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

Jul 20 2018

The power of hope by Kon Karapanagiotidis

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Harper Collins, 2018. ISBN 9781460755136
(Age: 14+) Highly recommended. Kon Karapanagiotidis is truly an inspiring person - founder of the Asylum Seeker Resource Centre, he fights for the rights of people who have no other help available, determined to make a difference to their lives. And though there are many despairing and difficult times when he has to tell another desperate refugee that their claim for asylum has been refused, the heartfelt gratitude from those he has helped keeps him motivated to fight on. It is difficult to read that first chapter without being moved to tears. I am so glad there are people like him in our society.
However what may come as a surprise to some readers, Karapanagiotidis has not always been the confident leader and spokesperson that we now recognise and respect. His childhood and youth were a struggle with self-doubt and loathing. His book bravely reveals his young insecurities, struggles with body image, and anxiety about relationships, issues familiar to many teenagers. What he did have were parents, migrants to Australia, who were determined to make a good life for their children - the values that many migrants and refugees bring to Australia: resilience, family values, hard work, sacrifice, and courage. Those values provided the groundwork of his life.
As a teenager, a turning point for him was a book - Martin Luther King's "Strength to love" with its call to 'honour your integrity, honour your inner voice and spirit', and most especially not to stand by but to take a stand at times of challenge and controversy. Karapanagiotidis discovered 'the fire in his belly'.
That inner fire led to many roles working with the disabled, the homeless, the most needy people in society, and then ultimately to starting a project to help the many people in Melbourne seeking asylum but with nowhere to turn for food or aid. That humble beginning led to the establishment of the Asylum Seeker Resource Centre now an established charity completely independent of government funding, that provides practical support, health care, legal aid and advocacy services to refugees both in Australia and in off-shore detention.
This book could be seen as a call to conscience for adults but I would suggest it for younger readers as well - the issues of sorting out identity and meaning in life would resonate with teenagers, particularly finding personal power in a society that doesn't meet youthful ideals. Throughout the book, particular sentences are picked up and bolded on a page, as inspirational quotes that can easily be found on flicking through, serving as reminders to each of us to go forth with passion, purpose and hope.
Helen Eddy



More Reviews

Jul 20 2018

Duck by Meg McKinlay

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Ill. by Nathaniel Eckstrom. Walker Books, 2018, ISBN 9781925381535
(Age: 4+) Highly recommended. Themes: Humour, Farm animals, Word play, Ducks. When the duck comes running across the hills to the other farm animals calling out 'duck' they are all nonplussed. Yes they know he is a duck,...
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Jul 20 2018

If I was prime minister by Beck and Robin Feiner

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ABC Books, 2018. ISBN 9780733338953
(Age: 7+) Recommended. Themes: Prime ministers, Leaders. Beginning with a few words about why Australia is great, then going on to tell us about what a prime minister does and how many we have had since Federation, the book takes a corner and asks...
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Jul 20 2018

Max Champion and the great race car robbery by Alexander McCall Smith

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Ill. by Kate Hindley. Bloomsbury Children's Books, 2018. ISBN 9781408886137
(Age: 6-8) Recommended. Themes: Motor car racing. Criminals. Values. Good versus evil. When Max discovers that his grandfather was the inventor of the Champion motor cars he is stunned to discover that the...
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Jul 20 2018

Let me lie by Clare Mackintosh

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Hachette, 2018. ISBN 9780751564877
(Age: Adult - Older adolescent) Themes: Mystery and suspense. Suicide. Grief. The dedication at the start of the narrative positions us perfectly to be led into a complex story of love, loyalty and betrayal, with Clare Mackintosh's choice of...
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Jul 20 2018

Tommy Bell Bushranger Boy series by Jane Smith

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Big Sky Publishing, 2018.
Gang of Thieves. Book 5. ISBN 9781925675238
Mrs Thunderbolt. Book 6. ISBN 9781925675320
(Ages: 7-10) Themes: Time travel, Bushrangers. Author Jane Smith presents two new time travel stories with "Gang of Thieves" and "Mrs Thunderbolt". She...
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Jul 20 2018

Tropical Terry by Jarvis

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Walker Books, 2018. ISBN 9781406378627
(Ages: 3-6) Themes: Fish, Appearance. Coral Reef City is filled with some of the most colourful and fabulous fish of the ocean. A flurry of action words ("dashing, flashing, swirled") echo the movement of the sea seen in the illustrations, which...
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Jul 20 2018

I Love You Dino-Daddy by Mark Sperring

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Ill. by Sam Lloyd. Bloomsbury, 2018. ISBN 9781408893449
(Ages: 3-6) Themes: Fathers, Rhyming book. As a republication of a 2015 title, initially published as "Dino-Daddy", this puffy hardcover book has a shiny foil title that somehow makes it seem cheap at first glance. However, on...
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Jul 19 2018

