Gleebooks Education 

May 2011

Gleebooks Bookshop - Sunday, May 01, 2011

No 38, May 2011

from Kate Shepherd and Mandy Clarke, Austral Ed

Greetings from the lush green of the Adelaide Hills.  So unusual at this time of the year when the Hills are normally brown after a long dry summer,  However this year there is water in the dams and now in autumn there are stunning autumn colours of red, yellow, and orange.  The days are warm and still showing Nature at its loveliest - such a contrast to the terrible devastation in so many places of the world.  

Such a late newsletter this year but it has been a very busy year.  There is still so much to do setting up new systems with gleebooks and there have been an unusual number of Conferences and talks.  The Symposium in Shanghai was a great success.  It was well organized, very welcoming and a most interesting programme.  The organisers are already planning next year’s Symposium so do contact them if you are interested.   There was also a visit to Hong Kong  and the International Baccalaureate Asia Pacific Conference in Melbourne.  It was great to meet so many teachers and librarians.  Very soon we hope to see many of you at the wonderful ECIS Conference this year in Istanbul.  Do come up and say hello.

It is always so rewarding at Conferences to see the interest in the books on display and, in the talks I give and to get such positive feedback from teachers and librarians regarding our lists of recommended books.  Thanks also for your support in sending through orders from the lists and newsletters to Austral Ed.  It is not an easy time in the book trade and since Austral Ed is a bookseller (not a publisher) we only get the benefit if you send your orders direct to Austral Ed, so thanks for your support.

Do let us know if you are changing your email address or changing schools.  Many teachers also send me their private email address so that they can keep on receiving the newsletter even if they change schools.  Do pass on the newsletter to anyone who may be interested.  We are hoping that while you all take your summer break, we will have time to work on extensive changes to the website and to expand our lists of recommended books, especially for the Senior school.

The Short List for the Australian Children's Book Council Awards has just been announced and so the list of books is attached.  I shall include an annotated list of the winners and honour books with the first newsletter (in August or September) in the new school year but I know that many librarians like to get in their orders for the CBC Short List now, especially since they know that many of the titles are immediately reprinted and are only available in June or later.  As I say each year, please note that these titles are chosen by judges from each of the states and as usual I like some of the choices but certainly not all of them!

I am frequently asked about books on Immigration and so have attached a new list that we have compiled. 

We are also often asked to recommend Australian authors for author visits to overseas International Schools.  Usually I don’t like to recommend anyone unless I have seen them giving talks or workshops.  However I have had such enthusiastic feedback about the visits of Frane Lessac and Mark Greenwood to Japan and of Andrew Plant to Beijing that I wanted to pass on to you some of the very positive comments.

When Frane Lessac and Mark Greenwood recently visited the American School in Japan, Wouter Laleman the Elementary Librarian said that out of some 30 author visits that he has organised Frane’s and Mark’s visits were among the best that they have ever had!   Teachers were impressed with their professionalism and the kids were very enthusiastic.  Heidi Burkhart Elementary Librarian at the Korea Int’l School also said of an earlier visit by Frane that it was the best school author visit that she had seen.   Mark and Frane are married and live in Perth with their two children (where I met them first many years ago).  They love working on books together, Mark providing the historical story and Frane adding greatly to the impact and understanding of the story through her bright, lively illustrations in a naïve style.  Frane has been writing and illustrating books for many years.  Mark has more recently taken to writing stories which vividly retell historical events such as The Legend of Moondyne Joe and Simpson and His Donkey

Moondyne Joe was a famous convict bushranger who was able to escape from every prison cell in which he was placed in the early days of settlement of WA.  Frane’s illustrations add historically accurate details of his life and the period and also portray vividly the flora and fauna of the West Australian bush.  
The Legend of Moondyne Joe by Mark Greenwood illus by Frane Lessac   pb $16.95  (6 – 10 years)
Simpson and his Donkey by Mark Greenwood illus by Frane Lessac hardback $29.95, pb $16.95 Big Book $44.95
The story about Simpson and his Donkey is well known and much loved.  Simpson was an ANZAC soldier on the battlefields of Gallipoli in World war and with the help of his donkey he carried many wounded soldiers from the battlefront to the beach hospital.  In this picture book, the very moving story is told simply while providing a wealth of historical information through the story itself and also through Frane’s deceptively simple illustrations.  (7 – 10 years)

