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

Jan 21 2019

The forgotten beasts of Eld by Patricia A. McKillip

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Fantasy Masterworks. Orion, 2017. ISBN: 9781616962777.
(Age: 14+) Highly recommended. Winner of the inaugural World Fantasy Award 1975. In my quest to read some of the award winning books that I have missed over the years, I was very fortunate to pick up this outstanding story by Patricia A. McKillop. First published in 1974, the fact that it is still in print after so many years is a testament to its lyrical writing and timeless story.
Sybel is a young wizard who needs only her magical animals, Gules the Lyon, Gyld the dragon who yearns for gold, Cyrin the boar who is a master of riddles, Ter the fierce falcon and Moriah, Lady of the Night. When she is given a baby, Tamlorn, to care for, she becomes embroiled in the politics of the kingdom and the world of revenge.
It was a joy to become immersed in Sybel's world which is vividly imagined in a sparse 208 pages, unlike many of the fantasy books written today which often are over long. Memories of McKillip's dangerous world, her fantastic beasts and the love story between her and Coren and the awful taint of captivity and revenge will stay with the reader long after finishing this book.
Readers who enjoy stories by Juliet Marillier and Robin McKinley will be thrilled to discover another author whose tales delve into fantasy worlds. I will be pursuing other books written by McKillip, who also won a World Fantasy award for Ombria in shadow, which I have put on my to-read list.
Pat Pledger



More Reviews

Jan 21 2019

The extremely weird thing that happened in Huggabie Falls by Adam Cece

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Ill. by Andrew Weldon. Huggabie Falls trilogy, book one. Text Publishing, 2018. ISBN: 9781925603484.
(Age: 9+) Recommended. Themes: Humour. Winner of the Text Prize for Young Adult and Children's Writing, this tale about Kipp Kindle and his friends Tobias Treachery and Cymphany...
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Jan 21 2019

Embassy of the Dead by Will Mabbitt

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Ill. by Chris Mould. Orion Children's Books, 2018. ISBN: 9781510104556.
(Age: 8-10 ) Recommended. Themes: Fantasy. Opening a strange box is the starting point of this amazing adventure for Jake Green as it contains a severed finger, summoning the Grim Reaper which takes him into the...
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Jan 21 2019

Dolls of war by Shirley Parenteau

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Candlewick Press, 2017. ISBN: 9780763690694.
(Age: 10+) Highly recommended. Themes: World War Two, Japan, Dolls, Prejudice, Museums. In 1941, eleven-year-old Macy James lives near the Oregon coast with her father, the director of a small museum. Miss Tokyo, one of fifty-eight exquisite...
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Jan 18 2019

Old friends, new friends by Andrew Daddo

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Ill. by Jonathan Bentley. ABC Books, 2018. ISBN: 9780733338137.
(Age: 4+) Recommended. Themes: School, First day at school, Friendship. Coming back to school for the new year, the young girl finds that she is in a new class. Her old friends are in a different class and she knows no one....
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Jan 18 2019

Shadow of the centaurs: an Ancient Greek mystery by Saviour Pirotta

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Ill. by Freya Hartas. Bloomsbury, 2018. ISBN: 9781472940254.
(Age: 8-12) Recommended. Themes: Ancient Greece, Mystery. Saviour Pirotta's fourth book in the Ancient Greek Mysteries series is a lively tale of mystery and celebration. In Shadow of the Centaurs the citizens of Athens...
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Jan 18 2019

The Boy by Tami Hoag

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Broussard and Fourcade book 2. Trapeze, 2018. ISBN: 9781409169635.
(Age: Adult - senior secondary) Recommended. Themes: Mystery and suspense, Detectives, Death, Domestic violence, Children at risk, Bullying. As a fan of Tami Hoag, I grabbed The boy as soon as it arrived on...
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Jan 18 2019

