The following is a selection of fiction by some of the major Australian authors. Most of the titles included are contemporary but there are also a number of classics. The list includes many books which have been short listed for the Children's Book Council Book of the Year Awards and other commendations. However, because of lack of space I have mentioned mainly just the CBC Awards. The books listed are for mostly elementary level students. Please take the age suggestions as just a rough guide.

If you are after more from a particular author, or more for Upper Primary or Middle School students, please also see our ‘Australian & International Teen Fiction’ list which covers ages 12-18, or our ‘Australian Fiction Series for Younger Readers’ which covers 4/5-8. Recommended by Kate Shepherd and Mandy Clarke

The Remarkable Secret of Aurelie Bonhoffen by Deborah Abela pb 9781741660951 $15.99
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.) MC

Grimsdon by Deborah Abela pb 9780857983220 $16.99
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) MC
Sequel to Grimsdon: New City pb 9781742758558 $16.99
The China Coin by Allan Baillie pb 9780140347531 $18.99
Based on his own experiences when he and his family went to China, this story is set in a small village in China at the time of Tiananmen Square. (10 +)

Little Brother by Allan Baillie pb 9780143301745 $17.99
A story of courage and perseverance set in Cambodia during the Vietnam War. (10 +)  


Krakatoa Lighthouse by Allan Baillie pb 9780143303596 $17.95
This book describes the catastrophic event back in 1883 when the island of Krakatoa in Indonesia exploded in an enormous volcanic eruption. This story is told from the point of view of Kerta, a young boy from Java whose father works for the Dutch lighthouse keeper at one of the lighthouses on the mainland just opposite the island of Krakatoa. It is a fascinating account. (11 – 15 years)

First Voyage by Allan Baillie pb 9780143307679 $17.99
30,000 years ago, before the pyramids are built, before the Ice Age comes and goes, and before Neanderthals become extinct, the Yam tribe live in peace on Bird Island. But the Crocodile tribe have other ideas . . . The ferocious Crocodile warriors have already killed Bent Beak's pa, and now they seem determined to take out his whole tribe. The only way to survive is to flee the island. But where will they go? As the Yam tribe brave the perils of the sea, will they survive the voyage into the unknown, and what awaits them just over the horizon? (10+)

Selby's Secret by Duncan Ball 9780207200045
Duncan Ball’s books about Selby the dog that talks are very popular with children in the 8 to 10 age range, often winning awards when children themselves are the judges. Selby Speaks 9780207200243, Selby Screams 9780207200236, Selby Surfs 9780207200038, Selby Spacedog 9780207200069, Selby Snaps 9780207200205, Selby Snowbound 9780207200199, Selby Sorcerer pb 9780207198618, Selby’s Stardom 9780207200212, Selby’s Shemozzle 9780207200304, Selby Scrambled 9780207199110, Selba Santa 9780732286798, Selby Sprung 9780732292638 and Selby Shattered 9780207200663 pb $14.99 each. (8-10 years)

Emily Eyefinger by Duncan Ball 9780207196041
He has also written a number of books about Emily Eyefinger, a girl who has an eye at the end of her finger which leads to many strange and funny situations. Emily Eyefinger and the City in the Sky 9780207200670, Emily Eyefinger and the Puzzle in the Jungle 9780207199035, Emily Eyefinger and the Balloon Bandits 9780207199400, Emily Eyefinger and the Black Volcano 9780207198816, Emily Eyefinger and the Devil Bones pb 9780207197758 , Emily Eyefinger and the Ghost Ship 9780207198694, Emily Eyefinger and the Lost Treasure 9780207196034, Emily Eyefinger’s Alien Adventure 9780207197239 and Emily Eyefinger, Secret Agent 9780207196027 pb $11.95 each Emily Eyefinger and the Secret from the Sea is the newest title in this very popular series pb 9780732293154 $12.99 (7-10 years)

Two Wolves by Tristan Bancks pb 9780857982032 $16.99
An old man tells his grandson that there is a battle raging inside him, inside all of us. A terrible battle between two wolves. One wolf is bad pride, jealousy, greed. The other wolf is good kindness, hope, truth. The child asks, ‘Who will win?' The grandfather answers simply, ‘The one you feed.' One afternoon, police officers show up at Ben Silver's front door. Minutes after they leave, his parents arrive home. Ben and his little sister Olive are bundled into the car and told they're going on a holiday. But are they? It doesn't take long for Ben to realise that his parents are in trouble. Ben's always dreamt of becoming a detective his dad even calls him Cop'. Now Ben gathers evidence and tries to uncover what his parents have done. The problem is, if he figures it out, what does he do? Tell someone? Or keep the secret and live life on the run? (10-14 years)

Rain May and Captain Daniel by Catherine Bateson pb 9780702233371 $16.95 
Daniel writes his account of his new friendship with Rain in the form of a Star Trek journal. Rain corresponds with her mother through fridge poems. A highly entertaining account of a strong friendship between two eleven year olds in the country. (9 – 13 years)

Millie and the Night Heron by Catherine Bateson pb 9780702235269 $16.95
Shifts and changes in life are not easy but can sometimes bring more friends and a different perspective on the world, as Millie discovers. This is a sensitive story about a girl who is not an extrovert but is determined to keep a strong sense of herself. (9 - 12 years)

The Wish Pony by Catherine Bateson pb 9781864718768 $16.99
Ruby has just quarrelled with her best friend. Her mum always seems to be sick as she is expecting another baby. It is altogether an upsetting time for Ruby and she finds herself behaving in hateful ways. However, with the help of Magda, who is a bit like a fairy godmother, things change and on the way Ruby learns a lot. A charming book with a hint of magic. (9 – 11 years)

Star by Catherine Bateson pb 9781862919815 $16.99
Star has a lot to cope with since her father died and now her mother has a new relationship and there are two younger siblings. Sometimes she thinks that the new partner Charlie who is an artist is acting like a spoilt brat. However when they shift to a new town Charlie comes up with some inventive and creative ideas which help the family settle into the town. There are many amusing situations and lovely use of language including Haiku add to the appeal of the story. (9 – 12 years)

Mates: You Turkeys by Michael Gerard Bauer pb 9781862918160 $12.99
A funny story about the difficulty of having a garden and living nearby to scrub turkeys. One of the Mates series (6 – 8 years)

Just a Dog by Michael Gerard Bauer pb 9781862918870 $14.99
Told in short chapters, these are all the stories that Corey can remember about his dog, Mister Mosely. Mister Mosely is just a normal, everyday dog but he is a very important part of their family. The book has more to offer than just stories about a much loved dog as the stories gradually reveal deep problems within the family. (8 – 11 years). KS

Don’t Call Me Ishmael! by Michael Gerard Bauer pb 9781862919327 $19.99
This book written with a flair and vigour and love of language which is invigorating and very, very funny. When Ishmael becomes involved in an attempt to set up a debating team, it looks disastrous but is hilarious as the team gradually learn to work together. (11 – 16 years)
Return of the Dugongs by Michael Gerard Bauer pb 9781862917644 $18.99
This is a sequel which is equally hilarious. Ishmael starts the year full of confidence but his confidence quickly evaporates with an incident which is excruciatingly embarrassing. (11 – 16 years)
Ishmael and the Hoops of Steel by Michael Gerard Bauer pb 9781862919174 $19.99
The final year at school for Ishmael has an emphasis on the importance of friends and what can be achieve together. (11 – 16 years)


Henry Hoey Hobson by Christine Bongers pb 9781864719956 $16.95
This is a story of great fun and eccentricity. Henry Hoey is starting on his sixth new school in as many years and discovers he is the only boy in grade seven at his new school called Our Lady of Perpetual Succour. When four very strange people move in next door, Henry Hoey suspects they must be vampires. Many misunderstandings lead to some very funny situations but along the way we meet some memorable characters. (10 – 14 years). KS

Drongoes by Christine Bongers pb 9781862919822 $12.99
Another title in the ‘Mates’ series. Can Jack beat Rocket Robson in the cross-country this year? If only! But his best mate Eric might be the real winner in this race... (6- 8 years)

Violet Mackerel’s Brilliant Plot by Anna Branford, Illus Sarah Davis hb 9781921529177 $19.95
Violet has fallen in love with a beautiful blue china bird she saw at the Saturday markets, but how to make it hers? This is a VERY IMPORTANT IDEA and Violet proves herself to be a girl who knows how to THINK OUTSIDE THE SQUARE. The discovery of a dusty red button sparks a BRILLIANT PLOT that brings her heart’s desire, in more ways than one. A charming, gentle and thoughtful story about a creative, resourceful little girl with lots of big ideas. Black and white charming illustrations. (6 – 8 years). MC
Book 2: Violet Mackerel’s Remarkable Recovery hb 9781921529184 $19.95
Book 3: Violet Mackerel’s Natural Habitat hb 9781921529191 $19.95
Book 4: Violet Mackerel’s Personal Space hb 9781921529207 $19.95
Book 5: Violet Mackerel’s Possible Friend hb 9781921977565 $19.95
Book 6: Violet Mackerel’s Pocket Protest hb 9781921977572 $19.95
Book 7: Violet Mackerel's Helpful Suggestion hb 9781922244369 $19.95
Book 8: Violet Mackerel’s Formal Occasion hb 9781925081091 $19.95

The Red Wind: Kingdom of the Lost Book 1 by Isobelle Carmody hb 9780670074037 $19.95 pb 9780143306863 $16.95
Brothers Zluty and Bily are strange furry creatures, hatched from an egg of mysterious origins. Gentle in nature, they have a strong, loving bond and depend on each other’s resourcefulness in order to survive. Zluty is away on his annual food-gathering trip when the red wind sweeps the land, bringing with it a hail of boulders and a fearsome, injured beast, and turning their peaceful lives upside-down. This post-apocalyptic fantasy is a tale of courage, compassion and empathy. Sequel The Cloud Road hb 9780670075188 $19.99 (9 – 12 years). MC

