Tag Archives: #Australian

Escape to Everywhere

Australia punches well above its weight when it comes to children’s literature – so it is particularly fitting that we devote an entire week to celebrating this each year. This year’s CBCA Book Week theme is “Escape to Everywhere”, which perfectly describes what great writing means to me: whether it takes you to a fantasy land within your mind, or offers a glimpse of life elsewhere on Earth – a great book stretches your imagination and broadens your horizons.  Drumroll please for this year’s winners…

Book of the Year: Older Readers

One Would Think the Deep by Claire Zorn

Claire Zorn is a YA force to be reckoned with – all three of her novels are award-winners, including two CBCA Book of the Year awards (The Protected won in 2015).  One Would Think the Deep is about Sam, whose mum dies suddenly, shockingly, in his arms.  Having no options, he moves to the coast to live with his estranged aunt and cousins.  In this new environment, he struggles to process his grief, shock and anger – but also finds some solace in the surf.  One Would Think the Deep is almost painful to read, but Claire Zorn’s complex characterisation and raw, visceral portrayal of grief draws you in and doesn’t let go.

Book of the Year: Younger Readers

Rockhopping by Trace Balla

Trace Balla is another rising star, with both Rockhopping and its prequel, Rivertime, winning major awards. Having travelled down the Glenelg river together in Rivertime, Uncle Egg has finally agreed to take Clancy hiking to the Glenelg’s source in Gariwerd (the Grampians). During their five days in the wilderness, they see lots of flora and fauna, meet other hikers, have some scary moments – and Clancy grows up a little.  Trace Balla shows her love of nature through her incredibly detailed illustrations; she also conveys some beautiful messages about slowing down, living in the moment and respecting indigenous culture.

Book of the Year: Early Childhood

Go Home, Cheeky Animals! by Johanna Bell and Dion Beasley

Inspired by life in Tennant Creek, Go Home, Cheeky Animals! is a great book for reading aloud (loudly!), with lots of opportunities for audience participation.  There are too many cheeky dogs in Canteen Creek, but when the weather changes and more cheeky animals arrive, chaos begins! The lively rhythm of the text and child-like illustrations combine to present a hilarious and riotous scenario that will appeal to both school-aged and younger children.

Picture Book of the Year

Home in the Rain by Bob Graham

“Delightful” and “heartwarming” are no exaggeration when it comes to Bob Graham’s books – he is an expert at showing the humour and joy in the minutiae of life.  Home in the Rain starts with a little red car stuck in traffic – Francie, her mum and her baby sister (warmly tucked inside Mummy’s tum)  face a long drive on a rain-sodden day. From such an ordinary premise, Bob Graham has crafted a tender story that makes your heart glow. Home in the Rain is his eighth CBCA win – and a compelling example of why Bob Graham is one of our most beloved and awarded authors.

Eve Pownall Award for Information Books

Amazing Animals of Australia’s National Parks by Gina M. Newton

Amazing Animals of Australia’s National Parks showcases more than 120 animals from 55 National Parks around Australia – from our national icons, through birds, to fish and insects. The book is divided into seven sections, each exploring a different habitat; thus offering additional insights into geography and ecology.  Gina M. Newton and NLA Publishing have done a terrific job in making a wealth of information accessible rather than overwhelming, using a range of colour coding, charts, maps and photos. Perfect for browsing as well as for reference.

The Crichton Award for New Illustrators

The Patchwork Bike by Van T. Rudd (text by Maxine Beneba Clarke)

A streetwise gang of children build a patchwork bike using what they can find – branches for handlebars, a flour sack for a flag. This exuberant story highlights the joy of making your own fun using creativity and imagination. The setting is hugely different from suburban Australia, emphasising how play is universally valued by kids, whatever their circumstances.  The street-art style of Van T Rudd perfectly matches the rhythmic text of slam-poet Maxine Beneba Clarke.

