Meet My Book: Meet Mary MacKillop, by Sally Murphy

Introducing a new series of posts, where I invite authors to drop in and tell us about their new books. To get the ball rolling, I thought I’d post about my own new release. I look forward to sharing lots of new books this way in the coming months.

1. Give us the details – title, publisher, illustrator, release date.
Meet Mary Mackillop, illustrated by Sonia Martinez, published by Random House Australia May 1 2013.

Meet Mary Mackillop

2. Why did you write the book?
Two reasons. Firstly, because I was asked to by Jeanmarie, the commissioning editor of Random House’s new Meet… series, a series focusing on great Australians. Secondly, because even before I was asked I had long admired Mary MacKillop as a woman who saw a need and set about filling it, even in difficult circumstances. It was a real honour being asked to bring her story to life for young readers.

3. How long from idea to publication?
I was approached about writing the story in March 2012, so just over a year. This is really quick for a picture book – my longest was about 8 years.

4. What was the hardest thing about writing it?
Finding a balance between the history and a story suitable for primary school aged readers. There was so much I wanted to share, and only a few words in which to get it across. For this reason I chose to focus on one year in Mary’s life, and chose the year in which she set up her first school.

5. Coolest thing about your book?
The wonderful illustrations by the incredible Sonia Martinez. I was delighted when Jeanmarie told me that she had commissioned Sonia, as I have long admired her work.

6. Something you learnt through writing the book?

To trust myself. I actually experienced a bit of self doubt when writing this book. I had done all this research and become so close to the story that I got a bit panicky about getting it right. As a result I found there was a period where I couldn’t work. In the end I had to give myself a good talking to and just get words down on the page. As any writer knows you can’t write a book without actually doing some rewriting – and it’s easier to fix a story that’s on the page than one that’s in your head. Once I sat down and wrote and experimented and rewrote and rewrote some more I had a story which worked.
I also learnt a lot about Mary MacKillop and the obstacles she faced to take education to children who wouldn’t have otherwise have had access to school.

7. What did you do celebrate the release?
In the midst of a busy week, I blogged, tweeted and also Facebooked about the release, put the book on display in my office at my day job, and also smiled a lot. There may have also been a quiet glass of red and some dark chocolate. I am hoping to have a launch a bit later on.

8. And how will you promote the book?
I do a lot of online promotion – on my blog, on other people’s blogs when I’m invited, and on Twitter and my Facebook author page. I also do school, festival and conference appearances (am off to the state ALEA mini-conference next weekend). On a smaller scale, I always have my latest book cover in my email signature line, and I also have an author website, which I am in the process of having redesigned to better promote my works.

9. What are you working on next?
A few things. I always have several projects at different stages of completion. At present I have two picture books for younger readers awaiting edits, a verse novel waiting for feedback, a collection of poetry I’m trying to pull together and a longer historical story which I’m researching. Not to mention several other stories which are ‘resting’ till I get back to them for rewrites, and a bazillion ideas waiting for me to write them.

10. Where we can find out more about you and your book?
At my website, and at the Random House website where you can also preview some of the book’s pages. And Meet Mary MacKillop is available from good bookstores or if you’d like to order online you can do so here

Enjoyed this post? Stay tuned for more Meet My Book posts in coming weeks. And if you’re in Aussie author who’d like to take part and introduce us to your book, drop me a line.

February Reads

Another month has passed, and so it’s time to have a look at what I read for February. Pleasing to see my balance being restored towards my chief love – books for children. This month I indulged my six year old self and tracked down old copies of AA Milne’s poetry from Ebay. I loved rediscovering them and have moved from there to lots of other verse and poetry, so look out for them in my March list and beyond.

I only read 12 books, and several of them were short, which is a reflection of how busy my life has been of late. I’m a so reading a lot of journal articles which don’t make it into this list.

Those I’ve reviewed I’ve linked to, as always.

