verse and outrageous limericks while reading the five...
Pledger Consulting, 2016. ISBN 9781876678470
Highly recommended for educators. Subjects: Science curriculum; Fiction; Annotated bibliography. Fran Knight and Pat Pledger continue to write first-rate reference tools for teachers in primary school education, which focus on key curriculum...
LinksPlus, revised 2016. ISBN 9781876678265
Highly recommended - for educators. Subjects: History curriculum; Fiction; Annotated bibliography. Fran Knight and Pat Pledger are committed to providing educators and librarians with excellent reference tools that support the Australian...
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...