The uplifting, funny and feel good story of one boy’s incredible survival against the odds.


by - May 25th, 2015

9780732299842

Abdi was a happy-go-lucky, soccer-playing fifteen year old when Somalia’s vicious civil war hit Mogadishu and his world fell apart.  Effectively an orphan, he fled with some sixty others, heading to Kenya.  The journey was perilous, as they faced violence, death squads and starvation. After three months, they arrived at a refugee camp in Kenya. […]



Stephen Michael King’s Triumphant Trio


by - May 22nd, 2015

PhotoGrid_1432256915961

What is it about Stephen Michael King‘s illustrations that make his picture books so sublime? How can his drawings make us want to delve into those stories over and over again? Well, that’s just it! It’s the artwork that adds another dimension to those already meaningful stories, allowing us to dive right in with those […]



Introducing Boomerang Book Bites


by - May 21st, 2015

IMG_0221[1]

Welcome to Boomerang Book Bites. A weekly review of books we think are awesome. One of the major differences between a physical bookshop and an online bookshop is that online you don’t have a person to tell you about the fantastic books available. But with Boomerang Books we are backed by one of Australia’s leading independent […]



Awarded Children’s Information Books


by - May 20th, 2015

Tea and Sugar

This year’s Children’s Book Council of Australia (CBCA) Eve Pownall Award for Information Books forms an impressive list. Four of the six titles focus on an aspect of Australian history. Emu (one of the ‘Nature Storybooks’ series from Walker Books) is natural history, however, and upholds the quality of last year’s Crichton and Queensland Literary […]



Review – Fire by Jackie French and Bruce Whatley


by - May 19th, 2015

fire

Fire, Jackie French (author), Bruce Whatley (illus.), Scholastic Press, 2014.   Harsh weather conditions are terrifying enough at the best of times, but what about when Mother Nature plays a hand in the wild and extreme that gamble with actual lives? Award-winning author and Australian Laureate, Jackie French, together with the unequivocally talented illustrator, Bruce […]



NSW Premier’s Literary Awards Winners


by - May 19th, 2015

Earth Hour

The NSW Premier’s Literary Awards, held at the Mitchell Library last night, was an opportunity to recognise some of our literary greats, as well as newcomers to the winners’ stage. Eminent author/poet, David Malouf, won the Kenneth Slessor Prize for Poetry for Earth Hour (UQP), another award to honour the exquisite writing of this distinguished, […]



So many choices


by - May 18th, 2015

ufo

I may have mentioned a few times on this blog that I’ve been writing a series of interactive kids books called You Choose. As I’ve been working on them, I’ve been reading other interactive books, to get a feel for what’s out there. Old ones and news ones. Adventurous ones and romantic ones. Good ones […]



Review – Nightmares!


by - May 18th, 2015

Nightmares

Nothing beats the morbid delight begot from a good old-fashioned bad dream. It’s the stuff memorable horror movies are made of. There’s no denying, being tantalised and terrified go hand in hand. But what about those bad dreams that leave you thrashing in a bed of sweat-soaked sheets and screaming for salvation? Nightmares can plague […]



Superlegumes


by - May 16th, 2015

Superlegumes

You need a solidly designed cover to sell legumes, and that’s exactly what Chrissy Freer’s Superlegumes part cookbook, part guide has. With vividly displayed and shot legumes, it’s the kind of cover worthy of more enticing ingredients that would not only inspire you to pluck the book from the shelves but even buy it. For, […]



Release of Beauty’s Kingdom by A.N. Roquelaure (Anne Rice)


by - May 12th, 2015

Beauty's Kingdom A.N. Roquelaure

Long before the Fifty Shades of Grey phenomenon, Anne Rice was writing a raunchy series of erotic novels in the 1980s under the pseudonym A.N. Roquelaure. The Sleeping Beauty series contained the following three novels: The Claiming of Sleeping Beauty, Beauty’s Punishment and Beauty’s Release. The trilogy has been very successful for Anne Rice, and in the 1990s, […]



Review: World Gone By by Dennis Lehane


by - May 12th, 2015

world-gone-by

I have to admit I was a little thrown by Dennis Lehane’s last book in the Coughlin series, Live By Night. The Given Day is Lehane’s best book and when he wrote it  he said it was the first in a series which would follow multi-generations of a police family through Boston in the 20th […]



Review – Pig the Fibber by Aaron Blabey


by - May 11th, 2015

pig-the-fibber

Pig the Fibber, Aaron Blabey (author, illus.), Scholastic, May 2015.   Okay, Pig fans! He’s back! And he’s up to a whole lot of mischief…again!   Award-winning author / illustrator, Aaron Blabey, is renowned for his ability to create books with clear morals, but particularly his distinguishable style of outlandish characters in farcical situations…mostly self-inflicted! […]



The Warlock’s Child giveaway


by - May 11th, 2015

wc03

  A couple of days ago I blogged about The Warlock’s Child, a great new kids’ fantasy series from authors Paul Collins and Sean McMullen (read post). Now I’m giving you the chance to win a copy of one of the books. Interested? Read on… The Iron Claw is book 3 in The Warlock’s Child […]



