Category Archives: Blog

Re-engaging with the classics

Literary classics have a bit of a PR problem – while they have stood the test of time because of their brilliant plotting, excellent writing and timeless messages, their longevity can also mean archaic language and a fusty image.  If you love the classics, but don’t know how to introduce them to your young readers, Booko can show you how.  Here are classic literature ideas for young readers – from babies all the way to young adults.

1001 Children’s Books You Must Read Before You Grow Up edited by Julia Eccleshare

Everyone loves a list, and this one is great fun to browse as well as a fantastic reference.   These 1001 titles have been chosen by Julia Eccleshare, a writer, reviewer and editor who has worked with children’s literature for almost 40 years.  It’s a good overview of the best children’s books from across the ages and around the world, including translated titles.  The books are grouped by reading age, and there are reviews of favourite books written by beloved authors including Margaret Atwood, Judy Blume and Philip Pullman.  Leave this book lying around and everyone will want a turn flicking through.  For those with teen readers, pair it with it’s grown-up cousin, 1001 Books You Must Read Before You Die edited by Peter Boxall.

Little Miss Shelley: Frankenstein – an Anatomy Primer by Jennifer Adams

The super-cute BabyLit series enables discerning parents to introduce babies to their favourite literary characters! The sturdy board book format is perfect for little hands (and mouths); the artwork is stylish, colourful and fun; and each title matches a classic story to a related concept.  The latest titles include Frankenstein (about anatomy) and A Midsummer Night’s Dream (about fairies). There’s also Jane Eyre  (counting), Jungle Book  (animals) and many more.

 

The Oxford Treasury of Fairy Tales retold by Geraldine McCaughrean

The Oxford Treasury of Fairy Tales is a classic example of a book gift that can be enjoyed for years to come.  It is a bumper edition of twenty stories, ranging from Sleeping Beauty and Snow White, to The Dancing Princesses and Tamlin.   Pastel illustrations in jewel tones add a vibrant yet dreamy quality. These beloved stories have been retold in hypnotic, poetic language by the award-winning Geraldine McCaughrean – her style makes these stories seem ancient and fresh all at once.  If myths and legends are more your style, Geraldine McCaughrean has also done excellent retellings of Greek Myths and Roman Myths, with illustrations by Emma Chichester-Clark.

Kristy’s Great Idea by Ann M. Martin and Raina Telgemeier

Add a superstar comic artist to a beloved series and you get a modern classic ready to engage with new (and old) readers. Raina Telgemeier has amply demonstrated her ability to depict tween/teen relationships in bestselling graphic novels such as Smile and Sisters; The Baby-Sitters Club was a hugely-successful series, now celebrated for its girl-power message and its efforts in highlighting issues such as divorce, chronic illness and racism.  This full-colour graphic novel edition of Kristy’s Great Idea is gorgeous to look at, and introduces readers to how the series begins.  Books 1-4 are also available as a box set, while the original novels have also been republished.

 

Burning Maze (The Trials fo Apollo Book 3) by Rick Riordan

Burning Maze is the latest instalment in the Trials of Apollo series, where Apollo finds himself stranded in the body of a teenage New Yorker, as punishment for angering his father Zeus.   To return to Olympus, Apollo has to complete five impossible tasks – without access to his godly powers.  In Burning Maze, it’s two down, three to go.  Rick Riordan has won many fans with his action-packed adventures firmly rooted in Greek / Roman / Egyptian / Norse mythologies. Not only does he achieve the seamless blending of modern fantasy with ancient mythology, he has also updated the deities in witty ways.  For other modern updates for middle-grade readers, try Four Children and It by Jacqueline Wilson.

 

 

Hamlet by John Marsden

The challenge in making Classics appeal to teens is how to minimise the daunting reputation of the historical language while letting their gripping plots – full of love, grief, angst – shine.  The solution (particularly for Shakespeare’s works) lies in re-imagining these stories in vivid, modern prose.  While John Marsden’s terrific version of Hamlet stays close to the original, he views Hamlet as a teenager – young, vulnerable and relatable.  Other retellings give fresh perspectives through the eyes of a different / minor character – such as I am Juliet by Jackie French, Ophelia by Lisa Klein, or The Secret Diary of Lydia Bennet by Natasha Farrant.

Top Picks for Reluctant Readers

The term ‘reluctant reader’ is a tricky one because there are a number of reasons why a child may pause before picking up a book…we think it’s super important to recognise why somebody is reluctant and the reasons range from low reading confidence to a lack of interest. Here are our top picks that are bound to pique interest from children who would rather do anything else than pick up a book.

 

Laugh Out Loud by James Patterson

James Patterson creates books kids love, and his latest book is all about a boy who decides to create books kids love by setting up his own book company. Jimmy is determined to follow his dream of a company run by kids for kids, despite the scepticism of parents, teachers and the bank. The story mixes real life and fantasy, and along the way slips lots of recommendations for other unputdownable children’s books. The pacey narrative, variety of scenes and events, and Jimmy’s straight-to-camera narrative keeps the pages turning nicely.

