Tag Archives: Ethics

The Kid Who Came From Space – Ross Welford

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Harper Collins Australia

January 2020

ISBN: 9780008333782

ISBN 10: 0008333785

Imprint: HarperCollins – GB

List Price: 14.99 AUD

This is the second Ross Welford book I have read and reviewed [The 1, 000 Year Old Boy] and once again I am tremendously impressed in his story-telling which takes something unbelievable and makes it completely feasible.

A small village in Northumberland is shocked and in turmoil after the mysterious disappearance of 12 year old Tammy especially of course her parents and her twin brother Ethan. Despite vigorous and thorough searching there seem to be no clues. That is until Ethan reluctantly accompanies relative newcomer and definitely odd Iggy for a spot of fishing to ‘take his mind off’ the situation. The boys don’t have any luck with the fishing but they do ‘catch’ something – the realisation of an invisible spacecraft and the appearance of a definitely visible fur-covered tailed humanoid called Hellyann – who indicates that she not only knows where Tammy is but how to rescue her.

Imagine a civilisation that keeps animals in a zoo for the edification of its own species – oh that’s right – but imagine if that civilisation is located on a remote planet in another galaxy and the animals kept are actually humans. That’s where Tammy has been taken by one of the ‘Hunters’ of the planet Anthalla. This race has become so uniform and so controlled in its past 500 years of history that no member of it dares to disagree with any of the strict protocols in place. There may be order and peace but it’s at a price – with no individuality or emotions allowed. The flaw in that is that there are just a few Anthallans whose ancestors were of ‘mixed’ DNA so that their descendants retain some human traits – such as emotional responses. And Hellyann is one of these ‘Hearters’ and knows that there is something inherently wrong with abducting a human, removing it from its family and keeping it sedated and contained. Hence she sets out on a mission to rescue Tammy but enlisting Ethan and Iggy.

There is much humour to be had in this narrative but also a great deal of thought-provoking concepts to consider. Once again Welford has crafted a story which demonstrates the unerring ability of children to bridge the sometimes vast gap between others and forge unlikely friendships as well as rising to challenges which reveal their inner reserves of determination, resilience, courage and compassion.

Another truly worthwhile book to share with your readers from around 8ish upwards, I highly recommend it for Middle Primary to Lower Secondary students.

My Name is Not Peaseblossom – Jackie French

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peaseblossom

Harper Collins

June 2019

ISBN: 9781460754788

ISBN 10: 1460754786

List Price: 16.99 AUD

 

 

So as I chuckled my way through this (and truthfully at times snort-laughed) I thought to myself ‘I reckon Shakespeare would entirely approve of this retell’. After all, he did write to entertain or move people but he also wrote to subtly convey his opinions about topics and issues relevant to his age. And in what some would dismiss a mere comedy he cleverly illustrated the excesses of power and the selfishness of individuals determined only to further their own desires and goals.

Peaseblossom, who would rather be known as Pete, is not one of the most significant characters in the original play but takes front and centre in this version. He does have a pretty responsible job in the Fairy Court being a Potions Fairy and the apprentice of Puck. He is destined to marry on Midsummer’s Eve and be promoted to first assistant in the potions game but he is far from satisfied with life in the fairy realm. His real passions are his love of great pizza and the beautiful Gaela, a smart selkie, posing as a pizza chef many years into the future.

Pete is pretty fed up with Oberon and Titania giving orders and creating chaos willy nilly amongst both fairies and humans, and is just as displeased when he finds a bunch of vampires behaving in pretty much the same way in Gaela’s life. Being rather savvy and far worldlier wise than some of his fairy comrades Pete has the right antidote to both these dilemmas.

This is an elegant and timely reminder to us all that, despite the somewhat parlous times in which we live, we all have the power of free will and can make choices that will be positive for ourselves, our race and our earth. The layers underlying the light heartedness will be a springboard to much rich discussion on ethics and self-determination.

Check out the teaching notes here.

For Tweens and Teens – a selection

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You Are Awesome: Find Your Confidence and Dare to be Brilliant at (Almost) Anything: The Number One Bestseller

awesome

– Matthew Syed

Hachette

APR 24, 2018 | 9781526361158 | RRP $19.99

 

This positive and empowering guide, by bestselling mindset author Matthew Syed, will help boys and girls build resilience, fulfil their potential and become successful, happy, awesome adults.

I think in most classrooms and schools these days we are all doing a lot of talking about positive mindset. Just last week celebrating the anniversary of ‘The Dot’  my Year 1s could all attest to the word ‘yet’ as in “I can’t do it – yet”.

