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

Aug 17 2017

Exchange of heart by Darren Groth

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Penguin Random House Australia, 2017. ISBN 9780143781578
(Age: 14+) Highly recommended. Themes: Student exchanges. Mental disorders. Assisted living. Munro Maddux has been having problems ever since the death of his sister Evie. He constantly hears a voice that he calls the Coyote, which is always negative and nasty and he is so affected by grief that he refuses to go to school. However when a student exchange to Australia is offered he decides to go and finds a welcoming family in Brisbane. His new school has a compulsory volunteer program and at Fair Go, an assisted living residence, Munro finds that the voice is silenced.
There are many heart breaking moments and flashes of humour as Munro settles into a new school, helped by Rowan his new Australian friend and son of his exchange family, and his friend back in Canada. Munro has to constantly struggle against the voice of Coyote, his chest pains and his anger and the only place he finds peace is at Fair Go.
This is a wonderful story that delves deeply into the effects of grief as well as giving a warm insight into an assisted living program. The team of residents at Fair Go, Bernie, Florence, Blake and Dale, refugee Shah and Iggy, design a Straya Tour to show Munro the sights and the reader is taken on a journey around Brisbane as well as gaining insights into the characters and strengths of the team. Munro too, begins to discover that he has things to offer as a volunteer and his aim to become better seems possible. A glimpse of Perry from Are you seeing me? will also please readers who enjoyed that book and there is an unexpected twist towards the conclusion of the book that draws together many threads of the book.
Groth has given the reader a warm and memorable story that will stay in the memory for a long time. The themes of coming of age, assisted living and mental health make this an excellent book for a class novel or literature circle book.
Pat Pledger



More Reviews

Aug 17 2017

Kid Normal by Greg James and Chris Smith

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Bloomsbury, 2017. ISBN 9781408884539
(Age: 10+) Kid normal is the first book in a series by Greg James and Chris Smith. The story follows lead character Murph Cooper through the frightening task of moving house, leaving friends and changing schools part way through the term. When...
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Aug 17 2017

Soda Pop by Barbro Lindgren

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Gecko Press, 2017. ISBN 9781776570119
(Age: 9+) A faint hum begins and a cloud of smoke slowly advances from the horizon. The hum turns to howling and growling as it comes closer. Then a huge swarm of tigers arrives - through the garden, squeezing into the barn, diving into the swimming...
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Aug 17 2017

DK Find Out! series

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DK Publishing, 2017.
Decades ago DK Publishing revolutionised the presentation of non fiction to young readers with bright photographs, information in manageable, well-labelled chunks and the clever use of white space so that the reader was not overwhelmed. Their ...
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Aug 17 2017

Wreck by Fleur Ferris

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Random House Australia, 2017. ISBN 9780143784319
(Age: 12+) Highly recommended, Shipwrecks, Sibling rivalry, Crime, Survival. When eighteen year old Tamara leaves her holiday work at the local paper, ready for uni the next day, she finds her house torn apart by someone's manic search....
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Aug 17 2017

My life as a hashtag by Gabrielle Williams

cover imageAllen and Unwin, 2017. ISBN 9781760113681
(Age: 13+) Highly recommended. Mobile phones, Social media, Depression. Gabrielle Williams writes her stories with an air of authority, getting into the mind set of teens perfectly, reflecting their language and mores with alacrity, acting as a...
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Aug 17 2017

The traitor and the thief by Gareth Ward

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Walker Books, 2017. ISBN 9781925381504
(Ages: 11+) Highly recommended. Steampunk genre. Spies. Friendship. Steampunk isn't for everyone, but this wonderful book is worth reading as a first foray into this inventive and curious genre. It is a genre worth exploring as a world of mechanical...
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Aug 17 2017

Pip and Houdini by J. C. Jones

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Allen and Unwin, 2017. ISBN 9781760296056
(Age: 8-11) Highly recommended. Missing persons. Runaways. Dogs. Adventure stories. Resilience. J. C. Jones' popular Run, Pip, run introduced us to the feisty young Pip...
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Aug 17 2017

This savage song by Victoria Schwab

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Monsters of Verity book 1. Titan Books, 2016. ISBN 9781785652745
(Age: 14+) Recommended. 2017 Locus Awards nominee. Dystopian fiction. In a world that has been invaded by monsters, Kate Harker and August Flynn find themselves together on the run. There are three types of...
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Aug 17 2017