 

 

 

Little Red Reading Hood by Lucy Rowland

Whilst leaving footpaths should never be done, Straying from stories is all sorts of fun!

Little Red Reading Hood loves reading books and making up stories of her own. When she meets a cunning wolf while on her way to the library, he convinces her to stray from the path and read for a little while. But hasn’t she read this in a story before? Perhaps it’s time she came up with a new ending . . .

This is a contemporary and fun take on the classic fairy tale, Little Red Riding Hood. Created by incredible new picture book partnership, Lucy Rowland and Ben Mantle, Little Red Reading Hood will inspire children, and adults, about the magic of books and reading.

 

 

The Superhero Handbook by James Doyle

There’s no excuse for anyone who, having read this book from cover to cover and followed its instructions carefully, does not emerge a superhero. Contained within its pages is a complete superhero training course. Not only do you learn how to invent your superhero name, and how to choose a sidekick, but you can also have a go at some special superhero activities, such as making a mini jet-pack (you’ll need string, a straw, sticky tape and a balloon), or an electro-magnet. The superhero fun and games are very entertaining, as are the science bits, and it’s all delivered in a friendly, knowing and thoroughly engaging way. An unusual information activity book that cleverly mixes science learning with the allure of superhero-dom.

 

Planet Stan by Elaine Wickson

Space, family relationships, friendships are all cleverly and vividly described in this entertaining story. Stan is a nerdy but very likeable hero, who wants nothing more than to win a telescope in the science fair so that he can study space. The main obstacle to this and indeed all Stan’s hopes and wishes, is his little brother Fred, a dinosaur-obsessed five-year-old tornado of destruction and unpredictability. Super-orderly Stan resorts to a range of charts and measuring devices to fill us in on his life – pie-charts, ordinary charts, illustrated diagrams, Venn diagrams – and together with his lugubrious, sometimes agonised delivery, it makes for fast and very funny reading. Readers will be on Stan’s side from the start, and this will speak to anyone who has, is or knows a younger brother or sister.

 

Just Plain Weird by Kaye Umanksy

The Primms and the Weirds are two totally different families. The Primms are fish-eating, hedge-trimming, neighbourhood-watching, they are as strait-laced as they come, while the Weirds are just, weird! Mum is a stunt woman, Dad is an inventor, Gran is very, very small. Despite their differences, when the Weirds move in next door, Pinch Primm becomes friends with Ott Weird, and their adventures make wonderfully comic reading. There are three different stories, each is short, very funny and with a momentum that keeps the pages turning right until the end.

 

 

 

 

 

The World’s Worst Children by David Walliams

Are you ready to meet the World’s Worst Children? Five beastly boys and five gruesome girls! Like Sofia Sofa a TV super-fan so stuck to the sofa that she’s turning into one! or Dribbling Drew a boy whose drool gets him into trouble on a school trip! and not to forget Blubbering Bertha a girl who bawls and tells terrible tales!

David Walliams has created a collection of wickedly funny, deliciously mischievous tales, illustrated in glorious colour by the artistic genius Tony Ros.

 

Enjoy!

The best children’s books you might never have heard of

I love hearing about new or ‘new to me’ children’s books as it’s great to mix-up children’s reading options with some different choices. Sometimes I feel like I know some children’s books off by heart, I have read them so often (like the Mr McGee and some of the Julia Donaldson titles), but I love gifting books that are a bit more unusual. Special books span generations within families, long after the Kmart ‘trend of the moment’ has passed.

Chances are, you may well have heard of some of these titles as they have won a string of awards, but they’re definitely not some of the more well-known children’s books.

I discovered The Mysteries of Harris Burdick by Chris van Allsburg as an adult, studying teaching and absolutely loved it. It’s a picture book containing a series of images by Harris Burdick, a man who mysteriously disappeared. This book is a great resource to start the story-writing process with small children. Many famous authors have written short stories prompted by the stunning black and white images. There is a sinister nature to some of the pictures so best to use with mid-Primary students and above.

When I remember some of the lessons we were taught as kids in schools, I loved collective nouns – in particular, ‘a murder of crows’. I heard about Jennifer Crossin’s beautiful book 101 Collective Nouns just the other day. It’s beautifully illustrated and each page features an image of a different collective noun. This book is lovely to give as a gift and perfect to read aloud with younger readers.

 

 

Love a book that starts a discussion? Try Ask me by Antje Damm. I love this book, the questions and images are thought provoking and it’s quite a precious book to share with children.  Each page features a question such as ‘Can you see animals in the sky?’ or ‘How do you know that you are growing?’. It’s thought provoking and I see it as a great resource to use with the thinkers and dreamers of the world. In a sea of wonderful fiction written for children, this is a great alternative.

If you are searching for engaging titles for Mid-Primary age boys I feel like your options are either a focus on toilet humour (bum jokes) or the Harry Potter series. Of course there are plenty of girls who enjoy these genres, too. I was delighted to discover the Mr Gum books by Andy Stanton recently and fell in love. Don’t get me wrong, these books do contain their fair share of toilet humour, too. But it’s more their rambling, conversational style and nonsensical plot lines that kids love. They’re silly and crazy in a Roald Dahl and Spike Milligan style, making them hugely popular and very readable.