Double Dipping – Blue Cats and Purple Elephants


by - May 11th, 2015

Don't Think about Purple Elephants

Recently I looked at picture books where bedtime procrastination prevails. However what about the times when your child is desperate for sleep but harbours worries too numerous to overcome? Their efforts meet with repeated defeat. New concerns infest their sleep-deprived psyches until they convince themselves they are unable to sleep no matter what. This perpetuating […]



The Warlock’s Child


by - May 9th, 2015

wc01

The Warlock’s Child is a new series of six children’s fantasy books co-authored by Paul Collins and Sean McMullen. Each of these authors has a sterling reputation in children’s and genre literature. But the two of them together… well… was there any doubt that these books would be anything short of brilliant? I went along to […]



WIN a Kobo Aura H2O Ereader


by - May 8th, 2015

hero_device

Kobo Aura H2O is the first premium eReader to have a waterproof* and dustproof design that allows you to take it worry-free from the beach, to the bath, to your bed. Plus, with up to 2 months of battery life, you have the freedom to keep reading, wherever you go. So if you drop it […]



Guess who came to dinner: James Patterson in Australia


by - May 7th, 2015

Rafe's Aussie Adventure

There is a media and reader buzz about James Patterson, the world’s biggest selling author, who is in Australia at the moment. It was announced on Tuesday that Patterson is giving grants of $500 to $5000 to independent bookshops in Australia and New Zealand, to a total of $100,000. This is an extremely generous gift […]



Doodles and Drafts – Getting silly with Gregg Dreise


by - May 4th, 2015

Gregg Dreise

As one strolls about this wondrous planet, one encounters a variety of individuals who may astound, influence, enrich, or even, deplete you. Not everyone we meet ends up a friend. Life is often an ongoing cycle of trials and consequences. How we survive and interpret the progression of life builds character and shapes us as […]



Courtyard Kitchen


by - May 4th, 2015

Courtyard Kitchen

Increasing numbers of Australians are living in apartments and fewer and fewer of us have yards in which to grow vegies or herbs. Worse, most of us have lost or never known produce-growing know-how. I comprehensively count myself in the latter group. I never learnt the basics of growing things—soil prep, climate suitability, seasonal produce […]



The Greatest Gatsby


by - May 3rd, 2015

Greatest Gatsby

Literary editors of both The Australian and Sydney Morning Herald newspapers commented about words and grammar in their columns this weekend. The Greatest Gatsby: A Visual Book of Grammar (Viking, Penguin) is a very clever way to help everyone understand words and grammar. Tobhy Riddle is one of Australia’s notable picture book illustrators, with works […]



Review: A God In Ruins by Kate Akinson


by - May 1st, 2015

9780385618717

My first impulse after starting this book was that I had to go back and read Life After Life again. Kate Atkinson has written an extraordinary companion novel to her previous masterpiece returning us to the world of the Todd family and Fox Corner. This time to tell us Ursula’s brother Teddy’s story. Life After […]



Real Books to Read


by - April 29th, 2015

I'm a Hungry Dinosaur

‘Real’ books to read are sought after by those introducing young children to the exciting and vital world of reading. Many picture books are invaluable in opening children’s minds and imaginations to story but only a small number of these can actually also be read by readers at the earliest stages of reading for themselves […]



Elizabeth Honey’s ‘Hop Up! Wriggle Over!’ – One for Mum and Bub


by - April 29th, 2015

1733911_orig

Hop Up! Wriggle Over!, Elizabeth Honey (author, illus.), Allen & Unwin, April 2015.   Cherish the moments of early mornings, chaotic meal times, constantly chasing tails and a house that’s never tidy, because one day it will be a distant memory; and you’ll miss it. This recent release emanates all this energy, and more; it’s […]



Quality Australian Novels for Children


by - April 29th, 2015

Figgy in the World

The recent CBCA shortlisted Book of the Year for Younger Readers is an impressive list, not least because of the strength of the books that are Notables but didn’t make the shortlist. Younger Readers is traditionally a category of the awards that receives an enormous number of entries and it is thrilling that the quality […]



Review: Ascendance by John Birmingham


by - April 28th, 2015

9781742614069 (1)

The final instalment in the Dave Hooper trilogy brings events to an epic crescendo. Not for the first time John Birmingham lays waste to the streets of New York. The Dave, who has been struggling to come to terms with his recently acquired hero status, has learnt he may not be the special and unique snowflake […]



Chatting with Toni Jordan


by - April 28th, 2015

Toni Jordan

As much-loved Australian novelist Toni Jordan sees it, some writers have ideas banked up like circling planes waiting for their turn to land, but her creative mind is more like a desert, occasionally crossed by tumbleweed. Well, that’s some impressive tumbleweed that’s rolling along on the breeze! In her debut novel, Addition, Toni Jordan introduces […]



