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

Oct 16 2017

Colonialism and its aftermath: A history of Aboriginal South Australia edited by Peggy Brock and Tom Gara

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Australia edited by Peggy Brock and Tom Gara
Wakefield Press, 2017. ISBN 9781743054994
(Age: Senior secondary) Highly recommended. This book presents a series of regional histories of the impact of colonialism on the Aboriginal peoples of South Australia since 1836, based on the research of historians, anthropologists, and linguists, and the lived experience of Aboriginal elders. Each section includes documentation of colonial history as well as the personal stories and recollections of Aboriginal people who were impacted by the spread of white settlers into their lands. People of different regions fared differently - the Narungga people of Yorke Peninsula were able to maintain a level of independence negotiating a life between the Point Pearce Mission and their own lands, despite the murders committed by pastoralists. People of the far north faced starvation as land that was once well-grassed was overrun by cattle, native animals wiped out, and their water sources muddied and degraded. A repeating story through all the regions is one of dispossession and violence.
It is so overdue for the voices of Aboriginal people to be given equal credence with the non-Aboriginal sources that generally colour our history books. And so we learn the terribly unjust story of Tom Adams, son of educated Aboriginal woman Kudnarto and an illiterate non-Aboriginal settler, who petitioned to be allowed to farm the land granted to his mother at Skylogee Creek in the Clare Valley, but who was not allowed to farm land in his own right after her death - the land was granted to white settlers. Despite his farming skills, as an Aboriginal man he was not allowed to make an independent life for himself. This is just one of many stories of the impact of harsh and inflexible government policies.
There are other personal stories - Alice Rigney was a black campaigner for education equality and women's suffrage, but her legacy is not celebrated the way we celebrate Catherine Spence and Roma Mitchell. Stories of pioneering Aboriginal women have been neglected. It takes this book to collect such stories and bring them into the historical record.
The closing chapters tell of the Spinifex people and the Maralinga bomb tests. The old concept of terra nullius, land belonging to no-one, still coloured government thinking, and led to carelessness about the fate of the people living there.
In her epilogue, Peggy Brock writes that policymakers seem to have learned little from Australia's colonial history - in recent years the Northern Territory Intervention and the introduction of the 'healthy welfare card' are two measures that have been imposed on Aboriginal people with minimal consultation; punitive measures that take away autonomy and raise the threat of child removal once again.
This book draws on much material collected since the advent of native title in 1993, and tells of the ongoing struggle of Aboriginal people to maintain their culture and connection to land despite the toll of disease, warfare, destruction of food and water sources, and relocation of people without any consideration of their community structures and relationships. It is a history that should finally be recognised and given its proper place in our school curriculum.
Helen Eddy



More Reviews

Oct 16 2017

The book of secrets by A.L. Tait

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The Ateban Cipher book 1. Lothian, 2017. ISBN 9780734417671
(Age: 9+) Highly recommended. Gabe stared in horror at the small book in his hand. The light from the low fire danced across its golden cover, setting off a shower of sparkles from the rainbow of jewels that adorned it....
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Oct 16 2017

That's my book! and other stories by Salina Yoon

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Bloomsbury, 2017. ISBN 9781619638914
(Age:5-7) Recommended. Three short stories in one feature Big Duck, quiet and clever Little Duck, and friendly and gentle Porcupine, making this a very good book for the reader who is just transitioning from picture books to chapter books. Readers...
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Oct 16 2017

Nothing tastes as good by Claire Hennessy

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Hot Key Books, 2016. ISBN 9781471405747
(Age: 15+) Mental illness. Death and grief. Anorexia and eating disorders. Abuse. Teen romance. Secrets. Food plays a very powerful role in this book; it is the beginning and end of the conflict. For Annabel, the narrator of this YA book, food (or...
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Oct 16 2017

All the way home by Deb Gliori

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Bloomsbury, 2017. ISBN 9781408872079
(Age: 4+) Recommended. Penguins. Antarctica. Arctic. Christmas. Parenting. When father penguin and his egg are picked up by a huge wind and deposited in the Arctic, life is very strange for the penguin. Here he meets animals that don't exist in the...
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Oct 15 2017

That Christmas feeling by Lili Wilkinson

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Ill. by Amanda Francey. Allen and Unwin, 2017. ISBN 9781760294960
(Age: 4+) Recommended. Christmas, Sharing, Grandparents. Jean, Dottie and Shortbread, the dog, are sad. Their parents have left them with their grandparents before Christmas, telling them that they will return in time. But...
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Oct 15 2017

