The Teenage Guide to Friends – Nicola Morgan

Standard

friends

Walker Books

ISBN: 9781406369779
Imprint: Walker
July 1, 2017
Australian RRP: $16.99
New Zealand RRP: $18.99

Nicola Morgan is a recognised expert on the teenage psyche and has already written successful and well received books. Now she turns her hand to dealing with the issue of friends and friendship.

Her engaging and conversational style will certainly appeal to the teenage readers for which this is intended but I can see it being an important resource for adults and teachers in those times of addressing this topic through the medium of personal development classes (whatever these are called in your school).

Divided into sections on; making friends, peer pressure, toxic friendships, social media, conflicts and personality types, there are quizzes and interactive exercises which would be perfect for either the individual or as discussion starters in classes and groups.

Being a teen has never been particularly easy and arguably it can be even more difficult in our contemporary society where pressures and stresses abound but a guide such as this can go a long way to helping young people examine and reflect upon their feelings and needs.

I highly recommend this for addition to your collection – perhaps several copies would be useful! – and certainly direct your staff towards it for use with those sometimes awkward or even hostile situations which can arise when friendship groups are forming.

Pretty Girls Don’t Eat – Winnie Salamon

Standard

9781925272772.jpg.400x0_q20

Ford St Publishing

Jul 2017

9781925272772

AUD$17.95, NZD$22.99

 

“Body image is one of the top concerns for young people in Australia right now,” Dr Vivienne Lewis, associate professor and clinical psychologist at the University of Canberra told The Huffington Post Australia. November 2016

 

Eating disorders are estimated to affect approximately 9% of the Australian population.

http://www.nedc.com.au/eating-disorders-in-australia

Eating disorders are common in young people, especially in female adolescents and young women, although males can also be affected (1). In their lifetime, about 0.3% of adolescents aged 13 to 18 years have anorexia nervosa (same % for males and females), 0.9% have bulimia nervosa (males 0.5%; females 0.9%), and 1.6% have a binge-eating disorder (males 0.8%; females 2.3%) (2).

https://headspace.org.au/health-professionals/understanding-eating-disorders-for-health-professionals/

With statistics like the above Pretty Girls Don’t Eat is a very timely book which will empower young people to approach their own body image more positively and illustrates the potential dangers of eating disorders.

That being said it is in no way ‘preachy’. Winnie Salamon has written a beautiful warm and engaging narrative that will have a great appeal because of its inherent readability.

Sixteen year old Winter is a highly talented fashion designer and sewer. She is also very smart and very funny. She is also deeply disturbed by her size. Living in a dysfunctional family with a mother obsessed with her own body it is no wonder that Winter has taken on board the feeling of guilt and shame she carries around. While her two best friends – slender and stunning Eurasian Melody and geeky and gay George – both fervently assure her she is gorgeous and support her in all she does, when Winter meets Oliver she is convinced she needs to be thinner to hold his interest. And so begins a real rollercoaster of terrible weight loss ultimately fuelled by laxatives.  Winter is adamant that she needs to be skinny to achieve her dream of working in the fashion industry and to be attractive and risks everything to be so. Fortunately, her new job with a beautiful and fat – yes, fat – independent designer goes a long way to help her begin to question her own weight loss methods. But it is not until the laxative abuse lands her in hospital and she begins to work with Rosie, a sympathetic counsellor that she really starts to heal.

Fifteen years ago I too lost a lot of weight – though not by Winter’s drastic methods – and it is exhilarating to feel that you are no longer the fattest person in the room. Yet no matter that I had lost around 25 kgs all up I still saw a fat person when I looked in the mirror so I can totally relate to Winter’s mindset.  These days I really don’t care but then I don’t have the pressures by which Winter and other young girls, particularly, are continually bombarded. We have a long way to go in this journey to convince our young people to embrace themselves for who they are and not what they look like but there are moves to do so. The link here will demonstrate an initiative that is just one way in this serious issue is being addressed. Other programs such as that supported through KidsMatter are also in place.

Well written narratives such as this one should be heavily promoted in our school libraries so that we can create positive and helpful discussions around this issue.

I highly recommend this to you for your libraries and will definitely be promoting it to my readers.