The Legend of Little Fur series by Isobelle Carmody
Little Fur is an elf troll who lives in a secret wilderness at the heart of a great human city. She is a healer. She sings to the ancient trees that protect the small wilderness. But one day Crow tells of humans who will come to burn the trees. To protect her home and her friends, Little Fur must venture for the first time into the dangerous human world… Book 1: Little Fur pb 9780143300724 $16.95 Book 2: Fox Called Sorrow pb 9780143300731 $16.95 Book 3: A Mystery of Wolves pb 9780143300755 $16.95 Book 4: A Riddle of Green pb 9780143504931 $16.95 (7-11 years)

A Cage of Butterflies by Brian Caswell pb 9780702224164 $18.95
A gripping science fiction novel, involving a group of children with unusual brain formation and an international drug company. (12 +)

Only the Heart by Brian Caswell, written with David Phu Anh Chiem pb 9780702233760 $18.95
A perceptive account of a perilous journey to escape Vietnam, and the struggle while living as a refugee and trying to adapt to a new country, Australia. (12+)

Tangara by Nan Chauncy pb 9780702236105 $19.95
A moving time-slip story set in Tasmania. It is regarded as a classic and is part-fantasy, part history and through the friendship of two girls reveals terrible secrets of the relations between early settlers and the Indigenous peoples. (11 – 15 years)

Crow Country by Kate Constable pb 9781742373959 $15.99
This is a gripping time-slip adventure. Sadie isn’t thrilled when her mother drags her from Melbourne to live in the country town of Boort, but things get interesting when she has a strange encounter with Crow. Although the bird speaks in riddles, Sadie comes to understand that it is she who holds the key to a past mystery, and when she is repeatedly spun back through time to witness a terrible crime, things start to fall into place. Set against a backdrop of prejudice and past injustices, and steeped in Indigenous lore, this is also a story about family and friendships. (11-14 years) MC

The Power of One by Bryce Courtenay pb 9780143004554 $24.95
This has been an international bestseller and is extremely popular in particular with Year 9 boys. Told by an excellent story teller, this is the story of a young boy who learns from the boxing ring that small can beat big and sets out to be the welterweight champion. It is set in a South Africa divided by racism and hatred and has a strong message against racism. (15 +)
The Power of One - Young Readers’ Edition pb 9780141304892 $19.99 is the story of Pekay’s life till he goes to high school. (11 - 15 years)

The Cryptic Casebook of Coco Carlomagno (and Alberta) by Ursula Dubosarsky, with puzzles & illustrations by Terry Denton
Book 1: Perplexing Pineapple pb 9781743312575 $9.99
The first book in this series about Alberta, a calm, brainy guinea pig who is frequently called upon by her cousin Coco, the well-respected but somewhat highly-strung and easily-startled Buenos Aires Chief of Police, when he needs help solving a tricky case. This always turns out to be something harmless but by a coincidence of events leads to the thwarting of a real crime. Lots of fun, with a guest-appearance by the pesky little Ernesto, and clues, puzzles and codes. At the end of the book there are clues for solving the puzzles and a glossary of the Spanish words scattered throughout the story. (6- 9 years). MC
Also in this series:
Book 2: Looming Lamplight pb 9781743312599 $9.99
Book 3: Missing Mongoose pb 9781743312605 $9.99
Book 4: Dismal Daffodil pb 9781743319505 $9.99
Book 5: Quivering Quavers pb 9781743319512 $9.99
Book 6: Talkative Tombstone pb 9781743319529 $9.99

New Boy by Nick Earls pb 9780143308393 $14.99
Herschelle and his family have moved from Cape Town, South Africa, to Brisbane, and he’s discovering that “everywhere is weird if you’re from somewhere else.” There’s a lot of humour in the telling and this story will resonate with any child who’s had to adapt to life in a new country. (10 – 13 years) MC

My Story: Plagues and Federation: The Diary of Kitty Barnes: The Rocks, Sydney 1901 by Vashti Farrer pb 9781741697780 $16.99
A fascinating period of history. Kitty Barnes describes in her diary the bubonic plague caused by the plague of rats infesting the area where they live. She also describes the events leading to the Federation of Australia and the horrors of the Boer War where her brother is fighting. (11- 15 years)

The Tashi series by Anna Fienberg & Barbara Fienberg
Tashi is a charming, if extraordinary, character who tells magical stories to his friend Jack. This has proved to be a much loved and very popular series. Tashi 9781741149654, Tashi and the Giants 9781741149661, Tashi and the Ghosts 9781741149678, Tashi and the Genie 9781741149685, Tashi and the Demons 9781741149708, Tashi and the Baba Yaga 9781741149692 , Tashi and the Big Stinker 9781741149715, Tashi and the Dancing Shoes 9781741149722, Tashi and The Haunted House 9781741149531, Tashi and the Royal Tomb 9781741149739, Tashi and the Stolen Bus 9781741148770, Tashi Lost in the City 9781741149630, Tashi and the Forbidden Room 9781741149647, Tashi and the Mixed-up Monster 9781741751918, Tashi and the Phoenix 9781741754742, Tashi and the Golem 9781741757927 ($11.99) all with illustrations by Kim Gamble pb $11.95 each.
Tashi and the Wicked Magician and other stories by Anna Fienberg & Barbara Feinberg, illustrated by Kim Gamble & Geoff Kelly hardback 9781743315088 $19.99
Here are four new stories. This hardback is slightly larger in format than the Tashi paperbacks and the illustrations are in colour. There are only five illustrations (as well as decorations at the beginning of each story), so there is more text than in the previous books. (7-9 year olds) MC
The Big Big Book of Tashi pb 9781865085630 $24.95. 7 of his adventures in one large book.
The 2nd Big Book of Tashi pb 9781741148336 $24.95. 10 of Tashi’s adventures. (6 – 8 years)
Tashi picture books:
There Once was a Boy Called Tashi pb 9781741147193 $14.95 A large picture book introducing Tashi and his magical world. (4-7 years)
Once Tashi Met a Dragon hb 9781741758870 $24.99 pb 9781925267440 $14.99 (4-7 years)

Minton Goes! Complete Adventures by Anna Fienberg, illus by Kim Gamble pb 9781760111960 $19.99
This bind up contains seven 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. (5-7 years) MC

Louis beside Himself by Anna Fienberg pb 9781742379944 $15.99
Set in Sydney, this is the story of a very eventful summer in the life of thirteen-year-old Louis. Louis loves words. His over-enthusiastic wrestling-mad Dad is a little disappointed at Louis’s complete lack of interest in mastering any of the wrestling moves he constantly springs on him, and while his best friends, Singo and Hassan, carry around a basketball and a skateboard, Louis carries a notebook everywhere, recording new words and their meanings and waiting for an opportunity to use them. A fast-paced, funny novel for older readers about friendship, family and standing up for what is right. You’ll find lots of interesting words and their meanings in Louis Montgomery’s Word Bank at the end of the book (11-13 years) MC

Horrendo’s Curse by Anna Fienberg, Illus by Kim Gamble pb 9781865086033 $14.95
The story of Horrendo’s rollicking adventures and ordeals as he and his friends are captured and taken on a pirate ship. Horrendo can only speak in compliments which makes for some very funny situations.
Horrendo’s Curse illustrated by Remy Simard pb 9781743315262 $14.99 is also available now in a fun comic book format. (8 - 12 years)

The Ranger’s Apprentice series by John Flanagan pb $16.95 each
These are gripping adventure stories set in a fantasy kingdom. Will and his friends are assigned to various professions, and over the books they meet up in various adventures. Will is chosen to be an apprentice to the mysterious Ranger who has remarkable skills in tracking and melting into the background. Will gradually learns that the work of the Rangers is highly important and respected as they are the scouts and the eyes and ears for the kingdom. (9 – 14 years)
Book 1: The Ruins of Gorlan 9781864719048
Book 2: The Burning Bridge 9781864719055
Book 3: The Icebound Land 9781864719062
Book 4: The Oakleaf Bearers 9781864719079
Book 5: The Sorcerer in the North 9781864719086
Book 6: The Siege of Macindaw 9781864719093
Book 7: Erak’s Ransom 9781864719109
Book 8: Kings of Clonmel 9781864719116
Book 9: Halt’s Peril 9781741663020
Book 10: The Emperor of Nihon-Ja 9781741664485 $17.95
Book 11: The Lost Stories 9781864718188 $17.95
Book 12: The Royal Ranger 9781864718195 $17.95
Ranger’s Apprentice Early Years: The Tournament at Gorlan pb 9781742759302 $18.99 A prequel. Before they became the most famous Ranger in the land and the hard-working Ranger Commandant, Halt and Crowley were young friends determined to change the world. (9-14 years)

Flanagan’s other historical fantasy series Brotherband has just got started with only 5 books so far. It is in the same world as Ranger’s Apprentice series but is set on the island of Skandia. In order to become a warrior boys are chosen to form a brotherband. However, Hal Mikkelson is chosen as the reluctant leader of a brotherband of outcasts. (9-14 years)
Book 1: The Outcasts pb 9781741664492 $17.95.
Book 2: The Invaders pb 9781741664508 $17.95
Book 3: The Hunters pb 9781742750620 $17.95
Book 4: Slaves of Socorro pb 9781742759340 $17.99
Book 5: Scorpion Mountain pb 9781742759364 $17.99

Moon Station by Rachel Flynn illus by Judy Watson pb 9780143304524 $12.95
William has to do a project on designing a moon station. Some enterprising kids outsource their projects to their parents since this is the modern way or “best practice.” Williams has a suspicion that this might be cheating. A very amusing story about the hazards of doing projects. One of the popular Aussie Bites. (7 – 9 years)

Someone Like Me by Elaine Forrestal pb 9780140380927 $16.95
Winner of the 1998 CBC Award for Younger Readers. Tas gets into a lot of trouble for an ordinary kid. Why do certain kids pick on him and why does he react so fiercely? An absorbing, well-written story. (7 - 11)

