Australia's Greatest People & Their Achievements, by Linsay Knight

Can you name Australia’s longest-serving Prime Minister?
Which Australian sportsman is the only cricketer to have received a knighthood from the Queen?
What important scientific discovery is Howard Florey famous for?

If there’s a child in your life who doesn’t know the answers to these questions (oe even one who does), then Australia’s Greatest People and Their Achievements is an ideal offering. Filled with the names and achievements of some of Australia’s biggest achievers in areas including politics, science, sport, the arts and, satisfyingly, social justice.

Knight bases her selection of who is ‘great’ not just on fame, but on making a lasting contribution, so that achievement is important but so too is character, perseverance and success. Many of the people profiled are names that most Australians will be familiar with – Julia Gillard, Sir Donald Bradman and Mary MacKillop, for example – but many others are names children (and adults, too) may not have heard of, but who deserve to be known. An example is Graeme Clark, who invented the cochlear implant.

Profiles are in easy to understand language and are complemented by photographs and illustrations, as well as quotes and text boxes highlighting key achievements.

This is the kind of book which, though it could be read cover-to cover, is likely to be most enjoyed by dipping in to, and as such is just as suitable for home collections as it is for libraries or classroom use.

Australia's Greatest People and Their Achievements

Australia’s Greatest People and Their Achievements, by Linsay Knight
Random House, 2013
ISBN 9780857980205

Available from good bookstores or online.

The Year My Life Broke, by John Marsden

So why did we have to shift to Tarrawagga? Ask my parents. It wasn’t my idea, that’s for sure. Our new house was as bad as the Accord. the first time I saw it was the day we moved in….I hated it.

Josh is not happy about moving towns. He’s even less happy about starting at a new school. At his last school he was a bit of a leader, and the star of the cricket team. Here, nobody knows him and nobody seems to want to know him. Josh isn’t sure that he cares – he just wants to have his old life back. He decides to lie low and not let on that he’s good at sport, to see what it’s like to not be seen as the sporty kid.

In the meantime, something strange is going on in his new street. The house on one side always has police cars parked out the front, and the house on the other side looks empty, but Josh is pretty sure there is someone staying there.There could be more action in Tarrawagga than he expected.

The Year My Life Broke is a funny, action filled tale from John Marsden. Realistic fiction at its best, it combines family changes, sport, suspense and humour in a blend which will keep young readers, sport-mad or otherwise, turning the pages.

Good stuff.


The Year My Life Broke, by John Marsden
Pan Macmillan, 2013
ISBN 9781742613352

Available from good bookstores or online.

Meet My Book: A New Friend for Marmalade, by Alison Reynolds

If you visit here regularly, you’ll know that I love to have authors drop in an introduce their book. Today I’m happy to welcome Alison Reynolds, who is here as part of her whirl-wind blog tour to celebrate the release of her latest book. Welcome Alison.


Hi Sally,
Thank you so much for having me here!
1. Give us the details – title, publisher, illustrator, release date.        A New Friend for Marmalade
A New Friend for Marmalade, The Five Mile Press, Heath McKenzie, March 2014
Little Simon US, July 2014

2. Why did you write the book?
The publisher commissioned me following the success of A Year with Marmalade, and I was thrilled to revisit Ella, Maddy and, of course, Marmalade! I wanted to explore the themes of friendship and tolerance. Toby is different to Maddy and Ella, and I wanted to show them giving him “a go” rather than being mean and excluding him.
3. How long from idea to publication?
About 14 months.

4. What was the hardest thing about writing it?
Introducing a new character, Toby. He wants to be friends, but instead his behaviour is annoying for the girls. I didn’t want Toby to be too annoying, nor Ella and Maddy to appear too mean.
5. Coolest thing about your book?
I love the look of it and how Heath has captured beautifully what was inside my mind in his illustrations.

6. Something you learnt through writing the book?
I learnt quite a few words to describe cats. I didn’t want A New Friend for Marmalade to sound too like A Year with Marmalade. So if anybody wants a list of cat words, I can send them an extra-long one.

7. What did you do celebrate the release?
Nothing yet as life keeps intruding. But definitely have a dinner and a few lunches planned in the near future!