Master of stillness, Jeffrey Smart by Barry Pearce

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Wakefield Press, Revised edition, 2018. ISBN 9781743053393.
(Age: Senior secondary - Adult) Highly recommended. Non-fiction. "Master of stillness" is the perfect title for this beautiful book which through its collection of photographic images traces the evolution of the art of Jeffrey...
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Jul 19 2018

Clash of the keepers by Mitchell Starc and Tiffany Malins

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Ill. by Philip Bunting. Mighty Mitch book 3. Scholastic, 2018, ISBN 9781742769158
(Age: 8-10) Themes: Cricket. Sportsmanship. Australian international cricketer Mitchell Starc continues his popular Mighty Mitch series in Clash of the keepers. Suffering a loss to Marshall...
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Jul 19 2018

What will I do when I grow up? by Margherita Borin

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Berbay Publishing, 2018. ISBN 9780994384157
What will I do when I grow up by Margherita Borin is a picture book that as the title suggests, discusses a variety of careers people can do when they grow up. It centres around the high street of a town (or the Main Street as we know it...
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Jul 19 2018

The silver sea by children from the Royal Children's Hospital Melbourne with Alison Lester and Jane Godwin

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Melbourne with Alison Lester and Jane Godwin
Affirm Press, 2018. ISBN 9781925584745
"Let's go down to The Silver Sea,
Come on, I'll hold your hand."
Take a journey with two little children as they explore what is beneath the waves in this magical adventure created by young...
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Jul 18 2018

Monsters by Anna Fienberg

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Ill. by Kim Gamble and Stephen Axelsen. Allen and Unwin, 2018. ISBN 9781760293369
(Age: 5+) Highly recommended. Themes: Monsters, Fear, Confidence, Friendship. This beautifully presented picture book will have readers enthralled at the everyday things: plants, furniture, curtains, even...
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Jul 18 2018

The New Kid : Unpopular me by James O'Loghlin

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Pan Macmillan, 2018. ISBN 9781760554255
(Age: 9+) Highly recommended. "The New Kid Unpopular Me" is a hilarious story about being the new kid in school. If it can go wrong it will! Sam is 11 and has just moved to Canberra with his family. He has already been targeted by the class bully,...
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Jul 18 2018

Bab Sharkey and The Animal Mummies: The weird beard by Andrew Hansen and Jessica Roberts

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Bab Sharkey and the Animal Mummies Book 1. Walker Books, 2018. ISBN 9781760650001
(Age: 9+) Recommended. Themes: Ancient Egypt, Humour, Time travel, Adventure. Award-winning Australian comedian Andrew Hansen, best known for "The Chaser", has teamed up with his wife,...
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Jul 18 2018

The hole by Kerry Brown

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Ill. by Lucia Masciullo. ABC Books, 2018. ISBN 9780733335235
(Age: 4+) Recommended. Themes: Animals, Problem solving. Walking through the woods, a squirrel comes upon a hole on the path way she is using. Peering in she falls, and clings onto the top of the hole, hoping that she has not...
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Jul 18 2018

The coldest girl in Coldtown by Holly Black

cover imageIndigo, 2013 (re-issued 2018). ISBN 9781780621296
(Age: Senior secondary - Adult) Recommended. Themes: Horror. Paranormal. Vampires. Dystopian. On cover it states: "Dark, decadent and seductive. Not suitable for younger readers." Tana wakes up after a party to find herself surrounded with...
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Jul 17 2018

Changing gear by Scot Gardner

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Allen and Unwin, 2018. ISBN 9781760631468
(Age: 14+) Highly recommended. Themes: Journeys. Road trip. Western Victoria. Merrick tosses in his final weeks of school, just before his year twelve exams, to take off on his beloved motorbike and see what happens. Seemingly with no particular...
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Jul 17 2018

My life and other failed experiments by Tristan Bancks and Gus Gordon

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Tom Weekly Book 6. Penguin, 2018. ISBN 9780143781615
(Age: 8-11) Recommended. Themes: Pets. Brothers and sisters. Humour. What's next for Tom Weekly, his sister torturing his guinea pig, taking on the most annoying ice-cream man and dealing with a killer possum attack? Tom has a...
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Jul 17 2018

Scaredy Cat by Heather Gallagher and Anil Tortop

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New Frontier, 2018. ISBN 9781925594171
(Age: 3-6) Themes: Pets.
"Have you seen my Scaredy Cat?
He's afraid of this and afraid of that!"
Scaredy Cat's gorgeous covers decorated with shiny hearts and a cute little girl with just a hint of her missing pet are...
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Jul 17 2018

Antidote to a curse by James Cristina

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Transit Lounge, 2018. ISBN 9781925760033
(Age: Adult) Following a sexual encounter Silvio Portelli finds himself increasingly drawn to the Bosnian immigrant Zlatko, whilst waiting to learn the results of his test for HIV. Portelli wants to write, and the mystery of Zlatko's life may be...
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Jul 16 2018