To See the World by Elaine Forrestal pb 9780642278494 $17.99
The history of the exploration of Australia is all too often just seen through British eyes and so it is fascinating to read this account of one of Louis de Freycinet’s voyages through the eyes of Jose, a young Mauritian boy, whose father was French and a friend of de Freycinet’s. The book is illustrated with original drawings, engravings and maps of the period, a glossary and historical notes. (10 – 15 years) KS

Jackie French is one of Australia’s most popular (and most prolific!) children’s authors. She writes mostly for upper primary, and middle school students.
Somewhere around the Corner by Jackie French pb 9780207183591 $16.95
Barbara is suddenly transported back to 1932 in the years of the Depression. A vivid picture of the difficulties of the times, and the strength and love of the family with whom she stays. (12+)

Walking the Boundaries by Jackie French pb 9780207200434 $14.95
Another historical time-slip novel which looks at the importance of the land. (10 - 14)

Daughter of the Regiment by Jackie French pb 9780207196744 $14.95
A hole in the air in the chook house enables Harry to have a glimpse back in time, to see Cissie who lived more than 150 years ago near the farm where he lives. A compelling, historical time-slip story. (10+)

Hitler’s Daughter by Jackie French pb 9780207198014 $15.99
When Anna makes up a compelling story about Hitler’s daughter, Mark finds the story disturbing and questions if children can be blamed if their parents do something evil. Thought provoking. Winner of the 2000 CBC Younger Readers Book of the year Award. (10+)
Pennies for Hitler pb 9780732292096 $15.99
A companion piece to ‘Hitler’s Daughter’, this is a story of war-torn Europe during WWII, as seen through the eyes of a young German boy Georg, who loses his family and must forget his past and who he is in order to survive. (10+)

How the Finnegans Saved the Ship by Jackie French pb 9780207197499 $14.95
The story of Mrs Finnegan and her seven children, and their eventful trip to Australia in 1913. At the end of the book there are some interesting historical notes on Irish immigration to Australia. (10+)

Ride the Wild Wind: The Golden Pony & other Stories by Jackie French pb 9780207198304 $14.95
This is a collection of horse stories with a difference, as Jackie French is writing not just about horses but about the bond that has developed over thousands of years between people and horses. (8 -12 years)

Dark Wind Blowing by Jackie French pb 9780207197963 $16.95
A tense drama told within the time span of just one day. A disturbed student threatens teachers and fellow students with a test-tube allegedly containing a deadly virus. It makes a gripping read as well as giving us much to discuss and think about. (11 – 14 years)

The Goat Who Sailed the World by Jackie French pb 9780207200779 $14.99
This book has two narrators, a young twelve year old boy called Isaac Manley and a much-travelled and superior Goat. This narrative device gives us two very different perspectives on Cooks’ amazing voyage around the world from 1768 to 1771, when Australia was discovered and the ship was almost wrecked on the Great Barrier Reef. Very entertaining. (9 – 14 years)

They Came on Viking Ships by Jackie French pb 9780207200113 $15.95
A convincing and exciting story of Hekja who was captured by Vikings and taken to Greenland. She has courage and determination and earns the respect of her captors and finally joins colonists on a journey to Vinland (on the coast of America). (10 – 14 years)

Macbeth and Son by Jackie French pb 9780207200342 $15.95
This novel is about the truth in history and whether it really matters. Jackie French’s complaint is with Shakespeare, who wrote about the Scottish King Macbeth who was by all accounts an honourable king but was turned into a villain in Shakespeare’s play Macbeth. Jackie uses the dreams of a modern-day boy, Luke, who is studying the play at school to show what really or possibly happened to Lulach and his father Macbeth in eleventh century Scotland. The most fascinating aspect of the story is the theme of whether the truth really matters and whether Shakespeare was justified in making Macbeth a villain for the sake of the play. This would make a fascinating book for discussion. (11 – 14 years)

Pharaoh, the Boy Who Conquered the Nile by Jackie French pb 9780207200823 $15.99
Another successful attempt to portray a historical period: this time in the Nile region but before the building of the pyramids. Prince Narmer was destined to be King of a city state but after a shocking accident he has to leave the land he knows and loves by the Nile and goes with traders and visits the lands of the region, including the wondrous cities of Punt and Ur. Jackie makes this a fascinating and believable adventure. (10 – 13 years)

A Rose for the ANZAC Boys by Jackie French pb 9780732285401 $15.99
This book is set at the beginning of the First World War, and describes three young girls who are about 16 years old and who decide to set up a canteen at a railway stop in France to serve cocoa and sandwiches to troops going to the front. The story is often told in the form of letters by Midge McPherson, who later helps out by driving an ambulance and later still at a casualty station very close to the frontline. Through this story about three young girls, Jackie French has succeeded in giving a graphic and terribly moving account of the suffering of the soldiers at the front and also of the amazing efforts of so many women working without stop as nurses. (12+)

Nanberry: Black Brother White by Jackie French pb 9780732290221 $16.99
This historical novel, based on true events, starts in 1788 as the new colony in Sydney Cove is established. Surgeon John White defies convention when he adopts Nanberry, an Aboriginal boy who he manages to save from smallpox. He raises Nanberry alongside his white son, Andrew. The story is told from five quite different points of view in short, dated chapters, giving the reader personal perspectives of life in this period. There are informative Author’s Notes at the end of the book. (12-15 year olds) MC

Dingo: the Dog who Conquered a Continent by Jackie French pb 9780732293116 $14.99
This is the story of how dingoes may have come thousands of years ago to Australia. It tells the story of how a young boy and a dog from an island to the north of Australia get blown off course while in a canoe and end up in northern Australia where they learn to survive in this strange new land. The story is told in alternate chapters from the point of view of the boy, Loa, and of the Dog (9 – 15 years) KS

Refuge by Jackie French pb 9780732296179 $15.99
When a boat carrying a group of asylum seekers is sunk by a freak wave, Faris wakes from the shipwreck in an Australia he's always dreamed of. There are kangaroos grazing under orange trees and the sky is always blue. On a nearby beach, Faris meets a group of young people who have come from far different times and places. They are also seeking refuge, and each has their own story of why they had to leave their own story of why they had to leave their country to make a new life for themselves. It is only when Faris chooses to return to 'real life' and find his father in Australia that he learns the extraordinary truth about the friends he made in the golden beach. (10+)

Jackie French’s ‘Matilda’ series. This series draws on the well-known poem by A.B. Paterson
and from events rooted in actual history, giving us an untold story behind Australia's early years as an emerging nation. The stories are connected over a century, the first book set in 1894, and the most recent in 1969. They are for Upper Primary/ Middle School readers.
Book 1: A Waltz for Matilda pb 9780732290214 $19.99
In 1894, twelve-year-old Matilda flees the city slums to find her unknown father and his farm. But drought grips the land, and the shearers are on strike. Her father has turned swaggie and he's wanted by the troopers. In front of his terrified daughter, he makes a stand against them, defiant to the last. 'You'll never catch me alive, said he...' Set against a backdrop of bushfire, flood, war and jubilation, this is the story of one girl's journey towards independence. It is also the story of others who had no vote and very little but their dreams. (11+)
Book 2: The Girl from Snowy River pb 9780732293109 $19.99
The year is 1919. Thirty years have passed since the man from Snowy River made his famous ride. But World War I still casts its shadow across a valley in the heart of Australia, particularly for orphaned sixteen-year-old Flinty McAlpine, who lost a brother when the Snowy River men marched away to war. Why has the man Flinty loves returned from the war so changed and distant? Why has her brother Andy 'gone with cattle', leaving Flinty in charge of their younger brother and sister and with the threat of eviction from the farm she loves so dearly? A brumby muster held under the watchful eye of the legendary Clancy of the Overflow offers hope. Now Flinty must ride to save her farm, her family and the valley she loves. Set among the landscapes of the great poems of Australia, this book is a love song to the Snowy Mountains and a tribute to Australia's poets who immortalised so much of our land. (11+)
Book 3: The Road to Gundagai pb 9780732297220 $19.99
Blue Laurence has escaped the prison of her aunt's mansion to join the Magnifico Family Circus, a travelling troupe that brings glamour and laughter to country towns gripped by the Depression. Blue hides her crippled legs and scars behind the sparkle of a mermaid's costume; but she's not the only member of the circus hiding a dark secret. The unquenchable Madame Zlosky creates as well as foresees futures. The bearded lady is a young man with laughing eyes. A headless skeleton dangles in the House of Horrors. And somewhere a murderer is waiting to strike again. This third book in the Waltz for Matilda saga is set in 1932, at the height of the Depression. Miss Matilda is still running Drinkwater Station, but has put aside her own tragedy to help those suffering in tough economic times and Joey, from The Girl from Snowy River, uses his new medical skills to solve a mystery. (11+)
Book 4: To Love A Sunburnt Country pb 9781460750421 $19.99
In war-torn Malaya, Nancy dreams of Australia - and a young man called Michael. The year is 1942 and the world is at war. Nancy Clancy left school at fourteen to spend a year droving, just like her grandfather Clancy of the Overflow. Now sixteen, Nancy’s family have sent her to Malaya to bring home her sister-in-law Moira and baby nephew Gavin. Yet despite the threat of Japanese invasion, Moira resists, wanting to stay near her husband Ben. But not even Nancy of the Overflow can stop the fall of Singapore and the capture of so many Australian troops. When their ship is bombed, Nancy, Moira and Gavin are reported missing. Back home at Gibbers Creek, Michael refuses to believe the girl he loves has died. As Darwin, Broome and even Sydney are bombed, Australians must fight to save their country. But as Michael and the families of Gibbers Creek discover, there are many ways to love your country, and many ways to fight for it. From one of Australia’s most-admired storytellers comes a gripping and unforgettable novel based on true events and little-known people. This is a story about ultimate survival and the deepest kinds of love. (11+)
Book 5: The Ghost by the Billabong pb 9780732295295 $19.99
The fifth title in the Matilda series. Hippies wear beads, demonstrators march against the Vietnam War, and the world waits to see the first human steps on the moon's surface. But at Gibbers Creek, Jed Kelly sees ghosts, from the past and future, at the Drinkwater billabong where long ago the swaggie leaped to his defiant death. But is seventeen-year-old Jed a con artist or a survivor? When she turns up at Drinkwater Station claiming to be the great-granddaughter of Matilda Thompson's dying husband, Jed clearly has secrets. As does a veteran called Nicholas, who was badly wounded in the Vietnam War and now must try to create a life he truly wants to live, despite the ghosts that haunt him too. Set during the turbulence of the late 1960s, this was a time when brilliant and little-known endeavours saw Australia play a vital role in Neil Armstrong's 'one giant leap for mankind' on that first unforgettable moon walk. The Ghost by the Billabong is a story of deep conflicts and enduring passions - for other people, for the land, and for the future of humanity. (11+)