The Sammy Keyes series by Wendelin Van Draanen were a recent discovery and feature a strong female protagonist who is an unofficial teenage detective, as well as dealing with the ups and downs of personal relationships.  A character with spunk and heart, the Sammy Keyes books are terrific for readers aged 10-16 as they show the main character struggling to fit in and manage complex feelings, as well as solve mysteries in her new home town.

 

 

If you know of some less well-known titles, we would love to hear from you at Booko!

Emerging authors of 2018 and their page turning novels.

It’s exciting to find a new author…and especially one who has you completely absorbed into their debut novel that you wish never finished…or that they would release another straight away!

We’re excited to share a few emerging authors who are bound to have you hooked from page one.

 

Lullaby by Leila Slimani

Okay, so this isn’t a debut novel but we’ve only just become aware of Slimani’s body of work and it’s amazing. Lullaby is a dark psychological thriller that opens with the murder of two young children by their nanny…hooked already right? When Myriam, a French-Moroccan lawyer, decides to return to work after having children, she and her husband look for the perfect caretaker for their two young children. They never dreamed they would find Louise: a quiet, polite and devoted woman who sings to their children, cleans the family’s chic apartment in Paris’s upscale tenth arrondissement, stays late without complaint and is able to host enviable birthday parties. The couple and nanny become more dependent on each other. But as jealousy, resentment and suspicions increase, Myriam and Paul’s idyllic tableau is shattered.

 

The Mermaid and Mrs Hancock by Imogen Hermes Gowar

This is a spell-binding story of curiosity and obsession where Imogen Hermes Gowar has created an unforgettable jewel of a novel, filled to the brim with intelligence, heart and wit where Gowar explores issues of class, family and women’s role in society.

One September evening in 1785, the merchant Jonah Hancock hears urgent knocking on his front door. One of his captains is waiting eagerly on the step. He has sold Jonah’s ship for what appears to be a mermaid. As gossip spreads through the docks, coffee shops, parlours and brothels, everyone wants to see Mr Hancock’s marvel. Its arrival spins him out of his ordinary existence and through the doors of high society. At an opulent party, he makes the acquaintance of Angelica Neal, the most desirable woman he has ever laid eyes on and a courtesan of great accomplishment. This meeting will steer both their lives onto a dangerous new course, on which they will learn that priceless things come at the greatest cost.

 

Brother by David Chariandy

This is the second novel by Chariandy and if it is anything like his first (which won a whopping 11 awards) it’s expected to be an enthralling book exploring universal themes of love between brothers as well as race, masculinity and the challenges faced by immigrant families.

Brother is the story of two sons of Trinidadian immigrants coming of age amidst the hip-hop scene on the deprived outskirts of Toronto, Canada in the Eighties and Nineties. Weaving past and present, the story explores the relationship between the boys and their mother struggling to make ends meet in their adopted home, the prejudices and low expectations they face each day, and a tragic event that changes their lives irrevocably.

 

White Chrysanthemum by Mary Lynn Bracht

White Chrysanthemum is the debut novel by Mary Lynn Bracht who was originally studying to be a fighter pilot when she visited her mother’s childhood village and the seeds of this novel were laid. This is a story of two sisters separated by the Second World War in South Korea when Hana, a proud haenyeo (a female diver of the sea), saw her younger sister captured and forced to become a “comfort woman” in a Japanese military brothel.

One day Hana sees a Japanese soldier heading for where Emi is guarding the day’s catch on the beach. Her mother has told her again and again never to be caught alone with one. Terrified for her sister, Hana swims as hard as she can for the shore.

So begins the story. Switch-backing between Hana in 1943 and Emi as an old woman today, White Chrysanthemum takes us into a dark and devastating corner of history. But pulling us back into the light are two women whose love for one another is strong enough to triumph over the evils of war.

 

The Feed by Nick Clark Windo

Nick Clark Windo has written a startling and timely debut which presents a world and explores what it is to be human in the digital age. How it makes us…and how it destroys us.

The Feed is everywhere. It can be accessed by anyone, at any time. Every interaction, every emotion, every image can be shared through it. Tom and Kate use The Feed, but they have resisted addiction to it which will serve them well when The Feed collapses. Until their six-year-old daughter, Bea, goes missing. How do you find someone in a world devoid of technology? And what happens when you can no longer trust that your loved ones are really who they claim to be?

 

 

Enjoy!

I have a great idea for a book… what do I do next?

