The Memory Shed, by Sally Morgan & Ezekiel Kwaymullina

Sheds don’t move on their own. Did Grandma have a bad dream? Is she feeling a bit muddled? Just to keep her happy, I peer through the glass. All I can see are two old cane chairs sitting empty on the back verandah.
‘Don’t worry,’ I say. ‘I’m sure the shed hasn’t moved.’

Grandma wants to clean out er cluttered back shed, and Annie is helping her. But the shed seems to have other ideas. Every time Grandma plans the clean-up, the shed seems to resist. Annie helps Grandma uncover some of the treasures the shed holds – and the memories they bring back – and in the process, they realise that the shed just might be right.

The Memory Shed is a gently humorous story about family, about remembering the past, and about connections between generations. A contemporary story, it also explores the effects of the Great Depression, and life in bush camps.

Illustrations, by Craig Smith, are in grey scale, and appear on every spread. Comprehensive teaching notes are available on the Scholastic website.

Suitable for classroom use and for private reading by emergent readers.

The Memory Shed, by Sally Morgan & Ezekiel Kwaymullina
Omnibus Books, 2015
ISBN 9781742990347

Available from good bookstores and online.

The Simple Things, by Bill Condon

The door opens and Dad and Mum sneak out.
Somewhere in the darkness a clock ticks off the seconds. I silently count each one – five…fifteen…twenty five.
Maybe Aunty Lola will go to sleep. Then I can sneak out, too. Thirty five…forty fi-
‘So you’re Stephen.’

Stephen is shy, but never so shy as when he meets his great aunt Lola for the first time. She’s really really old and she’s very grumpy too. Stephen is scared, but Mum and Dad say they have to stay with Aunt Lola because she’s lonely and they’re the only family she has. It’s only three weeks, after all.  Stephen gets to meet the neighbours, learn how to fish, play cricket and climbs – simple things. He also starts to learn about his family, and especially about Aunt Lola. And when there’s an emergency Stephen realises maybe Lola isn’t so scary – maybe she’s his friend.

The Simple Things is a beautiful tale of family, friendship and generations. Stephen is a quirky, loving boy and Lola is an intriguing character who readers will be keen to get to know. Their developing relationship is a pleasure to witness.

Condon has a gently humorous touch as an author, and the focus on a child who is gentle-natured but brave in his own way, makes for a heart warming read.


The Simple Things

The Simple Things, by Bill Condon
Allen & Unwin, 2014
ISBN 9781743317242

Available from good bookstores and online.