I have attached a list of the books that Frane and Mark have written that we can supply.  Do check out their websites for more information about their books and their presentations. and

If you would like to contact Mark directly then email:


Andrew Plant trained as a zoologist but is now an illustrator, author, science educator and theatre designer, director and choreographer.  An amazing array of talents.  I knew him solely as the illustrator of Puggle which I reviewed back in September last year.

Puggle by Catriona Hoy and Andrew Plant  hardback $24.95  pb $14.95 due August
This is a delightful and at the same time informative picture book with striking illustrations about the extraordinary Australian echidna.  An echidna is an anteater which has spines on its back, lays eggs and feeds milk to its young which are called puggles!  Such a great name.  When this puggle’s mother is killed, he is taken to a wildlife sanctuary where Sue cares for him with other injured or orphaned animals and birds.  He grows from a hairless, blind, tiny creature to a full-grown echidna with long spines capable of eating thousands of termites. When able to look after himself, he is released back into the bush.    It was a great idea to make attractive and eye-catching end covers from simple brightly coloured sentences containing additional information about echidnas.     (4 – 7 years)

And so I was surprised and delighted when John Byrne, Librarian at the Western Academy of Beijing wrote describing Andrew’s visit to the school in glowing terms.  He said that Andrew was fabulous!  The kids love his knowledge of science and dinosaurs and naturally brilliant illustrations!  A true hit!  
Debbie Diaz, the Elementary Librarian at the Beijing City School also said that Andrew was a fantastic teacher and presenter.  The kids are dinosaur crazy right now!
Andrew will be in France for 3 months from August so if any schools in Europe were interested, it could mean a much more economical author visit.  Costs of travel are much cheaper within Europe than from Australia!

Following is a list of some of the books he has published and are presently available.  (Many of the others not listed are educational titles).  

Could a Tyrannosaurus Play Table Tennis? by Andrew Plant pb $14.00
It’s True we came from Slime   by Ken McNamara and Andrew Plant  pb $9.00
Puggle by Catriona Hoy and Andrew Plant  hardback $24.95  pb $14.95 due August
Reign of the Sea Dragons by Sneed B Collard illus Andrew Plant  pb $14.00
Warambi by Aleesah Darlison and Andrew Plant hardback  $24.95 Not yet published Due June
Bright Sparks Reading series  pb $6.50 each
Hide and Seek
I can Fly
I’m Smart
Looking for Mum
Podlet and Spike
That’s My Lunch
The Best Beak
Watch Out!
Where’s My Shell

You can see his marvelous illustrations and other skills by looking at his website.  You can also contact him via the website.

Music Resources

Every now and then at Conferences, a music teacher comes up to the display and asks what I can suggest for Music resources.  It is not an area of expertise for me but I can give a few suggestions.  For more than 40 years, the Sing! Books have provided a marvelous resource for music educators in Australia and New Zealand.  Sing! 2011 has 48 songs for primary school students to listen to, learn and sing along with.   There are many different song categories, including popular, world music, speech rhymes and rap and the theme for this year is Special Occasions.   This is a very popular and much loved resource.
Sing! 2011 pb $14.99
Sing! 2011 CD Vol 1 & 2  $34.99 each
Sing! 2011 Teachers’ Handbook   $15.99

For those wanting a complete music programme for primary school then do have a look at Music Room from Bushfire Press.   I am not a Music teacher and have no musical background, but this programme looks excellent.  It is very clearly set out and looks very easy to follow.  The many different songs and activities would be great fun to share with children.  Bushfire Press have been perfecting this programme for some years.  For the music specialist, it provides a marvelous additional resource while for a teacher less confident in their abilities it provides a complete developmental classroom music programme including actual lesson plans.  There is a year’s work in each level and this includes an end-of-year performance piece based on the year’s work.  Each level contains a full colour Teacher Book (with lesson plans, music, lyrics, activities etc) 4 CDs, a DVD, Charts, Evaluation, data disks and web support.    The songs reflect many different cultures and styles from round the world.  Composition improvisation and lyric writing are included from the earliest levels and multimedia is introduced in the upper levels.

