Matty’s dad is in prison and he and his mum don’t have enough money to pay the rent anymore. Plus the school bully, Noonan, has it in for him. But he still has Asha, his best friend in the whole wide world. One afternoon when he gets home from school, Matty finds mum has packed his things in the car and tells him they’re leaving tomorrow. They can’t pay the rent anymore and money – or the lack of it – is a big problem. Matty is devastated. She tells him they’re going to Crawley Creek to stay in the old house that his grandpa built but never got to live in. But what about Asha? They were planning on spending the summer together, before he went to the local high school where there were a thousand Noonans, and she went to the selective high school her adoptive parents were pushing her to go to. She was his only friend - apart from the magpie that warbles hello every day. When would he see her again? ‘Just for the summer,’ his mother assures him. ‘Just until we can get back on our feet a bit. Can you do this for me? For us Matty?’
This is a story about survival, renewal and forgiveness. The author writes with such depth, insight and understanding of the landscape, the sea, and the specialness of the world and those around us. He encourages us to look deep inside and find the strength to take care and pride in ourselves, our communities, and our country. His descriptions of the landscape and the creatures and spirits that dwell there, are hauntingly beautiful, and draw the reader further into country and the lives of those in the small township by the sea that is the backdrop for the story. Matty’s interactions with Old Bill, the town outcast, and his father who turns up unexpectedly, become increasingly complex as the tale unwinds. Yet they are also simple, and full of an inner yearning to belong, be seen as, and find, your true self. A nuanced, heartfelt and absorbing story of the interconnectedness of the people and places that enrich our lives.
Find out more about Bradley Christmas
Published by Walker Books Australia
Release date: 08 March, 2023
ISBN: 9781760656393 (PB)
Highly recommended for ages 10 +
Teaching themes could include: father-son relationships, families, coming of age, resilience, communities, friendship, change, compassion, sustainability, looking after country and indigenous culture.
Classroom notes by Walker Books found here
Ruby was excited when she was given a shiny new pair of red roller skates for her birthday. She slept with them that first night and the next morning was ready to roll. Roller skating was easy peasy – or so she thought. When she tried inside the house she crashed into Dad’s tower of cards. Dad offered to teach her how but Ruby giggled and said, ‘No. It’s easy peasy.’ Dad suggested she try outside. Wobble, wibble . . . bump! Wooble, wibble . . . thump! Wobble, wibble . . . crunch! No matter how hard she tried, roller skating wasn’t as easy peasy as she thought. When Dad tucked her into bed that night she told him, ‘Roller skating is too hard!’.’ But Ruby didn’t want to give up so, the next day she asked Dad to teach her and he offered to take her somewhere special. There were flashing lights, music and lots of other kids whizzing around. They made roller skating look easy peasy. Dad took Ruby’s hand and they skated slowly around the rink until Ruby took a deep breath and let go of Dad’s hand. She was skating all on her own without a wobble, wibble or crunch in sight!
This delightful story from Ky Garvey is a fun and entertaining journey that follows a young girls' experiences as she tries something new. From excitement to disappointment, then determination and persistence, to the final euphoria of mastering something that wasn’t as easy peasy as she thought. Accomplished with the help of a thoughtful and patient Dad, this is an endearing tale about the relationship between father and daughter and a reminder that to never give up on something new. Amy Calautti’s bright and colourful illustrations are the perfect compliment to the text. The huge disco ball on the front cover reminds me of the one that adorned the skating rink I used to frequent as a tween! The final page illustration is a wonderful, exuberant celebration of Ruby’s triumph. Keep an eye out for the duck in the story who is an important companion on Ruby’s path to success.
Find out more about Ky Garvey
Find out more about Amy Calautti
Published by EK Books an imprint of Exisle Publishing Pty Ltd.
Release date: 01 February, 2023
ISBN: 9781922538441 (HB)
Recommended for ages 4 - 8
Teaching themes could include: roller skating, families, father daughter relationships, determination, persistance, trying new things, roller skates.
Thanks to Book On Tour Aus and Romi Sharp for the review copy.
Gone. It was a word that made sense and made no sense at all. How was he supposed to concentrate at school and make sense of anything when his grandma had just . . . well, gone. Not only had grandma been Elliot's connection to his love of music, but she was his best friend too. Now the last thing he wanted to do was play his violin. Music just didn't feel the same without her there.
One afternoon his mum knocked on the bedroom door and handed him an old cassette tape in an envelope that grandma had left just for him. As it played, the loop of four simple notes seemed to be asking him questions and demanding answers that he wasn't ready to give. Finally he let his grief explode and when he was done, he fell into a deep, dreamless sleep. But just before midnight, he was awoken by a snuffling sound and when he opened his eyes, it wasn't what he thought it might be. Sitting beside his bed, eating the dinner his mum had left for him was - a dragon!
'I'm your guide for the journey . . .' said Kimorin the dragon.
'. . . I'm not going anywhere,' protested Elliot.
'Are you sure? So you ain't got a ticket?'
Elliot remembered the ticket he had found under his pillow sixteen days after grandma had died. The only thing on it that he had recognised was his name - and now the dragon's. Elliot's journey on The Night Train was about to begin.
From the very first chapter we feel the enormity of Elliot's loss, and sense the love and connection he shared with his grandmother through music. But whilst acknowledging that grief and sadness, Ben Brooks also encourages the reader to embrace the magic of the journey, the importance of friendship and family, and the power of music to heal and inspire hope. A warmhearted and uplifting story for ages 7 +. Highly recommended.
Teaching themes could include grief, loss, dragons, trains, family, friendship, magic, magical creatures, boys, emotions, music, composing, musical compositions.
Find out more about Ben Brooks
Published by Hachette Australia
Release date 23 June, 2023
Highly recommended for ages 7 +
Baby wants to grow up as cute as a kitten like his Aunt Daisy said, and as strong as lion just like his Uncle Dan. But as much as he loves his family, there are some attributes from the others he’d rather not inherit – like Uncle Max’s bushy eyebrows, Uncle Ted’s hairy legs and Aunty Fern’s wild hair! Will he grow up just right, just as he should be?
In this hilarious new picture book from author Frances Mackay, we watch as Baby’s relatives welcome him to the family, commenting on how they hope he will inherit a little something from each of them as he grows up to be his own person. Everyone has a personal attribute they hope to see reflected in him, but Baby is not so sure and reacts in a way that baby’s tend to when things get overwhelming – with a huge wail! Both young and older readers will relate to comparisons being made within families and the very funny situations this can lead to. This is a brilliantly simple but engaging story with lots of laugh out loud moments. Dotti Colvin’s wonderful, cartoon like illustrations with outlined, colourful characters who possess those all-important accentuated attributes, are the perfect complement to the text. A great addition to any school or home library.
Teaching themes could include families, physical characteristics, babies, humour in stories, relatives, growing up, emotions & feelings.
Find out more about Frances Mackay
Find out more about Dotti Colvin
Published by Frances Mackay.
Release date 2 November, 2022.
Recommended for ages 3 to 8.