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.
New Member sign up button

Latest Review

Apr 23 2015

X, a novel by Ilyasah Shabazz with Kekla Magoon

cover image

Candlewick Books, 2015. ISBN 9780763669676
(Ages: 14+) Highly recommended. Civil rights. Racism. Black Muslims. Ilyasah Shabazz recreates in novel form the story of her father Malcolm X's early adolescent life trying to survive in the brutal times of the Ku Klux Klan lynchings and 'strange fruit' hanging in trees. The early years of a poor but happy childhood, surrounded by brothers and sisters growing up in family warmth and strong in his parents' proud beliefs in learning, teaching and leading, are marred by the pivotal moment when the school teacher Malcolm so admires, casually crushes his aspirations and self-belief. It is then that Malcolm loses connection with everything that had kept his family strong and is plunged along a path of drugs and scams continually trying to prove that he is tougher and smarter than the rest in the backstreet underworld of Boston, and then Harlem New York.
Shabazz captures perfectly the youthful self-talk and swagger of Malcolm in his new identity of street hustler 'Red'; we live within his world and share his thoughts and outlook, yet are aware at the same time of the careless hurt he causes his family, his sister Ella, his girlfriend Laura, and more than anything else the harm he brings to himself.
It is only when Malcolm reaches his lowest point, in prison, that he gradually comes to a reconnection with the memory of his father and the principles and values his father stood for. He rediscovers in Islam his faith in Allah, pride in his race and in himself as a person and his potential to stand up for the rights of others - the beginning of his path as a black leader and civil rights activist.
Not only is this book an evocative insight into African American life in a historical period with the rise of civil rights campaigns, it is a timely and relevant novel for today - about a lone disengaged youth who comes to discover strength in the true principles of Islam, not militancy and terrorism, but the power of standing strong in non-violence, caring for his fellow man and speaking out against oppression and injustice, speaking out with words and with truth.
Helen Eddy

More Reviews

Apr 23 2015

Fish jam by Kylie Howarth

cover image

Five-Mile Press, 2015. ISBN 9781760067045
(Age: 2-5) Highly recommended. Limited-text picture book. Fish. Jazz. Textural Art. Kylie Howarth's textural backgrounds provide a perfect underwater platform for the bold, bright yellow image of Toot the little fish who loves to sing. His tail...
more

Apr 23 2015

Vanishing girls by Lauren Oliver

cover image

Hodder & Stoughton, 2015. ISBN 9781444786781
(Age: 16+) Mystery. Drug and alcohol abuse. Sisters Nick and Dara had been best friends with each other and with Parker until Dara and Parker start to go out and a terrible accident leaves Dara's face scarred and the sisters estranged....
more

Apr 23 2015

Farm rescue by Darrel Odgers and Sally Odgers

cover image

Pup patrol series. Scholastic, 2015. ISBN 9781743622995
(Age: 6-8) Recommended. Working Dogs. Pets. Floods. Farming. Border Collies. Rescues. Darrel and Sally Odgers have written a new series, Pup patrol for newly independent readers. Barnaby Station Stamp of Approval -...
more

Apr 22 2015

Stand up and cheer by Loretta Re

cover image

Wild Colonial Company, 2014. ISBN 9780992306922
(Age: 10-14) In 1934, an air race commemorating Melbourne's centenary took place with a wide variety of aircraft piloted by men and women from a range of countries flying from London to the Australian city. We can barely imagine the...
more

Apr 22 2015

The true meaning of Smekday by Adam Rex

cover image

Bloomsbury, 2015. ISBN 9781408859131
(Ages: 9-10) Recommended. Science Fiction. Aliens. Friendship. Survival. Humorous Stories. Adventure. The true meaning of Smekday is a humorous science fiction and adventure story, republished for the release of Dreamworks movie Home...
more

Apr 22 2015

The super amazing adventures of Me Pig by Emer Stamp

cover image

Scholastic, 2015. ISBN 9781407155982
(Age: 7-9) Farm animals. Diaries. Pigs. Farm life. 'THIS IS MY DIARY (I is Pig) You is NOT allowed to be reading it. Unless you are nice!'
There are wimpy diaries and dorky diaries, sporting diaries and historical diaries, so why not a diary...
more

Apr 22 2015

Little Barry Bilby had a fly upon his nose by Colin Buchanan

cover image

Ill. by Roland Harvey. Scholastic, 2015. ISBN 9781743621899
(Age: 3+) Rhyme. Poetry. Australian animals. Song.
An Australian take on Little Petter Rabbit has a fly upon his nose, will be a treat to read aloud, sing along with or listen to the CD attached to the inside cover of...
more

Apr 17 2015

Those pesky rabbits by Ciara Flood

cover image

Scholastic, 2015. ISBN 9781742761442
(Age: 3+) Recommended. Rabbits. Bears. Neighbours. Friendship. Bear loves his own company, and children reading the book or joining in when someone reads it to them, will eagerly point out the clues to his taciturn nature: 'Go Away' written on his...
more

Apr 17 2015

Alice's food A-Z by Alice Zaslavsky

cover image

Walker Books, 2015. ISBN 9781922179388
(Age: 9+) Highly recommended. Alice's food A-Z is full of interesting facts about food and simple recipes. It is set out in alphabetical order and offers up to 8 pages of information for each food chosen.
Alice's food A-Z is...
more