Eating-Disorders-in-Australia-A3

Raymie Nightingale – Kate DiCamillo

Standard

raymie

Walker Books

ISBN: 9781406373189
Imprint: Walker
May 1, 2017
Australian RRP: $14.99
New Zealand RRP: $16.99

 

I know that most folks will already know Raymie Nightingale but this paperback edition has been my ‘waiting for child pick up’ read for a few weeks so it did take me a while to get through in the short snatches. It comes as no surprise that this is another successful book for Kate DiCamillo bursting with warmth and love as well as poignancy.  If you didn’t manage to catch Kate on her recent tour you certainly should put it on your bucket list as she is just a delightful, engaging and genuine speaker. Kate puts her heart into every book she writes and perhaps none more so than Raymie. The parallels between her own life and that of Raymie are open for all to see and certainly her conversations about the book confirm this.

Raymie is devastated when her father takes off with a dental hygienist. She devises a plan to get him back – or at least call her. So she enters the Little Miss Central Florida competition and upon advice from her father’s sympathetic ex-secretary takes up baton twirling as her ‘performance’. She doesn’t like the twirling lessons at all and at first she doesn’t like the other two girls with whom she is learning. Beverley is a very cynical and embittered little girl with a pushy bullying mother and Louisiana is an odd little girl living with her eccentric grandmother and in fear of being put in the state home. Despite all odds the threesome become the firmest of friends and with many interludes of comradeship of somewhat dubious nature goes on to create their own happy – or happier than before – endings.

This is a warm and inspiring story for girls who may be having some difficulties in their own lives, showing them that though life may throw curve balls, friends can bring you just the support you need to get through it all.

Highly recommended for readers from around ten years upwards. Find activity notes here.

Chook Doolan series – James Roy. Illustrated by Lucinda Gifford

Standard

 

Walker Books

Sometimes it can be tricky finding those transition type books for the little ones who are ready to take on their first chapter books. I have found the Chook Doolan series to be ideal for this and I know that many people will already have some in their collection. Now we have four brand new titles to share with these excited emergent readers as we support their journey into independent reading. These all firmly focus on topics relevant to the readers: family, friends, school and particularly becoming confident. Although the main character is a boy I have found that little girls equally enjoy the stories so this is a great series to have for both.

On the Road

ontheroad

ISBN: 9781925381566
Imprint: Walker Books Australia
June 1, 2017
Australian RRP: $7.99
New Zealand RRP: $9.99

Chook’s mum says she needs a break so the family is off the country for a few days to visit Aunty Liz.  A mini-holiday is usually quite fun but Chook and his brother Ricky are less than keen to be told they need to be nice with their cousins who are tiny twin girls. They each have their favourite toy – Ricky, his soccer ball and Chook, his chess set but neither is interested in the other’s games. What a surprise is in store for them when they get to know their cousins again!

Unhappy Camper

unhappy

ISBN: 9781925381573
Imprint: Walker Books Australia
June 1, 2017
Australian RRP: $7.99
New Zealand RRP: $9.99

Everybody is excited about the school camp. Well, except for Chook because as we know Chook isn’t very brave. He’s terribly worried about snakes and really anxious that he’ll be homesick. He really doesn’t want to go on camp at all! But things move along with Mum buying what he needs like a torch and a beanie and Ms Rashid explaining things like activities. Chook is still resistant but his friend Joe is persuasive and when Mum tops off his packing with a huge bag of jelly snakes for a midnight treat, Chook is suddenly keen. And what a surprise when he finds out where the camp is!

Up and Away

upaway

ISBN: 9781925381580
Imprint: Walker Books Australia
June 1, 2017
Australian RRP: $7.99
New Zealand RRP: $9.99
Chook really wants to be a pilot like his dad when he grows up but how will he ever cope with such scary things as talking to strange people and flying to new places?

Dad has a great idea and takes Chook to visit his work and find out a lot more about flying and aeroplanes. Since Chook loves to know how things work this is a super idea. Once he knows more about the ins and outs, he is able to use his knowledge in just the right way to soothe a little girl taking her first flight – just as a real pilot would!