In Falling Snow Mary-Rose MacColl Allen & Unwin Adult
Red Fox Sandy Fussell Walker Books Children’s
Lost Voices Christopher Koch Fourth Estate Adult
The Rosie Black Chronicles Lara Morgan Walker Books Young Adult
When We Were Very Young AA Milne Dean Children’s Poetry
The Girl From Snowy River Jackie French Harper Collins Young Adult
Now We Are Six AA Milne Dean Children’s Poetry
Stories for 7 Year Olds Linsay Knight (ed) Random House Children’s
Unreviewed Adult
Rocket Into Space Ragbir Bhathal and Johanna Davids National Library Children’s NF
Topsy-Turvy World Kirsty Murray National Library Children’s NF
Catch the Zolt Phillip Gwynne Allen & Unwin Young Adult

January Reads

Well, where did that go? And by that I mean January. Seems only seconds ago we were ushering in the new year and now here it is February already!

After last year’s challenge to try to read a book a day (at which I failed miserably) this year I’ve decided not to put a number on t, but I am keeping track of my reading and am going to try to post my list each month.

So, without any further nonsense, here is my reading list for January, with links to reviews

1 Thirst LA Larkin Pier 9/Murdoch
2 The Magnificent Tree Nick Bland & Stephen Michael King Scholastic
3 Sheep on a Beach P. Crumble & Danielle McDonald Scholastic
4 Too Cold for a Tutu Mini Goss Allen & Unwin
5 Dads: A Field Guide Justin Ratcliffe & Cathie Glassby Random House
6 Hannah & Emil Belinda Castles Allen & Unwin
7 In the Company of Strangers Liz Byrski Macmillan
8 Friday Brown Vikki Wakefield Text
9 The Burial Courtney Collins Allen & Unwin
10 Word Hunters Nick Earls UQP
11 Finding Jasper Lynne Leonhardt Margaret River Press
12 Unforgotten Tohby Riddle Allen & Unwin
13 Heather Fell in the Water Doug MacLeod & Craig Smith Allen & Unwin
14 Around the World in 80 Days Jules Verne & Robert Ingpen Walker Books
15 Unnatural Habits Kerry Greenwood Allen & Unwin


Six of these were picture books – which I only count in my tally if I also review them – so I definitely had a slower month  reading-wise. Must have something to do with the beautiful summer we’re having in my part of the world.




366 Books: The Outcome

It’s the last day of 2012 which means the last day of the wonderful National Year of Reading.  It also means that it’s the last day of my year-long challenge. Back on January1 I set myself a challenge: to see if it was possible to read 366 books in 366 Days – ie a book a day.

At the time I knew it was a big task but I believed it was doable, even though I also knew there was a good chance I wouldn’t get there – ie it was possible even if maybe not probable. And I gave it a darned good shot. Back on January 1 I also had no idea of just how busy the year that would follow would be. My year has been – well, I won’t go into the year that was, but suffice to say it has been busy. But I kept reading.

Did I each my goal? Nope. But I did reach a final total that I am pretty proud of.

My total for the year: 266 Books.

And what wonderfully varied books they were. From picture books to lengthy nonfiction. From the sad, to the serious to the whimsical and joyous. Romance, murders, sport, babies…

I’m a little sad that I didn’t get the 366, but am really glad that I set myself the challenge and that I recorded my reading for the year. I’ve enjoyed it so much that I will keep a similar tally in 2013, but without setting a target total. It’s a great way of recording for myself what I’ve read.

So, if you’re interested,  here is the final list. Where a book has been reviewed on Aussiereviews, I’ve linked to it. For most that haven’t, I’ve linked to alternative reviews.

Enjoy – and Happy New Year!