Walk a mile in someone else’s shoes – Booko’s favourite biographies

Who needs fiction when you have biographies? Biographies can make you laugh or cry; they can offer comfort or inspiration – and sometimes all of these at once!  Whether the subjects are famous or ordinary, these stories offer insight into remarkable lives and extraordinary experiences.  Here is a selection of biographies to suit every taste:

Unmasked by Turia Pitt and Bryce Corbett

Turia Pitt was running an ultramarathon in outback Australia when she was caught in a bushfire. This accident seemed set to destroy her successful life as a mining engineer and a model – Turia barely survived her injuries, which included extensive, disfiguring burns.  With fierce determination, great courage, and the support of loving parents and a partner, Turia is not only on the road to recovery, but is achieving ever more impressive feats as a motivational speaker and endurance athlete.  Unmasked describes this new chapter in Turia’s life – how love and determination has helped her recover and thrive, and how we can all apply similar lessons in our own lives.

Lion: a Long Way Home (Young Readers Edition) by Saroo Brierley

Saroo Brierley’s remarkable story has wowed both readers and cinema-goers – in fact, Lion became one of the Highest Grossing Australian Films of All Time only a month after its release . Now children can experience the story all by themselves with this Young Readers’ edition.  Little Saroo was lost on a train in India when he was only five years old.  Far from home, with no money and no language, he had to avoid a lot of danger just to survive.  Eventually he found safety and a new life with adoptive parents in Australia.  While he loves his new parents, he never forgot his earlier life.  His search for his birth family is a fantastic, almost fairy-tale like story about hope, perseverance and technology.

More About Boy: Roald Dahl’s Tales from Childhood by Roald Dahl

Many readers love biographies because they are inspiring – stories like Unmasked and Lion describe triumphs over incredible challenges.  However, biographies can also be entertaining and fun.  More About Boy is an expanded edition of Boy, Roald Dahl’s celebrated autobiography of his childhood.   The drama and naughty humour in the original stories – including Quentin Blake’s illustrations – are still there, and have been enriched with archival material including photos, letters, and previously unpublished stories.  The result is not only very readable, but it also gives better insight into Roald Dahl as a writer.  For Roald Dahl fans of all ages!

Born on a Blue Day by Daniel Tammet

Born on a Blue Day is special because it is a first-hand account of autism.  Daniel Tammet is an autistic savant – while his ability in abstract thinking and social interactions are impaired, he has genius-level abilities in mathematics and languages.  Daniel’s combination of autistic behaviours and language expertise is particularly rare – it makes Born on a Blue Day an incredibly articulate, often lyrical, and very informative description of what it’s like to live with autism. Born on a Blue Day charts Daniel’s life from a withdrawn, often frustrating childhood to eventual success in adulthood, gaining financial independence with his own business, sustaining a long-term romantic relationship and achieving fame as a real-life “Rain Man”.

In Order to Live: a North Korean Girl’s Journey to Freedom by Yeonmi Park

North Korea is regularly in the media spotlight but little is known about this closed and secretive country.  For most of us, the only information we can get is through biographies.  Yeonmi Park joins a group of North Korean defectors who have used their life stories to publicise the plight of North Koreans.  As a child, Yeonmi lived a relatively wealthy life until her father was arrested for smuggling.  This fall from grace made the Park family’s lives increasingly dangerous and, once Yeonmi’s father was released from prison, the family attempted to escape to China.  Yeonmi and her mother endured rape and human trafficking in their long and perilous journey, having to trek across China into Mongolia, before missionaries could take them to safety in South Korea.

Dear Quentin: Letters of a Governor General by Quentin Bryce

Dear Quentin is not a biography per se but it does offer fascinating glimpses into the life of Dame Quentin Bryce and into the role of Australian Governor-General.  During her tenure (2008-2014), Quentin Bryce travelled extensively, both across Australia and internationally.  She also wrote prolifically – upwards of 50 letters a week, to people of eminence as well as ordinary citizens.  Dear Quentin is a collection of those letters, both written to and by her. The correspondence shows a warm, intelligent, articulate person meeting her demanding job with humour and dedication. Dear Quentin also celebrates the art of letter-writing, and the delight we feel when we receive one (even if we are too lazy to write them ourselves!) Royalties to this book will go towards research into child health.

Celebrated Australian books that inspire and enthral

Today is Australia Day, so I am showcasing a number of popular and highly-regarded Australian authors.  I have continued the “inspirational” theme that Team Booko has adopted during January – not only are these books interesting and entertaining, some of them are inspirational too, with authors such has Stephanie Alexander, Dr Anita Heiss and Dr Karl Kruszelnicki literally changing lives through their advocacy work.