Let’s Do Diwali!

diwali

ISBN: 9781925381597
Imprint: Walker Books Australia
June 1, 2017
Australian RRP: $7.99
New Zealand RRP: $9.99

This is my favourite and I think lots of people will be able to use this when you are looking at festivals from other cultures. Chook’s class are pairing off to do presentations on festivals. Normally Chook would work with Joe but he has chicken pox so Chook teams up with Praj Patel instead. Praj is very softly spoken and Chook, well Chook is just scared of talking in front of everybody. But Praj loves Diwali and he invites Chook to go to the celebrations with his family. Of course, Chook is nervous about that as well! But the boys have a fantastic time and Chook really enjoys seeing new things, wearing different clothes and eating delicious Indian food. Their presentation is a huge success!

 

I highly recommend this series to you for your readers from around six years upwards. Perfect for developing emotional intelligence, good fun to read and totally relatable to kids.

 

Dotty Detective #1 Super Secret Agent – Clara Vulliamy

Standard

dotty

Harper Collins Australia

ISBN 9780008132491

ISBN 10: 0008132496

Imprint: HarperCollins – GB

01/06/2017

List Price: 4.99 AUD

Girl detectives seem to be quite the popular trend of late and you will perhaps have some younger readers who want to get in on this but are not quite ready for some of the books on offer.

This new series will be just perfect for them as Dorothy Constance Mae Louise, known as Dot, is a younger girl as well. Written in diary style Dot gives the reader the low down on her situation. She’s just moved to a new house with her mum and little twins, Alf and Maisie, and of course is starting a new school. She’s pretty excited about all this but also a wee bit nervous. Not to worry, she makes two great new friends, Beans and Amy.  As it happens Beans is also a fan of TV super sleuth Fred Fantastic – Ace Detective.  Dot is very good at puzzles and codes and Beans is a good foil for her investigating as he is good at making gadgets.

When the teacher announces a school talent quest Amy, who is rather shy but a really good singer, is keen to perform but classmate Laura who thinks she is the superstar plans to sabotage her. Will Dot and Beans be able to help Amy overcome her nerves and thwart Laura’s sneaky plan?

This is a really cute story and already three more to come so a great little series to start off some independent readers. Girls will enjoy seeing Dot’s new bedroom become her own special place and also getting to know her family.

Lots to explore around friendship, adjusting to new situations and of course, codes, puzzles and mysteries!

Highly recommended for readers from around 7 upwards.

By the way, the author Clara Vulliamy is the daughter of Shirley Hughes!

Wolfie: an Unlikely Hero – Deborah Abela/Connah Brecon

Standard

wolfie

Penguin Random House

ISBN 9780143781509

May 1, 2017

Random House Australia Children’s

RRP $24.99

One thing I’ve learned in my years of being a teacher-librarian is that all kids, big and little, love fractured fairy tales.

Wolfie is fed up with fairy tales promoting the nonsense that wolves are the bad guys. He’s determined to put the record straight. After all, he’s really a sweet creature and he is ready to prove himself so by rescuing a princess because that’s what heroes do!

What he hasn’t quite reckoned with is that annoying the book’s narrator is not likely to provide him with a satisfactory outcome and that gives the reader a load of laughs. Wolfie tries to rescue Rapunzel – but she has a screaming fit at the very sight of him and ends up rescuing herself (as all great princesses do!). With that disaster behind him he’s swooped up by a passing dragon and oh oh, this is certainly not the heroic ending Wolfie had imagined!

Deb Abela’s text is super funny and lots of interesting fonts give it real oomph. The illustrations are likewise very humorously done and discerning readers will get a real giggle out of some of the visual jokes.

A great addition to your collection for all those units on fairy tales – traditional or otherwise.

Highly recommended for readers from around six years upwards.

When We Go Camping – Sally Sutton. Illustrated by Cat Chapman

Standard

camping

Walker Books

ISBN  9781921977787
Imprint: Walker Books Australia
October 1, 2016

Australian RRP: $24.99
New Zealand RRP: $27.99
This is another one that had slipped through the cracks and shouldn’t have! It’s a really fabulous read aloud that will have little ones bouncing in their seats and joining in the choruses.

 

With lots of rhyming and onomatopoeia it is perfect for those beginning to read crowds to switch on their aural perception.