Music Room 
Beginning Primary Level Book 1 to Upper Primary level Book 6  $209.00 each level.
(There are 6 books in all  - $209.00 for each level)


Following are some new titles:

Picture Books

The Magic Brush: A Story of Love, Family and Chinese Characters by Kat Yeh illustrated by Huy Voun Lee  pb $14.99  
Jasmine is now too old for an afternoon nap and so her grandfather Agong suggests they tell stories together.  While telling the stories, they create a magical world where there are flying fish, rivers, mountains and dragons.   Agong adds to the magic of the stories by showing Jasmine how to paint the Chinese characters for the places and creatures in this world.  The brightly coloured illustrations bring the story to life and also show how the Chinese characters often look very like the objects and creatures they depict.  When her grandfather dies, Jasmine is able to tell the stories and show her little brother Tai-Tai how to draw the characters.  This is a charming picture book which will invite lots of discussion about Chinese characters.  (5 – 10 years)

Marshall Armstrong is New to Our School by David Mackintoch  hardback $24.99
Marshall Armstrong is different – in fact very different.  His differences are illustrated rather than described in words by the boy who sits next to him at school, and who is clearly perplexed by the fact that Marshall Armstrong is such a nerd.  When everyone at school is invited to Marshall’s birthday, there is reluctance and expectation that they will have a terrible time but to everyone’s surprise the house is filled with amazing things to do and to explore and games to play.  The boy learns from this and so when a new girl Elizabeth Bell comes to the school, the boy tells the teacher that the new girl “should sit at the front with me and Marshall for the first few days, until she settles in.”  This is an amusing story giving a different perspective of how kids can be different and also great fun.  It also shows our expectations can be very wrong.  (6 – 10 years)

Our School Fete by Louise Pfanner illustrated by Kim Gamble  pb $14.99
I was so pleased to see this book back in print again.  It has been a favourite of mine for many years.   From the very first page, Kim Gamble’s illustrations are a delight as they show the excitement and enthusiasm of the children as they prepare to make their classroom a haunted house with a sticky web, spiders and ghosts.  Ten-year old Charley describes how his family is involved with his father making dozens of jars of tomato chutney and sauce, his sister is practising for a special musical duet and his mum cooks and sews and organises.  The excitement builds as the fete gets closer and closer.  This story must be a delight to read aloud as Louise Pfanner varies slightly the repeated descriptions of what everyone is doing as they rush to get everything done in time.  This is a time of sharing, helping each other and creativity as great fun is had by all.  (5 – 10 years)

Where’s Walrus by Stephen Savage  harddack $26.00
A delightful textless picture book which follows the exploits of Walrus who escapes from the zoo.  In order to evade capture by the pursuing zoo-keeper, Walrus disguises himself by taking on the poses of various people he sees such as firemen, artists and brick-layers.  Finally as he takes his place among some high divers, Walrus’ skills are discovered and he happily goes back to the zoo to show off his amazing diving ability to an appreciative audience.  (4 – 7 years)