You have lots of great ideas that you want to turn into a book – that’s wonderful! Now the hard work starts.  Much needs to happen before an idea becomes a full-grown manuscript.  The first step is to hone your writing skills, through advice from other writers and from your potential readers too. Here are some ideas on where to get that support:

On Writing: a Memoir of the Craft by Stephen King

Part-memoir and part-masterclass, On Writing dispels any doubt that a wealth of knowledge and writing skills underpins Stephen King’s prolific output. He starts with a mini-autobiography, discussing his childhood, and the experiences and influences that helped him to become the author he is; this morphs into a section of advice to budding writers, drawn from questions he had been asked (and some he wished he had).  The final section of the book is a raw and compelling description of his recovery from his near-fatal car accident in 1999.  In serious pain and frustrated with his incapacity, it’s no exaggeration to say that the act of writing helped him to survive that difficult time.

20 Master Plots and How to Build Them by Ronald B. Tobias

This is a fascinating piece of literary analysis as well as a useful writer’s resource. Ronald B. Tobias shows how most powerful, engaging stories fall within 20 timeless and universal “Master Plots” – such as Quest, Adventure, Forbidden Love, and Transformation. Each chapter of this book examines one Master Plot, analysing and explaining how it works, illustrating with literary and cinematic examples, and concluding with checklists that keep writers on-track. Ronald B. Tobias also shows how to adapt and develop these themes to suit your characters, making your fiction more cohesive and convincing.

Why We Write About Ourselves: Twenty Memoirists on why they Expose Themselves (and Others) in the Name of Literature edited by Meredith Maran

Autobiography is the ultimate “writing about what we know”, but laying bare our lives and those of our circles is fraught with social and emotional risks. Here, 20 memoirists including Cheryl Strayed (Wild) and Ayelet Waldman (Bad Mother), tell us why and how they do it.  Many of this diverse and talented group talk about a compulsion to write, hoping that their stories will resonate with and help someone else.  Others dispense advice on how to handle the (both positive and negative) reactions to their work. Part bibliography, part personal reflection and part writer’s manual, Why We Write About Ourselves is inspiring and highly readable.

The Magic Words: Writing Great Books for Children and Young Adults by Cheryl Klein

Cheryl Klein is an experienced editor at Scholastic Books, and this is her comprehensive guide to crafting great middle-grade and young adult fiction.  Her advice ranges from writing and editing to pitching your idea, navigating the publication process and choosing an agent. A range of writing exercises will challenge you to analyse, critique and revise your work.  The Magic Words offers a nice balance between encouragement with pragmatism, and the wealth of insider tips will help you refine your masterpiece into a compelling, publishable form.

Once Upon a Slime: 45 Fun Ways to Get Writing… Fast! by Andy Griffiths and Terry Denton

Once Upon a Slime encourages kids to have fun creating stories and playing with words.  Drawing upon the skills of the hugely successful Andy Griffiths and Terry Denton, this book can be enjoyed on many different levels – as an activity book, as a series of writing exercises, as Andy Griffiths’ story on how he became a writer, and also as a sneak peek at the creative processes of this mighty duo.  Once Upon a Slime is simply fun to read, full of examples from Andy and Terry’s books. It speaks directly to kids and young people but is also useful for teachers and caregivers – make this your go-to guide for encouraging young people to start writing.

 

Using Social Media to Develop your Writing Career

The rise of social media has changed the publishing landscape profoundly.  It has enabled authors to engage with potential readers even before publication; it has helped authors to connect and form supportive communities; and it has created new pathways to publication, either by self-publishing, or by attracting publishers through your profile as a blogger / social media influencer. Here are two writer- and writing-specific communities worth your attention:

Tablo (tablo.io) is a self-publishing platform that also helps writers engage with their readers – and for readers to discover new books and/or writers in their favourite genres. Writers can upload works-in-progress to seek feedback.  Publishers also have a presence on Tablo, and there are communities offering advice to aspiring writers.

Wattpad (wattpad.com) is a reading app with social networking features that helps writers interact with readers and promote their work.  Wattpad has become a huge repository of user-generated stories, some of which have been adapted into successful TV series and movies.  Wattpad also hosts writing contests and has helped secure book deals for their most popular contributors.

Top 5 Books Leadership Books to Read in 2018

They say that some people are born natural leaders… but given the boom currently occurring in the business section genre of books we are starting to think that perhaps great leaders are actually mentored and curated. Regardess, before you can lead someone else, be it a group or a company, you must first be able to lead yourself and that requires discipline, self-actualisation, sense of purpose, and humility.

There are a plethora of titles available on the topic of leadership and we have found our top five.

Let’s dive in and get inspired…

 

Radical Candor: Be a Kick-Ass Boss Without Losing Your Humanity by Kim Scott

From the time we learn to speak, we’re told that if you don’t have anything nice to say, don’t say anything at all. When you become a manager, it’s your job to say it–and your obligation.

Author Kim Scott was an executive at Google and then at Apple, where she worked with a team to develop a class on how to be a good boss. She has earned growing fame in recent years with her vital new approach to effective management, Radical Candor.

Radical Candor is a simple idea: to be a good boss, you have to Care Personally at the same time that you Challenge Directly. When you challenge without caring it’s obnoxious aggression; when you care without challenging it’s ruinous empathy. When you do neither it’s manipulative insincerity.

