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I can’t wait for my room
down the hallway
Mum’s old study
Dad said one more lick of paint
and it’s mine!

Mina has been waiting forever for her own room, gathering her treasures and eagerly planning the perfect layout. Until…

‘someone is coming
to stay with us
for a while,’ mum says
‘someone who needs a home
and…a room.’

Mina’s parents have offered to foster a refugee boy from Afghanistan who needs a place to stay. Mina knows her family is doing a good thing, but her heart is broken and it’s hard to be kind to the stranger who has taken her new room. His name Azzami means ‘one who is fierce like a lion’, instead he is a boy who is scared and small as a kitten and doesn't seem at all grateful to be in Mina's room.

At school, Azzami doesn’t speak and when Oliver and his mates bully him, Mina can’t understand why he won’t stand up to them and instead ‘curls up in silence like a snail in his house’. In class, she doesn’t know if Azzami can read or write, but soon discovers he has his own way of storytelling. When Mina looks closely at Azzami's detailed drawing she sees his life in Afghanistan through his eyes. Azzami's story opens her heart and an unexpected friendship begins.

Mina and the Whole Wide World by Sherryl Clark is a gentle verse novel about friendship and kindness. The world comes to Mina’s house not just in the world globe she finds, but also through Azzami. Mina discovers that even though the world is wide, we are all connected and there is room for us all.

The story is told from Mina's point of view using simple poems and imagery complemented by Briony Stewart's black and white illustrations that beautifully capture feelings and moments as they weave through the text adding another layer of meaning.

Mina and the Whole Wide World is a heartwarming reminder of the power of story to connect us.

Thank you for the copy of this book to review UQP.

Happy reading!

 

 

 

 

2

It's 1969 and change is in the air...

Man is about to step foot on the moon as Sharnie Burley takes her first steps into high school with its new rules, new subjects and the challenge of making new friends. 

Sharnie's view of the world is widening. As the Vietnam War rages overseas, people at home in Australia are protesting in the streets against the war and sending young men to fight without having a choice (conscription). Opinions are dividing society and friends are becoming enemies at school. There is conflict in Sharnie's family too when her big sister Cas gets involved in anti-war protests and upsets their father who believes fighting for your country is an honour. Sharnie wants to share her worries with Gran, but her beloved Gran is fighting a battle of her own. Along with Gail, her unlikely new friend, Sharnie finds her voice through art and begins to make her own mark on the world. 

Footprints on the Moon by Lorraine Marwood is a verse novel with many layers skilfully and sensitively woven together using beautiful imagery linked to the moon landing.

Thank you for the copy of this book to review University of Queensland Press. 

Happy reading!

Teacher notes 

Move over Wimpy Kid, Weirdo and Eric Vale...Derek Dool Supercool is here...

 

Derek Dool is desperate to prove he is SUPERCOOL! In fact he’ll do anything…

Derek wants to be the coolest kid at Ruttmore primary school. It’s not going to be easy with his red hair, freckles and ‘daggy dad’ fashion style.

The battle for King of Cool is on when Derek’s archenemy and schoolyard superstar, Carmichael Cruz challenges Derek to a dance-off at the school disco. Pity the only dance move Derek knows is The Worm!

Luckily Derek’s unlikely best ‘friends’ Big Denise and Booger are there to help (or save) him on his quest to be supercool. Big Denise is super-smart, super-patient and has a surprising hidden talent and there’s definitely a lot more to Booger than his sweet tooth. 

Derek needs to learn some dance moves…fast!! Accidentally recording himself to the school website while dancing on a table in the library is not a good move, especially when he reveals his purple unicorn undies to the world! Derek and his friends end up in detention, but luckily Derek's Detention Distraction helps them escape.

Dressed in his Dad’s Hawaiian shirt, lit up like a Christmas tree and armed with Zombie dance moves from Horrific Hoedown. Can Derek bust a move and beat Carmichael Cruz and his Cruz Crew at the disco dance-off?

Scott Edgar's lively line drawings perfectly capture Adrian's funny action-packed story and bring his characters to life. They make a great team!

Here is Adrian with Derek. Hmmm, can you see a resemblance? 

WARNING!!

Be careful reading this book in class for silent reading because you won't be silent! Adrian Beck will have you laughing out loud and his Bad Dad Jokes might leave you groaning on the floor...

Watch out for Derek's next plan to become supercool in Derek Dool Supercool 2: Going Viral  coming in August.

Adrian's author visits are lots of fun and he has something 'special' planned for Derek Dool fans. If you would like Adrian to visit your school you could ask your teacher librarian or class teacher to book him HERE

Happy reading!

 

 

We're getting special visitors
this term.

Kids from the bush who
want to swim at Manly.
They're driving a long way,
just for a dip.

Some of them 
have never seen 
the ocean. Imagine that!

I don't know about you, but I am always intrigued to know what sparks the idea for an author's book. Pip Harry's spark came when she was sitting on the sand after a swim at the beach. As she watched a group of country school children visiting the beach for the first time, running along the sand, playing in the waves and exploring rock pools and building sandcastles, Pip wondered how the trip would affect their lives and the lives of the families who hosted them.