The extraordinary life of Michelle Obama by Sheila Kanani

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Ill. by Sarah Walsh. Penguin Random House, 2019. ISBN: 9780241372739.
(Age: 8+) Michelle La Vaughn Robinson, the descendant of a slave, was raised in a small apartment in Chicago. At the age of forty-four she became the First Lady of the United States. Sheila Kanani's biography explains...
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Jan 18 2019

The first adventures of Princess Peony by Nette Hilton

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Ill. by Lucinda Gifford. Walker Books, 2018. ISBN: 9781760650445.
(Age: 5+) Highly recommended. Themes: Castles, Play, Princesses and Princes, Imagination, Getting along. Peony (a princess) lives in a castle with a courtyard guarded by her dragon (Totts, her dog). Her brother, Prince...
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Jan 17 2019

Dry by Neal and Jarrod Shusterman

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Walker, 2018. ISBN 9781406386851.
(Age: 13+) Highly recommended. Themes: Droughts. Survival. California. Climate change. What would happen if suddenly there was no water in your house - nothing to drink, nothing to wash with or cook with, let alone use on the garden? This is what...
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Jan 17 2019

Hodge Podge Lodge by Priscilla Lamont

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New Frontier Press, 2018. ISBN 9781925594287
(Age: 4+) Recommended. Themes: Rubbish. Recycling. Subtitled A rubbish story, Lamont tells her tale of recycling and the impact rubbish has on our environment through the use of a squad of animals and the unthinking owners of Hodge...
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Jan 17 2019

Lottie Perkins: Fashion designer by Katrina Nannestad

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Ill. by Makoto Koji. ABC Books, 2018. ISBN 9780733339080.
(Age: 5-7) Highly recommended. Themes: Friendship. Fashion. Creativity. Seven year old Lottie Perkins demonstrates her awesome creativity and flair by becoming a fashion designer, utilising items from her family wardrobe. The...
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Jan 17 2019

Lottie Perkins: Pop singer by Katrina Nannestad

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Ill. by Makoto Koji. ABC Books, 2018. ISBN 9780733339073.
(Age: 5-7) Highly recommended. Themes: Music. Friendship. Lottie Perkins is an 'exceptional' child - self-proclaimed! She is quirky and feisty and manages to demonstrate her awesome singing talents in a local talent competition...
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Jan 17 2019

A stormy night by Mark Carthew

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Ill. by Simon Prescott. Marvin and Marigold. New Frontier Press, 2019. ISBN 9781925594225
(Age: 4+) Recommended. Themes: Fear. Darkness. Families. Mice. Friendship. The third in the series concerning the two mice, Marvin and Marigold will bring delighted sighs of recognition from...
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Jan 16 2019

The assassination of Brangwain Spurge by M.T. Anderson and Eugene Yelchin

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Candlewick Press, 2018. ISBN 9780763698225.
(Age: 10+) Highly recommended. Themes: Fantasy, Power, Politics, War, Propaganda. What a treat to read a unique tale told by two outstanding people, National Book award winner M.T.Anderson and Newbery Honoree Eugene Yelchin. The historian elf...
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Jan 16 2019

Flat cat by Hiawyn Oram

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Ill. by Gwen Millward. Walker Books, 2019. ISBN 9781406371543
(Age: 4+) Recommended. Themes: Cats, Friendship. Jimi-My-Jim lives in an apartment in a big city with his owner, Sophie. She loves him dearly and spoils him woefully with only the best of treats and toys. He responds by doing...
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Jan 16 2019

Ellie Engineer - The next level by Jackson Pearce

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Bloomsbury, 2018. ISBN: 9781547601097
(Age: 7-9) Themes: Engineering, Friends. Ellie is an enthusiastic engineer; she wears her tool belt all the time and loves to solve problems and come up with creative solutions. She draws up the plans, finds innovative resources to use and enjoys...
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Jan 15 2019