1 Straight Line to My Heart Bill Condon Allen & Unwin Young Adult
2 Only Ever Always Penni Russon Allen & Unwin Young Adult
3 Harry’s War John Heffernan Omnibus Children’s
4 Just Like That Janet Poole Mountain View Self Help
5 Shadrach Meindert Dejong Harper Trophy Chidlren’s
6 Nanberry Jackie French Angus&RObertson Young Adult
7 Extinction 2 Lizzie Wilcock Scholastic Young Adult
8 The Filth Licker Cristy Burne Frances Lincoln Children’s
9 Crow Country Kate Constable Allen & Unwin Young Adult
10 Note on the Door Lorraine Marwood Walker Children’s/Poetry
11 The Golden Door Emily Rodda Scholastic Children’s
12 Lily Gets Her Wings Elizabeth Pulford Scholastic Children’s
13 Animal People Charlotte Wood Allen & Unwin Contemporary Adult
14 Lily Has a Secret Elizabeth Pulford Scholastic Children’s
15 Button Boy Rebecca Young & Sue deGennaro Scholastic Picture Book
16 I Heart You, You Haunt Me Lisa Schroeder Simon Pulse YA Verse Novel
17 Froi of the Exiles Melina Marchetta Penguin Young Adult
18 The Red Bridge Kylie Dunstan Windy Hollow Picture Book
19 Nog and the Land of Noses Bruce Whatley Scholastic Picture Book
20 How Now Brown Frau Merridy Eastman Allen & Unwin NonFiction – Memoir
21 Revenge Gabrielle Lord Scholastic Children’s
22 Selected Poems TS Eliot Faber and Faber Poetry
23 Lola’s Secret Monica McInerney Penguin Contemporary Adult
24 The Little Refugee Ahn Do Allen & Unwin Picture Book
25 Cooking the Books Kerry  Greenwood Allen & Unwin Adult
26 Flood Jackie French Scholastic Picture Book
27 City of Lies Lian Tanner Allen & Unwin Children’s
28 Bilby Secrets Edel Wignell Walker Picture Book
29 The Biggest Estate on Earth Bill Gammage Allen & Unwin NonFiction – Memoir
30 Selby Sprung Duncan Ball Angus&Robertson Children’s
31 For All Creatures Glenda Millard Walker Picture Book
32 Autumn Laing Alex Miller Allen & Unwin Adult – Literary Fiction
33 The Attractor Factor Joe Vitale Wiley Self Help
34 Come Down, Cat Sonya Hartnett Penguin Picture Book
35 The Outcasts John Flanagan Random House Young Adult
36 Quinn’s Riddles Aleesah Darlison Walker Children’s
37 Willow’s Challenge Aleesah Darlison Walker Children’s
38 Krystal’s Choice Aleesah Darlison Walker Children’s
39 Ellabeth’s Test Aleesah Darlison Walker Children’s
40 The Secret Signal Simon Haynes Bowman Children’s
41 Poetry Matters Ralph Fletcher Harper Trophy Non Fiction – Writing
42 HipsterMattic Matt Granfield Allen & Unwin Non Fiction
43 Darius Bell & the Crystal Bees Odo Hirsch Allen & Unwin Childrens
44 The Coming of the Whirlpool Andrew McGahan Allen & Unwin Young Adult
45 Sam, Grace and the Shipwreck Michelle Gillespie Fremantle Press Picture Book
46 The Bicyle Colin Thompson ABC Books Picture Book
47 Tin Toys Bruce Whatley Random House Picture Book
48 The Jewel Fish of Karnak Graeme Base Penguin Picture Book
49 A Bus Called Heaven Bob Graham Walker Picture Book
50 Vampyre Margaret Wild Walker Picture Book
51 Desert Boys Peter Rees Allen & Unwin Non Fiction
52 The Flying Emu Sally Morgan Walker Children’s
53 Foal’s Bread Gillian Mears Allen & Unwin Adult
54 The Carousel Ursula Dubosarsky Viking Picture Book
55 Assault Brian Falkner Walker Young Adult
