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

Oct 15 2018

From Elizabeth Mary Cummings, author of The Forever Kid

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A lifelong bookworm, English was my favourite subject at school. I studied Psychology and Business Studies at University before doing a postgraduate in Primary School teaching. I discovered my passion for teaching and my love of working with young people.
Recently I have focused on developing and publishing my writing with a special focus on mental health, writing about real life situations in narrative form. This narrative therapy approach to discussing mental health issues with children is something that I think is a very strong tool for helping heal and develop positive communication strategies especially when talking about difficult subject matter with young people.
I got the idea for The Forever Kid when I was thinking about my uncle who I never met. He died when he was a teenager before I was born. My father often spoke about him and described how sad the family was that he had died, even though he had been ill for a long time before then. I had been talking to my parents about life and family and so I think that my mind was focused on family matters. I woke up in the middle of the night and the whole story was there in my head. I got up and write down my thoughts straight away and then spent three years honing the narrative as well as seeking community engagement and feedback before pitching it to publishers. It was so vital to ensure that the story's message rang true and that the integrity of the message remained intact throughout the creation.
My hope is to not only share this story but to facilitate a greater awareness in society of grief from a child's perspective and to start a dialogue with families and their support networks on the matter of death and grief



More Reviews

Oct 15 2018

The Forever Kid by Elizabeth Mary Cummings

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Ill. by Cheri Hughes. Big Sky Publishing, 2018. ISBN 9781925675399
(Age: 4+) Highly recommended. Themes: Grief, Remembrance, Loss. The Forever Kid is about remembering a child who will never grow up. The family in the story celebrate the memory of the child who is no longer with...
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Oct 15 2018

The Botanist's Daughter by Kayte Nunn

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Hachette, 2018. ISBN 9780733639388
(Age: Senior secondary - Adult) Starting a little slowly, yet creating two worlds that have no defining link, this novel is captivating, rich in depiction of the past, and cleverly interspersing the two stories. The title suggests a story of a family...
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Oct 15 2018

The A-Z of Wonder Women by Yvonne Lin

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Hachette, 2018. ISBN 9781526361547
(Age: 8+) Recommended. Subjects: Women - Biography. Award-winning industrial designer Yvonne Lin is a leader in creating innovative products for women. She designed The A-Z of Wonder Woman for her young daughter Roni introducing her and other...
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Oct 15 2018

The Orphan Band of Springdale by Anne Nesbet

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Candlewick Press, 2018. ISBN 9780763688042
(Age: 10+) Highly recommended. Gusta loved the golden sound of her horn, the way the notes could make you ring like a bell, from your hair bow to your toes. Its music was so large and grand. She was quiet by nature, but the horn was the bravest...
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Oct 15 2018

Collecting sunshine by Rachel Flynn

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Ill. by Tamsin Ainslie. Penguin 2018. ISBN 9780143785187
(Age: 1-4) Recommended. Themes: Childhood; Play; Memories. An early childhood book with two central characters who go to a park with a paper bag ready to gather their own collection of treasures. When it rains the bag breaks, but...
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Oct 12 2018

Inside the tiger by Hayley Lawrence

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Penguin Books, 2018. ISBN 9780143788959
(Age: Senior secondary) Recommended. Themes: Justice system, capital punishment, social action, friendship, family, grief, loss. Bel Anderson is the 17 year old daughter of the Minister for Justice and has attended an exclusive girls' boarding...
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Oct 12 2018

Ting Ting the Ghost Hunter by Gabrielle Wang

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Penguin, 2018. ISBN 9780143787334
(Age: 9-12) Recommended. Themes: Ghosts, Chinese mythology, Sorcery. Ting Ting the Ghost Hunter is the much awaited sequel to Gabrielle Wang's Ghost in My Suitcase. These wonderful stories bring to life Chinese culture, ancient mythology...
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Oct 12 2018

