Indigenous Literacy Project

Video courtesy of: Eden Media

Frequent readers of the blog will know that Boomerang Books is a proud supporter of the Indigenous Literacy Project. On September 2, 2009, we will be donating 10% of proceeds from book sales to the cause, so if you’ve been holding out on a particular purchase, and you want to do your part to help close the gap and improve Indigenous Literacy, drop by the store.

About the Indigenous Literacy Project

The Indigenous Literacy Project (ILP) is a partnership between the Australian Book Industry and The Fred Hollows Foundation.  

Working closely with the Australian Booksellers Association and the Australian Publishers Association, The Fred Hollows Foundation purchases and supplies books and other culturally appropriate learning materials to remote communities where The Foundation works.  Communities select and order reading material from catalogues and sample books provided by The Australian Booksellers Association.  The Fred Hollows Foundation staff also identify other literacy needs.  The books are then supplied to schools, libraries, early learning centres such as crèches, women’s Centres and other identified institutions, to enhance their pool of literacy resources.

For more information on the Indigenous Literacy Project, click here.


Books Alive, an Australian Government initiative, aims to encourage all Australians to turn off their screens and get reading.

In choosing to purchase one of its “50 Books You Can’t Put Down”, you are eligible to receive a FREE book – either a dazzling collection of brand-new short stories by ten of Australia’s best writers, or Grug Learns to Read, a new title in the classic Australian series.

50 Books You Can’t Put Down

The Book of Rapture by Nikki Gemmell
The Slap by Christos Tsiolkas
The Lieutenant by Kate Grenville
The Rip by Robert Drewe
Dead Man Running by Ross Coulthart & Duncan McNab
The Scarecrow by Michael Connelly
Shantaram by Gregory David Roberts
Too Close to Home by Linwood Barclay
206 Bones by Kathy Reichs
Shatter by Michael Robotham
How to Break Your Own Heart by Maggie Alderson
Dear Fatty by Dawn French
The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society by Mary Ann Shaffer & Annie Barrows
Parky: My Autobiography by Michael Parkinson
The Greatest Show on Earth by Richard Dawkins
The Road by Cormac McCarthy
Through a Glass Darkly by Caroline Jones
Heart and Soul by Maeve Binchy
The Young Widow’s Book of Home Improvement by Virginia Lloyd
The Vanishing Act of Esme Lennox by Maggie O’Farrell
The Night My Bum Dropped by Gretel Killeen
To Love, Honour and Betray by Kathy Lette
The True Story of Butterfish by Nick Earls
Occy by Mark Occhilupo & Tim Baker
True Colours by Adam Gilchrist
A Most Wanted Man by John le Carré
A Fraction of the Whole by Steve Toltz
Australian Tragic by Jack Marx
Pacific Fury by Peter Thompson
1788 by David Hill
My God! It’s a Woman by Nancy Bird
The People’s Train by Tom Keneally
The 19th Wife by David Ebershoff
Dog Boy by Eva Hornung
The Story of Edgar Sawtelle by David Wroblewski
Wanting by Richard Flanagan
Dark Country by Bronwyn Parry
A Beautiful Place to Die by Malla Nunn
It’s All Too Much by Peter Walsh
The Host by Stephenie Meyer
Brisingr by Christopher Paolini
Finnikin of the Rock by Melina Marchetta
Eagle Day by Robert Muchamore
Robot Riot! by Andy Griffiths
Somebody’s Crying by Maureen McCarthy
Pearlie in the Park by Wendy Harmer
The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman
The Nixie’s Song by Tony DiTerlizzi & Holly Black
From Little Things Big Things Grow by Paul Kelly & Kev Carmody
Ten Little Fingers and Ten Little Toes by Mem Fox & Helen Oxenbury


As a kid growing up on a farm on the outskirts of Melbourne, children’s books were my sanctuary.