Apr 17 2015

Slug needs a hug by Jeanne Willis

cover image

Ill. by Tony Ross. Scholastic, 2015. ISBN 9781742761428
(Age: 0-5) Love, Comfort, Family. When Slug becomes aware that his mother does not hug him, he goes off to ask what other animals do. He thinks that he is not pretty enough, and Kitten suggests that he make himself more like her. He...
more

Apr 17 2015

An Aussie year by Tania McCartney

cover image

Ill. by Tina Snerling. EK Books, 2013. ISBN 9781921966248 (Age: K-3) Meet Ned, Zoe, Lily, Kirri and Matilda - five Aussie kids from different backgrounds who lead the reader on a journey through twelve months of the Australian year. Comprising cartoon-like vignettes with captions, we...
more

Apr 16 2015

Kin: A tale of beauty and madness by Lili St. Crow

cover image

Tales of beauty and madness, bk 3. Razorbill, 2015. ISBN 9781595146212
(Age: 15+) Highly recommended. In this retelling of Little Red Riding Hood, Ruby de Varrehas has to think about settling down and becoming responsible instead of running freely in the woods with Hunter...
more

Apr 16 2015

Bush rescue by Darrel and Sally Odgers

cover image

Ill. by Janine Dawson. Pup Patrol series. Scholastic, 2015. ISBN 9781743623008
(Age: 6-8) Recommended. Pets. Bushfires. Dogs. Animals. Rescue. Barnaby Station Stamp of Approval is a clever, handsome border collie and the narrator of the Pup Patrol series. Stamp and his...
more

Apr 16 2015

Wrestling Trolls: Thud in trouble by Jim Eldridge

cover image

Hot Key Books, 2015. ISBN 9781471402654
(Age: 9+) Highly recommended. Wrestling Trolls has two short narratives involving our main characters Milo, Big Rock the troll and Jack the half troll half human. They are accompanied by their talking animal friends - a horse and a phoenix....
more

Apr 16 2015

Use your imagination by Nicola O'Byrne

cover image

Nosy Crow, 2015. ISBN 9780857633927
(Age: Preschool - Yr 2) This book is subtitled 'But be careful what you wish for' and it is aptly so. When Rabbit says she is bored, Wolf suggests that she writes a story.
'I am a librarian, you know, and librarians know a lot about stories.'...
more

Apr 16 2015

We're all Australians now by A.B. (Banjo) Paterson

cover image

Mark Wilson. Angus & Robertson, 2015. ISBN 9780732296476
(Age: Yr 3+) Highly recommended. It is said that the events at Gallipoli throughout 1915 and later on the Western Front are what forged the bonds that forged our nation. Even though the six states had united under Federation...
more

Apr 14 2015

Mum goes to work by Libby Gleeson and Leila Rudge

cover image

Walker Books, 2015. ISBN 9781921529826
(Age: 4+) Recommended. Humour, Childcare, Working parents, Families. First published in 1992, this book has a new illustrator and cover to adapt to the changing times. The cover is no longer one reassuring a child that this is what some mums do, but...
more

Apr 14 2015

Lest We Forget by Kerry Brown

cover image

HarperCollins Children's Books, 2015. ISBN 9780733332333
(Age: All readers) Highly recommended. Lest We Forget supports readers in remembering the 100th anniversary World War 1 and the ANZAC spirit that evolved. A young boy remembers his grandfather's comments about memories and...
more

Apr 14 2015

Worry Magic by Dawn McNiff

cover image

Hot Key Books, 2015. ISBN 9781471403712
(Age: 10+) Highly recommended. Worry magic tackles the ups and downs of family life in a heart warming and magical way, showing how family issues affect children. Young Courtney worries a lot and it is usually her Gran that helps her through...
more

Apr 14 2015

The liar by Nora Roberts

cover image

Piatkus, 2015. ISBN 9780349403762
(Age: Adult) Romantic suspense. Shelby Foxworth's husband is dead. Left with a crippling debt she tracks down his safe deposit box which contained cash and multiple passports, proving that he was not the man he had shown to the world. Disenchanted, her...
more

Apr 14 2015

Archie Greene and the Magician's Secret by D. D. Everest

cover image

Faber & Faber, 2014. ISBN 9780571309054
(Age: Yr 4+) In a secret world deep beneath the hallowed halls of the Bodleian Library in Oxford lies the Museum of Magical Miscellany, a repository of all the world's magical books and artefacts saved from the fire that destroyed the Library...
more

Apr 13 2015

The Cracks in the Kingdom by Jaclyn Moriarty

cover image

Colours of Madeleine, bk 2. Pan Macmillan, 2014. ISBN 9781742612874
(Age: 12+) Highly recommended. Aurealis Award winner, best young adult novel 2014. Queensland Premier's Literary Awards 2014. Following A corner of white (2012) this is the second in the Colours of...
more

Apr 13 2015

Dreamer's Pool by Juliet Marillier

cover image

Blackthorn & Grim bk 1, Macmillan, 2014. ISBN 9781743517024
(Age: 15+) Recommended. Winner 2014 Aurealis Award Best Fantasy novel. Blackthorn and Grim are two convicts who have been locked up in a medieval dungeon. In exchange for help in escaping the prison, she has to...
more

Apr 13 2015

The Velveteen Rabbit by Margery Williams Bianco

cover image

Ill. by Helene Magisson. New Frontier, 2015. ISBN 9781925059304
This classic story, first published in 1922, has once more been re-printed, this time featuring the gentle water colours of Helene Magisson to delight a new generation of readers and their parents, who will recall their own...
more