A Christmas Advent story by Hanna Tolson and Ivy Snow

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Bloomsbury 2017. ISBN 9781408889787
(Age: 6+) Recommended. Lift the flap book, Christmas, Advent calendar, Customs. A European custom of celebrating the twenty five days preceding Christmas Day is to hang an Advent calendar in the home for children to open each day. This handsomely...
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Oct 15 2017

Malibu and the naughty elf by Michelle Worthington

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New Frontier Publishing, 2017. ISBN 9781925520644
(Age: 4+) Recommended. Malibu and the Naughty Elf is an Australian themed Christmas story. Malibu is a kangaroo who is hanging out with Santa, the elves and the reindeers at the beach. While everyone seems to be having fun, Bobby...
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Oct 15 2017

Facts! One for every day of the year by Tracey Turner

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Ill. by Fatti Burke. Bloomsbury Childrens, 2017. ISBN 9781408884621
(Age: 7+) Recommended. This is a really interesting book that grabs the reader's attention as soon as it is opened. Turner has come up with a different fact for every day of the year. Some of them are just amazing - when...
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Oct 13 2017

Big Fella Rain by Beryl Webber

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Ill. by Fern Martins. Magabala Books, 2017. ISBN 9781925360639
(Age: 4-7) Recommended. Themes: Weather, Seasons, Rain, Natural Environment. 'Way up north when the mighty storm comes, lightning flashes through liquorice clouds.'
Beryl Webber's delightful picture book describes the...
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Oct 13 2017

There's a big green frog in the toilet by Anh Do, Simon Mellor and Heath McKenzie

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Scholastic, 2017. ISBN 9781743812495
(Age: 3+) Recommended. Rhyming story, Sing a long, Frogs, Toilets. Every child in the classroom would feel for the youngest member of the family desperately wanting to use the toilet but unable to get past the big green frog in the toilet bowl. He...
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Oct 13 2017

The Mitford murders by Jessica Fellowes

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Little, Brown, 2017. ISBN 9780751567168
(Age: 15+) Recommended. Mystery. Louisa Cannon has problems. It's 1919, and her oppressive uncle is proving to be dangerous. She really wants to escape London and is happy when she secures a position as a nurserymaid at Asthall Manor the home of...
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Oct 13 2017

The Paris Wedding by Charlotte Nash

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Hachette Australia, 2017. ISBN 9780733636455
(Age: Adult - 16+) Recommended for romance lovers. Australian country life. Rachael West is 28 and devastated by the death of her mother. Years before she had chosen to care for her mother who suffered from MS and run the family farm, rather...
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Oct 11 2017

Landscape with invisible hand by M. T. Anderson

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Candlewick Press, 2017. ISBN 9780763699505
(Age: 13+) Highly recommended. Wealth and power. Commerce. Art. Invasion. Science fiction. When the vuvv hover above earth, telling people that they have been watching since the 1940's, they promise sharing their technologies which means freedom...
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Oct 11 2017

Busy builders: Airport by Timothy Knapman

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Quarto Children's Books, 2017. ISBN 9781925381443
(Ages: 3-7) Airports, Airplanes. This presents as a largish box containing a small information book and materials to create a model airport. It includes very thick runway pieces that fit together like a jigsaw puzzle and cardboard...
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Oct 11 2017

When I grow up by Tim Minchin

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Ill. by Steve Antony. Scholastic, 2017. ISBN 9781742764955
(Age: 4+) Recommended. Growing up. Adulthood. A child's perspective of being an adult is shown with fun and music in this offering from Tim Minchin. The children see adulthood through their eyes, the things an adult does are the...
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Oct 11 2017

My dog Socks by Robyn Osborne

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Ill. by Sadami Konchi. Ford St, 2017. ISBN 9781925272826
(Age: 4+) Highly recommended. Dogs. Family. Love. Imagination. Socks' owner loves walking with his dog, because wherever they go Socks becomes another animal. If they are in the forest, he becomes a black bear, scraping the trees...
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Oct 10 2017

A semi-definitive list of worst nightmares by Krystal Sutherland

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Penguin, 2017. ISBN 9780143573913
(Age: 15+) Recommended. Themes: Fear and Anxiety; Resilience; Cowardice and Bravery; Mental Illness: Suicide; Teen Romance; Family Struggles. This is a book filled with gut-wrenching fear - for the characters, not the reader. It is a book filled with...
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Oct 10 2017