I went trick-or-treating by Paul Howard

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Bloomsbury, 2018. ISBN 9781408892886
(Age: All) Recommended. I went trick-or-treating by Paul Howard is a wonderful holiday specific story that will appeal to readers of all ages. It adds to the popular I went . . . series which includes a Christmas special with Santa and...
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Oct 12 2018

The Christmas tale of Peter Rabbit by Emma Thompson

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Ill. by Eleanor Taylor. Frederick Warne, 2018. ISBN 9780241352885
(Age: 4+) Recommended. Themes: Christmas, Poultry. Emma Thompson, the renowned actress, has written another tale about Peter Rabbit in this board book, beautifully illustrated by Eleanor Taylor. Peter is very excited...
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Oct 11 2018

The girl with the dragon heart by Stephanie Burgis

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Bloomsbury, 2018. ISBN 9781408880777
(Age: 8-12) Recommended. Themes: Fantasy, Dragons, Fairies, Good and Evil.
"Once upon a time in a beautiful, dirty, exciting city full of people and chocolate and possibilities, there was a girl so fearless and so daring that. . "
Stephanie...
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Oct 11 2018

There's a baddie running through this book by Shelly Unwin and Vivienne To

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Allen and Unwin, 2018. ISBN 9781760630614
(Age: Preschool+) Recommended. Themes: Humour, Books, Robbers and outlaws, Theft.
There's a baddie running through this book,
Turn the pages; have a look.
There he goes, did you see?
Sound your siren, chase with me.
...
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Oct 11 2018

Saffy and the sneaky secret summoning by Annabel Cutler

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Little Steps, 2018. ISBN 9781925545029
(Age: 3+) "Join Little Saffy as she goes about her sneaky secret mission. She is determined to summon the almighty dragon and she will most certainly not let anything stand in her way." (Publisher)
This is a delightful story about Saffy, who...
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Oct 11 2018

The Complete Adventures of Snugglepot and Cuddlepie: 100th Anniversary Edition by May Gibbs

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HarperCollins, 2018. ISBN 9781460756218
A century ago, as the war that had shaken the world and shattered so many families was finally drawing to a close, an Australian artist who specialised in satirical cartoons and social commentary gave the world her now-iconic work about Snugglepot...
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Oct 11 2018

At the end of Holyrood Lane by Dimity Powell

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Ill. by Nicky Johnston. EK Books, 2018. ISBN 9781925335767
Flick lives at the End of Holyrood Lane in a little house beneath the beech woods, spending most of her days in the sunshine dancing with the butterflies and playing with her unicorn toy and long, rainbow ribbon. But sometimes a...
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Oct 10 2018

Wyrd by Cate Whittle

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Scholastic Australia, 2018. ISBN 9781742994321
(Age: 11+) Highly recommended. Themes: Blended families, Stepchildren, Families, Supernatural. When two people in love marry, their thoughts are not always about the others who will be affected by their union, and in this novel, the three...
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Oct 10 2018

If all the world were . . . by Joseph Coelho

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Ill. by Alison Colpoys. Frances Lincoln Children's Books, 2018. ISBN 9781786030597
(Age: picture book) Recommended. Themes: Love, Family, Grandparents. A beautifully understated story of love between a child and her grandfather begins with the pair exploring their world, holding hands...
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Oct 10 2018

The Institute of Fantastical Inventions by Dave Leys

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Ill. by Shane Ogilvie. Harbour Publishing, 2018. ISBN 9781922134936
(Ages: 9+) Themes: Inventions, Mystery, Science, Good and Evil, Espionage. Dave Leys' The Institute of Fantastical Inventions combines science, fantasy, creativity and humour in his slightly zany debut novel....
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Oct 10 2018

The wallaby in the garden by Ganga Powell

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Little Steps, 2018. ISBN 9781925545722
(Age: 4-7) "A wallaby and her joey are causing chaos in the garden! A big family of cousins, aunts, uncles, parents and grandparents must find a way to keep her out before she causes too much damage. But in the end, do they really want her to go?"...
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Oct 10 2018