Kitchen Garden Cooking with Kids (Second Edition) by Stephanie Alexander

Stephanie Alexander is a renowned chef; however, her greatest contribution to Australia may be her Kitchen Garden Program.  From its beginnings in one inner-suburban school, Stephanie’s dedication has inspired hundreds of kitchen gardens to be set up in schools across Australia, teaching children about gardening, cooking and healthy eating.  Jamie Oliver, another crusader for healthy eating, is a big fan of this work.  Kitchen Garden Cooking with Kids is both a guide to planning and setting up your own school kitchen garden, as well as a collection of 120 favourite recipes from the program.  These recipes introduce a variety of cooking styles, flavours and ingredients, and are designed specifically for use by children.

True History of the Kelly Gang by Peter Carey

An internationally-recognised Australian author channels an iconic Australian character.  The result is surprising and compulsively readable.  True History of the Kelly Gang purports to be Ned Kelly’s autobiography – from his childhood to his last siege at Glenrowan.  Inspired by Ned Kelly’s own writing – the remarkable Jerilderie Letter – Peter Carey has given Ned a vivid voice that is candid, defiant, sensitive and intelligent.  This version of the Ned Kelly story invites us to see his actions as the consequence of the poverty and bigotry faced by the (Irish Catholic) poor in colonial Australia.   Winner of the Booker Prize and Commonwealth Writers Prize, this new edition features a distinctive cover by Michael Leunig, making it a triple-treat of Australianness.

My Brilliant Career by Miles Franklin

My Brilliant Career – both the original novel and its 1979 film adaptation – are important to Australian cultural history.  Published in 1901, this story of a sassy, headstrong girl who relinquished romance and marriage for a writing career, was ground-breaking for its strong feminist message and its distinctive Australianess; its success became all the more sensational when “Miles Franklin” was revealed to be young and female.  The film version (1979) introduced the novel to a new generation – when its feminist message resonated strongly with the concerns of the day; it also alerted us to the emerging talents of director Gillian Armstrong, and actors Judy Davis and Sam Neill – all of whom have gone on to have truly Brilliant Careers.  Last but not least, Miles Franklin became a lifelong supporter and promoter of Australian literature – culminating in her endowment of the Miles Franklin award, now the most prestigious literary prize in Australia.

Am I Black Enough for You? by Anita Heiss

Anita Heiss is an author, academic, activist and social commentator who explores and explains contemporary Aboriginal life in Australia.  Am I Black Enough for You? is her very personal memoir; it is also the starting point for questioning what it means to be Aboriginal in modern Australia.  As a self-described “urban-based high achieving Aboriginal woman” with an Austrian father, Anita Heiss realises that she is not the sort of Aboriginal person that many would expect or want her to be.  So what constitutes “black enough”, and why should it matter?  Told in a feisty, wry voice, Am I Black Enough for You? is a Winner of the Victorian Premier’s Literary Awards.

Dr Karl’s Short Back and Science by Dr Karl Kruszelnicki
Adam Spencer’s World of Numbers by Adam Spencer

Australia’s favourite science communicators are back with new books!  Dr Karl and Adam Spencer have been entertaining and educating us with amazing and provoking facts, across just about any media you can think of – live shows, TV, radio, books and Internet.  Not only are they very witty, but they know their stuff! (Dr Karl is a qualified doctor/ physicist/ biomedical engineer, while Adam is a trained mathematician.)  In Dr Karl’s Short Back and Science, Dr Karl Kruszelnicki shares his sense of wonder about cutting-edge science, ponders over conundrums such as “what do clouds weigh?” and investigates the hype around coconut oil and paleo diets – all wrapped up in his inimitable storytelling.

While Adam Spencer’s World of Numbers is jam-packed with cool number facts from every area of knowledge imaginable – not just maths and the sciences, but also from geography, history, games, poetry, even sport (and chocolate as well). Even the page numbers are used to illustrate fun facts!

