Random House Australia Children's, 2014. ISBN: 9780857982032.
Highly recommended for readers from 12-15 years of age. Themes: Family relationships, Siblings, Action adventure, Missing persons. Two Wolves by Tristan Bancks is a powerful novel for readers from twelve to fifteen. The Cherokee prophecy in the prologue sets up the story's tension and signals the moral dilemmas faced by the main character Ben.
There is a battle raging inside him, inside all of us. A terrible battle between two wolves. One wolf is bad - pride, jealousy, greed. The other wolf is good - kindness, hope, truth. The child asks, 'Who will win?' The grandfather answers simply, 'The one you feed.'
Ben is an overweight thirteen year old who escapes from his family troubles with online games and creating stop motion movies. He asks so many questions about his dad's problems at work and his financial issues that he earns the nickname Cop.
After a visit by four policemen, Ben's parents hurriedly arrive; pack up Ben and his younger sister Olive for a 'holiday', in reality a life on the run. Ben's anxiousness deepens as they change their appearances, swap cars with Uncle Chris and hideout in his grandpa's rundown cabin. Ben records all his thoughts in his notebook, gathering evidence about his parents' misdeeds and self-absorption. The development of Ben's resilience is powerful. When faced with his dad's duplicity he chooses a different path, taking Olive on the most difficult journey of their young lives.
Bancks builds the tension and drama using short punchy sentences, creating tension and drama through the carefully crafted scenes. The main character's inner dialogue is relatable and realistic.
Teacher's resource is available.
Scholastic Australia, 2014. ISBN: 9781742832692.
(Age: 8-11) Highly recommended. Themes: Cooking, Magic, Fantasy. Little Chef, Big Curse is a delicious read, entertaining and engaging, a story of dreaming big and striving for your goals.
Eleven year old Matty Swink is trapped...
Ill. by Hannah Summerville. Ford St., 2014. ISBN 9781925000146.
(Age: 7+) Death, Grief, Animals. The photo frames on the title page show us a happy smiling family, but turning over the reader is alerted to the fact that there are now only two, Beth and her Dad. He brings home a puppy,...
Ill. by Rachel Annie Bridgen. Books to Treasure, 2013. ISBN
The picture book Serious Sass and Messy Magda is a change of pace for well known Australian author Marianne De Pierres who is better known for her young adult fantasy science fiction books.
This is a...
Eve Dallas series, bk 38. Piatkus, 2014. ISBN 9780749959401.
(Age: 16+) Crime. Thriller. Serial killer. When Roarke swings a sledgehammer into the wall of a derelict building that he plans to renovate and uncovers the bodies of two young girls, Eve Dallas steps in. Another ten...
Re-print. University of Queensland Press, 2014. ISBN: 978070223133.
The Simple Gift gives us as readers a unique reading experience, a story told through a series of short, easy to read poems which have nothing to do with the sometimes tedium of traditional poetry. Poems written...
Simon & Schuster, 2014. ISBN: 9781471128097.
(Age: Senior students - Adult) The Silversmith's Wife is set in the late eighteenth century London and follows the intricacies of a crossed web of lovers which begins to untangle only with the brutal murder of the Silversmith,...
Ill. by Cheryl Westenberg. NLA Publishing, Australia, 2013. ISBN
Picture book. The subject of monsters in the night has often been explored in children's picture books. Some aim to allay fears while others offer strategies to ward off monsters to parents and...
Hybrid Publisher, 2013. ISBN 9781925000207.
Described as 'Truthful and hard hitting' this book is an exhaustive (and exhausting) look at the ingredients of success. It is sold as the product of 'thousands of studies and decades of research'. Yet it all seems so familiar and reminds me of...
Scholastic, 2014. ISBN 9781742836706.
(Age: 10+) What looks like a pirate, talks like a pirate and lives on a pirate ship in the middle of Freak St? The Piratesons of course! It is another instalment of weird and wonderful families in the Freak St series. Meet the...
Ill. by Kerry Millard. Wilderness Fairies bk 1. Penguin
Australia, 2014. ISBN 9780143307464.
(Age: 6+) Recommended. Fairies. Australian bush. Flowers. Daisy, a little fairy living in the Australian bush, is named after the Golden Everlasting or Paper daisy. She is eagerly waiting...
Bird by Crystal Chan
Text Publishing 2014. ISBN 9781922147707.
(Ages: 11+) The narrator is 12 year-old Jewel who lives with her parents and grandfather in a small town in Iowa, USA. Her older brother, who she never knew, jumped off a cliff at the age of five, thinking he could fly....
Harper Collins, 2013. ISBN: 9780732292997.
(Age: Adult) This is an adult novel and unsuitable for senior high school students as it contains an abundance of vulgar language and adult themes.
Set in convict Australia over the period of 1830-1831 this novel follows the story of three...
Ill. by Max Berry. Meet series. Random House, Australia,
2014. ISBN 9780857981929.
Recommended. The Meet series of picture books appear to be a response to the addition of History to the Australian curriculum recognising the contributions of significant historical...
Penguin, 2014. ISBN 9781922147752.
Highly recommended for readers from 11 years of age. Themes: Steampunk Fiction, Detectives, Orphans, London - England - History, Adventure stories, Detectives, Technology - fiction, Mysteries. Darrell Pitt's exciting new Steampunk series introduces...