Birrung, the Secret Friend by Jackie French pb 9780732299439 $12.99
This first book in the series tells the story of a young indigenous girl Birrung who befriends orphaned Barney and his friend Elsie. Birrung is living with Mr Johnson, chaplain to the Australian colony in 1790, and his family. Generous in spirit, the Johnson family also take in Barney and Elsie who have only just been surviving on their meagre daily rations. Despite living with the Johnsons, Birrung's connection to her people remains strong, and when Mr and Mrs Johnson see how Barney's feeling for Birrung are growing, they gently explain that his friendship with a 'native' girl and all that she taught him about her language and lore must remain a secret - forever. (8+)

I Am Juliet by Jackie French pb 9780732297985 $16.99
Part of a new series dealing with the female characters in Shakespeare’s plays. The second book out is Ophelia: Queen of Denmark pb 9780732298524 $16.99 (Both 10+)

Other Brother by Simon French pb 9781921720833 $18.95
2013 CBCA Short-listed. Kieran wants so much to be accepted by the kids that matter at school but that is made much more difficult when his “weird” cousin Bon comes to stay. Simon French writes sensitively about believable and interesting characters that often face a real struggle in their lives. Bon has had a difficult life but as Kieran gets to know him he realises that they have more in common that just being cousins. (11 – 15 years) KS

Polar Boy by Sandy Fussell pb 9781921150388 $15.95
Iluak is a young Inuit boy and is apprehensive about a prediction that he will meet with a polar bear. Iluak meets with several bears but it is the meeting with a fierce Viking leader which is the most terrifying. The story is set in the time when the indigenous peoples of that region followed the seasons and the paths of migratory animals. It is an absorbing and at times exciting story. (9 – 13 years)

Samurai Kids 1: White Crane by Sandy Fussell pb 9781921150203 $15.95
A story about kids training to be samurai but one has only one arm, one only one leg, one is blind, one is very big and strong but refuses to fight and there is a girl who has white hair and six fingers and toes. Amazingly, the characters come to life. Their sensei or teacher is old and skinny but very wise in the way of Zen, and Zen sayings provide much of the humour of the book. The story is exciting, lively and often very funny. Other titles in the series are: Book 2: Owl Ninja 9781921150371 Book 3: Shaolin Tiger 9781921150906 Book 4: Monkey Fist 9781921150913 Book 5: Fire Lizard 9781921529467 Book 6: Golden Bat 9781921529474
Book 7: Red Fox 9781922077509
Book 8: Black Tengu 9781922077622 All paperback $15.95 each (9 – 13 years)

The Detachable Boy by Scot Gardner pb 9781741753455 $14.95
A fast, 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, John 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) MC

The Complete Adventures of Snugglepot & Cuddlepie by May Gibbs hb 9780732284282 $39.99
An Australian Classic. The story of the many adventures of Snugglepot and Cuddlepie, gumnut babies, who are always under threat from the wicked banksia men. Delightful illustrations, especially in the hardback edition, with a number of colour plates. (6 – 10 years)

My Story: The Rum Rebellion: The Diary of David Bellamy, Sydney Town, 1807- 1809 by Libby Gleeson pb 9781741697797 $16.99
A well-written, absorbing story of a year in the life of David Bellamy.

Mahtab’s Story by Libby Gleeson pb 9781741753349 $15.95
Based on true stories, this is the moving account of how a young Afghan girl and her family were forced to flee Afghanistan in the time of the Taliban and how they finally make their way to Australia. (11 – 15 years)

The Cleo Stories: The Necklace and The Present by Libby Gleeson & Freya Blackwood (illus) hardback 9781743315279 $16.99
This is the first book in the Cleo series for early fiction readers. Two stories in hardback with lots of colour illustrations throughout (6-8 year olds) MC
The Cleo Stories: A Friend and a Pet hb 9781743315286 $16.99

Morris Gleitzman is an extremely popular author in Australia who used to write for television, especially comedy. Children love all his books.
Misery Guts by Morris Gleitzman pb 9780330272315 $14.95
Keith persuades his parents to shift from dismal dreary England to Australia but still finds there are problems in the land of his dreams. Book Two: Worry Warts pb 9780143301967 $14.95, Book Three: Puppy Fat 9780330274623 $14.95 (8+)

Blabbermouth by Morris Gleitzman pb 9780330273534 $14.95
Rowena has problems in that she is unable to speak but her problem is small in comparison with the problems some other people have and don't even realise. Book Two: Stickybeak 9780330274067 pb $14.95, and Book Three: Gift of the Gab pb 9780140387988 $16.95 (8 – 14 years).

Two Weeks with the Queen by Morris Gleitzman pb 9780330426220 $14.99
My own favourite which interweaves humour and tragedy. The story of Colin Mudford, whose little brother Luke is diagnosed with cancer. Colin goes to stay with his Aunt and Uncle in England while his parents are coping with Luke’s care, and while there Colin decides that the Queen must have the best doctors, and the best doctors must be able to cure cancer so he sends a letter to the Queen asking to borrow her doctor for a little while. This is a bittersweet novel about the lengths we will go to for our loved ones, and that sometimes the hardest thing to deal with is the knowledge you cannot save them. (11+)

The Other Facts of Life by Morris Gleitzman pb 9780140325751 $16.95
Originally written for a television series called The Winners, this is a biting satirical humour with an environmental theme. (11+)

Belly Flop by Morris Gleitzman pb 9780330362573 $14.95
Against a setting of severe drought in a small country town, Gleitzman succeeds in writing a very funny book but the glimpses we get of the anger, bitterness and frustration that simmer just beneath the surface layer of humour are all the more potent. 
The sequel is Water Wings pb 9780143301592 $16.95 (8 – 13 years)

Toad Rage by Morris Gleitzman pb 9780141306551 $16.95
Gleitzman is back to his best. This is a very funny story about Limpy the cane toad who is determined to change humans’ opinions of cane toads so he sets off on a dangerous and hilarious adventure. Toad Heaven pb 9780141308807, Toad Surprise pb 9780143304166 and Toad Away pb 9780143300472 are the sequels. $16.95 each (8 - 14 years)

Boy Overboard by Morris Gleitzman pb 9780141308388 $16.95
Gleitzman has succeeded in writing a comic/tragic account of a refugee family from Afghanistan. Jamal and Bibi are ordinary kids who love soccer and kids will relate to their plight as they are forced to flee Afghanistan and attempt to come to Australia. Amazingly enough it is often very funny, but in class discussions there will be so much that can be discussed. Girl Underground pb 9780143300465 $16.95 is the sequel. Jamal and Bibi are now in Australia in a detention camp for refugees. Bridget and Menzies decide to rescue them. There are many crazy situations but Gleitzman will succeed in making children laugh and cry. (9 – 15 years)

Give Peas a Chance by Morris Gleitzman pb 9780143302629 $16.95 & Pizza Cake pb 9780143305989 $16.95
Collections of entertaining short stories featuring some characters from earlier books. (8 – 14 years)

Once by Morris Gleitzman pb 9780143301950 $16.95
“Once I escaped from an orphanage to find my Mum and Dad. Once I saved a girl called Zelda from a burning house. Once I made a Nazi with toothache laugh. My name is Felix. This is my story.” After being separated from his parents and he believing they have been killed Felix comes to understand that the Nazis really are trying to kill him and thousands of other men, women and children, and especially the Jews. This is a very difficult topic but is treated with humour and tragedy. This series has been hugely popular in Australia and around the world for a number of years now. These titles are still highly sought after in schools. Then pb 9780670072781 $19.95 Felix and his friend Zelda try to hide from the Nazis. After pb 9780670075447 $19.99 Felix leaves the farm where he has been hiding, and while trying to avoid the advancing Nazis, joins the Polish partisans. There are many dangers but Felix meets them with courage and selflessness. Now pb 9780670074372 $19.95 Set in the current day in Australia, Felix is now a grandfather. Once and Then combines the first two books in one volume. pb 9780143203032 $24.95. (11 – 15 years) KS
Soon pb 9780670078875
Soon is Glietzman’s most recent book in this series and fits in somewhere between After and Now. The war is over but that doesn’t mean Felix’s troubles are over.

