1st October 2019
Mem Fox has triumphed again with this simply beautiful new picture book inspired by the most personal of motivations – the bond between loving grandparent and grandchild.
In their first collaboration Mem and Freya have produced a gentle and warming exploration of life and death that will resonate with many readers, both young and old.
When a tiny star falls to earth it turns into a baby to be cherished, nurtured and loved by its family, growing and thriving in that security of warmth and tenderness. All the time, growing taller and getting older and eventually creating its own family where the circle of love continues. After many full and happy years the star that was begins to become frailer and to shrink until once again becomes tiny, so tiny that it disappears it seems. But no, once again the tiny star sparkles in the night sky reminding all that the love we feel never ends.
Some readers will know that I am raising my beautiful granddaughter so I can completely relate to this expression of love and the accompanying realisation that one day we will not be here for our grandchildren. In the meantime, how privileged are we to share so deeply in their lives and forge these bonds that will last forever.
Thank you Mem and Freya for this outstanding and tender testament to that love which, I have no doubt, will be not only welcomed but lauded with praise.
Highly recommended for both your professional and personal shelves to share with young readers from toddlers upwards – why not pre-order yours now!
Stay posted for a forthcoming Q&A with the inimitable Mem soon!
January 22, 2019
Riley has not been coping so well since his mother disappeared. Neither his father nor his brother seems as concerned as he is. Even his much loved grandparents appear to be disengaged from his urgency to solve the mystery. His seemingly never-ending meetings with the police going over and over the events of the last day he saw his mother are frustrating and useless.
When Riley recalls the legend of the Whispers, mysterious creatures who inhabit the woods near his house and rumoured to grant wishes, he determines to make the necessary sacrifices to achieve his dearest desire.
He engages assistance both intentionally and inadvertently from his best friend and his ‘crush’ and the resulting events are both filled with humour and poignancy.
Howard has produced a narrative which is in turn gripping, powerful, sorrowful and joyous. At times I found it difficult to continue as the clues unravelled to the conclusion – too close for comfort really – so I would be cautious about to whom I would give this book to read. That being said, it is masterfully and sensitively written and perfectly suited to able middle school readers from around 12 years upwards.
I often think that if a book leaves you feeling slightly unsettled it must have achieved its goal. This was a quick read so it was done and dusted in one sitting but the reflection afterwards probably took equally as long as the actual reading.
This is the story of some stories. The stories are shared in a recount of interviews of four teenage boys from the same town on the Sunshine Coast. To me it blends bogan and Aboriginal and mainstream culture in ways that are quite complex although simple on the surface. The boys are often rude and disrespectful, prejudiced and intolerant yet they speak with the only honesty they know. Their histories are not pretty and their current lifestyles often not so as well. However, like most teens they think they are invincible and it is this that creates the biggest shock in the climax of the narrative.
Obviously in my work I encounter teenagers on a daily basis and at times I see this disregard for almost everything continually and I find that depressing. Yet at the same time I know there is good in many of them and see them rally to causes, to mates and to their passions in positive ways.
To my mind this will be a powerful book if we can get it into the right hands at the right time. Be aware there is considerable use of offensive language so you would be cautious about where you place it in a collection but that being said it is worth sharing and promoting.
Recommended for mature readers from around fourteen upwards