A good night for shooting zombies by Jaco Jacobs

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One World, 2018. ISBN 9781786074508
(Age: 11+) Recommended. Themes: Adventure. Martin aka 'Clucky', is a quirky 13 year old mathematician and heir to his father's egg business. Vusi owns a dog who likes to bite chickens. Confronting your neighbour about his murderous dog is not a great...
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Jan 15 2019

Ten terrible dinosaurs by Paul Stickland

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Macmillan Children's Books, 2018. ISBN 9781509835522
(Age: 4+) Recommended. Themes: Dinosaurs. Prediction. Rhyme. Counting. Humour. From ten down to one, the text of this wonderfully inviting romp with a whole lot of dinosaurs will enthral readers as they count the number of animals on...
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Jan 15 2019

Treasure of the golden skull by Chris Priestley

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Maudlin Towers Book 2. Bloomsbury, 2018. ISBN 9781408873106
(Age: 9-12) Themes: Boarding school. Pirates. Treasure. Monsters. Chris Priestley's Treasure of the golden skull is a dark tale, set in a very gloomy English boarding school, Maudlin Towers, which is threatened...
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Jan 15 2019

Sage Cookson's snow day by Sally Murphy

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New Frontier Publishing, 2018. ISBN 9781925594423
(Age: 7-10) Highly recommended. Themes: Adventure. Cooking. Sage Cookson is the child of TV cooking stars and their celebrity life takes her to places a little out of the ordinary for a normal school child. Fortunately, she has a very...
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Jan 14 2019

What monster? by Liz Pichon

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Tom Gates book 15. Scholastic, 2018. ISBN: 9781407179865
(Age: 8+) Recommended. Themes: School life, Families, Music festivals. Tom and Derek stop in at the newsagents on the way to school attracted by the headline 'Angry Squirrel Throws Nuts'. Whilst trying to read the newspaper...
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Jan 14 2019

Learn with Ruby Red Shoes series by Kate Knapp

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Harper Collins Publishers, 2018.
ABC Alphabet Book. ISBN: 9781460756904
123 Counting Book. ISBN: 9781460756911
(Ages: 1-5) Recommended. Rhyming Books, Counting, Alphabet. 'Ruby Red Shoes is a white hare who loves to learn. Hop along with Ruby and her chickens as...
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Jan 14 2019

Hedgehog Howdedo by Lynley Dodd

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Puffin Books, 2018. ISBN 9780143773023
(Ages: 1-4) Board book, Hedgehogs, Hibernation, Counting Book, Rhyming book. This is a previously published title (2000) from the creator of Hairy Maclary. It is winter and the garden is full of hibernating hedgehogs. 'There's one beneath the...
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Jan 14 2019

Comet's cross-country crime by Sally Sutton

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Ill. by Kirsten Richards. Miniwings book 5. Scholastic, 2018, ISBN: 9781775434870.
(Age: 6-8) Themes: Horses, Running, Theft. Six magical mini-horses bring fun, excitement and a little bit of naughtiness into their owners' lives. Told from Sophia's point of view, she describes...
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Jan 11 2019

Lady Helen and the Dark Days Deceit by Alison Goodman

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Lady Helen book 3. Angus and Robertson, 2018. ISBN 9780732296117.
(Age: 15+) Highly recommended. After devouring the first two books in the series (Lady Helen and the Dark Days Club  and...
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Jan 11 2019

Something rotten - a fresh look at roadkill by Heather L. Montgomery

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Bloomsbury Children's Books, 2018. ISBN 9781681199009
(Age: 10+) Highly recommended. Themes: Biology. Non-fiction [591.7] In this easy-to-read memoir, Heather Montgomery investigates the impact of roadkill, for the most part in the USA but also high profile international cases such as...
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Jan 11 2019

Wakestone Hall by Judith Rossell

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A Stella Montgomery Intrigue Book book 3. ABC Books, 2018, ISBN: 9780733338205
(Age: 9-12) Highly recommended.Themes: Family, School Life, Mystery, Belonging. Judith Rossell's marvellous magical Victorian series comes to a conclusion with Wakestone Hall. She has captured...
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Jan 11 2019

