Category Archives: Comedy

Literature to make you laugh

Our favourite children’s books on the market

Ahh… children’s books. We love their ability to share big ideas in fun, engaging ways; tell tales of mischief, feelings and friendship; bring characters to life through unexpected adventures; delight budding imaginations and inspire little people to become life-long readers. 

We have scoured the internet to find six of the most delightful and heart-warming children’s books that we know you are going to love reading these school holidays. 

Oli and Basil: The Dashing Frogs of Travel by Megan Hess 

Meet Oli and Basil, the dashing frogs of travel, in Megan Hess’s first World of Claris story! Two frogs dream of flying, but don’t realise that they’ll need each other to take to the skies. Oli is an artist who dreams up wild, fabulous machines, but he doesn’t know how to build them. And Basil is a master craftsman who can build anything from scratch, except he doesn’t know what to build. If only there was a way that these two dashing frogs could become friends. From the beloved creator of the Claris stories comes this heart-warming adventure about the joys of newfound friendship. You can see Megan’s other books here.

Malala Yousafzai (Little People, Big Dreams) by Maria Isabel Sanchez Vegara 

When Malala was born in Mingora, Pakistan, her father was determined she would have every opportunity that a boy would have. She loved getting an education, but when a hateful regime came to power, girls were no longer allowed to go to school. Malala spoke out in public about this, which made her a target for violence. She was shot in the left side of her head and woke up in hospital in England. Finally after long months and many surgeries, Malala recovered, and resolved to become an activist for girls’ education. Now a recent Oxford graduate, Malala continues to fight for a world where all girls can learn and lead. This powerful book features stylish and quirky illustrations and extra facts at the back, including a biographical timeline with historical photos and a detailed profile of the activist’s life. You can read Malala’s own story here.

Bedtime is Boring by David Campbell 

Billy Bunny REALLY doesn’t want to go to bed. He’s NOT tired! Not even a little bit. It may be bedtime, but Billy is NOT going quietly… See if Billy wins the bedtime battle in this hilarious sequel to Stupid Carrots, written by (a quite tired) David Campbell.

Maybe…by Chris Haughton 

Chris Haughton is a fan favourite in our household. Maybe is another funny, suspenseful and keenly observed cautionary tale about pushing boundaries and indulging your more mischievous, cheeky side (when nobody is looking). Three little monkeys, and their big monkey, are sat high up on their branch in the forest canopy. “Ok, monkeys! I’m off,” says the big monkey. “Now remember. Whatever you do, do NOT go down to the mango tree. There are tigers down there.” Mmm . mangos! think the little monkeys. They LOVE mangos. Hmm … maybe . maybe they could just look at the mangos? That’d be ok, right? You can see Chris’ other books here.

With a Little Kelp from Our Friends: The Secret Life of Seaweed by Mathew Bate 

Did you know that feeding seaweed to cows can reduce the methane in their burps and farts by more than half? Or that a forest of kelp absorbs more carbon than a tropical rainforest of the same size? We can even make edible bioplastics from seaweed! Beyond the tideline, there are around 10,000 types of seaweed. An essential ingredient for life on Earth, seaweed has sustained animals and people for many thousands of years. From ancient history and mythology to modern uses in food, health and medicine, discover how seriously cool seaweed is, and how it can even help tackle climate change. Complete with a guide to common seaweeds and foraging guidelines, this charmingly illustrated picture book will educate and inspire, and encourage respect for the natural world.

Reggie Red by Josie Layton 

With freckles and curls so big and so red, Reggie felt worried…’Just look at my head! Others have hair that is brown, blonde and flat, How can I make MY hair look like that?’ Reggie Red tells the story of a little girl who discovers that beauty is far more than what you see on the outside.

Enjoy!

Celebrating the latest Australian Non-Fiction titles

They say writing a diary is cathartic and not only serves as a method of practising your writing style but is also helpful to let go of thoughts that may be  holding you back. But would you ever be brave enough to publish it for the world to read? That’s just what these six amazing authors have done. 

Tales of people‘s lives, careers and families can be joyful, gut wrenching, horrifying and heartwarming. These Australian non-fiction titles encompass all of those. There’s something enticing about being invited to understand someone else’s life through their eyes, and once you have, you never quite think of them the same again. 


Untwisted: the Story of My Life by Paul Jennings

Sometimes, rather than making you laugh or cry out in surprise, a story will instead leave you wondering about human fragility. In the telling of his own tale, children’s author and screenwriter Paul Jennings demonstrates how seemingly small events can combine into a compelling drama. As if assembling the pieces of a jigsaw puzzle, he puts together fragments, memories and anecdotes to reveal the portrait of a complex and weathered soul. Untwisted is revealing, moving and very funny.

Truths from an Unreliable Witness: Finding laughter in the darkest of dark places by Fiona O’Loughlin

Fiona O’Loughlin was raised in the generation of children who were to be seen, but not heard, unless there were guests in the house. Then she’d watch everyone, telling stories, making each other laugh. This was where she discovered the rhythm of stories and the lubrication that alcohol lent the telling. Years later, as a mum of five, Fiona would become one of Australia’s most-loved comedians, performing gigs in New York, Montreal, Singapore, London, Toronto and Edinburgh. Fiona looked like she was living her dream but she was hiding a secret in open sight, using alcoholism as material for her comedy and using comedy as an excuse for her alcoholism.

