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

Jun 19 2019

Raising Readers by Megan Daley

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UQP, 2019. ISBN: 9780702262579.
(Age: Adult) Recommended. This is unashamedly a book about books, the subtitle How to nurture a child's love of books clearly places the author among those for whom books are a passion they want everyone to share. However, instead of a lot of 'motherhood' statements the first part is full of well researched information about the mechanics of reading organised along developmental stages with multiple strategies for enhancing learning and dealing with issues as they are encountered. The difference between educational readers and recreational reading is explained, stimulating different kinds of learning in the child, one without the other will leave gaps. Equally the importance of comprehension along with word recognition is explored. Asserting the need for multiple strategies for children learning to read, the author has included are many first-hand accounts from experts and 'literary friends'. Particularly valuable are the book recommendations which refreshingly feature Australian books. Parents and educators need to offer children a balanced literary diet but can unconsciously do a disservice by selecting books with a gender bias. Marketing is often quite gender specific and in one of the very interesting contributions author Jacqueline Harvey talks about the frustrations of adults making decisions that her books are not for boys. The second part of the book looks at the features of different genres, as a fan of graphic novels I was pleased to see them discussed and valued. The chapter on multimodal and digital reading suggests the decoding skills necessary for reading can be transferred successfully into computational thinking, 'thinking logically, decomposing into smaller parts, looking for and recognising patterns, abstracting ideas, designing algorithms and making judgements' p. 150. Computer coding is a language and learning it can enable children 'not just to use digital technologies, but to read, comprehend and create them p. 151. Making and creating are integral parts of a reading strategy, from making book week costumes to library makerspaces and the research skills acquired, the link between enjoying stories and creating responses to them whether it be written, oral or visual are not forgotten. Some of the more subtle aspects of reading; mindfulness, sustainability and diversity are discussed and there are some useful 'How to' guides at the end of the book. Comprehensive end notes and contributor biographies make this a surprisingly concise, readable, useful and inspiring addition to any parent or teacher's library.
Sue Speck



More Reviews

Jun 19 2019

Mr Walker gets the inside scoop by Jess Black

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Illus. by Sara Acton. Mr Walker book 2. Penguin, 2019, ISBN: 9780143793090.
(Age: 7-9) Recommended. Themes: Dogs, Hotels, Therapy Pets. What do you do with a wonderful dog who's been trained by Guide Dogs Victoria, whose larger-than-life personality makes him too lively to assist...
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Jun 19 2019

The original Australians, the story of the Aboriginal people by Josephine Flood

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Allen and Unwin, 2019. Revised and updated edition. ISBN: 9781760527075.
(Age: 16+) Non-fiction. Flood writes that her book was provoked by requests from overseas friends for an introduction to Indigenous Australia, and that she wanted to provide an informative and objective account of...
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Jun 19 2019

Happy birthday Wombat by Jackie French

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Illus. by Bruce Whatley. HarperCollins, 2019. ISBN 9781460751596. 32pp., hbk., RRP
Highly recommended. There are a few modern characters in Australian children's literature that are a must-have in the literary and literacy journey of every young reader, and one of those is Mothball the...
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Jun 18 2019

Gravity is the thing by Jaclyn Moriarty

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Pan Macmillan, 2019. ISBN: 9781760559502. 472p.
(Age: 16+) Recommended. Abigail Sorensen is a suburban, single parent, who settles it - ordinary persons invariably experience extraordinary events. Abigail is a wellspring of the paradoxes and insecurities of modern life. Jaclyn Moriarty...
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Jun 18 2019

Elizabella and the great tuckshop takeover by Zoe Norton Lodge

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Illus. by Georgia Norton Lodge. Elizabella book 2. Walker, 2019, ISBN: 9781760650551.
(Age: 8-10) Recommended. Themes: School Stories, Self-perception, Families. Author and illustrator team sisters Zoe and Georgia Norton Lodge bring us the second engaging Elizabella story....
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Jun 18 2019

Box car racers by Meredith Costain

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Illus: by Danielle McDonald. Olivia's Secret Scribbles, book 6. Scholastic, 2019. ISBN: 9781760660031.
(Age: 5-8) Recommended. Themes: Friendship; Competitions; Recycling. Recycling week at school gives opportunity for Olivia and her classmates to show incredible creativity to...
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Jun 18 2019

Amazing Transport: Journey through the history of transport by Tom Jackson

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Illus. by Chris Mould. Bloomsbury, 2019. ISBN: 9781408889770.
(Age: 8-12) Highly recommended Subjects: Transport-history, Aircraft - History, Trains, Ships, Cars. Travel back in time to the beginning of transportation. The first boats were built over seven thousand years ago and have...
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Jun 14 2019

You're crushing it: Positivity for living your real life by Lex Croucher

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Bloomsbury, 2019. ISBN: 9781408892473.
(Age: Teens) Recommended. 'The trick is to work out how to help somebody in the way they need most'.
You're crushing it is an honest and hilarious journey through the realities of life in a social media powered world. It is thoughtful...
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Jun 14 2019