Bitter enemies by R. A. Spratt

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Friday Barnes series, book 7. Penguin Random House, 2017. ISBN 9780143784197
(Age: 8+) Highly recommended. Beginning of term at Highcrest Academy has never been so dreary and desolate. Melanie and Ian are both depressed and missing their quirky best friend, Friday, who has...
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Aug 17 2017

Grandma forgets by Paul Russell

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Ill. by Nicky Johnston. EK, 2017. ISBN 9781925335477
Picture book. 'My grandmother forgets who I am. Every time we meet, it likes meeting someone new...
Even though Grandma can't remember us, we have so many memories of her.'
There are the sausages as big as elephant's legs...
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Aug 15 2017

A cardboard palace by Allayne L. Webster

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Midnight Sun Publishing, 2017. ISBN 9781925227253
(Age: 10-14) Highly recommended. Themes: Poverty, Refugees, Child Labour, Survival. Allayne Webster's A Cardboard Palace is a powerful story giving a voice to the plight of Romany children taken from their parents and forced to...
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Aug 15 2017

Where is Grandma? by Peter Schossow

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Gecko Press (NZ), 2017. ISBN 9781776571543
(Age: 5+) Highly recommended. Hospitals, Humour, Grandparents. This beautifully evocative picture book about a child trying to find his grandmother in a large busy hospital, is not only a wonderful tale of discovery, but it tells readers why a...
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Aug 15 2017

Lintang and the Pirate Queen by Tamara Moss

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Random House Australia, 2017. ISBN 9780143783435
(Age: 11+) Recommended. Lintang dreams of having adventures on the high seas. When a deadly mythie attacks the same day the infamous Captain Shafira visits her island, Lintang gets her chance, defending her village with a bravery that...
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Aug 15 2017

Little Lunch: Triple the Laughs by Danny Katz

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Ill. by Mitch Vane. Black Dog Books, 2017. ISBN 9781921977398
(Age: 6+) Themes: School stories; Friendship; Food; Dress-up Day; Germs. Three stories, made into the successful ABC series Little Lunch, highlight the antics of kids at school. Little Lunch, or as some know it -...
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Aug 15 2017

Remind me how this ends by Gabrielle Tozer

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Angus and Robertson, 2017. ISBN 9781460751688
(Age: 14+) Recommended. Durnan is really a backwater now that Milo's girlfriend has moved 300kms away to University. Milo finished Yr 12 with plenty of options but he's stuck, working in the family bookstore. It doesn't look as if he's going...
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Aug 15 2017

Rockabye Pirate by Timothy Knapman

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Ill. by Ada Grey. Bloomsbury, 2017. ISBN 9781408849392
Rock-a-bye pirate, in the crow's nest
Mummy says bedtime, and Mummy knows best.
You've had your adventures, you've sailed the high seas,
So under the covers and go to sleep, please.

During the day, this little...
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Aug 15 2017

Shaozhen by Wai Chim

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Through my eyes, natural disaster zones book 2. Allen And Unwin, 2017. ISBN 9781760113797
(Age: Year 4+) Highly recommended. This is a thought provoking account of the hardship a small village faced in the 2014 drought in Henan, China. Shaozhen has no intention of staying in his...
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Aug 15 2017

Survival skills handbook, series by Bear Grylls

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Knots. ISBN: 9781783422982
Camping. ISBN 9781783422593
Maps and navigation. ISBN 9781783423002
Dangers and emergencies. ISBN 9781783422999
(Age: 8+) Recommended. Survival. Camping. Knots. Navigation. First Aid. Bear Grylls is the world famous...
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Aug 15 2017

Blossom by Tamsin Janu

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Scholastic Australia, 2017. ISBN 9781742991641
(Age: 9+) Recommended. Author Tamsin Janu has hit the jackpot again. After the success of Figgy in the world and...
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Aug 15 2017

The very sleepy bear by Nick Bland

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Scholastic, 2017. ISBN 9781743812549
(Ages: 3-7) Recommended. Rhyme. Hibernation. This much-loved bear is back in his sixth book and this time he is preparing for winter hibernation. He is just settling in for the long winter when Fox appears and convinces him that a bear like him, 'so...
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Aug 14 2017

