To the Moon and Back, by Dianne Bates

Seeing Claire’s anxious face, Mum added, ‘But I love you. And your dad loves you. It’s just that we don’t love one another. Now I’ve found Mac, someone I like more than your dad. And I want to live with my two favourite people – you and Mac. Do you understand?’
Claire nodded, but didn’t really understand. All she understood for sure, was how she felt. She wanted to live with Dad forever.

Claire loves both her parents, but her mum has been keeping secrets from her dad, and now she’s told Claire that they have to leave. Mum and Dad have had lots of fights, and Dad has even hurt Mum sometimes. But he’s never hurt Claire, and she isn’t happy about leaving him behind and going to live with Mum’s new friend, Mac. Hopefully, it will only be temporary and Mum and Dad will reunite so Claire can live with her ‘real’ family.

For younger readers, To the Moon and Back explores the issue of family breakup, and the impact of both domestic violence and new relationships on children. Claire faces problems which all too many young readers will be familiar with, either in their own lives or in the lives of their peers and Bates tries to make the issues accessible by showing them through the eyes of a child.

To the Moon and Back, by Dianne Bates
Big Sky Publishing, 2017
ISBN 9781925520293

Super Con-Nerd, by Oliver Phommavanh

My name is Connor and I’m a nerd, so my friends call me Con-nerd. Well, my old friends did, back at Green hill Primary. I’ve only been here at Kentsworth High School for a week, so nobody has called me Con-nerd. They don’t even call me a nerd.
That’s because this place is full of nerds.

In primary school, Connor had a great group of friends. They thought he was a nerd, but that was one of the things they liked about him. This year, though, Connor is at highschool, and his friends are at different schools. He’s at an academic selective school, and everyone there is smart. Suddenly, Connor isn’t the smartest one in his class. In fact, he isn’t anywhere near the top.  With no friends to talk to, and everyone around seemingly super-smart, Connor isn’t sure if he’ll survive his first term of high school, let alone make his family proud, or have time to follow his true dream – of being a comic book creator.

Super Con-Nerd is the second story featuring Connor, who is smart, funny, loyal to his friends and an entertaining narrator. This installment stands alone satisfactorily, but it will be especially enjoyed by those who have already met Connor in the first book.

Suitable for readers of all abilities, Super Con-Nerd is a satisfying read.

Super Con-Nerd, by Oliver Phommavanh
Puffin Books 2017
ISBN 9780143306535

WeirDo, by Anh Do

‘Weir, what’s your surname?’ she asks again.
‘Do? Rhymes with GO?’
‘Your name’s … Weir Do? It’s not really, is it?’
‘Yes, actually, it is,’ I reply.
Get ready for it. In exactly three seconds all the kids will start laughing…

Every year, Weir’s school year starts the same way – with questions and jokes about his name. This year it’s even worse because he’s in a new town, at a new school.Fitting in is not going to be easy, especially when you add in a crazy family with some weird habits.

WeirDo is a quick to read, really funny story from comedian Ahn Do. There’s lots of silliness about names, and ‘thingies’ getting slammed in toilet seats, cleverly delivered in a manner sure to keep young readers turning pages and, of course, giggling. There’s also some character development and messages about friendship, acceptance and family, but these are not oevrpowering.

Illustrated on every page in black and white, with red embellishments within the texts for emphasis and humour, this is an excellent offering for lower and middle primary aged readers.


WeirDo, by Anh Do
Scholastic Australia, 2013
ISBN 9781742837581

Available from good bookstores and online.