They were the closest group of friends an isolated girl could ask for. They provided me with reassurance and inspiration whenever loneliness got the better of me. The Magic Faraway Tree gave me hope that sheep, snakes and chooks weren’t my only friends. If I looked hard enough, I could find magical lands, pixies, sprites and a cavalcade of fun friends. Came Back To Show You I Could Fly taught me all about city kids and the harmful affects of drug and alcohol abuse, So Much To Tell You showcased bravery and finding your own voice, and The Secret Seven surrounded me with the close-knit group of friends that I’d always pined for. To Kill A Mockingbird transported me to a faraway land called America that as an adult I now call home. 

So, not surprisingly, the books I’ve written all deal with isolated kids trying to find connection in the world too. I hope they provide kids with warmth, comfort, and a trusted friend when there’s no one else to turn to. The Fashion Police are two shy teen girls who manage to generate new friends and acceptance when they design cool clothes for their peer group. Radio Rebels are a bunch of kids in a small country town who challenge the status quo when they start up a youth radio station. But my new young adult novel, ITS YR LIFE, portrays two teens from vastly different worlds that discover that friendship knows no bounds when push comes to shove. 

If it weren’t for children’s books, my childhood could have been a very lonely one. But instead, I was surrounded with a slew of positive and inspiring peers. The fact that they were fictional made no difference. In my child’s mind those characters were possibly even more authentic than the real people that surrounded me. For that reason, I love children’s books and I feel very lucky to be able to create new ones.


White Crane “…Why don’t you write proper books?” I’m often asked by friends.

I write on the frontier of Australian story telling. It’s a wild and woolly place. A little bit dangerous even. There are Dragonkeepers and Ranger’s Apprentices. A Book Thief and a Bugalugs Bum Thief. You can go Hunting Elephants or into the Teenage Underground. There’s even a Pencil of Doom and my own Samurai Kids.

I’m a children’s author.

We’re raising the imagination stakes, encouraging a love of reading and opening the door to critical thinking. We’re always entertaining, sometimes educating and often making our readers laugh.

Children and young adults are not easy to write for. They won’t tolerate a story that doesn’t immediately engage their attention nor will they read a tale with an overt lesson. Their own ideas rival the most fantastic of storylines. They have widely ranging reading abilities, life experiences and interests. The youngest of readers need to be handled with care and the older readers exposed to new thought. It’s an enormous challenge and a lot of fun.

When I write for children, I get to tell the stories I want to hear. Another children’s author once told me you write for the age you are inside. So I’m somewhere between ten and fourteen on any given day. I think that’s about right. I also enjoy being able to regularly interact with my readers in their classrooms, the library and the wider community. Children want to meet their authors and listen to their stories. There are no barriers or pretensions. I know from experience kids will ask almost anything!

Sometimes I get the big reward. “Your book was the first one I ever liked. I’m going to read another one.” The storytelling frontier is an exciting place where things are growing all the time. As a children’s author, I’m helping to grow enthusiastic readers and maybe writers as well. I love it!

Owl NinjaWant to win copies of the books in Sandy Fussell’s Samurai Kid’s series? All you have to do is email me a review of the last children’s book you read. You could’ve read it last night, last year, or even back when you were a kid. The catch? Your review has to be 20 words or less. In your email’s subject, be sure to write: ‘FICTION NOVELS FOR AGES 10+’


I love the lack of pretentiousness in YA books. When you write for adults, no-one pays attention unless you’re addressing issues like sex, racism, mental illness, drug use and so on. When writing for teens, the only requirement is that you entertain, as much as humanly possible. This gives me the freedom to fill a book with explosions and car chases and gadgetry without worrying that it won’t be taken seriously. It won’t, and it’s not supposed to be – that’s very liberating.

Both as a kid and as an adult, I love the work of Catherine Jinks, Emily Rodda, and the incomparable duo of Andy Griffiths and Terry Denton, who give me the giggles in person and on the page. It’s not very grown-up of me to list my favourite short story as “Pinky Ponky the Donkey”, but I don’t much care what everyone else thinks counts as literature.

