Jack has a problem. George Hamel, the school bully, has started calling him Bum-head. Soon, the whole school is calling him names, spitting at him, even hurting him physically. Jack can’t tell his mum because she has too many other things to worry about. He will have to work it out for himself.
I am Jack, by Susanne Gervay is a special story about bullying, and one child’s experiences of it. Gervay deals with a sensitive topic with insight and gentle humour, so that younger readers are being educated while they are being entertained, rather than being preached at. There are no quick-fixes or bandaids to fix Jack’s problem, but rather an awakening on the part of those around Jack as his family and his school work together to tackle the problem for Jack and for all other victims of bullying.
I am Jack should be compulsory reading for every parent, teacher and child aged 8 to 12. It is a truly wonderful book.
I am Jack, by Susanne Gervay
Angus and Robertson, 2000
The little town of Lockbarrel is the leading supplier of lemons. Everyone in town works at growing lemons. So, when the lemon crop is wiped out by a mysterious wind, there is widespread dismay. How will they eat? How will they buy all the things necessary for their survival?
The only solution is to send someone for help. When a name is pulled out from a hat, it turns out that this someone will be Cosmo Cooper. Not sure what he will do, Cosmos sets out in the village truck with $2.63 in his pocket. If he doesn’t succeed, the villagers will fail.
So why does Cosmo end up sneaking in to the Borrow Brother’s basement late one night with his new friend Professor Squillocks? Will this help solve Lockbarrel’s problem? Only time will tell.
Cosmo Cooper and the Lemons of Lockbarrel is delghtfully different story from author Alan Sunderland. Combining humour with adventure,cleverness, and plain silliness, it is almost as delicious as Lockbarrel’s lemonade.
Perfect for 8 to 10 year old readers.
Cosmo Cooper and the Lemons of Lockbarrel, by Alan Sunderland
Dale and Tomias are best friends. Dale’s grandfather was the first white man to setle here at Long Hole, where Tomias’s ancestors have lived since the dreaming. Their Mums grew up together too.
Now they’re in year seven, their last year at the community school. It’s supposed to be fun – but the arrival of Gordon and his father, Mr Armstrong, has changed things. Mr Armstrong manages the community and his new rules upset everyone. Gordon thinks HE owns the place.
The Barrumbi Kids is a delightful story about growing up in Australia’s remote communities. Dale and Tomias, and their friends, move between Aboriginal and white cultures – fishing, hunting, playing and going to school. They get into trouble and they learn about themselves, about each other and about the wider world.
Leonie Norrington spent much of her childhood on a remote community in Australia’s north, part of a large Irish-Catholic family. She later worked in journalism. This is her first novel for children.
Barrumbi Kids is a an exciting novel, suitable both for classroom and private reading.
The Barrumbi Kids, by Leonie Norrington
While his parents are off having an adventure in Patagonia, Kaz is sent from his home in Japan to stay with his grandparents in Far, Far North Queensland. He doesn’t realise he is about to have an adventure of his own.
When Kaz is on his way to the Dairy Day Parade in Milaa Milaa, he is kidnapped by a group of Casskins. The Casskins are large birds, related to the Cassowaries, but much bigger and far more intelligent. Not only are they more intelligent than cassowaries – Casskins are more intelligent than any other creature – especially mankind.
The Casskins need Kaz to help them prevent a dam being built and a uranium mine opening – two events which could have disastrous consequences for the local animals. At first scared and reluctant, Kaz finds himself becoming increasingly willing to help the Casskins and the other creatures he meets on his adventures.
Although this is a work of fantasy, The Song of the Casskins is both a humorous and exciting adventure story and an educational tool – with a message about conservation and appreciating our environment and our wildlife. A useful aid is the addition of facts about the cassowary in the early part of the story.
The Song of the Casskins will appeal to 8 to 10 year old readers, although may be less appealing to those still adapting to the language of the novel.
The Song of the Casskins, by John Fitzpatrick
Ramose is happy to return to the royal court and the company of his brother, the young Pharoah. But not everyone is happy to see him. Then his old friend, Karoya, disappears, and Ramose must try to find her.
Ramose: The Wrath of Ra is the fourth and final book in the Ramose series. Once again Ramose must fight for his freedom and his life as he and his friends are reunited once more in their travels. Will Ramose fulfill his destiny, or will he be left in ongoing peril?
Author Carole Wilkinson creates an absorbing blend of historical accuracy and fiction which will intrigue 8 to 12 year old readers, especially those with an interest in ancient Egypt.
Each book has stand alone value, although readers will most enjoy the series in its entirety.
An excellent addition to class and school libraries as well as to home collections.
Ramose: The Wrath of Ra, by Carole Wilkinson
Black Dog Books, 2002
How would it be if farts came out coloured blue, so that everyone could see – in the middle of assembly? And how would it be if a boy swallowed fish eyes and blue vein cheese and pigs’ hearts and lambs brains and then vomited all over the floor at McDonald’s? What about a boy with a collection of boogie, all labelled and nicely displayed? Sound a bit gross? Well, that’s the idea.