56 The Red House Mystery AA Milne Audio Adult
57 Matilda is Missing Caroline Overington Bantam Adult
58 Bom! Went the Bear Nicki Greenberg Allen & Unwin Picture Book
59 Rudie Nudie Emma Quay ABC Books Picture Book
60 Equinox Lara Morgan Walker Young Adult
61 A Bear and a Tree Stephen Michael King Penguin Picture Book
62 Liar Bird Lisa Walker Harper Collins Adult
63 Hatched Asphyxia Allen & Unwin Children
64 Dead, Actually Kaz Delaney Allen & Unwin Young Adult
65 Stella Makes Good Lisa Heidke Allen & Unwin Adult
66 The Quicksand Pony Alison Lester Allen & Unwin Children
67 Every Minute in Australia  Yvette Poshoglian Scholastic Childrens Nonfiction
68 Comeback Peter Corris Allen & Unwin Adult
69 strictly confidential roxy jacenko Allen & Unwin Adult
70 Watermelon on my Plate Paddy Dewan Papyrus Publishing Children’s Poetry
71 Professor Fred Hollows Hazel Edwards New Frontier Children’s Nonfiction
72 The Red Poppy David Hill Scholastic Picture Book
73 Sarah Thornhill Kate Grenville Audio Adult
74 Currawalli Street Chirtopher Morgan Allen & Unwin Adult
75 Raven Lucas: Missing Christine Harris Scholastic Young Adult
76 Mort Martin Chatterton Random House Children
77 The Secret of the Swords Frances Watts Allen & Unwin Children
78 The Poison Plot Frances Watts Allen & Unwin Children
79 Shy the Platypus Leslie Rees National Library Children
80 Sea Hearts Margo Lanagan Allen & Unwin Young Adult
81 Jakes Concert Horror Ken Spillman Fremantle Press Childrens
82 Yippee! Summer Holidays Tjalaminu Mia Fremantle Press Childrens
83 Emu and the Water Tree Gladys Milroy Fremantle Press Childrens
84 All Monkeys Love Bananas Sean E Avery Fremantle Press Picture Book
85 The Festival By The Sea June Loves Allen & Unwin Adult
86 Unnamed Children’s
87 Uncle Tom’s Cabin Harriet Beecher Stowe Librivox Adult
88 The Cold Cold Ground Adrian McKinty Serpent’s Tail Adult
89 Mandy Julie Edwards Harper Trophy Children’s
90 Lily Goes Skitter Skating Elizabeth Pulford Scholastic Children’s
91 Lily Lands in Bubble Trouble Elizabeth Pulford Scholastic Children’s
92 The Greatest Liar on Earth Mark Greenwood & Frane Lessac Walker Books Picture Book
93 Unnamed Adult Nonfiction
94 The Ghost of Ping-Ling Peter Cooper Omnibus Young Adult
95 The Shiny Guys Doug MacLeod Penguin Young Adult
96 Unnamed Adult
97 The Night Before Mother’s Day Doug MacLeod Allen & Unwin Gift Book
98 Quiet the Mind Matthew Johnstone Pan Macmillan Self Help
99 The Memory Tree Tess Evans Allen & Unwin Adult
100 The Reluctant Hallelujah Gabrielle Williams Penguin Young Adult
101 Our Nest is Best Penny Olsen & Penny O’Hara NLA Board Book
102 Lightning Jack Glenda Millard & Patricia Mullins Scholastic Picture Book
103 Queen Kat, Carmel & St Jude Maureen McCarthy Allen & Unwin Young Adult
104 Ruffy and Me Dave Trumbull & Adam Carruthers Omnibus Picture Book
105 Three Summers Judith Clarke Allen & Unwin Young Adult
106 The Ink Bridge Neil Grant Allen & Unwin Young Adult
107 Lone Pine Susie Borwn & Margaret Warner Little Hare Picture Book
108 A Day to Remember Jackie French Angus&Robertson Picture Book
109 A Dissection of Murder Felicity Young Harper Collins Adult
110 How I Got My Wiggle Back Anthony Field ABC Books Adult Nonfiction