As a child I used to read a lot of novelisations – sometimes because Mum and Dad wouldn’t let me watch the screen versions until the Office of Film and Literature Classification said I could, but mostly just because the special effects were better in my head. I must have read every Doctor Who book, several Terminators and Red Dwarfs, and, of course, the Indiana Jones trilogy. I devoured Alien and all its sequels once a year for six years.

Third Transmission by Jack Heath

Six of Hearts is sealed inside a torpedo, blasting his way at 300 kilometres an hour towards a warship. His mission: to steal canisters containing a weaponised strain of the SARS virus. If he fails, ChaoSonic will use the virus to wipe out an uprising that is tearing the City apart.

And that is the least of Six’s problems. Vanish is still on the loose. So is Retuni Lerke. And a scientist has designed a new weapon – one more dangerous than anything Six has ever seen before. One that could destroy him, the Deck, and anyone else who dares to oppose ChaoSonic.

Six has to find the weapon and eliminate the threat it poses because ChaoSonic can’t always control their creations.

He is living proof of that.

CHILDREN’S BOOK WEEK: Michael Gerard Bauer

It’s not so much writing for teenagers and young adults I enjoy, it’s more writing stories centring around them. The teenage years are such a fun and exciting time to write about. It’s a time full of discovery and possibility where feelings and emotions are often more intense and focused and friendships and relationships are at their strongest.

My favourite book as a child was Wind in the Willows. I read it many times and every time I lost myself in the world of the Riverbank with those wonderfully unique characters of Mole, Rat, Toad and Badger.

When I was a teenager myself I read lots of Agatha Christie murder mysteries and adventure books like King Solomon’s Mines and books by Alistair MacLean like Where Eagles Dare. Another big favourite was Lord of the Rings. One holidays I read War and Peace but just because I wanted to be able to say I’d read what I thought was the longest book in the world. I even ended up liking it.

There are so many Children’s and Young Adult books by fantastic Australian authors that I love – far too many to mention them all. But I will make mention of books by Scot Gardner, Barry Jonsberg and Steven Herrick because if I don’t they’ll beat me up!

My favourite YA book is probably The Messenger by Markus Zusak. That book inspired me to have a go at writing.

CBCA Book Week Fact

Did you know that Michael Gerard Bauer’s first novel, The Running Man, won the 2005 Children’s Book Council of Australia Book of the Year for Older Readers?

CHILDREN’S BOOK WEEK: Melina Marchetta

In what will no doubt set a dangerous precedent for the years to come, this week, to celebrate the CBCA’s Book Week, we’re doing something very special here at the Boomerang Blog. We’ve invited a selection of Australian children’s author to drop by and guest blog for us – one for every day of the week.

We’re kicking off with Melina Marchetta, whose books include the quintessential Australian young adult book, Looking For Alibrandi, which became a successful film, and On The Jelicoe Road, recent winner of the prestigious 2009 US Printz Award for excellence in young adult literature.



When I was in Year Six, my best friend and I were in charge of discarding the garbage in the school incinerator. As much as I’m thankful for recycling bins and child protection these days, it was there that our imaginations went haywire and we managed to bludge whole afternoons. Except for the term when my teacher read the class Ivan Southall’s Hills End. Setting our hair alight no longer interested me because I was desperate to return to class and listen to a story about a group of country Australian kids and their teacher separated from the rest of their town because of a storm and a lie. I savoured the love triangle between Paul, Frances and Adrian, I loved the moral dilemma faced by Adrian, long demoralised by his father, and I was introduced to the importance of the secondary characters. When Ivan Southall died last year I felt a sadness that we never got to meet. I would love to have told how important his work was to me.

By high school, I enjoyed any story written about teenagers. Most were from the US, like Paul Zindel’s My Darling My Hamburger. I remember in Year Eight, Judy Blume’s Forever being passed around the room with the important sex references dog eared for quick consumption. It wasn’t until I studied at university that I was truly introduced to Australian YA and I fell in love with the genre because of novels like John Marsden’s So Much To Tell You, Simon French’s All We Know and Isobelle Carmody’s Obernewtyn.