Review: Pleasantville by Attica Locke


by - April 27th, 2015

9781781254097

I used to love legal thrillers. They were the first crime books I got into when I was a teenager. There was a mystery but there was also an argument to made and refuted. Unlike other crime stories the legal thriller must get down to the bones of right and wrong, innocence and guilt. The […]



Last Minute Must Have for Mum – Picture book review


by - April 27th, 2015

Dear Mum I love You #2

This is a Mother’s Day book that shouts Mother’s Day and possibly one of the best picture book tributes to mums I’ve read since becoming one. It will melt your heart and make you want to scoop up someone small and hug them tight. From the failsafe team of Ed Allen and Simon Williams, Dear […]



The Book Brief: The Very Best New Release Books in May


by - April 27th, 2015

book-brief-low

Each month we bring you the best new release books in our Book Brief. Get FREE shipping when you use the promo code bookbrief at checkout Fiction Books A God in Ruins by Kate Atkinson Kate Atkinson has written an extraordinary companion novel to Life After Life returning us to the world of the Todd […]



Review: The Whites by Harry Brandt


by - April 25th, 2015

9781408864586

It has been seven years since Richard Price last published a novel and it has been worth the wait. Writing under the transparent pseudonym Harry Brandt, Richard Price again demonstrates he truly is a master when it comes to crime and American life. Price delivers a multi-layered, slow-burning portrayal of friendship, justice and revenge and […]



Picture Books to Celebrate the ANZAC Centenary


by - April 23rd, 2015

9781921720628

In just a couple of days we commemorate the legacy of the brave soldiers and the tragic events of World War 1 that occurred one hundred years ago. A beautiful selection of ANZAC books for children have been reviewed by Dimity here, but here’s a few more that certainly captured my heart with their touching […]



Review: Hush Hush by Laura Lippman


by - April 23rd, 2015

hush-hush

I am not a fan of long running crime series. While a recurring character can be like a familiar friend sometimes the longevity of a series means it falls into the realm of incredulity. Tess Monaghan was a character I fell in love with but was also quite happy when she was put on the […]



Player Profile: Georgia Madden, author of Confessions of a Once Fashionable Mum


by - April 22nd, 2015

0a74b18

Georgia Madden, author of Confessions of a Once Fashionable Mum Tell us about your latest creation: Confessions of a Once Fashionable Mum follows Ally Bloom, first-time mum and fashionista extraordinaire, as she struggles to find her feet on the suburban SAHM circuit. Where are you from / where do you call home?: I live with my husband […]



These Are The Names


by - April 21st, 2015

These Are The Names

It never ceases to amaze me that every so often you come across a cultural product (in this case, a writer) you’ve never heard of, but that’s (who’s) immensely popular and bestselling in another country. Tommy Wieringa is an award-winning Dutch writer. He’s published many books to critical and award claim, and the book most […]



Film Review: Samba


by - April 20th, 2015

sambaa4poster

The benefit of reviewing a film later than usual (I could not for the life of me make it to any of the Samba media screenings, so Think Tank Communications provided me with a double pass to see it once the film was out) is that you get to hear what other reviewers think about […]



Lest we forget – ANZAC children’s book reviews


by - April 20th, 2015

ANZAC Ted Hero Plain as Day

A couple of months ago I revisited an iconic song by Eric Bogle, finding new breath in Bruce Whatley’s picture book, And the Band Played Waltzing Matilda. Bogle found the words and Whatley the images that profoundly capture all the raw emotion, loss and resilience that epitomises the Great War of 100 years ago. This […]



Review – The Last Anzac by Gordon Winch and Harriet Bailey


by - April 18th, 2015

The Last Anzac, Gordon Winch (author), Harriet Bailey (Illus.), New Frontier Publishing, March 2015. This year marks the 100th anniversary of the Gallipoli landing. For this significant Anzac Centenary, a myriad of children’s books have been released to teach our young ones about the physical, emotional and historical impact of war, and to celebrate our […]



List of books with the word ‘boy’ in the title


by - April 16th, 2015

Boy Roald Dahl

I enjoyed writing the blog post Books with the word ‘Girl’ in the title so much, I thought I’d do one for books that have ‘boy’ in the title. At first glance, I thought this one might be easier, but let’s see how I go. The first book that comes to mind for me is […]



Review – ‘Imagine’ by Emma Mactaggart and Ester De Boer


by - April 16th, 2015

Imagine, Emma Mctaggart (author), Ester De Boer (illus.), Boogie Books, 2015.   What would you do in your most fantastical of daydreams? Totally let your imagination run free…where would you go? In Emma Mactaggart and Ester De Boer’s explosive ‘Imagine’, we are taken on a zoo adventure wilder than you could ever devise!   Utterly […]



Cracker 2015 CBCA Short List


by - April 15th, 2015

Protected

This year’s Children’s Book Council of Australia short list is a cracker. Older Readers I’ve reviewed most of the Older Reader titles for the Weekend Australian, which means that I think they’re excellent. It’s a superlative list this year. Incidentally, most of these authors are relatively or brand-new published YA writers; and are women, representing […]