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

Mar 22 2017

This is my song by Richard Yaxley

cover image

Scholastic, 2017. ISBN 9781760276140
(Age: 12+) Recommended. Jews. Holocaust. Czeck Republic. Canada. Music. In the 1940's Rafael Ullman is sent to Terezin, a Jewish ghetto, with his family. His father was a professor in German Literature at Prague University but this did not save him from the fate of many Jews in Europe during World War Two.
This story is told by Rafael as an older man as he lies dying. He has not told much of his story in the past. But we hear of the privations suffered in the ghetto before they are sent to Auschwitz.
Through it all, it is music which keeps Rafael alive, as he becomes a member of one of the orchestras set up in the camp.
No reader can be unaffected by a tale set in Nazi Germany, and it is with some easing of the emotional drain that the next two sections of the story are set in Canada and Australia, as another generation lives on. In Canada we meet lonely Anna Ullman, Rafael's daughter, and then in present time, the grandson, Joe Hawker, in Australia. Music links the three generations as they find their way in a world devoid of stability. Anna was not allowed music in the home and she and her mother secretly played Beethoven's Fifth Symphony when Rafael was out of the way. Only when he dies in Australia, does his grandson, Joe, see the tattooed number on his arm. Joe is learning singing and feels that his voice is robotic, but finding out more about his grandfather and then finding a song written by him and his friend in the ghetto, inspires him to sing with love and compassion.
Fran Knight



More Reviews

Mar 22 2017

I'm going to eat this ant by Chris Naylor-Ballesteros

cover image

Bloomsbury, 2017. ISBN 9781408869901
(Age: 4+) Highly recommended. Ants. Anteater. Food. Cooking. Anteater is hungry. He is sick of licking up wriggly, squirmy ants, but he is hungry. He puts all of his efforts into just one ant - the trouble is that it is the wrong ant. This ant is...
more

Mar 22 2017

Echoes in death by J.D. Robb

cover image

In death bk 44. Little, Brown, 2017. ISBN 9780349410869
(Age: Adult) Murder. Fans of J.D. Robb will be thrilled with the 44th book in this series featuring Lieutenant Eve Dallas and her cohort of helpers, including gorgeous husband Roarke. Eve and Roarke are on their way home one...
more

Mar 22 2017

Eddie Frogbert by Sue deGennaro

cover image

Scholastic, 2017. ISBN 9781760276782
(Age: 4+) Warmly recommended. Frogs, Achievement, Endeavor. Eddie is the only frog that doesn't like to swim. He avoids going to the pool with the other frogs and watches on as they dive from the tower. He does at least try to emulate his fellow...
more

Mar 22 2017

Wrestling Trolls: The final countdown by Jim Eldridge

cover image

Hot Key Books, 2015. ISBN 9781471402692
(Age: 7+) Highly recommended. The Final Countdown is book 6 in the series that sees Jack, a half troll and a prince, travelling with his friends, a talking horse and a phoenix. They follow the wrestling matches around the country and are...
more

Mar 20 2017

Seven days of you by Cecilia Vinesse

cover image

Hachette, 2017. ISBN 9781510200395
(Age: 13+) Seven days of you is a beautiful story about Sophia's last week in Tokyo before her big move back to the United States. This move was always planned and Sophia and her sister were accustomed to flying back and forth between their...
more

Mar 20 2017

The apprentice witch by James Nicol

cover image

Chicken House, 2017. ISBN 9781910655153
(Age: 9+) Highly recommended. When we doubt ourselves we lose confidence. When others seem to succeed more than us we doubt ourselves. Arianwyn doubts her abilities as a witch. Her school enemy, Gimma, has berated Arianwyn throughout school and...
more

Mar 20 2017

Antoinette by Kelly dePucchio and Christian Robinson

cover image

Simon and Schuster, 2017. ISBN 9781481457835
(Age: 4-8) Recommended. Paris. Bravery. Family. Dogs. A charming tale of being yourself, of following your heart has Antoinette, despairing of her place in the household, where her three brothers are known for their strengths. Rocky is clever,...
more