Although my own novels aren’t specifically written for a particular audience, I’m forever grateful that they’ve found a home in the hands of teenagers who don’t go around questioning where the adults are in a story about boarding school territory wars. Teenagers don’t care much about audience or themes or finding out why a story works the way it does. But they do love language and they’ll go around quoting their favourite lines. When you ask them why it’s their favourite, their response isn’t about the use of assonance and alliteration and juxtaposition. Instead they say, “I just like the sound of it. It makes me feel something.”

Hacking into Brainjack

Brainjack is a relatively fast-paced thriller. What literary devices did you employ to the narrative to keep the pace alive?
Not many, consciously at least. To create suspense, the story hinges more on a constantly twisting plot that leads the reader in one direction then abruptly turns in an unexpected way. I have occasionally used devices such as foreshadowing and intercutting just to make sure that the tension doesn’t flag, but I am very aware that if overused, these devices become obvious and lose their power, so I would rather that the pace and suspense springs naturally from the story.

How important was the need to have technical knowledge of cyberspace when devising the plot of Brainjack?
It was absolutely vital. I have a background in the IT industry, but even so it took months of study to understand the world in which reallife hackers move. Of course it has been fictionalised, and ‘futurised’ a little but to create the fiction, and to imagine the future I first had to understand the reality. I also had to do a lot of research into the ‘neuro’ technology which is at the heart of the story, and every few weeks it seems we see on the news some further advance in that field.

Protagonist Sam is a very likeable character. How important is it to have your readers like the main character and what do you see as Sam’s most endearing qualities?
Generally if you don’t like the protagonist, you won’t like the book. Of course there are notable exceptions to that rule, but I don’t think I would be brave enough to try to write one. I have always believed that while we are reading, we are the protagonist, or at the very least we care about the protagonist. If we don’t care about them, we don’t care what happens to them, and so we have no interest in finishing the story. Sam is a geek. He lacks confidence, particularly with girls. In the real world he is clumsy and awkward, but in the cyber world he is fast, sleek and graceful. In early drafts of Brainjack he had the online nickname Penguin because they possess the same kind of qualities in and out of water. However this was removed as it got a bit too confusing. I think many people can relate to a hero who is shy and awkward, but has hidden strengths.

How much research did you have to do into real life hacking for the novel?
A lot. There are some very good books on hacking, that analyse the techniques and skills to teach IT administrators how better to protect their systems. Unfortunately these books would also make a good manual for the bad guys, so I won’t name any of them. I also did a lot of online research and interviewed colleagues in the IT industry who have knowledge of hacking.

What are you working on next?
A story set in Iowa, USA. I spent three months in Iowa City last year as part of the International Writing Program at the University of Iowa. While there I saw potential for a story aimed at slightly younger readers, and this is my current focus. I can’t talk about it yet, as it is still in progress, but so far it is loads of fun.

Write on time

In Time Machines Repaired While-U-Wait the main character, Spider, struggles with the concept of time travel–and readers see its possibilities and consequences. What event would you go back in time to see or is there something from the future that you’d like to witness?

I’d be seriously tempted to go forward, like the hero in Wells’ The Time Machine, some great big gulp of time, to see what I might see (and hoping I could stay as close to my time machine as possible, in case it turns out that the future is not quite as happy and shiny as I might hope). However, if I were to go back in time, I wouldn’t mind seeing something amazing: what really killed the dinosaurs? How did life on Earth actually begin? Who first came up with the idea of coffee?

Your novels appeal to the science-fiction community. What inspires you to write this genre, and have you considered writing something other than sci-fi?