Because of you by Pip Harry

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UQP, 2017. ISBN 9780702259777
(Age: 15+) Hope. Homelessness. LGBTIQ. Writing. Friendship. Relationships. Everyone has a story... and words can transform lives.
In this YA novel we meet Tiny, a homeless teen who is barely recognised or heard, except by her down and out (and often...
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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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Aug 13 2017

Koala by Claire Saxby

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Ill. by Julie Vivas. Nature Storybooks. Walker Books, 2017. ISBN 9781925126396
(Age: 5+) Highly recommended. Australian animals, Koalas, Australian bush, Habitat. In the fork of a tree a young koala wakes. He goes to his mother, wanting to get back into the safety of her pouch but...
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Aug 13 2017

A is for Australian animals: a factastic tour by Frane Lessac

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Walker Books Australia, 2017. ISBN 9781925381009
(Age: 6+) Highly recommended. Factual picture book. Australian animals. This is a unique alphabet book that will enlighten and entertain any child or adult who reads it. Filled with Lessac's signature drawings the reader is given lots of...
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Aug 13 2017

A Monster Calls (film) book and screenplay by Patrick Ness

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Focus Features, 2016, released in Australia 2017
(Age: 12+) Highly recommended. Fantasy, Monsters, Death, Cancer, Bullying, Acceptance. Conor (Lewis MacDougall) screams as he falls out of bed, clutching a hand slipping from his grasp. The clock shows 12.07 and he knows it is the old...
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Aug 13 2017

Tell it to the Dog, A Memoir of Sorts by Robert Power

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Transit Lounge, 2017. ISBN 9780995359505
(Age: 15+) Highly recommended. This remarkable collection of stories is often deeply emotionally disturbing, yet it is one of the most beautifully composed reflections on life that I have read. Subtitled a 'memoir of sorts', he includes mostly...
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Aug 13 2017

The secrets she keeps by Michael Robotham

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Hachette Australia, 2017. ISBN 9780733638015
(Age: Adult - senior secondary). Recommended. Psychological thriller. I always pick up a book by Michael Robotham and this one is every bit as compulsive as previous novels. It is a stand alone crime, told in two voices: Agatha who works in a...
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Aug 13 2017

Zombelina school days by Kristyn Crow

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Ill. by Molly Idle. Bloomsbury, 2017. ISBN 9781619636415
(Age: 3-6) Recommended. Themes: School life, Zombies, Dancing, Rhyming stories. Kristyn Crow's fun rhyming story Zombelina School Days is a perfect picture book for sharing with a younger audience. This story is filled with...
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Aug 10 2017

My lovely Frankie by Judith Clarke

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Allen and Unwin, 2017. ISBN 9781760296339
(Age: 12 +) Highly recommended. Catholic church, Priesthood, Love. Tom has retired from the priesthood, a vocation he entered at sixteen, and has now come to live in the town where Frankie, another boy in his seminary, lived. But Frankie...
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Aug 10 2017

Anna by Niccolo Ammaniti

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Text, 2017. ISBN 9781925498561
(Age: Middle secondary +) Recommended. Science fiction. Dystopian fiction. A virus has killed the adult population of the world in this future dystopia. The only survivors are children who inevitably die when they reach puberty. All the expected...
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Aug 10 2017

The secret of the Mona Lisa by Rosie Smith

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Ill. by Bruce Whatley. ABC Books, 2017. ISBN 9780733326059
(Age: 5+) Recommended. Art, Mona Lisa, Leonardo da Vinci. Presented in graphic novel form the funny tale of Danny da Vinci and his friend, Mick Angelo, will intrigue, delight and inform readers as the pair hunts around for a...
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Aug 10 2017

The high note by Harmony Jones

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Girl vs Boy Band book 2. Bloomsbury, 2017. ISBN 9781408878279
(Age: 11-15) Recommended. Themes: Music Industry; Boy bands; Music; Relationships; Fame; Friendship. Lark Campbell is the talented child of a Music Promoter and a Country Music Back-up Musician, who are recently...
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Aug 10 2017

