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

Mar 27 2015

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

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Ill. by Mark Wilson. Angus & Robertson, 2015. ISBN 9780732296476
(Age: 8+) Recommended. World War One. ANZAC. Poetry. In his poetic style, Banjo Paterson sent an open letter to the troops as they fought in the war in Europe. Angus & Robertson have published this beautifully illustrated book, setting the poem against Mark Wilson's pictures of the war they faced. Banjo was well known in Australia and many people learnt his poems by rote and could recite them at will. He was revered as a poet who captured the Australian core.
Each stanza of the poem extolling the virtues of a united Australia, is illustrated with aspects of the war they fought and complimented with images of people back home. So we have an image of the men fighting their way up the Turkish hills on Gallipoli's coast, with an image of a poster imploring recently graduated nurses to join up, and a woman watching down on them all, while a man sits on his horse under the Australian sun. Each image represents an aspect of war and home, encouraging younger readers to ponder the lives led by these people. I was struck particularly with the image of men advancing across an open piece of land, contrasting with the women doing their work back home, pulling along the coal trucks. And the nod to Walter Withers, an Australian painter at the time, is wonderful, contrasting the quiet life back home with the men packed and going off to war. Each page is filled with things to look at and ponder, to wonder and respond.
With the vast numbers of books about World War One published at the moment, it is a change to see something written at the time, a poem which underlined the feeling that Gallipoli made Australia, Australia, that it overcame the state loyalties and divisions and made people think of the reason for Federation only fifteen years before. The Anzac heroism gave Australians a reason to be proud. References to poppies, Gallipoli, Simpson and his donkey, Alec Campbell, nurses, women back home, HMAS Sydney and wattle, amongst others, will attract eager readers to look at the images shown and reason why they are included.
Fran Knight

More Reviews

Mar 27 2015

Meet Marly by Alice Pung

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Our Australian girl. 1983. Ill. by Lucia Masciullo. Puffin, 2015
Recommended for readers from 8-10 years. The Our Australian girl series celebrates the lives of young girls in historically significant times past. Author Alice Pung draws from her own family experiences to...
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Mar 27 2015

The umbrella by Ingrid and Dieter Schubert

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Book Island, 2015. ISBN 9780994109859
(Age: Preschool) Recommended. Wordless picture book. World view. One blustery day the little dog finds a bright red umbrella in the garden. It whisks him off into the sky, above the swirling leaves and swaying trees, over his little house receding...
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Mar 26 2015

Prince of Afghanistan by Louis Nowra

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Allen & Unwin, 2015. ISBN 9781743314821
(Age: 14+) Highly recommended. War, Afghanistan, Animals, Survival. When dog handler, Casey, is killed in the escape after the rescue of three kidnapped doctors in Taliban held Afghanistan, Mark is the only survivor of the attack and is left with...
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Mar 26 2015

The Chimes by Anna Smaill

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Sceptre: Hodder & Stoughton, 2015. ISBN: 9781444794533
(Age: 15+) Music. Dystopian fiction. In one word: unusual.
This is a book like no other, or at least any that I've read. Highly experimental (and ironic) The Chimes is set in a futuristic world where society has done away with...
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Mar 26 2015

Skin by Ilka Tampke

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Text, 2015. ISBN 9781922182333
Recommended for 14+. Ilka Tampke's first novel is set in Celtic Britain from 28 AD to 44 AD. The novel is part historical and part fantasy, and deals with the lives of the Celtic tribes living in the east of Britain before and during the Roman invasion. The...
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Mar 26 2015

Are You Seeing Me? by Darren Groth

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Woolshed Press, 2014. ISBN 9780857984739
(Age: 15+) Highly recommended.
'Perry has a brain condition that can cause him to feel anxious or upset in different places and circumstances. He has trouble with people - mixing with them and communicating with them - and sometimes results...
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Mar 26 2015