So Gross, by J. A. Mawter, is a collection of stories sure to make the most with it adult say “ewwww” very loudly, but equally sure to make young readers laugh out loud. From booger collections to blue farts and techni-coloured vomit, and lots more, kids aged 8 to 12 will find plenty to laugh about and share with their friends.
Each story in So Gross is several chapters long, so that kids can satisfy themselves with a well-developed read in each sitting. This format makes the bok ideal for reluctant readers (especially boys), who will love both the subject matter and the sense of achievement with actually finishing each story.
A fun book.
So Gross, by J.A. Mawter
Angus & Robertson (an imprint of Harper Collins), 2001
Ever read a book narrated by an elephant? What about a DEAD elephant? Well, here is your chance, because Circus Bezerkus, the latest funny offering from Jonathan Harlen, is in fact narrated by the ghost of a circus elephant.
Before his death, Rajah (the elephant) was very close to one Marvin Gumbo, son of the owner of Circus Bezerkus, and the only boy in the world who can kiss his own bottom.
When Rajah dies, he finds himself a ghost, who must work to save Marvin and the whole circus from an untimely demise at the hands of another ghost, that of Dancing Dan, the incredible lion-tamer, who lost his head when he rollerskated over the tail of one of his own lions.
Full of silliness and circus stereotypes, this is a book which will have kids aged 8 to 12 laughing aloud. Adults will enjoy it too.
Jonathan Harlen was born in New Zealand and now lives in New South Wales with his wife and three children. His many books include Brain Scam and The Cockcroach War. Circus Bezerkus is set to be a similar success.
Circus Bezerkus, by Jonathan Harlen
Allen and Unwin, 2002
Ramose, once Prince of Egypt and heir to the throne, has been living for over a year as a tradesman, traveller and fugitive. The royal court believes he is dead, after his tutor and nanny uncovered a murder plot and faked his death in order to keep him safe.
Now he and his friends, Karoya, a slave girl and Hapu, an apprentice painter, are stranded in the desert, fighting for their lives and desperately trying to return to thebes and the royal palace. The dangers are many: as well as their human enemies, they must overcome dehydration, being lost in the desert and even scorpions.
When Ramose learns his father is dying, his determination strengthens. He must see his father before he dies, and be in the palace in time to claim his place as the new Pharoah. Can he succeed?
Ramose: Sting of the Scorpion is the third title in this intriguing series by history-loving author Carole Wilkinson. Based on a real prince, this is the fictitious story of what may have happened to the real Ramose. Young history lovers, especially those with an interest in Ancient Egypt will enjoy journeying with Ramose and his friends throughout this intriguing land.
Ramose: Sting of the Scorpion, by Carole Wilkinson
Black Dog Books, 2001
“You can’t see it.” Dad cleared his throat. He was standing in front of Ali’s class, about to give a little talk. “It isn’t like measles or mumps. It’s not like when you break your leg. And it’s definitely not catching, like when you get a cold.”
Ali is used to her brother Max. She knows how to cope with his tantrums, how to chase him, how to calm him down. What she doesn’t like is when he gets into her stuff, and when he stops her family from doing ‘normal’ family stuff. Now Max is starting at her school, and Ali is not looking forward to it.
Dolphins Dance is the story of one family’s experiences with autism. As Max struggles to communicate and to grow, so too do Ali, her parents and her other brother, Jake. Can Ali help Max and also find happiness herself?
Author Jutta Goetze provdes an intimate insight into the struggle that confronts Ali, and leads the reader to a better understanding of autism. This would be an excellent class read, especially in schools where students are affected by this condition, but is also a wonderful home read, with its gentle lessons of tolerance and empathy.
Dolphins Dance, by Jutta Goetze
Black Dog Books, 2000.
Prince Ramose is the spoilt son of the Pharoah, and his heir. He lives a life of luxury with servants waiting to please and cosset him. Until the day that somebody tries to kill him. The actions of his loyal nanny and tutor save him, but now Ramose must hide, living the life of a tradesman, until such time as he can claim his righttful place.
How does a Prince, used to a life of luxury, adapt to the hard work and simple life of a tradesman? And who can he trust?
As Ramose learns the realities of life in Egypt, he also makes friends – and enemies. Returning to his former life will not be simple – if it is even possible.
Ramose: Prince in Exile is the first in an exciting series set in ancient Engypt, following the adventures of Ramose as he tries to regain his rightful position. Author Carole Wilkinson captures the history of the time with insight into the cultural system, the landscape and, of course, the Pyramids, the most intriguing remnant of the ancient world.
This book will delight young readers, especially those with an interest in Ancient Egypt and is as suitable for home reading as it is for classrooms or school libraries.
Carole Wilkinson is an English-born Australian writer with a deep interest in history, which is reflected in her writing.
Ramose: Prince in Exile is suitable for readers aged 9 to 13.
Ramose: Prince in Exile, by Carole Wilkinson
Black Dog Books, 2001.