111 Kick It To me Neridah McMullin One Day Hill Picture Book
112 The Fine Colour of Rust P. A. O’Reilly Blue Door/Harper Collins Adult
113 The Mystery of Riddle Gully Jen Banyard Fremantle Press Children’s
114 Polyanna Children’s
115 Bitter Greens Kate Forsyth Vintage Adult
116 Spitting Image James Roy Walker Children’s
117 The Light Between Oceans ML Stedman Vintage Adult
118 Forget Me Not Sue Lawson Walker Young adult
119 Just Doomed Terry Denton Pan Macmillan Childrens
120 Show Day Penny Matthews & Andrew McLean Omnibus Picture Book
121 A Confusion of Princes Garth Nix Allen & Unwin Young adult
122 Australian Story  Tania McCartney NLA Children’s Nonfiction
123 Scared Yet Jaye Ford Bantam Adult
124 The Mother’s Group Fiona Higgins Allen & Unwin Adult
125 Dancing to the Flute Manisha Jolie Amin Allen & Unwin Adult
126 Mortimer Revealed Asphyxia Allen & Unwin Children’s
127 The Wrong Boy Suzy Zauk Black Dog Young Adult
128 10 Futures Michael Pryor Woolshed Young Adult
129 Love Shy  Lili Wilkinson Allen & Unwin Young Adult
130 Vulpi Kate Gordon Random House Young Adult
131 What Women Want Nelly Thomas Ebury Press Adult Nonfiction
132 The Boy Who Fell to Earth Kathy Lette Random House Adult
133 The Silver Door Emily Rodda Scholastic Children’s
134 Red Libby Gleeson Allen & Unwin Children’s
135 Cannily, Cannily Simon French Walker Books Children’s
136 Five Billion Sold David Glyn n Arbon Publishing Adult Nonfiction
137 Gertie the Witch Valerie Thomas New Frontier Childrens
138 Katie and the Leprechaun Kathryn England New Frontier Childrens
139 Wattle Creek Fiona McCallum Mira Adult
140 After Cleo Came Jonah Helen Brown Allen & Unwin Adult Nonfiction
141 Waltzing Matilda Dennis O’Keeffe Allen & Unwin Adult Nonfiction
142 Dead Wrong Christine Harris Omnibus Young Adults
143 Change the Locks Simon French Walker Books Childrens
144 Other Brother Simon French Walker Books Childrens
145 Wind in the Wires Joy Dettman Pan Macmillan Adult
146 Hey Jack! The Worry Monsters Sally Rippin Hardie Grant Childrens
147 Hey Jack! The New friend Sally Rippin Hardie Grant Childrens
148 Best Friend Showdown Yvette Pshoglian Scholastic Childrens
149 Cupcake Catastrophe Yvette Pshoglian Scholastic Childrens
150 What Makes My Mum Happy Tania Cox Allen & Unwin Picture Book
151 Fallout Chris Morhpew Hardie Grant Young Adult
152 Silhouette Thalia Kalipsalis Hardie Grant Young Adult
153 Metro Winds Isobelle Carmody Allen & Unwin Adult
154 Love Notes From Vinegar House Karen Tayleur Black Dog Young
155 A Youth Not Wasted Ian Parkes 4th Estate NonFiction – Memoir
156 Holier Than Thou Laura Buzo Allen & Unwin Adult
157 Waiting at the Gate Robyn Caughlan Magabala NonFiction – Memoir
158 The Reunion Joanne Fedler Allen & Unwin NonFiction
159 Morgan’s Law Karly Lane Allen & Unwin Adult
160 Bob the Builder and the Elves Emily Rodda ABC Books Children’s
161 Why Pick on Me? Louis Sachar Bloomsbury Children’s
162 Mountain Wolf Rosanne Hawke Harper Collins Young Adult
163 Crazy Mayonnaisy Mum Julia Donaldson McMillan Children’s Poetry
164 Storm Boy Colin Thiele New Holland Children’s
165 Love & Hunger Allen & Unwin Allen & Unwin NonFiction