The Kensington Reptilarium by N J Gemmell pb 9780857980502 $16.99
A new series from an Australian author. A family of four children are left alone on their farm in outback Australia while their father is at war. Then they receive the devastating news that he is missing in action and they are to be sent to their uncle in Kensington, England. The children are delightfully fun and clever, and their uncle is not quite as mad and crotchety as he first appears. Lots of adventure and animals. There are three books in the series so far. Book 2: Icicle Illuminarium pb 9780857985675, Book 3: Luna Laboratorium pb 9780857985699 All $16.99 (9-12)

Andy Griffiths
Easily the most popular children’s author in Australia today. Andy and his friend and illustrator Terry Denton often push the adult books off best seller lists. Collections of very funny stories with an irreverent, infectious humour which kids love. Just Tricking 9780330361415, Just Annoying 9780330360784 , Just Stupid 9780330361484, Just Crazy 9780330362153, Just Disgusting 9780330363686 Just Shocking 9780330423533 Just Doomed 9781742610924 Just Macbeth 9780330425346 illustrated by Terry Denton pb $12.99 each. (8- 11 years)

The 13-Storey Treehouse by Andy Griffiths, illustrated by Terry Denton pb 9780330404365 $9.99
The 13-Storey Treehouse where Andy and Terry live has a bowling alley, a library full of comics, a tank full of man-eating sharks, a Games deck, vines you can swing on and a secret underground laboratory. Australia’s best selling children’s book. Excellent for reluctant readers. Very silly with lots of pictures. (8 – 10 years). KS
The 26-Storey Treehouse pb 9781742611273 $12.99
The 39-Storey Treehouse pb 9781742612379 $12.99
The 52-Storey Treehouse pb 9781742614212 $12.99
The 65-Storey Treehouse pb 9781743533222 $12.99

A Chook called Harry by Phillip Gwynne pb 9780143303473 $12.95
A very appealing story. Chris’ family decides to buy ten chooks and the father thinks it is only sensible to eat any chook that doesn’t pull its weight by laying eggs. But the chook that isn’t laying is Chris’ favourite chook, Harry. Another in the Aussie Bites series. (7 – 9 years)

Audrey of the Outback series by Christine Harris
Audrey of the Outback pb 9781742977959 $14.95
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)
Book 2: Audrey Goes to Town pb 9781742977966 $14.95
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) MC
Book 3: Audrey’s Big Secret pb 9781742977973 $14.95
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) MC

Taj and the Great Camel Trek by Rosanne Hawke pb 9780702238772 $16.95
Rosanne Hawke has told this fascinating story of the famous explorer Ernest Giles’ to travel west from South Australia to Perth across the Australian desert through the eyes of 12 year old Taj. Taj is accompanying his Afghan father and helps to look after their camels which provide the key to their chances of succeeding in this very dangerous journey where the shortage of water is of constant concern. This is a convincing and interesting account of the dangers of the journey and also of the relationships between the English explorers and Taj and his father and a young Aboriginal tracker whose skills in finding water were also essential for the success of the journey. KS (9 – 12 years)

Love, Ghosts and Nose Hair by Steven Herrick pb 9780702228780 $18.95
A highly successful verse novel. Humorous, engaging, sad and full of vitality this is the story of 16 year old Jack and his friends, his family, his hopes and his fears. The sequel A Place like This pb 9780702229848 $18.95 In which Jack and the love of his life Annabel decide to take a year off university and just wander. Excellent. (15+)

The Spangled Drongo by Steven Herrick pb 9780702230950 $16.95
A similar verse narrative format but directed at a younger age group. Twelve year Sam is mad about soccer and then, to his surprise, discovers a girl who is also mad about soccer. (9 - 13 years)

Tom Jones Saves the World by Steven Herrick pb 9780702233364 $16.95
Written from Tom’s view point. His family has just shifted into a trendy suburb which is enclosed by a high wall and he hates it. (8 – 12 years)

By the River by Steven Herrick pb 9781741143577 $17.95
This is another verse novel in which Harry writes about his memories of growing up in a country town in a close knit family. (12 up)

Pookie Aleera is not my Boyfriend by Steven Herrick pb 9780702249280 $16.95
A verse novel in which each of the characters describes themselves and tells their own story. The kids are in the sixth grade in an Australian country school, 422kms from the sea. Through their individual voices, we gradually get to know them and their new teacher. The book is often very funny. Herrick succeeds in vividly bringing to life this story about a small community and how people can make a difference through their actions. (9 – 12 years) KS

Bleakboy & Hunter Stand Out in the Rain by Steven Herrick pb 9780702250163 $14.95
This was nominated for the ‘Younger Readers’ CBCA award in 2015. Jesse has just started a new school and is trying to fit in but it’s difficult with Hunter, the school bully, the strangeness of his family and a new friendship with Kate, a girl determined to save the whales. There are lots of problems in the world and this novel looks at kids who are struggling with knowing what to do with a number of them. Here three kids succeed in getting together and helping each other and others. Herrick tells their story with a lot of humour. The three main characters are very sympathetic, Hunter especially is wonderfully written, and the message of small gestures making great change is very well done. KS (9- 12)

Do-Wrong Ron by Steven Herrick pb 9781865086613 $14.95
He's do-wrong Ron who does the wrong things at the wrong time or the right things at the wrong time or the wrong things at the right time. Until he finds Charlie the guinea pig who looks like an oversized rat and they meet Isabelle who is waiting for something anything to happen. And when Ron plans a musical welcome for Isabelle's nana, anything just might happen. A verse novel. (9+)

Star of the Circus by Nette Hilton pb 9780702236006 $16.95
Poor Bonnie Belinda Bennett just wants to come first in something. However Bonnie has a very special gift; she has taught the animals on the farm to do the most amazing tricks and when the circus comes to town then her farm animals are called upon to show all their skills. An engaging story about a child who thinks she is ordinary but who really is quite extraordinary. (6 – 10 years)

Hazel Green by Odo Hirsch pb 9781741144376 $15.99
Hazel Green is a spirited heroine and the Yak is an introverted boy who is a mathematical whiz. They make a formidable team. Sequels are Something’s Fishy Hazel Green pb 9781741144383, Have Courage, Hazel Green pb 9781741144390 and Think Smart, Hazel Green! 9781741141108 each pb $15.95 (8 - 12 years)

Bartlett and the Ice Voyage by Odo Hirsch pb 9781864488357 $15.95
A charming and engaging adventure story about an indulged young queen and an unlikely explorer whose inventiveness, desperation and perseverance succeeds against all odds in bringing back to the young queen the delights of a fresh melidrop fruit. The sequel is Bartlett and the City of Flames 9781865081168 pb $15.95 each (8 – 12 years)

Amelia Dee and the Peacock Lamp by Odo Hirsch pb 9781741753011 $15.95
This is a charming story with a touch of the exotic and the whimsical. It is about memory and loss, the power of story and of truth to change lives. (11 – 13 years)

Darius Bell and the Glitter Pool by Odo Hirsch pb 9781741757163 $15.95
Another quirky, whimsical and charming story. Darius Bell lives with his family in a huge old house which was bequeathed to the family by the Town Council on the proviso that they present a special gift to the Council every 25 years. Darius is certain that his father has neither the money nor the ideas to come up with a special gift that will satisfy the Council and so he is the one who searches and finally finds the beautiful Glitter pool. (10 – 13 years)
Sequel is Darius Bell and the Crystal Bees pb 9781742376837 $15.95

Mr Badger series by Leigh Hobbs
Mr Badger and the Big Surprise 9781742374178
Mr Badger and the Difficult Duchess 9781742374192
Mr Badger and the Missing Ape 9781742374185
Mr Badger and the Magic Mirror 9781742374208 each pb $13.99
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 not 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) KS

45 & 47 Stella Street & Everything that happened by Elizabeth Honey pb 9781865080901 $15.95
A lively diary about the crazy happenings in Stella Street, written by 11 year old Henni Octon. (10 – 13 years)
Don’t Pat the Wombat by Elizabeth Honey pb 9781865080888 $15.95
A school camp in the bush sets the scene for an absorbing portrayal of students and teachers. Funny and believable. (7 - 11)
To the Boy in Berlin by Elizabeth Honey pb 9781741750041 $15.95 (written with Heike Brandt) This is the story of an intriguing email correspondence between Henni who lives in Melbourne, Australia, and Leo Schmidt in Berlin. The emails fly backwards and forwards providing much amusement as well as glimpses of the difference and similarities between their lives and also some of the history linking the two countries. (10 – 14 years)

Paul Jennings is one of Australia's most popular authors, even outselling Roald Dahl. His stories are funny, quirky and often have a strange twist to the ending.
Rascal Stories by Paul Jennings, illustrated by Bob Lea
Rascal the Dragon is an engaging young stray dragon who has been adopted by a young boy and his father in much the same way that a family would take in a stray puppy. The stories are enjoyable, humorous and very simply written for children just beginning to read. Also would be good for ESL. Small Format: Rascal Bumps his Head 9780143304203 Rascal Runs Away 9780143304098 Rascal’s Big Day 9780143305200 Little Rascal to the Rescue 9780143302674 Rascal and the Hot Air Balloon 9780143300915 Rascal goes Fishing 9780143302643 Rascal Plays Up 9780143302377 Rascal and the Bad Smell 9780143304111 Rascal and the Dragon Droppings 9780143302667 Rascal and the Monster 9780143302650 Rascal’s Shadow 9780143304104
Rascal’s Trick 9780143300380 pb $9.95 each
Large Format: Rascal Goes Fishing 9780143503958 Rascal and Little Flora 9780143502395 Rascal Takes Off 9780143502067 Rascal and the Cheese 9780143502418 Rascal and the Monster 9780143503941 Rascal in Trouble 9780143501749 Rascal Plays Up 9780143503989 Rascal and the Dragon Droppings 9780143503965 are also available in larger picture book format. pb $14.95 each.