This simple framework can help you build better relationships at work, and fulfill your three key responsibilities as a leader: creating a culture of feedback (praise and criticism), building a cohesive team, and achieving results you’re all proud of.

Radical Candor offers a guide to those bewildered or exhausted by management, written for bosses and those who manage bosses. Taken from years of the author’s experience, and distilled clearly giving actionable lessons to the reader; it shows managers how to be successful while retaining their humanity, finding meaning in their job, and creating an environment where people both love their work and their colleagues.

 

Sprint: How to solve big problems and test new ideas in just 5 days by Jake Knapp

Entrepreneurs and leaders face big questions every day – What’s the most important place to focus your effort, and how do you start? What will your idea look like in real life? How many meetings and discussions does it take before you can be sure you have the right solution? Now there’s a surefire way to answer these important questions: the sprint. Designer Jake Knapp created the five day process at Google, where sprints were used on everything from Google Search to Google X. He joined Braden Kowitz and John Zeratsky at Google Ventures, and together they have completed more than one hundred sprints with companies in mobile, e-commerce, healthcare, finance, and more. Sprint is a practical guide to answering critical business questions. Sprint is a book for teams of any size, from small startups to Fortune 100s, from teachers to nonprofits. It’s for anyone with a big opportunity, problem, or idea who needs to get answers today.

 

Superbosses: How Exceptional Leaders Nurture Talent by Sydney Finkelstein

Superbosses exist in nearly every industry, from the glamorous to the mundane. They are defined by consistent success in their fields and their approach to finding, nurturing and developing talent. If you study the top fifty leaders in any field, as many as one third will have once worked for a superboss. After ten years of research and more than two hundred interviews with superbosses including technology CEO Larry Ellison and fashion pioneer Ralph Lauren, Finkelstein explores this previously unidentified phenomenon and shows how each of us can emulate their best tactics to create our own powerful networks of extraordinary talent.

 

 

The Culture Code: The Secrets of Highly Successful Groups by Daniel Coyle

What links a call centre in Bangalore, the 2010 Chilean mining accident and the New England Patriots? The answer: all are examples of successful organisational cultures, where individuals bond together to form a motivated, cohesive and cooperative team. In Culture Code, Daniel Coyle employs the latest psychological research to investigate how successful cultures are created and what we can learn from them. Drawing on examples from business, sports, the arts and family life, he reveals how high-performing cultures ignite motivation and encourage cooperation by tapping into a common language of subconscious signals to which we’re built to respond. As in the case of the Chilean mining accident, a culture built on trust and cooperation can be the difference between disaster and salvation. In business, the effects are scarcely less drastic according to a recent Harvard study, a strong, aligned culture can increase revenues by 516 per cent and net income by 756 per cent. Culture Code reveals for the first time the building blocks and shared language of successful cultures, and shows how we can all follow the same basic principles to improve our community.

 

and finally, one of our all time favourites…

 

Start with Why: How Great Leaders Inspire Everyone To Take Action by Simon Sinek

Simon Sinek has one of the most popular Ted Talks ever unearthing why some people are more successful than others. You can view the Ted Talk here.

Why are some people and organisations more inventive, pioneering and successful than others? And why are they able to repeat their success again and again? In business, it doesn’t matter what you do, it matters why you do it. “Start with Why” analyses leaders like Martin Luther King Jr and Steve Jobs and discovers that they all think in the same way and they all started with why. Simon Sinek explains the framework needed for businesses to move past knowing what they do to how they do it, and then to ask the more important question – Why? Why do we do what we do? Why do we exist? Learning to ask these questions can unlock the secret to inspirational business. Sinek explains what it truly takes to lead and inspire and how anyone can learn how to do it.

 

Enjoy!

Top 5 Books on Friendship

Friendships are amazing things, they have the power to shape someone’s life, and many influence who we become. Every now and again a book comes along that truly depicts what it is like to be amongst the throws of a great friendship and we think we have found a few that do just that. We’ve also spotted one that explores the language within female friendships and one that takes us on a journey of friendships though our lifecycle.

Let’s get started…

Living The Dream by Lauren Berry

Living The Dream is a sharp satire of modern British life. It features Emma, who should be a writer (but works in corporate advertising) and Clem, just back in London from New York, who is on the path to becoming a successful screenwriter (but works in a bar and lives with her mum).

Both women navigate the challenges of dreams and aspirations vs. reality, of having the guts to take a risk vs. selling out. Amid the big questions, Emma and Clem also find themselves faced with life’s little challenges: how to look happy at work, what to do with undesirable colleagues, how a hen party can go horribly wrong and what (not) to wear at a ‘well-ness’ spa.