166 The Owl & The Pussycat Edward Lear Walker Books Children’s
167 The Monster Garth Nix & Sean Williams Allen & Unwin Children’s
168 Baby Animal Farm Karen Blair Walker Books Picture Book
169 Revolting Rhymes Roald Dahl Puffin Children’s
170 The Invaders John Flanagan Random House Young Adult
171 Unnamed
172 The Little Book of Anxiety Kerri Sackville Ebury Press Nonfiction
173 The Meaning of Grace Deborah Foster Vintage Adult
174 Pookie Aleera is Not My Boyfriend Steven Herrick UQP Children’s
175 Unnamed
176 Horrible Harriet’s Inheritance Leigh Hobbs Allen & Unwin Children’s
177 The Forgotten Pearl Belinda Murrell Random House Children’s
178 The Mountain Drusilla Modjeska Vintage Adult
179 Ten Tiny Things Meg McKinlay & Kyle Hughes-Odgers Fremantle Press Picture Book
180 Shark Atack Jackie French Scholastic Children’s
181 Hubert and the Magic Glasses Candice Lemon-Scott New Frontier Children’s
182 The Mapmaker’s Apprentice Peter Cooper Omnibus Children’s
183 Sister Madge’s Book of Nuns Doug MacLeod Working Title Children’s
184 Sam the Cat Sam Bowring & Andrew McLean Working Title Picture Book
185 Rainbow Street Pets Wendy Orr Allen & Unwin Children’s
186 Dragonkeeper Carole Wilkinson Black Dog Young Adult
187 Broken Elizabeth Pulford Walker Books Young Adult
188 Millie’s Something Special Tania Cox & David Miller Working Title Picture Book
189 Tanglewood Margaret Wild & Vivienne Goodman Working Title Picture Book
190 Mummy’s Kisses Paula Clark & Lisa Stewart Scholastic Picture Book
191 Welcome to Normal Nick Earls Vintage Adult
192 The Queen With a Wobbly Bottom Phillip Gwynne & Bruce Whatley Little Hare Picture Book
193 The Coat Julie Hunt & Ron Brooks Allen & Unwin Picture Book
194 Purple Roads Fleur McDonald Allen & Unwin Adult
195 My Book of Jokes Bronwen Davies Scholastic Children’s
196 Ned Kelly’s Secret Sophie Masson Scholastic Children’s
197 Garden of the Purple Dragon Carole Wilkinson Black Dog Young Adult
198 Whisky Charlie Foxtrot Annabel Smith Fremantle Press Adult
199 Dragon Moon Carole Wilkinson Black Dog Young Adult
200 Green Monkey Dreams Isobelle Carmody Allen & Unwin Fantasy
201 Baby Tawnies Judy Paulson Random House Picture Book
202 The Boy Under the Table Nicole Trope Allen & Unwin Adult
203 Divine Clementine Hayley S Kirk Random House Young Adult
204 A Distant Land Alison Booth Bantam Adult
205 My Hundred Lovers Susan Johnson Allen & Unwin Adult
206 Winter’s Light MJ Hearle Pan Macmillan Young Adult
207 Jilted Rachael Johns Mira Adult
208 The Ghost at he Point Charlotte Calder Walker Books Children
209 Waratah House Ann Whitehead Penguin Adult
210 Brumby’s Run Jennifer Scoular Penguin Adult
211 Cold Grave Kathryn Fox McMillan Adult
212 Three Rivers Rising Jame Richards Brilliance Audio Young Adult
213 Moonlight & Ashes  Sophie Masson Random House Young Adult
214 Am I Black Enough for You Anita Heiss Random House Non Fiction
215 Albert of Adelaide Howard L Anderson Allen & Unwin Adult
216 Team Human Justine Larbalestier & Sarah Rees Brennan Allen & Unwin Young Adult
217 The Greedy Crocodile Sally Morgan Walker Books Childrens
218 The Second Forever Colin Thompson Random House Children’s