Mar 20 2017

Florette by Anna Walker

cover image

Viking, 2017. ISBN 9780670079414
For children moving house away from friends and familiar things can be tougher than parents realise, and especially so when the move is from one well-known environment to one that is completely unknown.
Mae and her family move from her house with a...
more

Mar 20 2017

A tragic kind of wonderful by Eric Lindstrom

cover image

Harper Collins, 2017. ISBN 9780008183011
(Age: 13+) Themes: mental illness, bipolar disorder, friendship, family, love.
Mel Hannigan has bipolar disorder, diagnosed after a period of traumatic events, requiring a period in hospital. Her best memory is of the day her brother Nolan...
more

Mar 20 2017

The Great Shelby Holmes girl detective by Elizabeth Eulberg

cover image

Ill. by Matt Robertson. Bloomsbury, 2017. ISBN 9781408871478
(Age: 8-10) Recommended. Shelby Holmes is a feisty nine-year-old girl detective who loves to solve mysteries in her local neighbourhood. She lives upstairs in Apartment 221B Baker Street Harlem, New York City, with her family,...
more

Mar 20 2017

I don't know what to call my cat by Simon Phillip

cover image

Ill. by Ella Bailey. Simon and Schuster, 2017. ISBN 9781471124136
(Ages: 3-5) A new pet brings joy, happiness and a few problems for the new owner. Where will it sleep? What to feed it and where to feed it - not the high chair as there will be food everywhere. The biggest problem of all...
more

Mar 17 2017

Traitor to the Throne by Alwyn Hamilton

cover image

Rebel of the Sands bk 2. Faber and Faber, 2017. ISBN 9780571325412
(Age: 13+) Highly recommended. Fantasy. What a roller coaster of a ride this book turned out to be! Amani, the Blue-Eyed Bandit from Rebel of the...
more

Mar 17 2017

Triangle by Mac Barnett and Jon Klassen

cover image

Walker Books, 2017. ISBN 9781406376678
(Age: 3-5) Warmly recommended. Board book, Shapes, Mathematics, Friendship. A hardcover book about triangles! Hmm. But the face made by the triangle on the front cover invites the reader to open up and look inside.
Triangle lives in his house,...
more

Mar 17 2017

Witch glitch by Sibeal Pounder

cover image

A Witch Wars Adventure series. Bloomsbury, 2016. ISBN 9781408880340
(Age: 8+) Highly recommended. Witch Glitch is another story in the A Witch Wars Adventure series. Tiga has been reunited with her mum, Peggy is in charge of the witching world and Fran the fairy is...
more

Mar 17 2017

Stormwalker by Mike Revell

cover image

Quercus Children's Books, 2016. ISBN 9781784290696
(Age: 10+) Highly recommended. A year ago, Owen lost his mum. He has tried hard to get on with his life but his dad is still struggling. After an argument, Owen's dad agrees to go to counselling and starts to write again. All of a...
more

Mar 15 2017

The perfect picnic by Ciara Flood

cover image

Five Mile Press, 2017. ISBN 9781760405366
(Age: 3-6) Highly recommended. Ciara Flood's The perfect picnic is a quintessentially English tale of friendship, as Squirrel and Mole prepare for a picnic in the countryside. Just like the Odd Couple, these two characters are the complete...
more

Mar 15 2017

I don't want curly hair by Laura Ellen Anderson

cover image

Bloomsbury, 2017. ISBN 9781408868409
(Age: 4+) Recommended, Hair. Satisfaction. Body image. With wild hair springing out on every page, and many many words for curls taking up the text, readers will laugh out loud at the antics taken by the protagonist as she tries to straighten her...
more

Mar 15 2017

Dogman unleashed by Dav Pilkey

cover image

Dogman series bk 2. Scholastic, 2017. ISBN 9780545935203
(Age: 7+) Dog Man unleashed is Dav Pilkey's second book in the amusing, comic Dog Man series from the author of...
more