The lies they tell by Gillian French

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HarperCollins Publishers, 2018. ISBN 978146075580
(Age: 14+) Highly recommended. Themes: Summer vacation, Murder. Tenney's Harbor, Maine during the summer break sees the rich kids coming to stay in their parents' million dollar mansions, playing tennis, racing their yachts, eating at the...
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Oct 10 2018

Finding Granny by Kate Simpson and Gwynneth Jones

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EK Books, 2018. ISBN 9781925335699
Edie's Granny is "a playtime Granny, a bedtime, story-time pantomime granny, as I'm not afraid of some slime Granny." She loves Edie and Edie loves her. But when she has a stroke and has to spend a long time in hospital, Edie is confused by her 'new'...
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Oct 09 2018

Impostors by Scott Westerfeld

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Allen and Unwin, 2018. ISBN 9781760528249
(Age: 13+) Highly recommended. Themes: Dystopian fiction. Good and evil. Rebellions. Coming of age. Adventure. Scott Westerfeld has returned to the world of his very popular and engrossing series,...
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Oct 09 2018

Oi duck-billed platypus! by Kes Gray

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Ill. by Jeff Field. Hodder Children's Books, 2018. ISBN 9781444937329
(Age: 4+) Highly recommended. Themes: Animals, Verse, Word play, Alliteration, Humour. Following on from the success of the zany fun filled humour of the "Oi" books (Oi Frog (2015) Oi Dog (2016), and...
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Oct 09 2018

James Jellybean and the colour green by Cheryl Ann Knights

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Ill. by Leigh Hedstrom. Little Steps, 2018. ISBN 9780648267300
(Age: 3+) Recommended. James Jellybean likes everything that is green. He lives in a green house, has green hair and even his pet is green.
The illustrations in this book are clear and bold, and they tie with the story...
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Oct 09 2018

Lottie Perkins series by Katrina Nannestad

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Ill. by Makoto Koji. ABC Books, 2018.
Movie Star ISBN 9780733339059
Ballerina ISBN 9780733339066
Pop Singer ISBN 9780733339073
Fashion Designer ISBN 9780733339080
(Age: Emerging readers) Charlotte (you can call me Lottie) Perkins is an...
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Oct 09 2018

An anthology of intriguing animals by Ben Hoare

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DK, 2018. ISBN 9780241334393
Our planet is inhabited by so many different species, each of them fascinating in their own way. Over 100 of them, from the orca to the otter, the giraffe to the ant and all stops in between have been collected together in this beautifully presented book that...
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Oct 08 2018

Sonam and the silence by Eddie Ayres

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Ill. by Ronak Taher, Allen and Unwin, 2018. ISBN 9781760293666
(Ages: 5+) Highly recommended. Themes: Afghanistan, Taliban, Music, Children in war. Denied music at home after the Taliban take over Kabul, Sonam is told by her brother to wear a headscarf once she turns seven. She is now...
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Oct 08 2018

A song only I can hear by Barry Jonsberg

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Allen and Unwin, 2018. ISBN 9781760630836
(Age: Secondary) Recommended for a library collection that has a LGBTIQ+ section. Themes: Anxiety; Friendship; Family relationships; Love and relationship; Transgender children; Secrets; Identity. Darwin author, Barry Jonsberg, has perfected the...
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Oct 08 2018

The Wizards of Once : Twice Magic by Cressida Cowell

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Wizards of Once, book 2. Hodder Children's Books, 2018. ISBN 9781444941425
(Age: 10+) Highly recommended. At the start of this book we find our unlikely heroes locked up: Xar in a prison that nobody gets out of, Wish in the punishment cupboard of her mother's warrior...
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Oct 08 2018

Lucia and Lawrence by Joanna Francis

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New Frontier, 2018. ISBN 9781925594157
(Age: 3+) Recommended. Themes: Friendship, Difference. "Lucia is creative, and Lawrence loves numbers. Can they find a middle ground and stay friends?" (Publisher)
This is a book about friendship. Friends can be unpredictable and not always act...
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Oct 08 2018