 

 

Invincible Summer by Alice Adams

Inseparable through university, Eva, Benedict, Sylvie and Lucien graduate into an exhilarating world on the brink of the new millennium. Eager to shrug off the hardships of her childhood, Eva breaks away to work at a big bank. Benedict stays behind to complete his PhD in Physics and pine for Eva, while siblings Sylvie and Lucien pursue a more bohemian existence. But as their twenties give way to their thirties, the four friends find their paths diverging as they struggle to navigate broken hearts and thwarted dreams. With every summer that passes, they try to remain as close as they once were, but this is far from easy. One friend’s triumph coincides with another’s disaster, one finds love as another loses it, and one comes to their senses as another is changing their mind. It’s a novel about finding the courage to carry on despite life not always turning out as expected, and a powerful testament to love and friendship as the constants in an ever-changing world. Invincible Summer is a dazzling depiction of the highs and lows of adulthood and the greater forces that shape us.

 

 

Before Everything by Victoria Redel

End of sixth grade they made it their official name. It was a joke one afternoon but they liked the way it sounded. Permanent. The Old Friends. This way, the five girls agree, it’s just a fact. And ours forever. Anna, Molly, Ming, Caroline, Helen: the Old Friends.

Since adopting their official name aged eleven, they have seen each other through careers, children, illnesses, marriage, divorce, addiction, fame, fall outs. But now, Anna, a fiercely loved mother and friend, and the Old Friends’ glue is diagnosed with cancer again, and this time, tired of recoveries and relapses, pitying looks and exhausting regimes, she simply says: no more.

As her health declines, the politics of the still lived in world merge with memories of the past while each Old Friend tries to accept the truth of what is happening: they are losing someone they cannot imagine life without. Some will fight her decision, some will accept it, but all will rejoice in a life fully lived.

 

 

You’re the Only One I Can Tell by Deborah Tannen

Deborah Tannen has explored the way we talk at work, in arguments, to our mothers and our daughters and now she turns to that most intense, precious and potential minefield: women’s friendships. Best friend, old friend, good friend, new friend, neighbour, fellow mother at the school gate, workplace confidante: women’s friendships are crucial. A friend can be like a sister, daughter, mother, mentor, therapist or confessor. She can also be the source of pain and betrayal.

From casual chatting to intimate confiding, from talking about problems to sharing funny stories, there are patterns of communication and miscommunication that affect friendships. Tannen shows how even the best of friends, with the best intentions, can say the wrong thing, how the ways women friends talk can bring friends closer or pull them apart, but also how words can repair the damage done by words. She explains the power of women friends who show empathy and can just listen; how women use talk to connect and to subtly compete; how fears of rejection can haunt friendships; how social media is reshaping relationships.

Exploring what it means to be friends, helping us hear what we are really saying, understanding how we connect to other people, this illuminating and validating book gets inside the language of one of most women’s life essentials – female friendships.

 

 

The F Word by Lily Pebbles

The F Word is a debut book by blogging sensation Lily Pebbles (you can check out her blog here) who is one of the pioneers of the industry. She’s amassed a massive league of loyal followers of her blog and self-named YouTube channel (which you can find here) for content that covers a range of beauty, style and advice. The anticipation for her book is huge.

If there’s one piece of invaluable advice for women and girls of all ages, it is that there is nothing more important than creating and maintaining strong, positive and happy friendships with other women. In a culture that largely pits women against each other, Lily Pebbles wants to celebrate female friendships…all strings attached! If her 1998 diary is anything to go by, female friendships are incredibly complex and emotional but they’re the mini love stories that make us who we are. For many women, friends are our partners in crime through life; they are the ones who move us into new homes, out of bad relationships, through births and illnesses. In The F Word Pebbles sets out to explore and celebrate the essence of female friendship at different life stages and in its many wild and wonderful forms.

 

Enjoy!

Top 5 Books on Community Involvement

Research has shown that the most common resolutions made each January include engaging more with a local community, building and maintaining friendships, advancing a career and becoming a better person. It is with this in mind that this month we are going to help you keep your New Year’s resolutions alive.

This week we’re looking at ways you can become involved in your local community and the change you can make to make your neighbourhood a better place to live and laugh with others. The top books we have found explore the notion of looking beyond a face and getting to know who is passing us on the street, how to make small changes locally that can take on the world and how to help the next generation value their community.

Oh, and despite the title of this blog… we actually have 6 books – it was just too hard to narrow it down…. Let’s call it a ‘bonus book’.

Let’s get started…

Chapter One by Daniel Flynn

Chapter One is the story of three kids from Melbourne, Australia with zero experience in business who had an idea and the crazy belief that they all had the power to change stuff. It started with the World Water Crisis (and how to end it) but has developed into an award-winning consumer goods brand that empowers millions of people to fight poverty with every munch of muesli, sip of water or pump of hand wash. And that’s just the beginning. This is the story of epic proportions by Thankyou co-founder Daniel Flynn about Thankyou’s gut-wrenching decisions, wild mistakes and daring moves in business, marketing and social enterprise so far. You’ll laugh at their boldness, cry at their failings and be inspired by their determination. But more than that, you’ll understand that, no matter your walk of life, you too have the power to change stuff.