Mar 15 2017

The Story of Australia by Robert Lewis

cover image

National Museum of Australia. Random House Australia, 2017. ISBN 9780857983145
The National Museum of Australia is home to one of the richest collections of objects, photographs, artefacts and other items that document the history of this...
more

Mar 13 2017

Strange the dreamer by Laini Taylor

cover image

Hodder and Stoughton 2017. ISBN 9781444788983
(Age: 12+) Highly recommended. The city of Weep has been cut off from the world and even those that remember the stories have forgotten the city's true name. It seems that everyone has forgotten Weep. Everyone but the city's inhabitants and...
more

Mar 13 2017

My friend Tertius by Corinne Fenton

cover image

Ill. by Clive Swan. Allen & Unwin, 2017. ISBN 9781760113827
(Age: 6+) Recommended. World War Two. Singapore. Hong Kong. Gibbons. Melbourne Zoo. Arthur Copper, working as an intelligence office in Hong Kong prior to the Second World War, rescued a small gibbon from a street stall. He...
more

Mar 13 2017

From the wreck by Jane Rawson

cover image

Transit Lounge, 2017. ISBN 9780995359451
(Age: Senior secondary - adult) Jane Rawson has used one story, the shipwreck, from which she creates a world built around one survivor's life, and draws us deeply into his life. As another layer, she has interwoven a strange world of beings who...
more

Mar 13 2017

Henry and the Yeti by Russell Ayto

cover image

Bloomsbury, 2017. ISBN 9781408876619
(Age: 4+) Recommended. Mythical creatures. Adventure. Exploration. Self belief. Russell really believes that yetis exist but some others do not share his strong belief, so he sets off to prove they really do exist.
So begins an adventure which...
more

Mar 12 2017

The Cruelty by Scott Bergstrom

cover image

Walker, 2017. ISBN 9781406372922
(Age: 14+) Recommended. Thriller. Espionage. When Gwendolyn Bloom decided to try and find her father who has disappeared, she finds herself on a thrilling and dangerous quest, one that she could never have imagined. After discovering that her father is...
more

Mar 12 2017

Emperor of the Eight Islands by Lian Hearn

cover image

Books 1 and 2 in the Tale of Shikanoko series. Hachette, 2016. ISBN 9780733635137
(Age: 15+) Recommended. Lian Hearn is the pseudonym of well known children's writer Gillian Rubinstein. The need for the pseudonym stems from the difference in audience between novels such as...
more

Mar 12 2017

Lord of the Darkwood by Lian Hearn

cover image

Books 3 and 4 in the Tale of Shikanoko series. Hachette, 2016. ISBN 9780733635151
(Age: 15+) Recommended. As the series title suggests, the story follows Shikanoko (Shika) throughout his quest to restore the rightful emperor (Yoshi) to the throne. After defeating the Prince Abbot...
more

Mar 12 2017

Trouble and the new kid by Cate Whittle

cover image

Ill. by Stephen Michael King. Trouble series. Omnibus Books, 2017. ISBN 9781742990781
(Age: 6-8) Recommended. This delightful new story is the third in Cate Whittle's Trouble series, perfect for new independent readers ready for a chapter book.
Georgia and her family...
more

Feb 02 2017

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

cover image

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...
more

Jan 30 2017

Literature to support the Australian curriculum: HISTORY. Foundation - Year 10 by Fran Knight and Pat Pledger

cover image

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...
more

Nov 28 2016

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

cover image

Pledger Consulting, 2016. ISBN 97801876678470
Teacher reference. Primary School. Highly recommended. Literature to Support the Science Curriculum Foundation - 7 is a collection of fiction and some non-fiction books linked to the Australian Science curriculum. Teachers and...
more

Nov 02 2016

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

cover image

Pledger Consulting, 2016. ISBN 9781876678470
Teacher Reference.This publication is an outstanding tool for the study of science for these year levels.
Fran...
more

Feb 21 2016

Fiction gems: Recommended fiction lists for Upper Primary and Lower Secondary students by Fran Knight and Pat Pledger

cover image

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...
more