Growing Up Asian in Australia, edited by Alice Pung
Coming of Age: Growing up Muslim in Australia, edited by Demet Divaroren and Amra Pajalic

Growing Up Asian in Australia and Coming of Age: Growing Up Muslim in Australia deliver exactly as promised – personal stories about growing up as Asian-Australians and Muslim-Australians.  Growing Up Asian in Australia is edited by Alice Pung (herself an increasingly-prominent writer on Asian-Australian experiences), with contributions from people across generations and occupations.  Big names include John So (former Lord Mayor of Melbourne), Benjamin Law (author of The Family Law) and Kylie Kwong (chef).  As a fellow Asian-Australian, I found these stories tragicomic and joyously (but sometimes painfully) familiar.  Coming of Age: Growing Up Muslim in Australia offers twelve stories that reflect on gender, body image, romance, faith and families; again the contributors span a range of ages and occupations, and include Randa Abdel-Fattah (YA author) and Tanveer Ahmed (psychiatrist).  Both these titles show that, regardless of your skin colour (or the contents of your lunchbox), we share many similar feelings growing up – including the desire to fit in, to be considered more than a stereotype, and to be loved and accepted for who we are.

Island Home by Tim Winton

Tim Winton is best known for his novels – titles such as Cloudstreet and Dirt Music appear regularly in “Best of” lists.  However, his latest book shows that his non-fiction is just as evocative and beguiling.  Island Home is a meditation on how the Australian landscape has shaped his ideas, his writing and his life. Tim Winton paints various landscapes – coast, sea, scrub – with loving words; his epiphany about the depth of his connection to the Australian environment came when he failed to connect similarly to landscapes abroad.  He further suggests that the Australian landscape shapes the psyche of her people, more so than they realise.  Island Home also offers fascinating insights into his writer’s craft.

Back to school: books that smooth the transition

As January hurtles along, many families will be preparing for a big milestone – the First Day of School.  To help both kids and parents prepare for this exciting event, we present our favourite books on starting school.  The big kids have not been forgotten – we have included books on starting secondary school, because we understand that this is a big challenge too.  Hopefully this list will also help any families starting school later in the year!

For Young Kids

Many picture books talk about starting school.  A good place to start may be your child’s favourite book or TV character – many of them, including Hugless Douglas, Maisy, Charlie and Lola and Peppa Pig, offer stories about starting preschool / kindergarten / primary school.  Other great stories (and conversation starters) include:

Starting School by Jane Godwin and Anna Walker

This gentle and sympathetic book follows five children – Tim, Hannah, Sunita, Joe, and Polly – on their first day of school.  The children have different personalities and experience the day differently.  The story is engaging and also informative, since it highlights the many predictable events of orientation, such as finding your way around, getting to know people, and learning new routines.  From the team that bring us the equally gorgeous and popular All Through the Year (about the months of the year) and Today We Have No Plans  (about the days of the week).

Amelia Bedelia’s First Day of School by Herman Parish and Lynne Avril

This is a good introduction to the Amelia Bedelia series, which can grow with your child through their primary years – the series range from picture books to early readers and chapter books.  Amelia Bedelia is a very literal-minded girl who gets confused by common sayings.  Her misunderstandings land her in many funny situations!  Here, Amelia Bedelia learns to enjoy her first day at school despite feeling nervous and having a very eventful time.

 

First Day by Andrew Daddo and Jonathan Bentley

First Day gives “first day nerves” a little twist when it’s the parent, not the child, who is feeling them!  This is a joyous, affectionate look at the excitement of getting ready for school on The First Day.  The excitement may be tempered by a little sadness, but that’s okay, because “the best bit about waving goodbye is the next wave will be hello”.  Andrew Daddo and Jonathan Bentley is a great team who is adept at capturing the moods and behaviours of young children.

The Terrible Suitcase by Emma Allen and Freya Blackwood

The combination of Freya Blackwood’s illustrations and a grumpy main character made me smile and smile as I read The Terrible Suitcase.  The little girl longs for a red backpack with yellow rockets to take to her first day of school, but all she has is a Terrible Suitcase. She feels so mad that she hides in a big cardboard box in her classroom.  Luckily, friendliness and imagination turns this terrible day into something magical. I love how real the characters seem, and how inventive this story is.

For Parents

Ready, Set, Go? How to Tell if your Child’s Ready for School and Prepare them for the Best Start by Kathy Walker

Deciding when to send your child to school can be daunting, particularly when present-day ideas about “school readiness” focus on emotional and social maturity (which can be hard to recognise), rather than the more clear-cut criteria of age or intellectual development.  Kathy Walker, a leading parenting and education expert, is here to help you with this guide.  Based on her experiences working with families and educators, Kathy explains what school readiness means and how to assess it; she also describes how schools work, and gives advice on how to choose a school that suits a child and their families. Finally there are tips on preparing children for school, both in the lead-up and in the early weeks of term.  Readable and highly informative.