I write sci-fi because I’ve always felt like I’m living in a very science-fictional world. The key influence for me was watching the first moon landing, on live TV, when I was six years old. Seeing this skyscraper-tall rocket blast off, and then actual guys bouncing around in big white glary suits, on the moon only a few days later, was gobsmacking. I was just old enough to start to understand what I was seeing. I could go outside at night, and look at the moon, and imagine that if I could just squint and peer enough, I might see those guys bouncing around. When in later years I got a telescope, the first thing I wanted to see, if possible, was the equipment left behind by the lunar explorers. Sadly, my telescope wasn’t up to it, but it didn’t keep me from trying. This whole thing led me to an extreme interest in what at the time was referred to as ‘outer space’, which at the time was deeply uncool. It continues to astonish me that I’ve lived to see, if not more people on the moon, then at least the so-called ‘geek ascendancy’. That’s a sci-fi development no writer ever saw coming. If I were to write some other genre, it would be crime or spy-fiction, my other two great loves. You can see the influence of this material in all my books, most of which are mysteries as much as they are sci-fi tales.

In Time Machines Repaired While-UWait, there are endless shifts in timelines, and past and present versions of ‘Spider’. Do these events and characters evolve in order as you write from start to finish, or do you have pieces of ‘events’ and slot them together as you go?

No. It’s a big chaotic mess that usually requires a great deal of sorting out once I’ve finished the first draft. I love time travel stories, but I do hate the organisational and logistical hassles involved in making them work properly.

On one of your blogs you mention you have a sequel to Time Machines Repaired- While-U-Wait, is that what you are working on next?

I am working on a sequel, tentatively titled Time Never Sleeps. I’m currently about 23,500 words into it, and it’s going quite slowly, because of the problem I referred to in the previous answer, that it’s very difficult to keep everything straight. Fortunately, it’s just as difficult for my poor hero, Spider Webb, as well, who utterly hates time machines and time travel with the fury of a thousand suns!

The Truth Will Out

You’ve referred to Truth as ‘the so-called sequel’ to The Broken Shore because, although that’s how it’s likely to be pitched, it’s not really a sequel. Why did you choose to focus on Villani, rather than write a second book on Cashin? Were you trying to avoid another series?
I love the Jack Irish series in a parental way. It’s part of me. And, to my great surprise and joy, many people want another Jack Irish book in the same way I once wanted another James Bond novel (well, perhaps not quite as much). But the idea of another series fills me with terror. When it came to think about what to write afterThe Broken Shore

, I found myself thinking about Stephen Villani (a minor player in The Broken Shore). I’d enjoyed his character and I thought I’d try to capture him and his world in a way that treated cops as ordinary people who, as the poet said, have to save the sum of things for pay.

The Broken Shore won the Duncan Lawrie Dagger among many other awards. How did the success of that book affect the writing of this one?
It’s not the success or otherwise of the last book that matters. It’s that every book drains the well and it takes an ever-greater effort to begin each new one. I also have a horror of repeating myself, something that doesn’t help matters.

Truth follows two homicide investigations but also takes in the world of media and politics. Do you draw on your experience as a court reporter in creating your plots? Do you do a lot of research to get these worlds right?
Writing draws on everything that’s ever happened to you. My aim is always to get the feel of the book right. But it’s fiction. I make stuff up. That’s the fun of it.

As with The Broken Shore, one of the very appealing aspects of Truth is that the pared-back nature of the book makes the reader work a bit harder to keep everything in their head–to make connections, remember characters. Is this your intention?
I like reading books that make you work, make you join the bits, reach your own conclusions, and so I try to write books like this.

Truth is set in the city but visits the country and The Broken Shore included descriptions of the natural world; what appeals to you about writing about nature?
Part of being a writer is being an observer. I like looking closely at things. I like staring at things, waiting for them to reveal themselves. To capture these impressions in ways that speak to the reader is the great challenge of writing. It’s also its greatest pleasure.