Ill. by Gabriel Evans. Walker Stories series, Walker Books Australia,
2014. ISBN 9781921720635.
(Age: 5+) Recommended, Snails, Gardens. Annie is looking around the garden to find some snails. She loves them and wants to collect some to be her pets. She plays snail trails with her younger...
Doubleday, 2013. ISBN 9780857532947.
(Age: 11+) Highly recommended. War, Home front, Shell shock. The day Alfie turns five is the day war starts in Europe. Alfie will never forget it and even though his family and a few neighbours celebrate that night, he will not celebrate another...
Allen & Unwin, 2014. ISBN 9781742317679.
(Age:10+) Recommended. War, Holocaust, Japan. As director of the Holocaust Museum in Tokyo, Fumika Ishioka wanted to have something tangible to present to the children who visited. She asked far and wide and only Auschwitz sent a box of...
Ford St, 2014. ISBN 9781925000313.
(Age: 9+) Recommended. World War One, Villers-Bretonneux, Diggers, Picture book. The first of many such books to be published in 2014 and 2015, for the one hundred years anniversary of the beginning of World War One, and one hundred years since the...
Do you dare? series. Puffin, 2014. ISBN 9780143308010.
1931 is a scramble through the mean streets of Melbourne's Fitzroy as seen through the eyes of Max, aged about eleven. It is two years into the Great Depression and unemployment is hitting Australia's working-class families...
Faber, 2013. ISBN 9780571294404.
(Age: 14+) Highly recommended. Obesity. Bullying. Suicide. YALSA 2013 Teens' Top Ten titles, Telegraph's Top 10 YA books 2013. Butter is a lonely, extremely overweight boy who is ignored at school. Although he is a very talented saxophone player, Butter...
A & C Black, 2014.
Lost in the Desert of Dread. ISBN: 9781472907493.
Lost in the Jungle of Doom. ISBN: 9781408194652.
(Age 10+) Themes: Survival, Deserts, Rainforests. The Lost Series by Tracy Turner focuses on survival in four of the most...
Walker Books, 2013. ISBN 9781406336115.
(Age: 11+) Recommended. War. Resistance. While his English mother and his sister, Constanza lie awake at night waiting for him to come home, Paolo cycles into Florence from their home, avoiding the many pitfalls that lie in wait for unsuspecting...
Penguin, 2013. ISBN: 9780141347332.
(Age: 15+) Ruta Sepety's second novel takes us to the French quarter of 1950's New Orleans. Amidst the crime and corruption, we meet Josie Moraine, the daughter of a prostitute, who has grown up no stranger to brothel life, but who dreams of more....
Ill. by Peter Carnavas. UQP, 2014. ISBN 9780702250095.
(Age: 4+) Recommended. Humour, Family relationships, Love. Some nannas dress in punk, some in blue, but this one dresses in black, setting the scene for this funny tale of difference. Each page gives a familiar scenario for a nanna,...
Macmillan Children's Books, 2013. ISBN: 9780330529761.
Goddess by Josephine Angelini is a fantasy novel that is the third and final book in a trilogy about the extravagance of the Greek gods. Helen is a young woman who is a daughter of the powerful Zeus and sister of the beautiful...
Puffin, 2014. ISBN 9780143307679.
Set in the Stone Age, this novel considers how ancient people were able to migrate to the land mass referred to as Sahul (comprising Australia and New Guinea), the coastlines of which extended much further and which have significantly altered with the...
Ill. by Amanda Francey. New Frontier Publishing, 2014. ISBN 9781921928611.
(Age: 3-6) Recommended. Humour. Jonathan loves to dress up and scare his family. He tries his dad and mum and his sister, but they all tell him the same thing, 'Not scary, Jonathan'. Disappointed, he leaves the...
HarperCollins, 2013. ISBN 9780732295189.
(Age: 13+) How to Convince a Boy to Kiss You by Tara Eglington is a fantastically relatable novel that deals with issues such as cyber bullying, heartbreak, insecurity, romance and friendship. The way Tara Eglington writes this...
Ill. by Daniel Howarth. Bloomsbury, 2014. ISBN 9781408194645.
(Age: 4+) Recommended. Animals. Baby animals. Within a question and answer format on each double page, this book shows many animals and their offspring. The first few pages give information about animals growing up, and how...
IpKidz, 2009. ISBN 9781921479182.
Lily and Amanda live in a very tall house made of purple bricks - it is so tall that it sways in the wind! Each day, they walk to school through the park and the path passes beneath a tree with beautiful draping branches that makes them giggle and puts...
Penguin Viking, 2014. ISBN 9780670076000.
(Age: 4+) Highly recommended. Sibling rivalry. Family. All children will see through the antics of Spalding as he tries to deal with the advent of a new brother, Bunny. Spalding has been the only child for quite some time, used to getting his own...
Penguin Books, 2013. ISBN 9780141348872.
(Age: 14+) Recommended. Spells. Homosexuality. New York. Stephen is used to being invisible. Even his parents couldn't see him. Living alone in a flat in New York, he manages to survive. Then new tenants move into the apartment upstairs and he...