Sparrow Girl by Sara Pennypacker illustrated by Yoko Tanaka  hardback $25.00
This is a moving story with a strong environmental message.  It is the true story of how during the time of Mao Tse Tung, people were directed to make an enormous noise in order to scare away and kill the sparrows.  By doing this it was thought that the harvest would be much larger since the birds ate so much of the crop.   In this fictional story, a little girl Ming-Li is so upset by what is happening to the sparrows that she tries to save as many as she can.  She saves just seven birds and hides them in the village barn.  In spring, the villagers discover to their dismay that insects are eating all their crops and realize that previously it was the sparrows that ate these insects.   They are delighted when they discover that Ming-Li has saved seven birds that will in future grow in  number and will help to eat the insects and save their crops.  (5 – 10 years)

The Christmas Eve Ghost by Shirley Hughes  hardback 9781406320633  $29.95 pb 9781406331073 $17.95 Not yet published due September
Shirley Hughes was brought up in Liverpool in the 1930s.  This picture book is a vivid evocation of the harshness of life at that time, especially for a young mother struggling to bring up two young children after the death of her husband.   Her only income comes from her work washing, drying, ironing and picking up and delivering the washed clothes.  Washing day was truly very different at that time with the work involved washing by hand in wash tubs, using a heavy mangle and trying to dry clothes on the line or round the fire.  The struggle of the young mother and also her closeness to her children are vividly portrayed by words and also through Shirley Hughes’ extraordinarily expressive illustrations.   She also conveys the young mother’s suspicions of her Irish neighbours who belong to a different church until their kindness to her children at Christmas breaks down any barriers.  A gem of a story.  (5 – 9 years)  


Here’s a Little Poem: A very First Book of Poetry  Collected by Jane Yolen and Andrew Fusek Peters  hardback 9780763631413  $37.95 pb  9781406327113  $19.95
It is an art to write a good poem and also an art to choose a selection of poems which are so lively; silly at times, and warm and comforting at others.  This collection contains over 60 poems written by American and British poets ranging from Robert Louis Stevenson to Jack Prelutsky and from Roger McGough to Rosemary Wells and it includes of course wonderful poems by Anonymous.  The poems describe the experiences of young children and are arranged in the categories of Me, Myself and I, Who Lives in My House?  I Go Outside and Time for Bed.  Polly Dunbar has brought additional life and humour with her illustrations which are at times exuberant and at other times gentle and warm.  All in all, this is an extremely appealing collection of poetry for young children.  It would be especially appropriate as a resource for the organising theme Who we are of the Primary Years programme.    (3 – 7 years)


Mr Badger and the Big Surprise 
Mr Badger and the Difficult Duchess 
Mr Badger and the Missing Ape by Leigh Hobbs  each pb $14.00
Mr Badger is the impeccable extraordinarily competent Special Events Manager at the Boubles Grand Hotel (pronounced Boublay) in Mayfair London.   He constantly has to use all his ingenuity to ensure that nothing disturbs the guests and visitors to the Hotel, especially from the atrocious behaviour of little Sylvia Smothers-Carruthers, the spoilt seven year old grand-daughter of the owners.  I found the tone of these stories very appealing and loved the ironic humour as Mr Badger so calmly endeavours to stop the potential disasters which constantly threaten.  The very amusing illustrations perfectly match the stories.  (7 – 9 years)  


The Big Ideas that Changed the World: Incredible inventions and the stories behind them  9781405356831 hardback $39.95
This book is so much more interesting than just a description of individual inventions.  “The Big Idea” is described first and then the various inventions and developments that arose from this idea.  It also links the idea to the scientists who were involved.  The book is divided into 6 Sections:  Genius, Great Gizmos, Handy Gadgets, On the Move, Explore and Culture.  Some of the Big Ideas discussed led to the invention of x-rays, vaccines, tin cans, concrete, world wide web, laser, lifts, cranes, batteries, digital camera, credit card, bar code, staples as well as the mobile phone, Hubble and Lego.  A helpful Timeline is included as well as a Glossary and Index.  A most interesting book for browsing but it can also be used a reference tool  (11 – 16 years)