High School Rocks: Make Starting High School an Awesome Experience by Jenny Atkinson

Jenny Atkinson is a former teacher who now specialises in helping students, parents and staff achieve a confident, happy transition to high school.   Based on survey feedback from over 1600 students, High School Rocks addresses the challenges that concern students the most – including friendships, independence, time-management and bullying.  A mix of tips, stories and advice will help families develop their own coping strategies, and improve resilience.  High School Rocks is currently available only from the Kindle Store  or the author’s website.

For Big Kids

Many stories aimed at upper-primary or early teen readers explore themes of dealing with change, loneliness and understanding oneself, issues also relevant to the transition to secondary school.  Some novels that specifically mention school transition include:

New Boy by Nick Earls

Herschelle and his family have just moved from South Africa to Australia, and despite his careful study of Aussie slang, he is struggling to fit in.  At school, he is lumped in with the nerds, though he was one of the cool kids back in Cape Town.  Nobody understands his accent or his Aussie-isms, and both he and his family make gaffes because they are confounded by local customs.  Things come to a head when Herschelle is picked on for being different.  New Boy has great messages about diversity, racism and bullying – especially because it offers the interesting twist of having a bullying-victim who is white.  This is Nick Earls’ first book for younger readers, after a string of successes for teens and adults.

Pea’s Book of Best Friends by Susie Day

Life changes for Pea and her sisters when their ditzy mum becomes a successful author.  Her new glamorous image means they have to relocate from a ramshackle flat in Wales to a house in London.  Pea is excited about London’s various attractions – and even likes her new school uniform, “in a masochistic Malory Towers sort of way” – but she really misses having a best friend.  Catastrophes ensue as Pea hunts for a new best friend while her sisters plot to return to their former lives.  Pea’s Book of Best Friends is a fun read with likeable, quirky characters.  The first in an ongoing series.

 

How to be Happy: a Memoir of Love, Sex and Teenage Confusion by David Burton

For mature readers, or with adult guidance – How to be Happy is an award-winning memoir that has been variously praised as hilarious, heartbreaking, and important.  It follows David’s life as he enters high school, through his attempts to fit in both at home and at school, and into his early twenties.  How to Be Happy tackles many confronting topics – including depression, friendship, sexual identity, suicide, love and academic pressure – with sincerity and honesty.  It is ultimately uplifting as David realises that life can be okay even when it is not happy 100% of the time.

Guest Book Reviewer: Palace of Tears

Palace of Tears is the debut novel from Julian Leatherdale. It is an historical, generational story, centred on a luxury hotel in the fictional town of Meadow Springs in the Blue Mountains and has all the elements of family passion, secrets and tragedy.

 Department store entrepreneur Adam Fox built the lavish palace based on luxury spa resorts in Europe. The story of the hotel intertwines with the story of the family who live in a cottage next door – much less well off than the wealthy Foxes but, over generations, sharing tragedies as well as love, hate and jealousy.

Initially I was daunted by the size of this book at over 500 pages, however Leatherdale achieves a good balance between educating and entertaining readers about events in Australia during the 1900’s and early 20th Century.

I love that Leatherdale mixes fictitious elements with real events and actual people. Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, opera star Nellie Melba and Australian film makers and directors Raymond Longford and Lottie Lyall all visit Adam Fox’s luxurious resort.

The author’s historical research into some of the less familiar events of early 20th Century history made for very interesting reading and for me in particular, the internment of the Germans during the war years was fascinating due to my own family history. His references to events of that time and fictional activities surrounding it were amazing and his passion evident.

I think this book is well worth the read, and with summer coming and holidays, it would be one to put on the list.

I hope Julian Leatherdale writes more novels as I will be lining up to read them.

 

 

Take 5: Books with adult and junior versions

Are you looking forward to the day when your kids will be old enough to share what you are reading, or to discuss issues you are passionate about?  That day may come sooner than you think.  Some great books are now available in junior versions aimed at 5-15 year olds.  While many teens will enjoy the original (adult) versions, these junior editions will allow new generations of readers to access these inspiring and thought-provoking works.
Ugly: My Memoir by Robert Hoge

One recent example is Ugly, the joyous and uplifting memoir of Robert Hoge.  Ugly follows Robert’s life from his birth to the birth of his daughter.  His childhood is suburban and familiar, filled with childhood pranks, school camps, bad haircuts, and siblings.  What makes his story extraordinary is that Robert was born significantly disfigured – a massive tumour distorted his facial features, and his legs were twisted and useless.  Despite this, Robert’s family is determined to give him an ordinary upbringing.  Lots of love and courage, as well as a series of groundbreaking operations, allow Robert to triumph over his difficult beginnings, and grow up to be a successful journalist, science communicator and political advisor.