Singenpoo series by Paul Jennings
Wacky stories about Singenpoo the remarkable cat who can read and even play Scrabble. Large print, simple text and illustrations.
The Paw Thing 9780140377705 $12.95, Singenpoo Strikes Again 9780141300993 , Singenpoo Shoots Through 9780141306094 $12.95 and Singenpoo’s Secret Weapon pb 9780141306087 $12.95 All four stories also available in one volume The Many Adventures of Singenpoo pb 9780143304791 $19.95 (7 – 10 years)

Short Stories by Paul Jennings
Very entertaining collections of Jennings’ strange short stories. These have been hugely popular for a number of years. (9+) Funniest Stories 9780670028900, Spookiest Stories 9780670028917, Trickiest Stories 9780670071845 and Weirdest Stories 9780670070640 pb $24.95

The Gizmo by Paul Jennings pb 9780140370904 $12.95
A short story with the usual bizarre twist and illustrations

How Hedley Hopkins Did a Dare, Robbed a Grave, Made a New Friend Who Might Not Have Really Been There at All, And While He Was at it Committed a Terrible Sin Which Everyone Was Doing Even Though He Didn't Know It by Paul Jennings 9780141306117 pb $16.95
Based on Paul Jennings’ own life growing up in Australia in the fifties. His family were English immigrants and he felt that he was an outsider. (11 – 14 years)

Don’t Look Now: Book 1: Falling for It & The Kangapoo Key Ring illustrated by Andrew Weldon pb 9781743311233 $12.99
Ricky is an ordinary boy who spends a lot of time imagining things. He knows he’s a bit of a dork but he has a secret talent. You see, Ricky can fly. The only catch is that if anyone sees him flying he plummets to the ground immediately. Dangerous, and very, very embarrassing. There are lots of laughs as Ricky tries to refine his skill without being seen. This is the first book in a four-book series, published in quick succession, and each book contains two stories with lots of black and white line illustrations. (8-10 years) MC
Don’t Look Now: Book 2: A Magician Never Tells & Elephant Bones 9781743311400
Don’t Look Now: Book 3: Hair Cut & Just a Nibble 9781743311417
Don’t Look Now: Book 4: Hobby Farm & Seeing Red 9781743311424 pb $12.99 each

The Pagan Chronicles by Catherine Jinks
Catherine Jinks’ novels are best characterised by her sense of humour. Pagan and Birdie are cheeky characters, extremely likable and full of wit. There is never any heavy handed prose in Jinks’ books, and although they are historical her characters could very easily be around today.
Book 1 Pagan's Crusade pb 9781741752311 $17.95 A wonderfully refreshing historical novel which doesn't need a time slip device to bring vividly to life 12th century Jerusalem at the time of the Crusades. Book 2 Pagan in Exile pb 9781741752328 $17.95 is the sequel where the even more violent and vigorous action takes place in medieval France. Book 3 Pagan’s Vows pb 9781741752335 is set in a monastery as Roland and Pagan take monastic vows, and develops into an exciting medieval thriller. Book 4 Pagan's Scribe pb 9781741752342 is told through the eyes of the bookish young Isidore giving a different perspective on Pagan and Roland. pb $17.95 each title (11 years up) Book 5 Pagan’s Daughter pb 9781741752359 $17.95 Babylonne is a feisty character whose life is fraught with danger as it seems that in whichever city she is, the city is besieged. This was an extremely violent period of history and Jinks describes the brutality of the frequent battles and sieges between the Cathars in the south of France and the French lords. (13 - 17 years)

City of Orphans Trilogy by Catherine Jinks
An atmospheric fantasy adventure set in Victorian London. The novel is full of historical detail and the characters are really engaging, especially Birdie who is so brave and clever. (10-13 year olds) MC
Book 1: A Very Unusual Pursuit pb 9781743313060 $14.99
Book 2: A Very Peculiar Plague pb 9781743313053 $14.99
Book 3: A Very Singular Guild pb 9781743313091 $14.99

• Theophilus Grey and the Demon Thief by Catherine Jinks hb 9781760113605 $19.99
Twelve-year-old Theophilus Grey - Philo to his friends - heads a team of linkboys who guide Londoners home through the dank eighteenth-century alleys by the light of their torches. In the process, the boys pick up useful information for their master, Garnet Hooke, who runs a spy network from his sickbed. When thieves and rogues start dropping without a scratch, rumours spread of a dangerous faery demon on the loose, and Philo begins to fear the worst. Then a sudden wave of crime sweeps the neighbourhood, and he can't help but wonder if the two are connected. With help from his new friend, Mr Paxton, Philo finds himself battling a threat far more sinister than any he's faced before. He will need to use all his cunning to uncover the truth behind the demon thief in time to save his friends. (10+)

Mates: Heart of the Forest by Barry Jonsberg, illustrated by Craig Phillips pb 9781862918139 $12.99 A rather spooky but satisfying story. (7 – 9 years)
My Life As an Alphabet by Barry Jonsberg pb 9781743310977 $14.99
Candice Phee is nearly 13 and what an engaging and lovable character she is! Obviously on the autistic spectrum, she can’t help but be completely honest. Candice’s altruistic, if unusual, efforts to make everything right make this a delightful read about the importance of family, nurturing your friends and healing rifts. This is an interesting look at a girl who is a little different. It is very popular with Upper Primary/ Middle School girls. (10-13 year olds) MC

Taronga by Victor Kelleher pb 9780140326314 $19.95 hb 9780670076888 $19.99
Kelleher has been one of Australia's most popular fantasy and science fiction writers. Taronga is set in the near future, and centres around a boy who can talk to animals, and the ways in which this ability is mis-used by others. This is a bleak but compelling view of the future after a nuclear holocaust. (12+)

Gibblewort the Goblin series by Victor Kelleher
Gibblewort is a nasty little Irish goblin who likes to play horrible tricks on his friends. However, when he decides to mail himself to Australia for some sun, things go horribly wrong. He ends up in trouble no matter where he goes. The books have amusing illustrations by Stephen Michael King.
Goblin in the Bush pb 9781864719499 Goblin in the City pb 9781864719512 Goblin at the Zoo pb 9781864719536 Goblin at the Beach pb 9781864719550 Goblin in the Rainforest pb 9781864719529 Goblin on the Reef pb 9781864719505 $9.95 each
Gibblewort the Goblin contains the three stories Goblin in the Bush, Goblin on the Reef and Goblin in the City all in one volume pb 9781741660050 $16.95
• Big Big Gibblewort the Goblin pb 9781741663150 $22.99,
• Get Me Outta Here Collection pb 9780857982643 $12.99,
• Summer Holiday Collection pb 9780857982636 $12.99,
• Winter Escape Collection pb 9780857982650 $12.99 (5 – 8 years)

Onion Tears by Diana Kidd pb 9780207170287 $12.95
The moving story of a Vietnamese boat girl in Australia and how she is finally able to cry real tears, not just tears that come when she peels onions. (7 - 14)
Two Hands Together by Diana Kidd pb 9780141307480 $17.99
The growing friendship between Lily and Ella is marred by the disapproval of Lily’s father, much to Ella’s confusion. How could it be that her father doesn’t like this warm and friendly Aboriginal family? (7 – 10 years)

Hating Alison Ashley by Robin Klein pb 9780140316728 $17.99, hb 9780670076833 $19.99
A very funny story of two girls who take an instant dislike to each other. This book remains hugely popular and has been made into a film. (8 - 12) Also available as a play pb 9780140327496 $19.95.

Boss of the Pool by Robin Klein pb 9781862919372 $15.99 is about the satisfaction Shelley feels when she succeeds in teaching a mentally handicapped boy to swim (8 - 13).

The Quicksand Pony by Alison Lester pb 9781742378008 $15.99
Set in the Australian bush, this adventure story involves a young girl’s search for her beloved pony, a mustering trip and a mystery. (8 – 13 years)
Also The Snow Pony pb 9781864489309 $15.95 Set in the Snowy Mountains, this is a story about a farming family trying to survive a severe drought and a girl’s love and trust in a wild pony (9–14 years)

Horse Crazy! The Complete Adventures of Bonnie and Sam (includes: The Shadow Brumby, Circus Pony, Racing the Tide, & Saving Mr Pinto) by Alison Lester pb 9781741758306 $19.99
A series for younger readers about Bonnie and Sam, two friends who love horses. (7 – 10 years)

The 27th Annual African Hippopotamus Race by Morris Lurie pb 9780140342970 $14.99
A very funny story of a hippopotamus race like no other. Great to read aloud. (6 – 10 years)

Phyllis Wong and the Forgotten Secrets of Mr Okyto by Geoffrey McSkimming pb 9781742378213 $14.99
Phyllis Wong has inherited the magician skills of her famous great-grandfather but her detective skills are also called upon as she and her friend Clement try to solve the mystery of some very perplexing robberies. Phyllis Wong is a lively, smart and engaging heroine of this new series by the author of the popular Cairo Jim titles (now only available in audio book). (9 – 13 years)
• Phyllis Wong and the Return of the Conjuror pb 9781743318379 $14.99
• Phyllis Wong and the Waking of the Wizard pb 9781760113384 $14.99

Staying Alive in Year 5 by John Marsden pb 9781742613499 $12.99
Scott and his friends are just staying alive in Year 5, until their surprising new teacher comes along. (8 – 12 years)

Looking for Trouble by John Marsden pb 9781742613512 $12.99
Tony and his mates are good fun but they always seem to be looking for trouble ... and finding it. (8-12 years)

No Gun for Asmir by Christobel Mattingley pb 9780140367294 $16.95
This title describes what is happening in war-torn Sarajevo. A Muslim mother and two children escape to become refugees without knowing what has happened to the father left behind in Sarajevo. The story is told from the point of view of Asmir, the elder boy, and is based on a real-life story. (9 - 13)

Chelonia Green, Champion of Turtles by Christobel Mattingley pb 9781741751710 $14.95
About a young girl who lives on an island where turtles nest and who takes action to save them from fishermen’s nets. A book with an environmental message. (8 – 10 years)

Aussie Nibbles by David Metzenthen:
Hide that Horse! illus by Leigh Hobbs pb 9780143304494 $12.95
It’s not easy to hide a horse. (5 – 8 years)
The Only Pony illus by Judy Watson pb 9780143303114 $12.95
Bessie Swan wants to learn to ride a pony. (5 – 8 years)
Freda the Free-Range Chook pb 9780143306870 $12.95
Aussie Bites by David Metzenthen:
Save Our Sharks pb 9780143306405 $12.95
Aussie Chomps by David Metzenthen:
The Really Nearly Deadly Canoe Ride pb 9780143304548 and The Really Epic Mini Bike Ride pb 9780143301219 $12.95 each

Swashbuckler by James Moloney pb 9780702228254 $16.95
There is a reason behind Peter's determined pursuit of a variety of swashbuckling roles. A moving story, at times sad and funny. Winner of the 1996 CBCA Younger Readers Award. Sequel is Buzzard, Buzzard Breath & Brains pb 9780702233920 $14.95 (8 - 11)

Aussie Chomps by James Moloney:
The Mobile Phone Detective pb 9780143304838 $12.95
This is fun! It is mystery in which mobile phone technology is the key – not that this would normally be of much interest to me but somehow James Moloney makes this mystery adventure tale very entertaining. Renton is 13 years old and is travelling with his father in France when his father is kidnapped. Renton doesn’t speak French but he manages to send incriminating photos to the French Police showing what has happened, where he is going and where his father is being held. Mobile phones can truly do amazing things in the hands of smart kids! One of the popular Aussie Chomps. (8 – 12 years)
68 Teeth pb 9780143301912 $12.95 is an exciting story set on a cattle station in the far north. The 68 teeth belong to a hungry crocodile! One of the Aussie Chomps series.