The visitor by Antje Damm

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Trans. by Sally-Anne Spencer. Gecko Press, 2019. ISBN: 9781776571895.
(Age: 4+) Highly recommended. Themes: Loneliness, Friendship. First published in Germany in 2015, this is another 'curiously good book' to be published by New Zealand house, Gecko Press. Their books promise 'good...
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Jun 14 2019

How it feels to float by Helena Fox

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Pan Macmillan, 2019. ISBN: 9781760783303.
(Age: 13-17) Recommended. Seventeen-year-old Biz lives with her mum and her younger twin siblings in Wollongong. She has a circle of friends at school but is particularly close to Grace, until she kisses her and then worries she has ruined the...
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Jun 14 2019

Dead at first sight by Peter James

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Roy Grace book 15. Macmillan, 2019. ISBN: 9781509816408.
(Age: 14+) Recommended. Themes: Crime, Fraud, Online romance, Internet. The apparent suicide of Susy Driver, a supposedly happy late middle aged Brighton woman, leads DS Roy Grace into a very murky world. It also adds...
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Jun 14 2019

Cinnamon by Neil Gaiman

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Illus. by Divya Srinivasan. Bloomsbury, 2019. ISBN: 9781408879221.
(Age: 6+) Highly recommended. Themes: India, Tigers, Fable, Friendship, Difference. The beautiful princess who lives in a country far away is blind with pearls for eyes. But what concerns her parents, the Rajah and Rani...
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Jun 13 2019

Mindcull by K.H. Canobi

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Ford Street Publishing, 2019. ISBN: 9781925804232.
(Ages 11-15) Recommended. In this futuristic thriller, 16 year-old Elia lives in a world where virtual reality is as much part of life as the real world itself. In fact, after her mother's death, her father becomes 'discordant', meaning...
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Jun 13 2019

Wolfy by Gregoire Solotareff

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Gecko Press, 2019. ISBN: 9781776571574.
(Age: 4+) Highly recommended. Themes: Friendship, Acceptance. New Zealand house, Gecko Press publishes 'curiously good books' so a book that landed on my desk, first published nearly thirty years ago, is full...
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Jun 13 2019

Just the two of us by Sarah Cathie

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Illus. by Jelena Jordanovic-Lewis. Little Steps, 2019. ISBN: 9781925839067.
(Age: 3-6) Themes: Single-parent families, Mothers, Sons. Debut author Sarah Cathie drew inspiration for her gentle family story from a conversation with her young son. Just the two of us is an...
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Jun 13 2019

The coolest book in the whole wide world by Alley Bucci

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Illus. by Lauren Mullinder. Little Steps, 2019. ISBN: 9781925545951.
(Age: 7-9) Subjects: Creative writing, Imagination, Choose your own stories. The Coolest Book in the Whole Wide World encourages budding young writers to create their own stories. Beginning with a challenge to...
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Jun 13 2019

The art of taxidermy by Sharon Kernot

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Text Publishing, 2018. ISBN: 9781925603743.
(Age: 12+) Highly recommended. Themes: Prejudice, Aboriginal themes, Germans, South Australia, Internment camps, Loveday. A verse novel about grief and loss, the page long poems to death expose the grisly nature of Lottie's fascination with...
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Jun 12 2019

The Wreckers' Revenge by Norman Jorgensen

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Fremantle Press, 2019, ISBN: 9781925815450.
(Age: 11-14) Recommended. Themes: Piracy, Courage, Colonisation, Coming of Age. Norman Jorgenson's swashbuckling tale The Wrecker's Revenge sees young Red Read sent away to Christian Brothers' College in Perth after his adventures at...
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Jun 12 2019

The girl who came out of the woods by Emily Barr

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Penguin. 2019. ISBN: 9780241345221. pbk. 391 p.
(Age: 14+) Highly recommended. Themes: Dystopian. Arty was born in a small commune hidden in the forests of southern India. Her only knowledge of the outside world has come from the handful of adults and from old books. On the twentieth...
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Jun 07 2019

The Lily in the Snow by Jackie French

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Miss Lily book 3. HarperCollins Australia, 2019. ISBN: 9781460753842. 400pgs paperback.
(Age: Teens +) Recommended. Blackmail, deceit, secrets and the stigma of society is what you find in the third instalment of the wartime series Miss Lily by one of Australia's most...
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Jun 07 2019

Lights out, Leonard by Josh Pyke

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Illus. by Chris Nixon. Puffin, 2019. ISBN: 9780143793489.
(Age: 4+) Highly recommended. Themes: Bedtime, Sleep, Fears, Families, Humour. Bedtime is a little fraught when Leonard, dressed in his wonderful pyjamas, refuses to have the lights turned off. He is not scared of the dark, he...
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Jun 07 2019

When Billy was a dog by Kirsty Murray

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Illus. by Karen Blair. Allen and Unwin, 2019. ISBN: 9781760631826.
(Age: 4+) Highly recommended. Themes: Dogs, Responsibility, Perseverance, Family, Birth. Billy would love to have a dog. He visits Mrs Banerjee next door to play with her dog, Fluff, but when he raises the issue with Mum...
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