The Well by Catherine Chanter

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Text, 2015. ISBN 9781922182685
(Age: Adult) Set in an England that has been stricken by drought this first novel by Catherine Chanter looks at the effects of deprivation and cultism on a family seeking a change of life. The novel begins with the main character Ruth on house arrest at...
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Mar 25 2015

Zafir by Prue Mason

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Through my eyes series. Allen & Unwin, 2015. ISBN 9781743312544
(Age: 11+) Highly recommended. Syria, Dictatorship. When Zafir and his family move back to Syria, Zafir has little idea of what life will be like. He has been brought up in Dubai where he has mixed with a range of...
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Mar 25 2015

All fall down by Ally Carter

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An Embassy Row novel. Scholastic, 2015. ISBN: 9781743628942
(Age: 13+) Highly recommended.
'The scar that is very real.
The scar that is perfectly clear.
The scar that has haunted my dreams every night since the moment my mother died - from the moment the Scarred...
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Mar 25 2015

Writing Clementine by Kate Gordon

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Allen & Unwin, 2014. ISBN 9781743316634
(Age: Yr 7+) Recommended. Clementine Darcy's year 9 philosophy class isn't turning out to be what she expected. The teacher asks the students to simply write, whilst Clementine is hoping for answers to the big questions of life and wants to know...
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Mar 25 2015

The book with no pictures by B. J. Novak

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Puffin, 2014. ISBN 9780141361789
(Age: 4+) Well, you all know it goes. You hear so much hype about a book (or a movie, or a theatrical show blah blah blah) that you almost convince yourself that either you won't like it or it will be completely lame.
And, to be honest, that's pretty...
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Mar 23 2015

The Internet is like a puddle by Shona Innes

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Ill. by Irisz Agocs. Big Hug series. Five Mile Press, 2015. ISBN 9781760064167
(Age: 4+) Recommended. Internet, Safety. Discussing the dangers that lurk behind using the internet is one of those discussions that is hard to initiate and even more difficult to explain. Here with...
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Mar 23 2015

The playground is like the jungle by Shona Innes

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Ill. by Irisz Agocs. Big Hug series. Five Mile Press, 2015. ISBN 9781760064150
(Age: 4+) Recommended. Playground, Safety. Clinical and forensic psychologist Shona Innes has taken on the topic of safety in the playground at school or in the community, to help parents and teachers...
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Mar 23 2015

Talking about tricky stuff with kids by Shona Innes

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For more than 25 years now, I have had been in the privileged position of listening to the very private worries and concerns of many children. It is indeed a pretty special and sacred position to be in and I am always grateful for the opportunity. From that special spot with young people, I...
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Mar 20 2015

Ride, Ricardo, ride! by Phil Cummings

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Ill. Shane Devries. Omnibus, 2015. ISBN 9781742990736
(Age: 5+) Highly recommended. War. Village life. Hope. Ricardo lives in a small mountain village in Italy, within a close community. His father teaches him to ride his bike and he can often be seen riding through the village, past the...
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Mar 20 2015

My Gallipoli by Ruth Starke and Robert Hannaford

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Working Title Press, 2015. ISBN 9781921504761
(Age: 9+) Recommended. World War One. Gallipoli. Anzac Day. Memories. Picture book for older readers. From the old style binding to the haunting portraits on the front cover, this impressive book will stand out amongst the books on World War...
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Mar 20 2015

The Anzac puppy by Peter Millett and Trish Bowles

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Scholastic, 2015. ISBN 9781775430971
(Age: 6+) Recommended. War. Anzac. Animals. When Lucy's dog has a pup, she calls it Freda, but the family cannot afford to keep her, so Lucy sits with her outside their home until someone comes along to claim her. That person is Sam, a young man going...
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Mar 19 2015

Eat the sky, drink the ocean, edited by Kirsty Murray, Payal Dhar and Anita Roy

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Allen & Unwin, 2015. ISBN 9781743319789
(Age: 12+) Recommended. Short Stories, Fantasy. When in 2012, two appalling crimes against women were perpetrated, one in India where a woman was raped and murdered in a bus and the other in Melbourne where a woman was raped and killed walking...
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