 

The Promise of a Pencil: How an Ordinary Person Can Create Extraordinary Change by Adam Braun

Adam Braun began working summers at hedge funds when he was just sixteen years old, sprinting down the path to a successful Wall Street career. But while traveling he met a young boy begging on the streets of India, who after being asked what he wanted most in the world, simply answered, “A pencil”. This small request led to a staggering series of events that took Braun backpacking through dozens of countries before eventually leaving a prestigious job to found Pencils of Promise, the organisation he started with just $25 that has since built more than 250 schools around the world. The Promise of a Pencil chronicles Braun’s journey to find his calling, as each chapter explains one clear step that every person can take to turn their biggest ambitions into reality. If you feel restless and ready for transition, if you are seeking direction and purpose, this critically acclaimed bestseller is for you. Driven by inspiring stories and shareable insights, this is the book that will give you the tools to make your own life a story worth telling.

 

Humans of New York: The Stories by Brandon Stanton

We are huge fans of Brandon’s work and couldn’t go past showcasing this wonderful title again.  In the summer of 2010, photographer Brandon Stanton began an ambitious project to single handedly create a photographic census of New York City. The photos he took and the accompanying interviews became the blog Humans of New York. His audience steadily grew from a few hundred followers to, at present count, over eighteen million. In 2013, his book Humans of New York, based on that blog, was published and immediately catapulted to the top of the NY Times Bestseller List where it has appeared for over forty five weeks. Now, Brandon is back with the Humans of New York book that his loyal followers have been waiting for: Humans of New York: Stories. Ever since Brandon began interviewing people on the streets of New York, the dialogue he’s had with them has increasingly become as in depth, intriguing and moving as the photos themselves. Humans of New York: Stories presents a whole new group of people in stunning photographs, with a rich design and, most importantly, longer stories that delve deeper and surprise with greater candor. Let Brandon Stanton and the Humans of New York he’s photographed astonish you all over again.

 

Be A Changemaker: How to Start Something That Matters by Laurie Ann Thompson

At age eleven, Jessica Markowitz learned that girls in Rwanda are often not allowed to attend school, and Richards Rwanda took shape. During his sophomore year of high school, Zach Steinfeld put his love of baking to good use and started the Baking for Breast Cancer Club.
Do you wish you could make a difference in your community or even the world? Are you one of the millions of high school teens with a service-learning requirement? Either way, “Be a Changemaker” will empower you with the confidence and knowledge you need to affect real change. You’ll find all the tools you need right here: through engaging youth profiles, step-by-step exercises, and practical tips, you can start making a difference today. This inspiring guide will teach you how to research ideas, build a team, recruit supportive adults, fundraise, host events, work the media, and, most importantly, create lasting positive change. Apply lessons from the business world to problems that need solving and become a savvy activist with valuable skills that will benefit you for a lifetime.

 

UnSelfie: Why Empathetic Kids Succeed in Our All-About-Me World by Dr Michele Borba

Teens today are forty percent less empathetic than they were thirty years ago. Why is a lack of empathy, which goes hand-in-hand with the self-absorption epidemic Dr. Michele Borba calls the Selfie Syndrome, so dangerous? First, it hurts kids’ academic performance and leads to bullying behaviours. Also, it correlates with more cheating and less resilience. And once children grow up, a lack of empathy hampers their ability to collaborate, innovate and problem solve – all must have skills for the global economy. In UnSelfie Dr. Borba pinpoints the forces causing the empathy crisis and shares a revolutionary, researched based, nine-step plan for reversing it. Empathy is a trait that can be taught and nurtured. Dr. Borba offers a framework for parenting that yields the results we all want: successful, happy kids who are also kind, moral, courageous, and resilient. UnSelfie is a blueprint for parents and educators who want kids to shift their focus from I, me, and mine… to we, us, and ours.

 

100 under $100: One Hundred Tools for Empowering Global Women by Betsy Teutsch

This book is a comprehensive look at effective, low-cost solutions for helping women in the Global South out of poverty. Most books on this subject focus on one problem and one solution; author Betsy Teutsch instead spreads her net wide, sharing one hundred successful, proven paths out of poverty in eleven different sectors including tech, public health, law, finance, and more. A visually striking book full of images of vibrant, strong women farmers, health practitioners, entrepreneurs, and humanitarian tech stars doing exciting, cutting edge work. Eye opening and compelling, 100 Under $100 is an accessible entry point for globally attuned readers excited about using a broad range of tools to empower women and help alleviate poverty in the developing world.

 

Enjoy!

Top Travel Books to Encourage a Getaway

It’s been a long hot summer here in Melbourne and with February just around the corner, it’s now the time when we all start booking our getaways for later in the year. Whether you relax by spending time on a sandy beach, enjoy immersing yourself in bustling cities or prefer a simple camping trip we have some fabulous books for you to explore.

 

Wander Love by Aubrey Daquinag

Wander Love takes the world of Instagram and travel, and distils it in a beautiful pictorial book that will inspire your own adventures. Author Aubrey Daquinag is a travel blogger and photographer, most often found posting her adventures on her blog The Love Assembly from all corners of the globe. Featuring her incredible photography that shows you a world where travel meets style, her book includes sections on the essentials for a digital nomad office, how to be stylish while on the road, how to upgrade your travel photography skills, advice for solo female travellers, and unique destination guides for countries like Colombia and Morocco. Wander Love is the perfect mix of style, substance and travel adventures to inspire your own.