8. And how will you promote the book?
I’m doing a blog tour with some fabulous prizes and arranging some signings.

9. What are you working on next?
I have what I hope is an excellent idea for a pair of picture books. I have a draft for them scribbled down on the inside of a Panadol packet.

10. Where we can find out more about you and your book?
I would love to meet people at
Thanks for having me, Sally! Hope everybody likes the book.

I’m sure they will Alison – it’s adorable. And good luck with the rest of your blog tour (and the panadol packet stories!)


You can follow the rest of Alison’s tour by visiting the following sites during March:

11th Dee White – review and post

11th Chris Bell – post

12th Angela Sunde – interview with Heath

12th KBR – book giveaway

13th Boomerang Books – Post with Dimity Powell

14th KBR Guest post

14th KBR Review

14th Aussiereviews – Meet my book

15th Buzz Words – Interview

17th Ask the Bean Counter – Mr X

17th Pass-it-on Post and Review- Jackie Hosking

18th Ask the Publisher – Kay Scarlett

But wait, there’s more. If you follow the tour, you can win stuff. Alison has the following contests running as part of the blog tour:

Pet contest for all ages!

Marmalade the cat is full of personality. Do you have a pet with personality? Win a piece of artwork by Heath McKenzie. Send along a photo of your personality-plus pet to or upload to

Random book giveaways!

Just leave a comment on one of the posts in the blog tour, comment on facebook or even email me that you want to enter competition to win A New Friend for Marmalade.

Prizes for writers!

Win a jump the slush pile pass with a children’s editor or an adult non-fiction editor. Or you can win a picture book assessment from me. Just comment on a post. Remember the more you comment the more chances you have to win. Put CB if you want to enter in the children’s editor competition or NF if you want to be in the adult non-fiction competition or PB if you want to be in the picture book assessment competition. Or you can always put them all down

Midnight: The Story of a Light Horse, by Mark Greenwood & Frane Lessac

…in the winter of 1914,
the drums of a distant war are beating.
Guy and Midnight heed the nation’s call.
The wind blows in Midnight’s mane.
And they ride to join the Light Horse.

Guy Haydon has loved his horse, Midnight, since she was born on the family farm. Now he and Midnight are joining up – heading off to fight together in a war on the other side of the world. Together they travel to Cairo and, in spite of being separated when Guy is sent alone to Gallipoli, they later ride together on one of the last great cavalry charges in history, the ride on Beersheba in August 1917.

Midnight: The Story of a Light Horse is a stunning new picture book from one of Australia’s leading creative pairings in the form. The text is a wonderful blend of poetic, emotive prose and historical basis, and the illustrations capture the colours of the desert and bush settings and the starkness of he war scenes with a deceptive simplicity.

Back of book notes give context to the true story on which the book is based, including details of the charge on Beersheba.

With ANZAC Day approaching, Midnight: The Story of a Light Horse is ideal for school use as well as private reading.


Midnight: The Story of a Light Horse, by Mark Greenwood and Frane Lessac
Walker Books, 2014
ISBN 9781921977718

Available from good bookstores and online.

The Book of You: Jodie, by Randa Abdel-Fattah

‘Jodie…?’ Deyana said in a hushed tone.
‘What’s going…?’ Rania couldn’t bring herself to continue.
There was a message on the page.
On what had been a blank page only moments ago.
A message addressed to me.
The three of us screamed and ran out of the room.

Friends Jodie, Rania and Deyana are surprised to find an old book hidden behind a brick in the wall of the library storeroom. They are more surprised to find that the book is empty of words. But when they discover that the book writes itself, directly to Jodie, they are disbelieving. How does the book know what is happening in Jodie’s life, and is the cryptic advice the book gives useful or just plain confusing?

Jodie is the first book in a new series, The Book of You and so sets up the premise of the series – a book with a connection an orphan previously resident in the school, which mysteriously communicates with the reader. At the same time, this is also a story about the issues of a blended family and marital breakdown, as Jodie struggles to deal with the breakdown of her parents’ marriage and the new stepsister her father’s new relationship affords.

Tween readers will enjoy the novelty of the premise and the book’s role in events, and will look forward to further instalments in the series.


Jodie (Book of You)

Jodie , by Randa Abdel-Fattah
Omnibus, 2013
ISBN 9781742990101

Available from good bookstores and online.