Ugly by Robert Hoge

A younger readers’ version of Ugly was published in August this year, allowing 8-15 year olds to share in this inspirational story.  Ugly also offers a reflection on disability, beauty and ugliness – all important issues for this age group.  May have particular appeal for fans of R. J. Palacio’s Wonder.

 

 

 

The Happiest Refugee by Anh Dohttps-::covers.booko.info:300:refugee1

The plight of refugees is in the spotlight once more, making this a great time to revisit this heart-warming book.  The Happiest Refugee is comedian Anh Do’s memoir, which begins with his family’s escape from war-torn Vietnam.  During their journey in a leaky fishing boat, Anh and his family nearly die from disease, starvation, dehydration and pirate attacks.   Even when they are rescued and resettled in Australia, there is no simple Happy Ever After: Anh and his family face many hardships while they rebuild their lives.  Fortunately, hard work, determination, a loving family and a sense of humour help them to overcome many difficulties and pave the way to success.

The Happiest Refugee has won many awards, and was so popular that it became a live show that toured Australia.  What makes it so special is Anh’s irrepressible optimism – he can find the silver lining in even the darkest cloud.

The Little Refugee by Anh Do, illustrated by Bruce Whatleyhttps-::covers.booko.info:300:refugee2

The Little Refugee is a picture book adaptation of The Happiest Refugee, aimed at primary school students.  From young Anh’s point of view, we learn about Anh’s life from his birth in Vietnam to his early years in Australia.  Atmospheric illustrations by Bruce Whatley (of Diary of a Wombat fame) effectively contrast the Do Family’s frightening journey with the more humorous situations as they settle into Australian life, and emphasises how hard work, persistence and a sense of humour triumph over hardship. The Little Refugee was awarded CBCA Honour Book in the Information Book of the Year category in 2012.

https-::covers.booko.info:300:Weather1The Weather Makers by Tim Flannery

The Weather Makers is the book that identifies Tim Flannery as an international authority on climate change.  It is an award-winning, best selling work that has been highly influential, with endorsements by policy makers, scientists, and writers worldwide.  The Weather Makers tells the climate change story – from its its history, to its current status, and onto potential future impact.  It also encourages its readers to start taking action to avert the imminent climate crisis.  The Weather Makers is widely admired for being authoritative and comprehensive while remaining readable and accessible to the general public.

https-::covers.booko.info:300:Weather2We are the Weather Makers: the Story of Global Warming by Tim Flannery

Since Tim Flannery dedicated The Weather Makers to children, “to all of their generation who will have to live with the consequences of our decisions”, it makes sense to produce a version of the book that speaks to youth readers directly.  The result is called We are the Weather Makers.  It is underpinned by the same vigorous scholarship, but with updated data, and more streamlined, concise prose.  While it is aimed at 10-15 year olds, We are the Weather Makers will appeal to anyone who wants a succinct version of the original, important work.

https-::covers.booko.info:300:Eats1Eats, Shoots and Leaves: the Zero-Tolerance Approach to Punctuation by Lynne Truss

When Lynne Truss wrote her “small book on punctuation”, she had no idea that it would become a bestseller that reinvigorates interest in the niceties of the English language.  Eats, Shoots and Leaves is more than a guide to punctuation use – it is also a lament and a call-to-arms.  Through amusing anecdotes drawn from history, literature, and real signage, Lynne Truss discusses the origin and history of different punctuations and how they should be used. Eats, Shoots and Leaves manages to be witty, informative and compulsively readable, because it shows that misplaced or absent punctuation can change the meaning of sentences in dramatic and funny ways.

https-::covers.booko.info:300:SpaghettiThe Girl’s Like Spaghetti: Why, You Can’t Manage Without Apostrophes! by Lynne Truss, illustrated by Bonnie Timmons