Bridget: A New Australian by James Moloney pb 9781742990989 $15.99
This is a new historical series about children journeying to Australia for a new and better life. Following the death of her father during the Irish potato famine, 11 year old Bridget Nelligan’s family is evicted from their home; Ma seizes an opportunity to secure passage for Bridget and her sister on a boat to Australia. Bridget tells of the rigours of their journey and the challenges they face in their new country. (10-13 years) MC

Pearl Verses the World by Sally Murphy illus by Heather Potter pb 9781921150937 $15.99
Pearl has always lived with her mother and her granny making a family of three but now her granny cannot remember anyone and this is such a sad time for Pearl that she feels she has no friends. Pearl loves to write and tell stories and her granny always encouraged this but she also taught her that a poem does not need to rhyme, and this is how Pearl writes this story, in free verse. (8 – 10 years)

Toppling by Sally Murphy, illus Rhian Nest James pb 9781921529429 $16.95
A novel in verse. This story is about John and his 11 year old best friend Dominic, who becomes ill with cancer, and how John copes with this frightening turn of events. It’s a warm story about the importance of family and friendship, especially in the face of illness, death and grief. Gentle, thoughtful writing. (10 – 12 years). MC

Roses are Blue by Sally Morgan, with Gabriel Evans (illus.) pb 9781922244376 $16.99
Novel in free verse. After a car accident Amber Rose’s mum is now in a wheelchair, needing constant care, trying to learn to talk again. She used to be so happy and full of life and Amber Rose is struggling to come to terms with her ‘new mum’, as well as their new house, new school and making new friends. Everything has changed. To help her dad care for the family, Aunty Fi has moved in and she helps Amber Rose to understand that although her mum now seems so different, underneath she’s still the same person. Chosen as an outstanding book in the IBBY 2015 Books for Young People with Disabilities. Australian. (9/10-12 years) MC

Keys to the Kingdom series by Garth Nix
Mister Monday pb 9781741142136 $15.95
This is the first book in a fantasy series called Keys to the Kingdom. It is densely written and has a complex plot. For fantasy fans. Sequels are:
Book 2 Grim Tuesday pb 9781741142549
Book 3 Drowned Wednesday pb 9781741144413
Book 4 Sir Thursday pb 9781741145885
Book 5 Lady Friday pb 9781741145892
Book 6 Superior Saturday pb 9781741145908 $15.95 each
Book 7 Lord Sunday pb 9781741145915 $15.99 (12 - 16 years)

Ruth Park is one of Australia's most well-loved authors for adults and children.
The Muddle-Headed Wombat by Ruth Park, illus by Noela Young pb 9780732284374 $14.99, hb 9780732284367 $39.99
The adventures of the muddle-headed wombat are a long-time favourite with young children. (6 – 11 years)

Playing Beatie Bow by Ruth Park 9780140314601 pb 9780140314601 $16.95, hb 9780670076864 $19.99
An excellent time-slip story in which Abigail finds herself in the old Rocks area of Sydney in the 1870s. Winner of the Book of the Year Award 1981. (10 – 15 years)

Billie B Brown Mystery series by Sally Rippin, illus Aki Fukuoka
Book 1: Spooky House pb 9781742976518 $9.99
The first book in a new series about smart, lively tomboy Billie B Brown. Billie has been given a magnifying glass by her grandma and is inspired to form the SMC (Secret Mystery Club). In the absence of any real mystery Billie convinces her friends Jack, Mika and Alex that a local house is haunted and their first mission is to find out if a witch lives there. Billie goes too far, her friends get scared and are reluctant to play. Then Jack turns the tables and Billie understands that frightening her friends was not a good thing to do. Returning home they discover a note in code on the doorstep, and now they have a real mystery to solve. This series is for developing readers, the original series is for beginners. There are about 20 books in the original Billie B Brown series, the stories reflecting everyday situations such as a birthday party, new sibling, learning ballet, swimming, bullying… (5-7 years) MC
Also in this series:
Book 2: Code Breaker pb 9781742976525 $9.99
Book 3: Playground Detectives pb 9781742979441 $9.99
Book 4: Strawberry Thief pb 9781742979960 $9.99
Book 5: Stolen Stash pb 9781760121136 $9.99
Book 6: Treasure Hunt pb 9781760122041 $9.99

Emily Rodda is very popular with children. Her Deltora series are constantly selling and her individual titles are also sought after. Pigs Might Fly pb 9780207187261 $14.95 Finders Keepers pb 9781862918221 $16.99 and its sequel Timekeeper pb 9781862918382 $16.99 Dog Tales pb 9781742990163 $15.99 and The Best Kept Secret pb 9780207167058 $14.95 are all stories for younger readers with a fantasy element. (8+)

Bob the Builder and the Elves by Emily Rodda pb 9780733314841 $12.95
Bob is appalled when his house is infested with elves who keep his house much too tidy and make him fairy bread and polish his boots. A very funny story. (7 - 10)

Rowan of Rin series by Emily Rodda
Rowan of Rin contains many of the elements of the traditional fantasy - the quest, the dragon, misty swamps and walls of spiders. Rowan is a very timid and gentle hero; his companions on the quest are far bigger and braver than he is… Or so he thinks. Its more recent cover is aimed very much toward boys, but the content would appeal to boys and girls. It won the Younger Readers 1994 CBC Award. (7 – 10 years)
Book 1: Rowan of Rin pb 9781862916357
Book 2: Rowan and the Travellers pb 9781862916364
Book 3: Rowan and the Keeper of the Crystal pb 9781862916371
Book 4: Rowan and the Zebak pb 9781862916388
Book 5: Rowan of the Bukshah pb 9781862916395 $15.99 each
Rowan of Rin Bind Up hb 9781862915923 $34.99

Deltora Quest series by Emily Rodda, involves a traditional fantasy quest to find the seven gems which make up the Belt of Deltora. Each book involves a perilous quest for Lief, Barda and Jasmine through seven very different lands to obtain the gems to free Deltora from the tyranny of the evil Shadow Lord. The story continues through series 2 & 3. (8 - 12 years)
Deltora Quest 1
Book 1: The Forests of Silence 9781741697520
Book 2: The Lake of Tears 9781741697537
Book 3: City of the Rats 9781741697735
Book 4: The Shifting Sands 9781741697742
Book 5: Dread Mountain 9781741697827
Book 6: The Maze of the Beast 9781741697834
Book 7: The Valley of the Lost 9781741697896
Book 8: Return to Del 9781741697902 pb $14.99 each
Series 1 Bind Up hb 9781865049717 $29.99
Deltora Quest 2
Book 1: Cavern of the Fear 9781741699548
Book 2: The Isle of Illusion 9781741699555
Book 3: The Shadowlands 9781741699562 pb $14.99 each
Series 2 Bind Up hb 9781865049427 $24.99
Deltora Quest 3
Book 1: Dragon’s Nest 9781741699579
Book 2: Shadowgate 9781741699586
Book 3: Isle of the Dead 9781741699593
Book 4: The Sister of the South 9781741699609 pb $14.99 each
Series 3 Bind Up hb 9781865049434 $29.99
The Three Doors Trilogy by Emily Rodda
This is the first book in a new ‘quest’ adventure. Fifteen year old Rye becomes a reluctant hero when he sets off from the walled city of Weld, on the island of Dorne, to track down his older brother, Dirk. His at-first unwelcome companion, an orphan girl named Sonya, becomes his greatest ally as they venture further into the Fell Zone, the dangerous wild lands. There they encounter magic, terrifying creatures, and the Fellen who give Rye a magic pouch containing nine powers to aid him in his quest. For readers who enjoyed Rodda’s Deltora Quest series and are ready for something a little more challenging. (9-12 years) MC
Book 1: The Golden Door pb 9781862919129 $16.99
Book 2: The Silver Door pb 9781862919136 $16.99
Book 3: The Third Door pb 9781862919143 $16.99
Three Doors Bind Up hb 9781742990316 $29.99

The Star of Deltora series by Emily Rodda
Set in the same world as Deltora Quest, Rowan of Rin & The Three Doors trilogy, Star of Deltora is about a young girl called Britta. Britta has always wanted to be a trader like her father, sailing the nine seas and bringing precious cargo home to Del harbour. Her dreams seemed safe until her father’s quest to find the fabled Staff of Tier ended in blood and horror. Now his shamed family is in hiding, and his ship, the Star of Deltora, belongs to the powerful Rosalyn fleet. But Britta’s ambition burns as fiercely as ever. When she suddenly gets the chance to win back her future she knows she has to take it whatever the cost. She has no idea that shadows from a distant, haunted isle are watching her every move. (8+)
Book 1: Shadows of the Masters pb 9781742990620 $15.99
Book 2: Two Moons pb 9781742990637 $15.99
Book 3: The Towers of Illica pb 9781742990644 $15.99 due April 2016