The Little Wave is a about three very different kids with their own challenges. Their lives connect when a city school plans to bring a country class from Mullin to visit the beach at Manly. Together Noah, Lottie and Jack discover the power of friendship, courage and being true to yourself. 

Noah has no fear when surfing, but doesn't know how to stand up to bullying from his best mate.

Lottie is fascinated by bugs, but worries about her dad who has filled their house with junk.

Jack wants to be a cricket star, but has to do well at school if he wants to see the ocean.

How do a surfer grommet and a a bug collector from the city and a cricket player from the country become friends? 

Discover what happens when Mr M surprisingly pairs Noah and Lottie to organise the class fundraiser and how being pen pals helps Jack and Noah to encourage each other.

The Little Wave is a verse novel written in the first person point of view. This gives readers a window into the thoughts and feelings of Noah, Lottie and Jack as they tell their part of the story. Verse novels are easy to read (but not easy to write!) Their authors often use imagery to paint pictures for readers. This is how Noah describes surfing

Being on a wave
is like riding 
a rolling ball of energy
that's travelled hundreds of kays
across the ocean.

and how Lottie feels when she is ignored on the bus

I feel
like a shiny helium balloon
slowly deflating.

If you have enjoyed reading Kathryn Apel's verse novels, or like reading about kids like you, books about friendship or a story that simply makes you feel good, then The Little Wave is a book you need to read!

The vibrant cover by Sophie Beer captures the beach setting and warmth of this story. Look out for the little symbols Sophie has added to each of the character's chapter headings.

This is Pip Harry's first verse novel...I hope there will be more to come!

Happy reading!

Teacher notes

2

The Mulberry Tree by Allison Rushby is mysterious, a little spooky and one of those books you can't put down because you need to know how the story ends. 

When ten year old Immy and her parents move from Sydney, Australia to a small English village they shrug off the legend of the ancient and fierce-looking mulberry tree in the backyard of Lavendar Cottage that has cast fear over the village for years. The villagers believe the mulberry tree steals away girls living in the cottage on the eve of their eleventh birthday and they superstitiously cross the road to avoid the mulberry tree and Immy's family. Immy struggles to make friends at her new school, her dad is still not himself after an incident and life is not working out as well as her family had planned. 

When Immy starts hearing a mysterious rhyme in her head she is determined to find out what happened to the two missing girls. Immy researches the legend at the local library and has help from her elderly neighbour Jean whose best friend Elizabeth was the second girl to disappear in 1945. Tension rises as Immy's eleventh birthday draws closer when she notices changes in the mulberry tree outside her window. The tree no longer looks angry, but rather tired and weak and even sad. Immy begins to feel sorry for the tree and wonders what could have caused the vicious marks on its trunk. "You can trust me" she told the tree. "I won't hurt you." 

Can brave Immy solve the mystery of the mulberry tree before she too disappears on her eleventh birthday?

Happy reading!

Teacher notes

Maybe that's the main reason Mr Humble picked me. I was a natural born loser, a nobody, but I was a nobody who believed in Barryjong. Now I've become somebody worth following. (Raymond) 

Natural Born Loser by Oliver Phommavanh is one of my favourite books of the year! 

There is so much heart in this story and after reading this interview with Oliver, you can see how his experiences as a student and teacher have played a big part in helping him write Natural Born Loser.

Not everyone wants to be a leader out the front and in the lime light, certainly not Raymond Bulanghagui. He sees himself as a follower and prefers to blend into the background, particularly around bullies. That is until the new principal, Mr Humble arrives and wants to turn Barryjong school around so it's no longer a joke amongst other schools and a breeding ground for bullies. Raymond's life changes when his best mate Zain dares him to 'audition' for a prefect position. No one is more shocked than Raymond when he is chosen alongside Zain, Randa and Ally who all seem to have more to offer than he does. However, Mr Humble has seen something in Raymond and gives him a chance to step up and be a leader.

The four prefects don't have an easy job ahead with bullymons like Russell Carney (Carn-age) and his cronies ready to bring them down at any opportunity. When Raymond dares himself to speak up at assembly and suggests they raise money for new air conditioners all of a sudden he goes from being a nobody to the students supporting him. I'm sure you too will be cheering on the four prefects as they learn to combine their talents and work together as a leadership team to raise their goal of $20,000. Their crazy fundraising challenges are fun for students, teachers and parents alike, especially the brilliant Dareathon! The fundraising culminates in an exciting Footy Fan Day and there's one final surprise from Mr Humble for the four prefects, who along the way have united the Barryjong Primary School community and turned it into a 'cool' school in more ways than one.

There's no stopping 'Barryjong United' now!

Mr Humble gave the prefects a poster with tips for How to be a Natural Born Leader
Raymond tried these tips that you might like to try too. What else would you add?

Follow the leaders you look up to
Practise the things that make you feel uncomfortable
Get to know the people in your team
Learn something new about people

Happy reading and thinking up i-dares for a Dareathon!

Teacher notes

 

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