Truths from an Unreliable Witness is a fiercely honest and wryly funny memoir of melancholy, love, marriage, the loss of love and marriage, homelessness, of hotel rooms strewn with empty mini-bar bottles of vodka, of waking from a two-week coma, of putrid drug dens and using a jungle to confront yourself. It is about hitting rock bottom and then realising you are only halfway down. Ultimately, it’s about hanging on to your last straw of sanity and finding laughter in the darkest of times. You may want to sit down for this.

The Prettiest Horse in the Glue Factory: A Memoir by Corey White

Corey White was a golden child. He knew this because his father would hit his mother and his sisters but not him. And his mother adored him so much she let him drop out of primary school. After losing his father to jail and his mother to heroin, though, he became a target for cruelty and dysfunction in foster homes. A scholarship to a prestigious boarding school lifted him out of foster care and awakened a love of learning and reading for him, but this was soon overwhelmed by a crushing depression and drug addiction. Through it all, he kept thinking, sometimes hoping, sometimes fearing, that he was destined for something bigger. Would he find salvation in the halls of a university, or a poetically grimy crack den, or through love? Or would the golden glow that had been in him since childhood ultimately fade, leaving only darkness and ruin? The Prettiest Horse in the Glue Factory is a memoir of trauma and survival that will break your heart and then show you how to rebuild it. It is a powerful, lyrical and darkly funny debut from one of Australia’s brightest young comedians.

The Tap-Dancing Knife Thrower: my life – without the boring bits by Paul Hogan

Paul Hogan first appeared on our screens in 1971 as a ‘tap dancing knife thrower’ on channel 9’s New Faces. The then father of four and Sydney Harbour Bridge rigger from Granville did it as a dare, but when the network’s switchboard lit up, he was invited back. So popular was he with viewers, Hogan became a regular on Mike Willesee’s A Current Affair. The rest, as they say, is history. In collaboration with his business partner and best friend John Cornell (who played his sidekick, Strop), he went on to become one of Australia’s favourite TV comedians. His hugely popular comedy shows and appearances in unforgettable and ground-breaking ads for cigarettes, beer and tourism, came to personify Australia and Australians here and overseas, helping to change the perception of who we are as people and as a nation. Then, in 1986, Crocodile Dundee, the movie he conceived, co-wrote and starred in, became an international smash, grossing more than a billion dollars in today’s money and earning its star an Oscar nomination. Despite the fact Hoges claimed to be ‘retired’, many more movies followed. But even as his star rose ever higher, he always expected someone to grab him by the arm and say, ‘What are you doing here? You’re just a bloody rigger!’ The Tap Dancing Knife Thrower is a funny and candid account of the astonishing life of ‘one lucky bastard’, as Hoges describes himself. Full of countless stories never previously shared and told in the comedian’s inimitable, funny and self-deprecating style, The Tap Dancing Knife Thrower is Paul Hogan’s story told his way – ‘without the boring bits’.

My Tidda, My Sister: Stories of Strength and Resilience from Australia’s First Women by Marlee Silva & Rachael Sarra

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander culture and society has existed on this continent for millennia. It is a culture that manifests as the ultimate example of resilience, strength and beauty. It is also a culture that has consistently been led by its women. My Tidda, My Sister shares the experiences of many Indigenous women and girls, brought together by author and host of the Tiddas 4 Tiddas podcast Marlee Silva. The voices of First Nation women that Marlee weaves through the book provide a rebuttal to the idea that ‘you cannot be what you cannot see’. For non-Indigenous women, it demonstrates the diversity of what success can look like and offers insight into the lives of their Indigenous sisters and peers. Featuring colourful artwork by Goreng Goreng artist Rachael Sarra, this book is a celebration of the Indigenous female experience through truth-telling. Some stories are heart-warming, others shine a light on the terrible realities for many Australian Indigenous women, both in the past and today. But what they all share is the ability to inspire and empower, creating a sisterhood that all Australian women can be part of.

Waleed Aly (I Know This to be True) On Sincerity, Compassion & Integrity by Geoff Blackwell & Waleed Aly


Created in collaboration with the Nelson Mandela Foundation, I Know This to Be True is an uplifting new series inspired by his legacy. Extraordinary figures from diverse backgrounds answer the same questions, sharing their compelling stories, guiding ideals, and insightful wisdom. The result is a collection brimming with messages of leadership, courage, compassion, and hope. These books offer encouragement and guidance to future leaders, and anyone hoping to make a positive impact on the world. 

Waleed Aly is an Australian broadcaster, journalist, academic and musician. As co-host of The Project, a daily primetime television news and current affairs programme, he is one Australia’s leading commentators on national and international issues. Reflecting on his childhood, career and values, he discusses the importance of taking risks, standing by your beliefs and above all, being honest. Self-deprecating and empathetic, his words offer hope and guidance to anyone struggling to find their way and all who champion equality.

Enjoy!

Summer reading with Booko: Greenlights

All right all right all right

Greenlights is on our summer reading list. It’s an unconventional memoir with raucous stories, wisdom, and lessons about living.


Three anti-social skills to improve your writing

You need social skills to have a conversation in real life but they’re quite different from the skills you need to write good dialogue. Educator Nadia Kalman suggests a few “anti-social skills,” like eavesdropping and muttering to yourself, that can help you write an effective dialogue for your next story in this animated Ted Ed lesson. Click to watch.