219 Creepy and Maud Dianne Touchell Fremantle Press Young Adult
220 In the Lion James Foley Walker Books Picture Book
221 The Boy Who Wouldn’t Die David Nyuol Vincent Allen & Unwin Nonfiction
222 Eddie Pipper Janeen Brian New Frontier Children’s
223 The Last Dance Sally Morgan Little Hare Picture Book
224 Watching the Climbers on the Mountain Alex Miller Allen & Unwin Adult
225 The Missing Case Simon Haynes Bowman Children’s
226 Clementine Rose & the Surprise Visitor Jacqueline Harvey Random House Children’s
227 The Beginner’s Guide to Revenge Marianne Musgrove Woolshed Children’s
228 Nobody’s Boy Dianne Bates Celapene Children’s
229 Eic Vale Epic Fail Michael Gerard Bauer Omnibus Children’s
230 Louis Beside Himself Anna Feinberg Allen & Unwin Children’s
231 The Colour of Trouble Gerry Bobsien Walker Young Adult
232 Brave Heart Brett & Hayley S Kirk Random House Young Adult
233 Boomerang Bride Fiona Lowe Harlequin Adult
234 Mary MacKillop: Australia’s First Saint Gabiann Marin New Frontier Children’s
235 Hey Baby Corinne Fenton Black Dog Picture Book
236 The Interrogation of Ashala Wolf Ambelin Kwaymullina Walker Books Young Adult
237 Into That Forest Louis Nowra Allen & Unwin Young Adult
238 The Race for the Chinese Zodiac Gabrielle Wang Black Dog Picture Book
239 everything left unsaid Jessica Davidson Pan Macmillan Young Adult
240 Did My Mother Do That Sharon Holt Walker Books Picture Book
241 Heart of Stone Michael Chamberlain New Holland Nonfiction
242 The Pros and Cons of Being a Frog Sue deGennaro Scholastic Picture Book
243 S.C.U.M Danny Katz Allen & Unwin Children’s
244 The Perfect Flower Girl Taghred Chandbab Allen & Unwin Picture Book
245 The Very Hungry Bear Nick Bland Scholastic Picture Book
246 Banjo Bounces Back Lachie Hume Omnibus Picture Book
247 Star Catherine Bateson Scholastic Children
248 The Amber Amulet Craig Silvey Allen & Unwin Fiction
249 Phyllis Wong and the Forgotten Secrets of Mr Okyto Geoffrey McSKimming Allen & Unwin Children
250 My Home Broome Tamzyne Richardson Magabala Picture Book
251 Miss Understood James Roy Woolshed Children
252 The Gift Penny Matthews & Martin McKenna Omnibus Picture Book
253 Stories for Six Year Olds Linsay Knight (ed) Random House Children
354 The Twelve Days of Aussie Christmas Colin Buchanan & Glen Singleton Scholastic Picture Book
255 Malice: Conspiracy 365 Gabrielle Lord Scholastic Young Adult
256 Stage Fright Marianne Delacourt Allen & Unwin Adult
257 Stories for 5 Year Olds Linsay Knight (ed) Random House Children
258 The Third Door Emily Rodda Omnibus Children
259 Be Home for Armageddon Luke Edwards Omnibus Children
260 Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone JK Rowling Allen & Unwin Children
261 Harry Potter  and the Chamber of Secrets JK Rowling Allen & Unwin Children
262 Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban JK Rowling Allen & Unwin Children
263 Luke’s Way of Looking Nadia Wheatley & Matt Ottley Walker Books Picture Book
264 Go Jojo Go! Tess Bickford & Jennifer Castles Allen & Unwin Picture Book
265 Black Fella White Fella One Day Hill Neil Murray Picture Book
266 The Terrible Suitcase Emma Allen & Freya Blackwood Omnibus Picture Book