The Forgotten Sisters by Shannon Hale

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Princess Academy book 3. Bloomsbury, 2015. ISBN 9781408855416
(Age: 11-15) Highly recommended. Themes: Adventure; Honour; Royalty; Fantasy; Heroism. My one regret in reading this book is that I had not discovered this series earlier. This is a wonderful fantasy tale of love, loss...
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Aug 10 2017

The ones that disappeared by Zana Fraillon

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Lothian, 2017. ISBN 9780734417152
(Age: 12+) Recommended. Esra, Miran and Isa are three children trapped by human traffickers, and forced to spend every day tending to drug plants in a basement for the cruel and merciless Orlando, the leader of the Snakeskins. They have been branded with...
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Aug 10 2017

A dog's tale by Barry Jonsberg

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Ill. by Tom Jellett. Mates series. Scholastic, 2017. ISBN 9781742991399
(Age: 6+) Highly recommended. Dogs. Animals. Friendship.
Another in the Mates series, a wonderful range of stories designed for the young, newly competent reader, with short chapters, a smattering...
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Aug 10 2017

That stubborn seed of hope by Brian Falkner

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University of Queensland Press, 2017. ISBN 9780702259289
(Age 13+) Highly recommended. Short stories. This is a fabulous collection of stories that will appeal to a wide range of people. Falkner's tales will scare the readers, make them think, feel good and wonder what is going to happen...
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Aug 10 2017

Go, green gecko! by Gay Hay

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Ill. by Margaret Tolland. Starfish Bay Children's Books, 2017. ISBN 9781760360337
(Age: 4-7) Highly recommended. Geckos. Lizards. Animals - Food. Gay Hay is a New Zealand school environmental officer passionate about sharing her love of animals, their diets and habitats with a young...
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Aug 10 2017

Mark of the Cyclops: An ancient Greek mystery by Saviour Pirotta

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Bloomsbury, 2017. ISBN 9781472934147
(Age: 9+) Recommended. 'It seems you have a talent for solving problems. I believe Gaia is innocent. Find the real culprit and I'll pay you in gold...'
Athens, 434 BC.
Nico's new friend Thrax has a strange knack of figuring things out. And...
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Aug 10 2017

Twinkle, twinkle, little star by David Ellwand

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Old Barn Books, 2017. ISBN 9781910646243
(Ages: 1-3) Musical book. Rhyme. Board book. This board book features photographs of David Ellwand's vintage teddies (also seen in previous publications such as Wheels on the bus) and a push-button violin recording of  'Twinkle twinkle...
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Aug 08 2017

The Hate U Give (THUG) by Angie Thomas

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Walker Books, 2017. ISBN 9781406372151
(Age: 14+) Highly recommended. Navigating between life as the only person of colour (POC) at a prestigious prep school in the suburbs, and being the only kid in the projects who can afford to go to such a school, Starr Carter doesn't know who she...
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Aug 08 2017

Fenn Halflin and the Seaborn by Francesca Armour-Chelu

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Walker Books, 2017. ISBN 9781406366181
(Age; 10 -14) Recommended. Survival. Floods. Future worlds. Good and evil. Fenn Halflin and the seaborn concludes the epic story of Fenn and his mongoose Tikki as they flee from the fierce Terra Firma. This fast-paced novel, starts...
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Aug 08 2017

I want to be in a book by Narelle Oliver

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Omnibus Books, 2017. ISBN 9781743811634
(Ages: 5-8) Creative writing. Imagination. Cecil is a lizard hand-drawn on a piece of lined paper from an exercise book. He has big dreams: he wants to be in a book. He has watched while other drawings around him were ripped off the pin-board. He...
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Aug 08 2017

Truly foul and cheesy animal jokes and facts by John Townsend

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Ill. by David Antram. Big Sky Publishing, 2017. ISBN 9781925520484
(Age: 7+) Recommended for kids who like jokes. The introduction to this very funny book says it all: 'Warning - reading this book might not make you LOL (laugh out loud) but it could make you GOL (groan out loud), feel...
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Aug 08 2017

The Pacific Room by Michael Fitzgerald

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Transit Lounge, 2017. ISBN 9780995359550
(Age: Senior secondary - Adult) Recommended. The famous Italian painter Girolamo Nerli travelled to Samoa in 1892 to paint a portrait of the author of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde, hoping to capture an apprehension of a state of mind that was 'not...
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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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