Mallee Boys by Charlie Archbold

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Wakefield Press, 2018. ISBN 97817430550007
(Age: 12+) Highly recommended. Themes: Siblings, Family, Death, Drought. Setting is everything in this story of one family's response to the tragic death of their wife and mother. Killed in a car accident in Melbourne, Ellie kept the household...
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Oct 08 2018

The Harper Effect by Taryn Bashford

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Pan Macmillan 2018. ISBN 9781760552091
(Age: 12+) Highly recommended. Themes: Tennis, Competition. Harper is determined to make it in the tennis world, despite her namesake, 1940's tennis hopeful, Harper losing his tennis match in a record breaking eighteen minutes. But she loses all...
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Oct 05 2018

The Calculating Stars by Mary Robinette Kowal

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Lady Astronaut book 2. St Martin's Press, 2018. ISBN 9780765378385
(Age: Adult-Senior secondary) Recommended. Themes: Science fiction, Women astronauts, Space colonies, Mathematicians, Gender stereotyping, Racism. This follows the heroine in the award winning The lady...
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Oct 05 2018

The Queen of Sorrow by Sarah Beth Durst

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The Queens of Renthia book 3. HarperCollins, 2018. ISBN 9780062413383
(Age: 15+) Recommended. Themes: Fantasy. Ambition. Family. Durst brings her unique series to a satisfying conclusion in the third book in the series, following...
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Oct 05 2018

Dog Man: Lord of the Fleas by Dav Pilkey

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Dog Man book 5. Graphix, 2018. ISBN 9780545935173
(Age: 7+) Highly recommended. Another in the wonderful Dog Man series (others reviewed are Dog Man, ...
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Oct 05 2018

The Magic Pudding by Norman Lindsay

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HarperCollins, 2018. ISBN 9781460756201
Written a century ago to settle an argument with his friend Bertram Stevens who believed children liked to read about fairies while Norman Lindsay believed they liked to read about food, The Magic Pudding is now celebrating its 100th...
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Oct 05 2018

Where does a giraffe go to bed? by Craig MacLean

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HarperCollins, 2018. ISBN 9781460752272
(Age: Preschool) "When it's too dark to see, a koala sleeps in a tree."
Sleeping until tomorrow, a wombat snores in its burrow."
But where does a giraffe go to bed?
We all need to sleep but not everything curls up in a soft, warm...
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Oct 04 2018

In a house of lies by Ian Rankin

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Inspector Rebus book 22. Orion, 2018. ISBN 9781409176893
(Age: Senior secondary - Adult) Highly recommended. Themes: Mystery. Detectives. Murder, Police corruption. When a missing investigator is found in the boot of a car, years after he went missing, it is in an area that was...
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Oct 04 2018

The Princess in Black and the Science Fair Scare by Shannon Hale and Dean Hale

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Candlewick Press, 2018. ISBN 9780763688271
(Age: 5-8) Highly recommended. Themes: Fantasy. Princesses. Humour, STEM. Princess Magnolia is off to the Inter-kingdom Science Fair with her entry, a poster about seeds and plants. When she arrives, she sees all the things that her friends have...
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Oct 04 2018

Where in the wild by Poppy Bishop and Jonny Lambert

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Little Tiger, 2018. ISBN 9781848699557
Inspired by Theodore Roosevelt saying, "The wildlife and its habitat cannot speak, so we must and we will", this book takes the young reader on a journey through the world's key habitats and introduces them to some of the creatures that live within...
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Oct 04 2018

The LEGO Book - 60th Anniversary Edition by Daniel Lipkowitz

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DK, 2018. ISBN 9780241314227
(Age: All) In 1932 and facing the Great Depression which was engulfing the world, Danish master carpenter Ole Kirk Kristiansen closed his carpentry business and turned his attention to making wooden toys for children. Fifteen years later, after World War...
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