The adult version of Eats, Shoots and Leaves has inspired two picture books illustrated by Bonnie Timmons.  While Eats, Shoots and Leaves focusses on the use of commas, The Girl’s Like Spaghetti focusses on apostrophes.  Each book contains double spread pages that show how dramatically meanings can change when punctuations are placed differently.  For example, “the girl’s like spaghetti” may describe your best friend, while “the girls like spaghetti” sounds like a good meal!  The witty illustrations allow even young children to appreciate the quirkiness of the English language, and the importance of good punctuation.  Perfect for Ages 6-12.

https-::covers.booko.info:300:FastfoodFast Food Nation by Eric Schlosser

Fast Food Nation is Eric Schlosser’s critique of the American fast food industry.  He shows how the rise of fast food has resulted in many societal problems including rising obesity rates, widening income gap, labour exploitation, and potential for mass outbreaks of serious diseases (such as BSE, aka “mad cow disease”).  It is also a warning for the future, as emerging economies embrace fast food as part of their yearning for a Western lifestyle.  Eric Schlosser is an investigative journalist who has used a compelling narrative to make serious topics – politics, economics, health, business strategy, psychology – interesting and accessible.  Fast Food Nation is a seminal work that has inspired other exposes into big businesses, such as Super Size Me and Enron: the Smartest Guys in the Room.

https-::covers.booko.info:300:ChewChew on This by Eric Schlosser and Charles Wilson

Chew on This is an adaptation of Fast Food Nation aimed at 10-16 year olds.  Eric Schlosser teams up with fellow journalist Charles Wilson to refine the original text and make it more accessible to the age groups that most favour fast food.  Chew on This has retained the engaging narrative and the solid research (including footnotes) of Fast Food Nation, but is more concise and straightforward.

Father’s Day picks

Hunting for that perfect gift for dad? Whether he’s a music buff or a sporting fan,we’ve got all the books to cover every dad’s taste this Father’s Day. Here are 5 different options from a wide variety of genres:

https-::covers.booko.info:300:GudinskiGudinski: The Godfather of Australian Rock ‘n’ Roll by Stuart Coupe

Known to many as GODinski, Michael Gudinski is unquestionably the most powerful and influential figure in the Australian rock’n’roll music business – and has been for the last four decades. Often referred to as ‘the father of the Australian music industry’, he has nurtured the careers of many artists – Kylie Minogue, Jimmy Barnes, Paul Kelly, Skyhooks, Split Enz, Yothu Yindi, to name just a few.

 Life and Football by Jonathon Brownhttps-::covers.booko.info:300:LIfe

AFL legend Jonathan Brown on footy, living life to the full and having what it takes to win three premierships.

 

 

 

 

https-::covers.booko.info:300:dexterDexter is Dead by James Lindsay

Dexter returns in an all-new, all-Australian, blood-soaked adventure written by his creator, Jeff Lindsay. Dexter Morgan isn’t just Miami’s #1 forensic blood splatter expert…he’s also a serial killer who targets other serial killers. But when Dexter travels down under, he quickly discovers that sharks aren’t Australia’s only deadly predator. Who is setting up illegal hunting safaris in the Outback – and are humans in the crosshairs? Dexter investigates as only he can, and that means only one thing…

 Mistborn Trilogy Boxed Set: The Final Empire, The Well of Ascension,https-::covers.booko.info:300:mistborn The Hero of Ages by Brandon Sanderson

A boxed set of the landmark fantasy from Brandon Sanderson, the man credited with breathing fresh life into Robert Jordan’s WHEEL OF TIME. An epic fantasy set in a world where the Dark Lord has gained dominion over the world. A world of ash and pain. A world subjugated. But a world where magic can be drawn from metals. A world waiting for a new heroine, a new hope. A word of mouth bestseller in the USA Brandon Sanderson’s Mistborn trilogy have become a massive hit in the UK, and now in Australia. 

https-::covers.booko.info:300:meatballsMeatballs: The Ultimate Guide by Matteo Bruno

Meatballs make the perfect dish for a Monday night supper, a Saturday night dinner party or a Sunday feast. And here are 60 recipes for meatballs like you’ve never seen them before – Meatballs rustico, devoured with crusty bread to sop up the delectable sauce; Seared beef carpaccio meatballs, best eaten glass of Prosecco in hand; Pork, ginger and lemongrass meatballs; Lobster meatballs. Tuck in!