You’ve said that when you’re writing a book you don’t know where it’s going. Can you tell us at what point in the writing process you worked it all out? Was your publisher at all worried?
I generally begin to understand the story about three-quarters of the way through the writing. I don’t know how the process works but I now know that there is a process at work. I think worried is too mild a word for my publisher’s state of mind while he waited for the book. I think he had secretly given up on it. But he understands what miserable, lying creatures writers are and he never lets them off the hook, never gives them the excuse they are looking for to chuck the whole thing in.

Can you tell us what you’re working on next?
I’m fiddling around with the fifth Jack Irish novel and thinking about returning to the territory ofIn the Evil Day.

Books for Dad

Having trouble finding that perfect read for Dad for this Father’s Day? Well, we’ve just rounded up a diverse list of captivating reads that will no doubt capture his interest.

The Real Man’s Tool Box by Tammy Farrell
Most men look after their cars. They look after their trucks. They make sure their fishing rods are maintained and look after their golf clubs. BUT too many men don’t look after themselves. It’s not hard. Simple changes can literally mean the difference between life and death. Tammy Farrell is a registered nurse who has often been called on by her two brothers and their mates to demystify the medical world. Taking this role a step further she saw a need to talk to men about their health and started giving Tool Box Talks to miners in the Hunter Valley. Tammy knows what men need to hear and want to know and she has created the manual EVERY man needs to live a healthier life.

Crossing the Ditch by James Castrission
With more than 2,000 km of treacherous seas and dangerously unpredictable weather and currents, not to mention the ever-present threat of sharks, it was little wonder no one had ever successfully crossed the Tasman by kayak. Australian adventurer Andrew McAuley had come close just months earlier – though, tragically, not near enough to save his life. But two young Sydneysiders, James Castrission and Justin Jones, reached the sand at New Plymouth – and a place in history – on 13 January, 2008, 62 days after they’d set off from Forster on the mid-north coast of New South Wales. In the process, they overcame a litany of difficulties, including dwindling food supplies, a string of technical problems and two close encounters with sharks, as well as one demoralising 14-day period in which – caught in a whirlpool – they found themselves being dragged back to Australia. When they arrived in New Zealand, they were sunburnt, bearded, underweight, physically and mentally wasted – and, most of all, happy to be alive.

The Danihers by Terry Daniher
A revealing account of how four unassuming blokes from the bush endeared themselves to Australian Rules fans and became part of football folklore.


For our full Father’s Day catalogue, click here.


I used to be a paramedic and now write crime thrillers about people in that job. In my first novel, Frantic, so much trouble begins for paramedic Sophie Phillips when she’s called to a woman in labour. With the birth of her own baby and all its tears and joy still fresh in her mind, she’s pleased to be going to the case, in contrast with her colleague Mick, who like most paramedics, dreads birth calls because so much can go wrong. Soon they’re struggling with the situation when the baby is born unconscious and not breathing, then they can’t stop the mother’s haemorrhage. Later at the hospital Sophie thinks “this job, sometimes … you felt capable of the work, powerful even in your capacity to save lives, and then the universe showed you exactly who was boss”.

While I never went to a case like that, thank goodness – all the births I attended resulted in healthy babies – I was able to use the anxieties I felt and the outcomes I worried about to throw challenges at my characters. And because when writing crime novels, a good rule of thumb is to decide the worst possible moment to make things worse for the characters then try to make them even worse again, it’s not long before I have Sophie’s own life turn into a disaster when her husband is shot and their baby kidnapped.

In my second book, The Darkest Hour, it’s another paramedic, Lauren Yates, whose life is thrown into turmoil when she finds a murdered man and his killer in an inner-city alley. This never happened to me either – again, thank goodness – but I’ve spent my share of time out and about late at night, in dark alleys, and around dead bodies.