 

As well as all of that kids who get to go camping will be able to connect and offer up their own experiences, while those who don’t will surely be able to discuss what they would most like about a camping trip.

 

Cat Chapman’s illustrations are lovely – lots of details and humour abound in each spread.

 

This author and illustrator pair is from New Zealand, with Sally Sutton being a best seller and award winner.

Can’t go wrong with this as we look forward to warmer weather and the next holidays in September – perfect camping time!

 

 

Piggy – Trevor Lai

Standard

Piggy

Allen & Unwin

ISBN: 9781681190655

Publisher: Bloomsbury USA

Imprint: BLM Children’s USA

 January 2017

RRP $19.00

 

What’s not to love about a cute little pig who loves to read so much that he’s never made any friends?  Piggy has always been so immersed in his books and the library that it is almost a disaster when he comes to the last book and realises that he is actually quite lonely.

The little cutie goes looking for something to amuse himself and spies a sweet cat reading her book. Perhaps this could be a friend? Piggy tries everything he can think of to get the little cat’s attention including some spectacular moves but nothing works.  Then he figures he should try sharing the happy ending of his last book with her – and of course that works! The two become special friends who read AND play together.

The illustrations are every bit as charming as the text – as one might expect from an animator – very much in the cartoon style but with real appeal for little ones.

This is a really sweet book about forming friendships and would be perfect for little ones from around kindy age upwards.

 

Teens – Louise Mack

Standard

teens

Angus & Robertson

ISBN: 9781460705469

ISBN 10: 1460705467

Imprint: HarperCollins

On Sale: 24/07/2017

List Price: 7.99 AUD

In 1897 Angus & Robertson published their first fiction book which was a children’s book describing Australian family and school life – another first. Louise Mack was a contemporary and friend (most of her life) with Ethel Turner and both attended Sydney Girls High School.  Louise Mack had a rather bohemian upbringing and went on to live an even more eccentric adult life but her portrait of Lennie Leighton’s family and school life is anything but that. Considered to be loosely autobiographical it would appear that Louise created an alternate childhood for herself and re-invented her family life.

This commemorative edition reproduces the original faithfully with its black and white line drawings. As someone who grew up reading every Louisa May Alcott, Susan Coolidge and Ethel Turner, it was a joy for me to revisit a time when life for girls seemed so much simpler. Also as a Sydney girl it was a pleasure to connect with the setting of a time long gone.

Lennie Leighton, our main character, has just turned thirteen and been accepted on a scholarship to Sydney Girls High. Having been taught at home with her younger sisters this is a huge adventure for her. A loving father and mother, older brother and the three littler girls comprise a family that is supportive and full of fun.  Now Lennie is ready to expand her world and as she does makes a true friend with Mabel (supposedly a composite of Ethel Turner and other girls).   The story exudes warmth and joy in pleasures no longer considered fashionable and while it was the first book written in Australia specifically for ‘teenagers’ (long before that word was coined) it presents a very sharp contrast to modern life.

This is truly a delight to read and as I know many girls favour period books – look to the enduring popularity of Anne! – there will be many who will find this as charming as I do.

This edition includes a short biography of Louise Mack at the close and will give the reader some real insight into a writer who has, at times been overlooked in our children’s literary history.

I highly recommend this to you – girls from around ten upwards will enjoy its fresh and innocent look at a time in Australian history when there was far less ugliness in society.

louise

A First Book of Animals – Nicole Davies

Standard

32741173._UY500_SS500_

Walker Books

ISBN: 9781406359633
Imprint: Walker
October , 2016
Australian RRP: $29.99
New Zealand RRP: $32.99

Divided into five sections: Big and Small, Colours and Shapes, Animal Homes, Animal Babies and Animals in Action, over fifty animals are presented in poems and simply glorious illustrations in this beautiful book. The author is both a biologist and a children’s writer so you can be sure that the information presented in this verse style is accurate as well as engaging.

It is big and bold as well as beautiful and young animal lovers will be entranced by the glossy pages and their contents.  The animals featured are from all around the world so this would present a wonderful opportunity to map their locations.

Perfect not just for the pleasure of the book but a superb addition for units of work focused on animal life.  Just take a look at some of these sample pages.

Highly recommended for primary libraries and small animal lovers.