A dog's way home by W. Bruce Cameron

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PanMacmillan, 2018. ISBN PanMacmillan, 2018. ISBN 9781529002690
(Age: 12- adult) Recommended. Themes: Dogs, Dog Owners, Movie tie-in, Animal Rescue. A Dog's Way Home is an emotionally honest story of love, loss and the journey of hope told from Bella, a pit-bull cross's point of...
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Jan 10 2019

Mamie by Tania McCartney

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ABC Books, 2018. ISBN 9781460755860
(Age: 4+) Highly recommended. Themes: May Gibbs. Art, Drawing. Imagination. Australian bush. Fairies. Celebrating one hundred years since the publication of Snugglepot and Cuddlepie, this charming, warm-hearted look at May Gibbs and how she...
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Jan 10 2019

The girl, the dog and the writer in Provence by Katrina Nannestad

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ABC Books, 2018. ISBN 9780733338182
(Ages: 9-12) Highly recommended. Themes: Family life. Criminal activity. Provence (France) - Social life and customs. The girl, the dog and the writer in Provence is a delightful continuation of young Freja Peachtree's story, moving to...
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Jan 10 2019

The amazingly disorganised help dictionary by Georgia Productions

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Penguin Books, 2018. ISBN 9780143793250
(Age: 12+) Recommended. Themes: Internet. Persistence. Creativity. Author and YouTube star, 19 yr old Georgia, has amassed half a million followers from her bedroom in New South Wales. Although we have seen vlogs and blogs become books before, this...
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Jan 10 2019

The chaos of now by Erin Lange

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Faber and Faber Limited, 2018. ISBN 9780571317479
(Age: Teens+) Recommended. Themes: Cyberbullying. Suicide. Computer hacking. A group of hackers emerge with a new website that can avoid the cyber snoop's radar, a place for people to voice their own opinions for once without getting...
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Jan 09 2019

Liberty by Nikki McWatters

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University of Queensland Press, 2018. ISBN 9780702260292
(Age: 14+) Highly recommended. Historical fiction. Liberty intertwines three stories: in 1472 France, Jeanne, a peasant girl learns that Charles the Bold and his army is preparing to attack her hometown of Beauvais; in 1797...
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Jan 09 2019

The Restless Girls by Jessie Burton

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Ill. by Angela Barrett. Bloomsbury, 2018. ISBN 9781408886915
(Age: 8+) Highly recommended. Themes: Fantasy; Princesses. Twelve excellent Princesses, all with talents unique and exceptional, are plunged into a virtual prison by their father, the King, after the unfortunate death of their...
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Jan 09 2019

Geronimo by David Walliams

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Ill. by Tony Ross. HarperCollins, 2018. ISBN 9780008279752
(Age: 4+) Recommended. Themes: Humour, Penguins, Difference, Endeavour, Striving, Perception. When hatched, Geronimo the Emperor Penguin, just thinks about flying. That's all he wants to do and spends his waking hours attempting...
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Jan 08 2019

The caged queen by Kristen Ciccarelli

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Gollancz, 2018. ISBN 9781473218161
(Age: 15+) Highly recommended. Themes: Fantasy. Love. Loyalty. Roa and her sister, Essie, share a bond that goes beyond understanding and even death. Essie's spirit is trapped in the body of a hawk, living in the limbo between life and freedom. Roa's...
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Jan 08 2019

Tilly and the Bookwanderers by Anna James

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Ill. by Paola Escobar. Pages and Co. Book 1. HarperCollins, 2018. ISBN 9780008229863
(Ages 9-12) Recommended. Themes: Literary characters. Booksellers. Mystery. Missing persons. Anna James introduces a truly wonderful world where you can step into your favourite books and interact...
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Jan 08 2019