In my next novel, Cold Justice, out next February, the past haunts the present when Detective Ella Marconi is assigned a twenty-year-old cold case and gets an anonymous letter telling her to talk to the girl who found the body. That girl is now paramedic Georgie Riley and she swears she knows nothing more about the case than she said at the time. She has more pressing concerns anyway, such as being stalked by a mysterious man, but as Ella digs deeper into the case it seems the killer is increasingly desperate to tie up loose ends and that they might both be targets. I didn’t find a body as a schoolgirl, nor have I been stalked, but when I drive through the areas where I worked, I see the past all around me: the sites of the accidents I went to, the crosses on the roadsides, the houses where we saved somebody’s life and those where we couldn’t.

This is the great thing about using real life experiences in fiction. Writing about roaring down city streets in an ambulance with lights and siren going when you’ve actually been there, and you know what that siren sounds like inside the cabin, you know what the paramedics talk about on the way to a case, both shows readers an unknown world in close-up and gives the work that unmistakable ring of truth.

About Katherine Howell
Katherine Howell’s novels have been published in Australia, the UK, France, Germany, Italy and Russia. Frantic won the 2008 Davitt Award for crime fiction. Recent UK reviews describe her work as ‘finely paced and engrossing’, and say that ‘[this] former Sydney paramedic is set to do for that profession what US author Patricia Cornwell did for forensic pathologists’.

BOOKS! BOOKS! BOOKS! August Book Giveaway

This month, Boomerang Books are giving you more chances to win! Alongside our regular monthly giveaway and our Facebook-exclusive giveaway, to celebrate August being the month of the Children’s Book Council Australia’s Book Week, we have a special children’s prize pack to giveaway.


This month’s prize pack is an eclectic mix set to capture your imagination, touch your heart and tickle your tastebuds. While Judith McNeil paints an unforgettable portrait of Australian life in the 1950s, Angela Valamanesh’s art inspires, and Ben O’Donoghue and Mary Taylor Simeti share recipes that plot you on the path to becoming the Masterchef of your household. The pack includes:

Butterfly by Sonya Hartnett SIGNED
Here is Plum Coyle, on the threshold of adolescence, striving to be new. Her fourteenth birthday is approaching: her old life and her old body will fall away, and she will become graceful, powerful, at ease. The strength in the objects she stores in a briefcase under her bed – a crystal lamb, a yoyo, an antique watch, a penny – will make sure of it.
Over the next couple of weeks, Plum’s life will change. Her beautiful neighbour Maureen will begin to show her how she might fly. The older brothers she adores – the charismatic Justin, the enigmatic Cydar – will court catastrophe in worlds that she barely knows exist. And her friends – her worst enemies – will tease and test, smelling weakness. They will try to lead her on and take her down.
Who ever forgets what happens when you’re fourteen?
Butterfly is a gripping, disquieting, beautifully observed novel that confirms Hartnett as one of Australia’s finest writers.

Outdoor by Ben O’Donoghue (Hardcover) SIGNED
In his first-ever cookbook, Ben brings the wide-sweeping world of barbecuing to your backyard via one of the most stunningly designed books around. No need to walk over hot coals to impress your BBQ guests, these divine recipes will leave a lasting taste in everyone’s mouth.
Try Grilled Lobsters from Norfolk, or Pork Loin With Bay And Balsamic from Italy or even a Thai-inspired dessert of Grilled Pineapple With Rum Ginger And Lemongrass Syrup. Yum! And while you grill, serve guests a Southern Cross Pimm’s barbecue-side. Fresh in every way, this cookbook is a summer staple.

Letters to Leonardo by Dee White
On his fifteenth birthday, Matt receives a card from his mother – the mother he grew up believing was deceased. Feeling betrayed by both his parents, Matt’s identity is in disarray and he begins writing letters to Leonardo da Vinci as a way to sort out the ‘mess’ in his head. Through the connections he makes between his own life and that of Leonardo, Matt unravels the mystery that his life has become and discovers his mother’s secrets and the reasons behind his abandonment.
A unique and powerful story about a fifteen year old boy who tries to deal with his mother’s mental illness by writing letters to Leonardo da Vinci. Ages 12+. 