Stocks and Shares: World Economy Explained series  by Sean Connolly  hardback $39.00
The world of stock and shares is bewildering for many people and so it is surprising there are so few books which explain for secondary students how stock markets work and how they have evolved into a global economic system.  This book gives the background to the current economic problems and explains some of the causes and effects of the recent financial problems facing many people and countries round the world.   Written in clear, easily understood language, it is an extremely useful introduction to a very complex topic.  Published in 2010.   It contains a glossary and an Index.  The full range of titles in the series are:
Banks and Banking
Money and Credit
International Aid and Loans
International Trade
Stocks and Shares                                     hardback $39.00   (12 – 6 years)

Teacher Reference

India Kaleidoscope by Sally Heinrich  pb $42.95
Published in 2010 this book contains a wealth of information that will be helpful for students and teachers wanting to learn more about India.  Much of the information is given through the eyes of Jack, an Australian boy who goes on a journey across India over a year with his parents.   His narrative about his experiences provides the basis for the book and to this are added many fact files providing interesting background information about the culture, the geography, the government, flora and fauna, the many languages of India.  Many activities are suggested.  This is an extremely helpful book which will provide much information about India as well as being a helpful guide to lesson formation.  

Suggestions for Australian Fiction from Mandy Clarke

Mandy has written the following reviews of Australian fiction.  It is so great to have another person also reviewing and giving suggestions!  So helpful!

Christine Harris
Audrey of the Outback Book1 pb $14.95 (9781921272189)
Audrey is determined, inquisitive, and has a vivid imagination. She and her family lead an isolated life in the outback and her Dad, a dingo trapper, is away for weeks at a time. In her search for identity and independence, Audrey tries being a swaggie, a teacher and a man. She also ponders loss as she contemplates life without Stumpy, her invisible friend. And what if her Dad never comes back?  An exuberant and engaging story with a very Australian flavour. (thoughtful 8-10 years)

Audrey Goes to Town Book2 pb $14.95 (9781921272677)
With Dad away and Mum unwell, the family goes to stay in town so Mum can get treatment. Audrey's exuberance is somewhat dampened by crotchety old Mrs Paterson, who is accommodating them. But you can't keep a good girl down! In her inimitable style, Audrey sets about finding the old lady's good side. (thoughtful 8-10 years)

Audrey’s Big Secret Book3 pb $14.95 (9781921272530)
Audrey’s big secret is Janet, an aboriginal girl about the same age, who ran away from the men who were taking her to the mission in Queensland. Audrey hides her and brings her food, whilst wrestling with the dilemma of whether to tell her Mum and Dad or not. (thoughtful 8-10 years)

Chris Morphew
The Phoenix Files Book1 Arrival  pb $16.95 (9781921502392)
Arrival takes place over the first 12 days of a 100-day countdown to the end of the world. The world outside of Phoenix, that is. Set in the surreal town of Phoenix in the Australian outback, this fast-paced thriller has a futuristic feel to it. Young Sydney author.
Further titles in this exciting series are:
Book 2 Contact 9781921502408 
Book 3 Mutation 9781921502415
Book 4 Underground  9781921502422               (12+ years)

Justine Larbalestier
How to Ditch Your Fairy  pb $17.95 (9781741757378)  CD unabridged $29.95 (9781742333892)
Having a parking fairy is not all it’s cracked up to be, especially if you’re a 14 year old girl at the competitive New Avalon Sports High. Charlie is determined to ditch her ‘doxy’ fairy, even if it means teaming up with her arch-enemy, Fiorenze. This is a fun, sassy, contemporary readwith engaging characters and generous servings of amusing made-up slang. The author is a Sydney girl married to Scott Westerfeld (author of the young adult Uglies / Pretties series). They divide their time between Sydney and New York City. Mature 11/12+ girls

Scot Gardner
The Detachable Boy  pb $14.95 (9781741753455)
A fast, funny, wacky adventure about a kid who can detach his limbs and then reassemble himself at will. Very useful, although things can get a little out of control when a sneeze can literally blast your head off! When John Johnson's friend Crystal is kidnapped by a crime boss with four arms, he convinces his friend Ravi to pack him up and send him to the USA on a rescue mission - via parcel post!
Scot Gardner usually writes for older teens/young adults. This is his first novel for younger readers. (10-13 years)