Danny Blue's really excellent dream by Max Landrak

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Hachette, 2017. ISBN 9780734417589
(Age: 4+) Highly recommended. Themes: Blue, Colour, Change, Invention. A quick flip through this book shows readers that blue is the predominant colour for most of the book, while more colours creep in towards the end, and the endpapers at the start...
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Oct 10 2017

Max Booth Future Sleuth: Tape Escape by Cameron Macintosh

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Big Sky Publishing, 2017. ISBN 9781925520606
(Age: 7+) Highly recommended. Max Booth might be on the run, have no parents and no real home but he does have an excellent sense for survival, adventure and amazing resilience. He also has a dog robot called Oscar. What more could a boy want...
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Oct 10 2017

I wish I could be a superhero by Susan Hall

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Ill. by Cheryl Westenberg. National Library of Australia, 2017. ISBN 9780642278890
(Age: 3+) I wish I could be a Superhero written by Susan Hall and illustrated by Cheryl Westenberg is a gorgeous picture book about Wesley Wombat who is desperate to be a superhero like his...
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Oct 09 2017

Ten pound Pom by Carole Wilkinson

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Ill. by Liz Anelli. Black Dog Books, 2017. ISBN 9781925381214
(Age: 8+) Highly recommended. Immigration, Migrant experience, Voyages and travel, Australian history. The story of Carole Wilkinson's journey to Australia in the 1960's is revealed here for a primary audience to encourage...
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Oct 09 2017

Ruben by Bruce Whatley

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Scholastic, 2017. ISBN 9781743810354
(Age: 7 to adult) Highly recommended. Picture book for older readers, Homelessness, Cities, Survival. A child emerges from his safe place. He must venture out into the abandoned factories and buildings around Block City to find food. He watches the...
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Oct 09 2017

The rogues: Accidental heroes by Lian Tanner

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The rogues series. Allen and Unwin, 2017. ISBN 9781760293529
(Age: 10+) Highly recommended. Fantasy, Power, Magic. When the country was over run by the invaders from Halt-Bern, five hundred years ago, they called the land Neuhalt, and built a city they called Berren around the...
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Oct 09 2017

Crazy about cats by Owen Davey

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Flying Eye Books, 2017. ISBN 9781911171164
(Age: Primary school) Highly recommended. As the title suggests this book gives you information about cats, mainly concentrating on the wild cat species. Did you know there are 38 different types of cats in the world? This book has large amounts...
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Oct 09 2017

DK Children's Encyclopedia

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DK, 2017. ISBN 9780241283868
(Age: 6+) Highly recommended. Encyclopedias. DK has produced another excellent non fiction reference book, this time for younger children who will really appreciate the excellent illustrations and relatively easy to read text that DK Children's...
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Oct 08 2017

Prisoner of ice and snow by Ruth Lauren

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Bloomsbury, 2017. ISBN 9781681191317
(Age: 10+) Highly recommended. Who would have thought one would set out to be arrested? But that is exactly what Valor intends to do. Tyur'ma is a prison for criminal children and no one has escaped from this frozen facility in over 300 years. But...
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Oct 08 2017

The bad guys episode 6: Alien vs bad guys by Aaron Blabey

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The bad guys series. Scholastic, 2017. ISBN 9781760279486
(Age: 5+) Highly recommended. Aliens. Survival. Adventure. Having saved the world from the clutches of Marmalade, the guinea pig, the quintet finds itself in deep space, trapped in a space ship with an alien at their...
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Oct 08 2017

D-Bot Squad series by Mac Park

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Ill. by James Hart. Allen and Unwin, 2017.
Deep dive. ISBN 9781760296025
Dinosaurs are back, and on the loose! It's up to D-Bot Squad to catch them. Hunter and his team dive deep under the sea to catch five kronosauruses. But soon they become the meat in a giant squid and...
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Oct 08 2017

Scarface Claw, hold tight! by Lynley Dodd

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Penguin Random House, 2017. ISBN 9780143770985
(Age: 2-7) Rhyme. Rough and rugged Scarface Claw, arch-enemy of Hairy Maclary, is back in another adventure of his very own. As with all of Lynley Dodd's work this is an absolute joy to read aloud: a rollicking, fun adventure full of...
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Oct 05 2017

The amazing monster DeTeCToScOPe by Graeme Base

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PenguinViking, 2017. ISBN 9780670079308
(Age: 4+) Highly recommended. Monsters, Childhood fears, Interactive story, Rhyming story. What fun will be had by lucky children given this as a present or those in a classroom where they are encouraged to handle the book with care. It certainly...
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Oct 05 2017