A True History of the Hula Hoop by Judith Lanigan
A beguiling and utterly original debut novel about two women born centuries apart but joined by the spirit of adventure and a quest for true love.
Catherine is a hula-hooping performance artist, a talented and independent individual plying her trade on the international burlesque stage. Columbina meanwhile is a feisty female clown and a principal in a 16th-century Italian commedia dell’arte troupe.
As Catherine and Columbina struggle to make sense of an increasingly nonsensical world – and to assert their rights as performers and women during times of profound change – their lives, as if by magic, seem to interact.

No One’s Child by Judith McNeil
Judith takes you on a journey back to her childhood – as a ‘railway brat’, growing up in small towns along the tracks while her father worked on the lines. Judith’s life was one of hardship and poverty. The eldest of six children, she soon took on the role of provider and carer, while desperately craving affection from a mother too tired to give it and a father who resented her because she wasn’t a son. Yet there was still joy to be found: in the vibrant Gypsy camp, full of laughter and love in the eyes of Tom, the engine driver who believed in her and fed her thirst for knowledge and in the friendship of Billy, the boy who could see into her soul. No One’s Child is an unforgettable portrait of Australian life in the 1950s. With a vivid cast of characters and set against the backdrop of the ever-changing outback landscape, it will leave you marvelling at the indomitable spirit of one little girl who was determined to forge her own destiny.

Angela Valamanesha: About Being Here by Cath Kenneally (Hardcover)

Sicilian Food: Recipes from Italy’s Abundant Isle by Mary Taylor Simeti

Another Way To Love by Tim Costello and Rode Yule

To go into the draw to win these books, just complete the entry form here. Entries close August 31, 2009.


As always, we have a great prize pack to give away to one of our Facebook Group members, which includes: Letters to Leonardo by Dee White, Shakespeare: The Most Famous Man In London by Tony Thompson, Third Transmission by Jack Heath, A Tale of Two Women by Christina Slade, Samurai Kids: Shaolin Tiger by Sandy Fussell, Another Way To Love by Tim Costello and Rode Yule.

Shakespeare Third Transmission A Tale of Two Women Shaolin Tiger

Boomerang Books is fast becoming one of Australia’s biggest book groups on Facebook, so what are you waiting for? Join Now!


Entering this bonus giveaway is easy enough. All you have to do is email me a review of the last children’s book you read. You could’ve read it last night, last year, or even back when you were a kid. The catch? It has to be in 20 words or less. When entering, mention which prize pack you’d like to be in the running for – picture book or fiction for ages 10+. Entries close August 31, 2009.

Section A: ‘Book Safari’-Themed Picture Books: The Little One: The Story of a Red-Tailed Monkey by Kaitie Afrika Litchfield, The Gorilla Book: Born To Be Wild by Dr Carla Litchfield, The Chimpanzee Book: Apes Like Us by Dr Carla Litchfield, The Penguin Book: Birds In Suits by Dr Mark Norman, The Antarctica Book: Living In The Freezer by Dr Mark Norman, The Great Barrier Reef Book: Solar Powered by Dr Mark Norman, When No-one’s Looking: On The Farm by Zana Fraillon and Lucia Masciullo, When No-one’s Looking: At the Zoo by Zana Fraillon and Lucia Masciullo.

The Little One The Chimpanzee Book Penguin Book At The Zoo

Section B: Fiction 10+

Samurai Kids: White Crane (SIGNED), Samurai Kids: Owl Ninja (SIGNED), Samurai Kids: Shaolin Tiger (SIGNED), Samurai Kids: Monkey Fist, Letters to Leonardo by Dee White, The Zoo of Magical and Mythological Creatures by Sam Bowring.

White Crane Owl Ninja Letters to Leonardo The Zoo of Magical and Mythological Creatures

A big thanks to our friends at Acorn Press, Black Dog Books, Exisle Publishing, Hardie Grant Egmont, Pan Macmillan, Picador, Penguin, Wakefield Press and Walker Books for supporting our giveaways this month.