Deborah Abela
The Remarkable Secret of Aurelie Bonhoffen  pb $15.95 (9781741660951)
Corrupt, greedy developers are secretly plotting to take over the Bonhoffen’s Seaside Pier, where Aurelie and her family have lived and run the fun-fair for many years. There’s mystery and intrigue, a kidnapping and a big family secret. I really liked the characters and the affirmation that it's ok to be different and stand up for what's right (there are themes of bullying and peer-group pressure). Although the jacket seems aimed at girls, I think quiet, thoughtful boys of this age group would find it a good read. 10-13 years.
Grimsdon  pb $16.95 (9781741663723)
A fast-paced dystopian adventure set in an abandoned, flooded city. Isabella, Griffin and three young kids have forged a new family and survive amidst the threat of sneaker waves, unscrupulous bounty hunters and rumoured sightings of sea monsters. Friendship, loyalty and trust are put to the test with the arrival of Xavier in his amazing flying machine. (10-13 years)

Minton Goes! Series by Anna Fienberg illus by Kim Gamble 
Driving & Trucking pb $12.95 (9781741754278)
Sailing & Flying pb $12.95 (9781741754285)
Underwater & Home at Last pb $12.95 (9781741754292)
Each book contains two exciting adventures of the enthusiastic Minton and his reluctant friend Turtle. There are themes of transport, recycling and problem-solving. Perfect for those obsessed by machines, there are instructions at the end of each story on how to re-create the machines using everyday household materials.
From the creators of the popular Tashi stories. (5-7 years)

And also a few books about Asia

Grace Lin
Where the Mountain Meets the Moon  hardback $29.00 (9780316114271)  pb $17.00 (9780316122696)
Spirited young Minli lives with her family in a poor village near Fruitless Mountain, and together they work hard in the fields all day. Her Ma has become embittered by their poverty-stricken existence, whereas her Ba strives to enrich their lives with fantastic tales of beauty, magic and wonder. Minli buys a ‘lucky’ goldfish from a travelling salesman, only to set it free in the river as she feels so guilty about the few extra grains of rice needed to feed it. To her surprise and delight, the fish speaks, thanking her and encouraging her to pursue a quest. Inspired by the fish and the tales told to her each night by Ba, she sets off to find the Old Man of the Moon hoping to turn her family’s fortune around. Along her journey, she is befriended by a dragon that longs to fly; helped by an orphaned buffalo boy and the laughing twins; meets the king of the City of Bright Moonlight, and hears the fortunes of the very rich and the very poor in the form of folktales woven throughout the story. Minli learns about the insidious nature of jealously, greed and anger, and the goodness that comes from friendship, honour, courage, loyalty, and respect. Her homecoming brings happiness and good fortune to the entire village, not just her overjoyed parents. This is an enchanting mix of fantasy and Chinese folklore, the language is beautiful, not at all didactic, and there are really gorgeous colour illustrations throughout. Newbery Honor award 2010. (Highly recommended for 9-12 years)  

Taeeun Yoo
The Little Red Fish  hb $24.00 (9780803731455)
Quite a unique book, beautifully produced and illustrated, about a boy called JeJe and his first visit to the old library in the middle of the forest, where his grandfather is the librarian. While granddad is working, JeJe explores the library and eventually falls asleep. He dreams he is reading to his friend the little red fish, when the fish disappears. JeJe's ensuing search takes him into and out of books and on a flight across the ocean, clinging to the leg of a flamingo. There's not a lot of text and most of the dream sequence takes place in pictures alone. An unusual portrayal of the magic of libraries and the wonderful world of books and the imagination.
The sometimes surreal nature of the illustrations by this talented Korean author/illustrator reminds me of Shaun Tan's work. (7-9 year olds)

Kate Shepherd and Mandy Clarke

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