Four Great Aussie Stories

Reviewed by Dee White

As I was reading all four of these wonderful stories by Australian authors, I was reminded that the ability to laugh at ourselves, and rise up in the face of adversity is so much part of our culture – and has an important place in our literature.

All of these stories embody themes like friendship, finding a way out of difficult situations, loyalty and teamwork – each an integral part of the Australian way of life.

These Aussie School Books are relevant, easy to read and full of fun, and young readers will find them hard to put down.

Sailing in the Alice, by Kim Rackham,illustrated by Ben Hutchings
ISBN: 9781921255397

There’s a reason Mia’s family has carried a large empty cardboard box halfway across Australia.

They’re planning to turn it into a boat to race on the Todd River in Central Australia.

It takes Mia a while to get into the spirit of the race but eventually, she becomes just as excited about Soggy Sadie as the rest of her family.

In Sailing in the Alice, Mia learns that you don’t have to win a race in order to have fun.

Kim Rackham’s great characters and fun descriptions are bound to give young readers a ‘giggle attack’ similar to the ones that make Mia’s Aunt Sadie cry with laughter.

The action takes place in a uniquely Australian setting, and Ben Hutching’s illustrations help the reader feel as if they there on the banks of the Todd River.

Young readers will enjoy the humour and action of Sailing in the Alice, as well as its truly Australian flavour.

The Big Blowie,by Sally Murphy, illustrated by Craig Longmuir
ISBN: 9781921255366

Where else but Australia would a germ-spreading pest become the hero of a children’s story?

As Sally Murphy shows in her book, The Big Blowie, blow flies can be good for some things. If somebody doesn’t come up with an idea soon, the drought-stricken town of Lake Blowie is going to evaporate off the Tourist Map forever. That’s when ‘young Syd’ decides to tap into Australians’ love of all things big to create a stunning new attraction.

Everyone works together to get behind Sid’s great idea, and save their beloved town.

Sally Murphy’s colourful characters and their quirks give The Big Blowie humour and credibility.

The Big Blowie is for kids seeking a quick read that will amuse and entertain them from start to finish.

Emily’s Sheepdog,by Tracey Slater,illustrated by Phong Lam
ISBN: 97811921255427

A common thread in children’s books is to see the main character develop as a result of what happens to them in the story. Emily’s Sheepdog is a prime example of this.

Emily wants her very own dog for a pet, but on a farm, every animal has a job to do, and there’s no room for a dog that’s just a pet.

This doesn’t stop Emily. She uses all her ingenuity and imagination to acquire her very own sheepdog.

This clever story uses action, description and realistic dialogue to convey Emily’s plight.

Author Tracey Slater’s engaging story gives children an insight into rural Australian life.

Young readers will enjoy Phong Lam’s expressive illustrations, and the humour that Tracey injects into Emily’s Sheepdog.

Backyard Battles, by Trudie Trewin, illustrated by Craig Longmuir
ISBN: 9781921255410

What could be more Australian than a game of backyard cricket? Trudie Trewin uses this popular summer pass time as the setting for Backyard Battles, a story about working together as a team, and not judging people by first impressions.

When Lavender Street is challenged to a match by Snapdragon Street, it’s game on. Rivals, batsman extraordinaire Gazza, and super speedy bowler Sarah are forced to play on the same side to save the honour of their street.

Trudie Trewin has used clever dialogue and active language like, ‘bounced’, ‘stamped’ and whack to build up the tension in Backyard Battles.

As the two teams slog it out, Gazza and Sarah must work together to win their toughest cricket challenge yet, and in the process they develop a new respect for each other.

7-8 year old readers will enjoy this action packed story, and Craig Longmuir’s fun illustrations.

Published by Aussie School Books Pty Ltd
PB RRP $9.95 (ea)

Reviews by Dee White