First day at Skeleton school by Sam Lloyd

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Bloomsbury 2017. ISBN 9781408868829
(Age: 5+) Recommended. Monsters, School, Rhyming story. At night time Skeleton school opens its doors for the mini monsters, needing tuition with their newly found skills. Welcomed by Mr Bones the teacher, readers must cross over the moat into the...
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Oct 05 2017

Scary hairy party by Claire Freedman

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Ill. by Sue Hendra. Bloomsbury, 2017. ISBN 9781408867174
(Age: 4+) Recommended. Halloween, Monsters, Party, Rhyming story. In four line stanzas, the story unfolds of a group of animals invited to Monster's house at 3 pm. They must all dress up to go to the party, and go to Raymond's hair...
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Oct 05 2017

Snowdrift and other stories by Georgette Heyer

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Sourcebooks Casablanca, 2017. ISBN 9781492650461
(Age: 13+) Recommended. Regency romance. Short stories. Originally published as Pistols for two, Snowdrift and other stories contains three brand new stories that previously haven't been in a collection. These three stories,...
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Oct 05 2017

Exchange of heart by Darren Groth

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Random House, 2017. ISBN 9780143781578
(Age: 13+) Highly recommended. Assisted living, Exchange program, Disability, Death, Grieving, Mental health. When Munro lands in Australia and goes to his new home in Brisbane ready for a six month exchange, the reader is aware that he has...
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Oct 04 2017

Nevermoor : The trial of Morrigan Crow by Jessica Townsend

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Lothian, 2017. ISBN 9780734418074
(Age: 9+) Highly recommended. Fantasy. Adventure. Sorcery. Good and evil. Mystery. Jessica Townsend's debut novel unveils the mystifying, magical world of Nevermoor filled with 'Wunder', extraordinary larger than life characters and gothic drama....
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Oct 04 2017

Gecko by Raymond Huber

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Ill. by Brian Lovelock. Nature storybooks. Walker Books, 2017. ISBN 9781925126556
(Age: 5+) Highly recommended. Geckos. Australian animals. Environment. In this magnificent series of books called Nature Storybooks from Walker, in which every word on the page is true, comes...
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Oct 04 2017

The snow angel by Lauren St John

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Zephyr, 2017. ISBN 9781786695895
(Age: 12+) Recommended. Orphans. Poverty. Family. Miracles. Friendship. Overcoming difficulty. Resilience. The snow angel; is a wonderful, magical mix of African culture, sadness, dreams, grief, resilience and the awful sobering realities of...
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Oct 04 2017

La la la by Kate DiCamillo

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Ill. by Jaime Kim. Walker Books, 2017. ISBN 9781406378009
(Age: 4+) Voice. Singing. Loneliness. The young girl on the front cover loves to sing, but wants to share her singing with someone else. She is hesitant, looking longingly at her front door, and eventually moves through the door...
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Oct 04 2017

I want to be in a scary story by Sean Taylor

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Ill. by Jean Jullien. Walker Books, 2017. ISBN 9781406363463
(Age: 3-7) Recommended. Little Monster wants to be in a scary story. He asks the author to help him but as the story is constructed from Little Monster's requests, he gets too scared and wants changes to the...
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Sep 13 2017

Literature to Support the Australian Curriculum Book 2 - Annotated Lists of Fiction and Poetry by Fran Knight and Pat Pledger

cover imagePledger Consulting, 2017. ISBN 9781876678531
Highly recommended. This book contains literature to support the Australian Curriculum. It contains annotated lists that cover...
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Sep 04 2017

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

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Pledger Consulting, 2016. ISBN 9781876678470
Following the same layout as some of their previous Australian Curriculum publications, the authors provide lists of...
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Aug 27 2017

Literature to support the Australian curriculum: Annotated lists of fiction and poetry Book 2 by Fran Knight and Pat Pledger

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Pledger Consulting, 2017. ISBN 9781876678531
Recommended as a teacher reference for both Junior and Senior School libraries and English faculties. This teacher resource book makes the book selection work of Teacher Librarians and English teachers much easier. It contains summaries of...
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Aug 13 2017

Literature to support the Australian curriculum - Annotated lists of fiction and poetry Book 2 by Fran Knight and Pat Pledger

cover imagePledger Consulting, 2017. ISBN 9781876678531
Teacher reference. Highly recommended for educators and teacher librarians. Subjects: Fiction, Books and reading,...
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Feb 02 2017

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

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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...
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Feb 21 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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