Island born by Junot Diaz

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Ill. by Leo Espinosa. Oneworld, 2018. ISBN 9781786074775
(Age: 7-9) Recommended. Themes: Culture. Identity. Lola lives in an ethnically diverse community and the teacher's instruction to draw a picture of her 'first home' causes problems for her because she cannot remember! Interviewing...
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Jan 08 2019

Mary Lee: The life and times of a 'turbulent anarchist' and her battle for women's rights by Denise George

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Wakefield Press, 2018. ISBN 9781743055960
Highly recommended. Themes: Biography. Mary Lee. South Australian history. Women's rights. Politics. Denise George has written a wonderful biography of one of the under-recognised pioneers in South Australian history - Mary Lee. Mary Lee was born...
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Jan 07 2019

Between us by Clare Atkins

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Black Inc, 2018. ISBN 9781760640217
(Age: 14+) Highly recommended. KIN016 - this is Ana's number. She is an Iranian asylum-seeker brought from Nauru with her mother and 3 year old brother Arash to temporary detention in Darwin, because her mother is expecting a baby and is suffering from...
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Jan 04 2019

Liars: The truth app by Jack Heath

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Scholastic, 2018. ISBN 9781743817766
(Age: 13+) Highly recommended. Themes: Cybersecurity; Adventure; Crime; Conspiracy. Jarli is a coding Whiz-kid who has just developed a 'Truth-detecting' app and released the code for assessment by others and it instantly created waves around the...
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Jan 04 2019

Marvel Fearless and Fantastic! Female Super Heroes Save the World by Sam Maggs, Emma Grange and Ruth Amos

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DK, 2018. ISBN 9780241357491
(Age: 8+) Themes: Superheroes; Women. Characters from the Marvel world encourage people to be determined, daring, compassionate and curious. Under each of these headings are described superheroes who embody these qualities. So under the heading 'Determined'...
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Jan 04 2019

Let's go strolling by Katrina Germein

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Ill. by Danny Snell. Little Book Press, 2018. ISBN 9780648115687
Taking a toddler for a walk in a stroller on a sunny day is one of life's more pleasant and relaxing experiences, especially if it's a welcome break in a hectic daily routine.  Enjoying the activity, taking notice of...
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Jan 03 2019

Stories for boys who dare to be different by Ben Brooks

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Ill. by Quinton Winter. Quercus, 2018. ISBN 9781787471986
(Age: 10+) Recommended. Themes: Men - Biographies. Boys - Biographies. Masculinity. Inspirational author Ben Brooks continues his motivating series with Stories for boys who dare to be different. The subtitle captures his...
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Jan 03 2019

Salvation by Peter F. Hamilton

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The Salvation Sequence Vol 1. Macmillan, 2018. ISBN 9781447281320
(Age: Senior secondary - Adult) Recommended for mature Sci-fi lovers. Themes: Science Fiction. Space travel. Future survival. Technology. Aliens. Genetic modification. Peter F. Hamilton is a master of the Sci-Fi...
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Jan 03 2019

Vanishing by Mike Lucas

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Ill. by Jennifer Harrison. Midnight Sun, 2018. ISBN 9781925227444
Once, creatures of all shapes and sizes wandered this empty land. They had horns and wings, scales and feathers. They lived in vibrant forests, desert plains and icy tundras. But where are they now?
This is an...
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Jan 02 2019

The Boneless Mercies by April Tucholke

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Simon and Schuster, 2018. ISBN 9781471170003
(Age: Mature 14+) Highly recommended. Themes: High Fantasy, Death. Certain to appeal to young adult fans of medieval epics, this macabre group of heroines will attract an even wider audience. In the male dominated Vorseland, orphaned girls who...
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Jan 02 2019

Two Dark Reigns by Kendare Blake

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Macmillan, 2018. ISBN 9781509876495
(Age: 12+) Despite having read the previous books in the series, Three dark crowns and One dark throne I personally...
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