The Rondo series by Emily Rodda
In this fantasy adventure series the old music box which has been passed down in Leo’s family for many years is the key to Rondo. Leo has always respected and followed the rules of its use but his least favourite cousin doesn’t, and so they are both plunged into an exciting quest in the very strange world of Rondo. It is a world in which many characters seem familiar and children will soon recognise that many are taken from nursery rhymes and from fairy tales.
Book 1: The Key to Rondo hb 9781862917439 $34.99 pb 9781862918450 $22.99
Book 2: Wizard of Rondo hb 9781862917927 $34.99 pb 9781862917934 $22.99
Book 3: The Battle for Rondo hb 9781862918306 $34.99 pb 9781862918313 $22.99 (9 – 14 years)

Bungawitta by Emily Rodda, illus Craig Smith pb 9781862918337 $12.99
The small country town of Bungawitta is stricken by drought. There’s no rain in sight and only twelve people left in town. Young Jay comes up with a plan to hold an earth sculpture festival, hoping to attract city folk with money to spend. The town swings into action, baking scones and cakes, making jams, setting up a big barbecue and pitching tents. After an anxious wait, the tourists arrive, followed shortly afterwards by the pouring rain. Despite or because of this extraordinary turn of events, a wonderful time is had by all; the locals make some money and put their town on the map! This is a fun read, with lots of laughs and larger-than-life characters. (8 – 10 year olds) MC

Miss Understood by James Roy pb 9781864718607 $16.99
Ten-year-old Lizzie has been expelled from school for accidentally setting a cardboard cutout of the principal on fire. Yet another misunderstanding! So now she’s being home-schooled by her Mum. Lizzie is determined to prove to everyone that she is responsible and mature enough to be accepted back into school. James Roy tackles some big issues with humour and sensitivity. (10-13 years) MC

A Boat for Bridget by James Roy pb 9780702232503 $16.95
Bridget’s father loves the sea and he passes on his love of sailing to Bridget and builds her a boat, but Bridget’s mother has good reason to be fearful of the sea. An engaging story about conflicting desires that can cause difficulties to family life. (10 – 14 years)

Nips X1 by Ruth Starke pb 9780734401137 $15.99
This is the very amusing story of Lan, who loves cricket, and his determination in getting together a cricket team of kids of many ethnic backgrounds. Very interesting in its cross-cultural interactions between kids and adults. (9+)

Noodle Pie by Ruth Starke pb 9781862917637 $17.99
Andy was born in Australia but his father was a refugee from Vietnam. This is the story of their first visit to Vietnam to visit relatives. The book is written mainly from Andy’s point of view and at first much seems very strange to him. Gradually, as Andy comes to understand more about this family, we also understand so much more about Vietnam, its recent history and its people. A marvellous book written with humour and insight. (9 – 12 years)

Stella By The Sea by Ruth Starke pb 9780143300663 $12.95
Stella wants to be ordinary, but that seems impossible when her parents, her home and even her dreams are extraordinary. Then a little ad in the newspaper changes her life. Part of the Aussie Chomps series. (6+)

Midnite by Randolph Stow pb 9780141307312 $16.99
A wonderful parody of the early colonial and bushranging times in Western Australia. A story for all ages. (8+)

Uncle Gustav's Ghosts by Colin Thiele pb 9781741102376 $12.99
Thiele's novels have been well-known and loved for some forty years. His stories have humour, adventure and a very strong sense of place. This is my favourite. Set in the Barossa Valley of South Australia amongst the German emigrants which was Colin Thiele's own background, it is hilarious, exciting and features a variety of ghosts, including poltergeists. (10 - 14)

Storm Boy by Colin Thiele, illus by Robert Ingpen pb 9781741101874 $14.99
The well-known story of the friendship between a boy and a pelican, Mr Percival. It has been reprinted with the original illustrations capturing the beautiful desolation of the sand dunes of this coastline. (6 – 12 years)

Beastly Tales by Richard Tulloch pb 9780857987310 $14.95
Very funny stories with lively illustrations by Terry Denton. (8 – 11 years)

Seven Little Australians by Ethel Turner hb 9780670076871$19.99
The well-loved story of a family of seven children, a little on the larrikin side. It is still amazingly fresh and engaging even though it was written in 1894. Great to read aloud. (8 years up)

Sword Girl series by Frances Watts, illus Gregory Rogers
Thomasina, better known as Tommy, is a kitchen girl at Flamant Castle. She dreams of becoming the first girl-squire ever, and with diligent practice she hones her swordfighting skills. When Tommy defeats the arrogant bully, Reynard, in a mock sword fight, she is given the job of keeper of the swords in the armoury. Lots of fun, with talking animals, a feisty heroine, and black and white illustrations throughout. This is the first book in a new series from an award-winning Australian author and illustrator. (7 - 9 years) MC
Book 1: The Secret of the Swords pb 9781742377285
Book 2: The Poison Plot pb 9781742377926
Book 3: Tournament Trouble pb 9781742379890
Book 4: The Siege Scare pb 9781742379906
• Book 5: The Terrible Trickster pb 9781743313213
• Book 6: Pigeon Problems pb 9781743313220 all $11.99 each
• Sword Girl Bind Up pb 9781743319543 $19.99

Dragonkeeper series by Carole Wilkinson
An intriguing fantasy novel set in Ancient China where a slave girl saves the life of an aging dragon and together they make an epic journey across China.
Book 1: Dragonkeeper pb 9781742032450
Book 2: The Garden of the Purple Dragon 9781742032467
Book 3: Dragon Moon pb 9781742032474 all $19.99 each
• Book 4: Blood Brothers hb 9781742031897 $24.95 pb 9781922179210 $19.95
• Book 5: Shadow Sister hb 9781922179579 $24.95 pb 9781925126327 $19.95
A prequel Dragon Dawn pb 9781742030623 $12.99 has also been published. This is the story of Danzi, Kai’s father, and the first dragon that Ping cared for as a young girl. (8 – 14 years)
Also, The Dragon Companion illustrated by Dean Jones hardback 9781742030005 $26.99 pb 9781742031446 $19.99 contains information about dragons from around the world. The information is arranged alphabetically, beautifully illustrated. (8 – 16 years)

Prince Ramose series by Carole Wilkinson
This is the first book in a series set in Ancient Egypt about Ramose, who was the pharaoh’s rightful heir but who has had to escape and live in disguise since a plot against his life. These are exciting adventure stories which give many details of courtly and everyday life at the time of Ancient Egypt. Book 1: Ramose Prince in Exile pb 9781921167058 $16.99
Book 2: Ramose and the Tomb Robbers pb 9781921167065
Book 3: Ramose Sting of the Scorpion pb 9781921167225
Book 4: Wrath of Ra pb 9781921167232 $16.99 each
• Ramose Bind Up pb 9781742031064 $19.99 (9 – 12 years)

Tim Winton
Well known for his adult novels, Tim Winton's novels for teenagers have been a runaway success. Lockie Leonard Human Torpedo pb 9780141307305 $17.99 Written in colloquial language, this is a funny story of first love, of fitting into a new town with a poetry-reading police sergeant as a father, and of surfing. The sequel is Lockie Leonard Scumbuster pb 9780143307761 $17.99 Lockie Leonard Legend has a sombre note as Lockie’s mother lapses into depression and the rest of the family are at a loss to know how to cope. 9780143307778 $17.99 (12 up)
Blueback: A Fable for all Ages by Tim Winton pb 9780143304333 $17.95
An environmentally-conscious story about Abel and his mother, who live by the sea, and whose lives revolve round the ocean. They endeavour to protect their bit of ocean and the creatures which live in it from anything harmful. (9 years up)

Dianne Wolfer
Light Horse Boy illustrated by Brian Simmonds hardback 9781922089137 $26.99
Told mainly through letters which young Jim exchanges with his sister Alice in Australia, this book gives a vivid portrait of the feelings of young men who volunteered to go and fight in the First World War. Jim and his friend Charlie are skilled with horses and so naturally volunteer for the Light Horse Brigades. The letters give a glimpse of life in Australia at the time of the war and also of the attitudes that many people held as well as vividly describing how the attitudes of the men changed from hope and excitement to an understanding of the brutality of this devastating war. The text is further enhanced by many photographs from the time and also by Brian Simmonds’ evocative and beautiful charcoal illustrations vividly portraying the brutality and tragedy of war on the Front Line. This was an Honour Book in the 2014 CBCA Awards, Younger Readers. (10 – 15 years) KS
Lighthouse Girl illustrated by Brian Simmonds pb 9781921696572 $19.95
In a similar format, this book follows the story of Fay who lives in a lighthouse on Breaksea Island, a windswept island protecting the port of Albany in Western Australia. She is given a diary just before the outbreak of World War 1. Extracts from her diary provide the main part of the narrative however there are also extracts from newspaper articles, photographs from the period and also beautifully evocative illustrations by Brian Simmonds. It is the time when a large fleet of Australian ships, with 30,000 men on board bound for the fighting in Europe, passes close by the island. Fay communicates with some of the soldiers by semaphore and is able to send on messages to a number of the soldiers’ loved ones and as a result she later corresponds with some of the men. Based on a true story. (10 – 16 years) KS

Patricia Wrightson
The Nargun and the Stars pb 9780702236839 $19.95
A beautifully written story which attempts to incorporate something of the spirituality of Aboriginal traditions in a modern-day Australian setting. (10 – 14 years)


The ABC Book of Australian Poetry: A Treasury of Poems for Young People compiled by Libby Hathorn illustrated by Cassandra Allan hardback 9780733320194 $29.95 A lovely collection of well-loved classics as well as contemporary poems by Steven Herrick, Les Murray and others. (ages 10 – 14 years)

Things a Map Won’t Show You: Stories from Australia and Beyond edited by Susan La Marca and Pam Mcintyre pb 9780143565314 $24.95
It’s a good title because this collection of short stories, poems and stories told in cartoon format shows us the diversity of cultures and ways of life from within Australia and of Australians overseas. The stories were selected for their appeal to Years 7 and 8 and some are humorous. They reflect both rural and urban life and also the importance of the ocean in Australian life. It is a very varied collection dealing with day-to-day life and also past times, with Indigenous culture as well as voices from Asia and the Pacific. (10 – 13 years) KS

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