 

The New York Times Footsteps; From Ferrante’s Naples to Hammett’s San Francisco by The New York Times

Based on the popular New York Times travel column, Footsteps is an anthology of literary pilgrimages, exploring the geographic muses behind some of history’s greatest writers. From the “dangerous, dirty and seductive” streets of Naples, the setting for Elena Ferrante’s famous Neapolitan novels, to the “stone arches, creaky oaken doors, and riverside paths” of Oxford, the backdrop for Alice’s adventures in Wonderland, Footsteps takes a fresh approach to literary tourism, appealing to readers and travel enthusiasts alike.

 

 

 

The New Paris: The People, Places, and Ideas Fueling a Movement by Lindsey Tramuta

The city long-adored for its medieval beauty, old time brasseries, and corner cafés has even more to offer today. In the last few years, a flood of new ideas and creative locals has infused a once-static, traditional city with a new open-minded sensibility and energy. Journalist Lindsey Tramuta offers detailed insight into the rapidly evolving worlds of food, wine, pastry, coffee, beer, fashion, and design in the delightful city of Paris. Tramuta puts the spotlight on the new trends and people that are making France’s capital a more whimsical, creative, vibrant, and curious place to explore than its classical reputation might suggest. With hundreds of striking photographs that capture this fresh, animated spirit, The New Paris shows us the storied City of Light as never before.

 

Havana: A Subtropical Delirium by Mark Kurlansky

During his decade-long tenure as the Chicago Tribune’s Caribbean correspondent in the 1980s, Mark Kurlansky began traveling to Cuba. Since this introduction to the island nation, the journalist grew to know and love the beautiful, messy capital. Drawing on Havana’s history, Kurlansky starts with Columbus’ arrival in 1492 and examines the city’s role in the slave trade and its lasting effects. But he also brings us into the contemporary culture, highlighting the city’s lively music, dance and art scenes, and supplying us with recipes to tasty Cuban dishes.

 

 

 

 

Beaches by Gray Malin

Gray Malin is the artist of the moment for the Hollywood and fashion elite. His awe-inspiring aerial photographs of beaches around the world are shot from doorless helicopters, creating playful and stunning celebrations of light, shape, and perspective, as well as summer bliss. Combining the spirit of travel, adventure, luxury, and artistry, Malin built his eponymous lifestyle brand from a deep passion for photography and interior design. His work forges the synergy between wanderlust and adventure, creating the ultimate visual escape. Beaches features more than twenty cities across six continents.

 

Camping Around Australia by Explore Australia

Now on its third edition, Camping around Australia has become the go-to guide for all recreational campers. And this edition is bigger and better than ever! With over 3200 campsites included across the country, particularly highlighting free and dog-friendly campsites, the problem isn’t finding somewhere to camp – it’s deciding where to camp out of the many great options.

 

 

Enjoy!

Get the best price for textbooks with Booko Alerts

Hey Students, I know it’s still the middle of January, and preparing for the start of Uni may be the last thing on your mind; but what if a few minutes’ work now can help you save lots of dollars, that you can put towards your dream trip / job interview outfit / coffee budget? What I mean is, using Booko – and also Booko’s Alerts feature – to help you find the best prices for your textbooks.

Academic textbooks can be breathtakingly expensive – a single title can be over a hundred dollars, so imagine how much your entire list will cost! You may have used Booko before to check prices for popular titles or gifts, but Booko can also be used to search for specialist or academic texts.  All you need to do is type a book’s ISBN into the main search box (this ensures you are searching for the correct edition) and away you go.  Booko can find most books, whether they are e-Books, Reference books, Fiction or Non-Fiction.  And since Booko can locate used copies, you may be able to save even more by buying second-hand!

Booko Alerts is a set-and-forget feature that emails you as soon as a price falls below the current (or a specified) level.  Just click the Add an Alert button directly below the Cover Image on the left side of the page.  Nominate a preferred price, type in your email and the Alert is set.  Now all you need to do is wait for the Good News email!

For more detailed instructions on Booko Alerts, click here for a step-by-step guide.

To give you some idea of the sort of savings achievable through Booko, here’s a list of potential savings for some common academic texts.  The savings are based on comparing the best price and the prices charged by leading academic bookstores, as found by Booko.

A Guide to Business Law (21st edition) by Christine Miles and Warwick Dowler
Save approximately $35

 

 

 

 

 

 

On Beauty by Zadie Smith
Save approximately $7

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Psychology (4th Australian and New Zealand Edition) by Burton, Westen and Kowalski
Save approximately $100

 

 

 

 

 

Microeconomics (Second Edition) by Goolsbee, Levitt and Syverson
Save up to $600

 

 

 

 

 

 

Oxford Handbook of Clinical Medicine (10th Edition) by Wilkinson et al
Save approximately $25