From Twinkle with love by Sandhya Menon

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Hodder, 2018. ISBN 9781473678736
(Age 13+) Highly recommended. Twinkle, a 16 year old high school student, dreams of being a movie director. When she hears about an up and coming film festival, she is determined to make her mark on the industry and direct an amazing movie for everyone to...
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Jul 16 2018

The Smoke Thieves by Sally Green

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Penguin Books, 2018. ISBN 9780141375397
(Age: 12+) Recommended. A princess, a soldier, a hunter, a traitor, and a thief. Following the paths of Princess Catherine, Ambrose, March, Edyon, and Tash; these five people will soon come to find their futures are connected by a mysterious bottle...
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Jul 16 2018

Let's visit the Olobobs by Leigh Hodgkinson and Steve Smith

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Bloomsbury, 2018. ISBN 9781408897621
(Age: 1-4) Board book, Lift-the-flaps, Shapes. Based on the English children's television show "Olobob Top", as seen on ABC, this early learning book about shape has been created by Leigh Hodgkinson ("Are You Sitting Comfortably?") and Steve Smith....
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Jul 16 2018

Bohemia Beach by Justine Ettler

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Transit Lounge, 2018. ISBN 9781925760002
(Age: Adult) Themes: Addiction; Musical career; Counselling. Catherine Bell is a renowned Concert musician, but everything in her life seems to be swirling in the swill of painful experience. Her 'self-medication' with regular consumption of...
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Jul 16 2018

Can I touch your hair? by Irene Latham and Charles Waters

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Carolrhoda Books, 2018. ISBN 9781512404425
(Age: 10+) "Can I touch your hair? Poems of race, mistakes and friendship" is described on the blurb as being 'a compelling portrait of two youngsters dancing delicately through a racial minefield' and is a reasonably accurate explanation....
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Jul 13 2018

The world's worst children 3 by David Walliams

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HarperCollins, 2018. ISBN 9780008304607
Highly recommended. Where do I start when telling you about David Walliams "The worlds worst children 3"?! What an awesome storyteller he is!
This book is full of 10 short stories about a variety of horrible children or sibling groups who...
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Jul 13 2018

The World of David Walliams Book of Stuff: Fun, facts and everything you NEVER wanted to know by David Walliams

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Ill. by Quentin Blake and Tony Ross. HarperCollins, 2018. ISBN 9780008293253
(Age: 7+) Highly recommended. Themes: Humour, Puzzles. Designed especially for children who can't get enough of David Walliams weird and hilarious humour and illustrated by two outstanding illustrators, "The...
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Jul 13 2018

Iguana Boy saves the world with a triple cheese pizza by James Bishop and Rikin Paresh

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Hachette, 2018. ISBN 9781444939347
(Age: 8-12) Themes: Superheroes, Brothers and sisters, Bullying. James Bishop's preteen novel introduces a new group of superheroes, an evil super villain, militant platypuses and a young boy who longs for his own super skills. What happens when an...
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Jul 13 2018

The Lily and the Rose by Jackie French

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Angus and Robertson, 2018. ISBN 9781460753590
(Age: 16+) Recommended. Themes: Post-World War 1 History; Independence - Women;  Romance; Peace. Set in the aftermath of World War 1, The Lily and the Rose follows Sophie Higgs, an heiress from an Australian corned beef producer...
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Jul 13 2018

Peg + Cat : The lemonade problem by Jennifer Oxley and Billy Aronson

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Candlewick Entertainment, 2018. ISBN 9781536200614
(Age: 3-6) Themes: Problem Solving, STEM, Mathematics, Cats. Lemonade stands outside one's house is harking back to a time when neighbours knew each other, when they supported their kids' endeavours and there were no worries about...
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Jul 12 2018

Under my bed by John Dickson

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Berbay Publishing, 2018. ISBN 9780994384133
(Age: 7+) Highly recommended. Under my bed is a fun picture book all about those monsters hiding in the dark places of a child's bedroom. What if the monsters had a party? Would you be invited? It is your room after all. Imagine lying in...
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Jul 12 2018

It's hard to love a tiger by Anna Pignataro

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Scholastic, 2018. ISBN 9781743817582
(Age: 4+) Recommended. Themes: Tigers. Friendship. Difference. Pets. Our sweet heroine would love to have a tiger to love, just like the one in the zoo. In pairs of rhyming lines, the story is laid out from the first page, as the ominous word, 'but'...
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Jul 12 2018

Sweet adversity by Sheryl Gwyther

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Angus and Robertson 2018. ISBN 9781460755105
Themes: Acting. Friendship. Australian history. April 1930 finds 12 year-old Adversity McAllister in Emu Swamp Children's Home where her parents left her temporarily while they sought work for their theatrical troupe. She and her pet cockatiel...
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Jul 12 2018

The way back from broken by Amber J. Keyser

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Carolrhoda Lab, 2018. ISBN 9781541514881
(Age: 14+) Recommended. Themes: Sibling death. Grief. Wilderness. Survival. Rakmen's baby sister died and the family is working through the tragedy in their own ways. He and his mother attend weekly meetings at Promise House, a support group where...
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