Temora and the Wordsnatcher by Kate Gordon

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Temora Murphy is eleven years old. She lives in a world where she never really fits. The other girls make fun of her. She's not the "right" sort of girl for anyone - least of all her mother. On the candles of her birthday cake, she wishes for escape. Like magic, in a black pearl box at the bottom of her garden, books begin to appear. The books help her to leave her world and find another where she belongs.

On her twelfth birthday, Temora makes another wish, a wish that alters her life forever. Temora Tempest is welcomed into a world within a book, where everyone else has been waiting for her. But when some of the other apprentices fall victim to a magical disease that could only be caused by one person - a monster thought long dead - Temora realises that there can be darkness in every story. And that it might be her job to save everyone.

Described by the publisher as "a literary children's story; a portal fantasy work, featuring a diverse cast of characters and a protagonist who marches to the beat of her own drum" this is a story for all those girls like my now-Ms 17 who go through primary school more in touch with the characters in stories than the luminaries of social media and who can not only transport themselves deep into a story but have a solid conversation as though they were a real part of it. Although S grew up in a loving family with a loving mother, and did not have the same adventures as Temora, she certainly had the confidence to march to the beat of her own drum because of her reading (and still does), and would have loved this book when she was in her late primary years.

A complex read for independent readers who would like to find themselves in their favourite stories it is one to snuggle up with on cold winter nights, particularly as the next in this Wordspinner series - Temora and the Dreamers - will be out in September.

Themes: Fantasy.

Barbara Braxton