Little guys take this idea up enthusiastically but tweens and teens often seem to struggle with it – after all they have a lot of other stuff going on with which to contend as well. So I think anything that might help them to set themselves on a more confident path can only be a winner – though it’s entirely possible they may read it discreetly away from their peers.

With this in mind the author has really pulled out everything to make this really easy to read and engaging with a bright graphic layout and has included stories of some really well known inspirational people such as J. K. Rowling and Serena Williams.

There is really a lot to like about this and I will certainly be promoting it particularly to certain of my Middle school students who don’t always realise their wonderfulness.

Highly recommended for readers from around 10 years upwards.

You Are Mighty: a guide to changing the world – Caroline Paul. Illustrated by Lauren Tamaki

mighty

Bloomsbury

May 2018

9781681198224

RRP $ 24.99

Those who’ve read this blog before will most likely be aware of my committed advocacy to the Mighty Girl philosophy, empowering our girls and young women to rise up in all arenas.

This is the perfect book for any girl in your sphere to imbue them with a sense of justice, an unshakeable confidence and a compassionate heart. The author has provided many ideas for being a ‘game-changer’ with DIY tips, life stories from those well-known such as Malala or lesser known – just regular kids who have chosen to create ripples in the world in which we live.

There is much humour here to leaven the more serious aspects of activism and intelligent thoughtful ‘gutsy girls’ will find much to which aspire and adhere as they traverse their adolescence.

Fabulous book for any sassy girl in your life circle or to encourage your middle/upper schools young women.

The Short & Curly Guide to Life – Dr Matt Beard and Klya Slaven

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Penguin Random House

9780143792185

October 1, 2018

Puffin

RRP:  $24.99

 

Dive into the mind-bending world of ethics with the Short & Curly team and their Brains Trust of researchers. Based on the hit ABC podcast!

Ok, I freely admit I’m not up with the podcast however I love having philosophical discussions with kids and actively instigating conversations around ethics. Often what is highly inflammatory and difficult for adults to talk about can be eminently simple and straightforward for kids. This is rather like a ‘how to’ for kids who are interested in the sorts of discussions that consider all kinds of situations.

Each section follows the same format with a proposed situation and then an ‘agent report’, “philoso-mail’, ‘agent debrief’ and ‘thinking questions’. Also included are research updates, fun facts and report run-downs.

Some pretty cute cartoon style illustrations round off the more serious side of the entire text and all in all I think that there would be many tweens that would be quite interested in this.

Readers from around 12 years upwards would be the most engaged I think.

 

Splat the Fake Fact! Adam Frost. Illustrations by Gemma Correll.

splat

Bloomsbury Australia

Published: 01-07-2018
Format: Paperback
ISBN: 9781408889503
Imprint: Bloomsbury Children’s Books

RRP $14.99

Well, we hear a lot of talk about fake news these days so I think most kids will enjoy a book about fake facts and guessing which is true and which is not!

Woodlice have blue blood. Dead cabbage café is the name of a band. King Edward III banned football in England. Do your best to work out which is the fake fact!

Kids who (like me) are always in search of fascinating and completely irrelevant trivia will love this as well as enjoy bugging their friends with their ‘is it true?’ moments.

Very much in the style of a graphic novel with as many illustrations as text, this will also be a hit with those who are not keen readers I anticipate.

Anyone with kids will know (and possibly groan) the feeling of being beset by endless jokes and riddles when their young reader has discovered the joy of those books. This one will be equally as popular for plaguing adults I foresee!

Highly recommended for kids from around 8 years upwards.

 

High Five to the Boys: a celebration of ace Australian men

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Penguin Random House

9780143791782

July 30, 2018

Random House Australia Children’s

$29.99
Following on from the brilliant ‘Shout Out to the Girls’ comes this celebration of Australian males from days gone by to right up to the moment.

This format is so very suitable for young readers to dip into with snapshot mini-bio’s faced by funky illustrations. While it’s entirely possible that young readers may well know Eddie Woo far better than they know Weary Dunlop this is a wonderful resource for finding out more about a wide range of significant men in the Australian fabric of society. Encompassing males from all walks of life and, dare I say, class this will enlighten many a young reader and, it is hoped, prompt some to investigate further. With so many endless English assignments which look at ‘significant achievers’ at least this provides reader with some engaging and interesting factual text.

As with its companion book this one’s royalties go to the Smith Family which is a fabulous way to encourage the development and growth of more outstanding Australians.

Highly recommended for readers from around 10 years upwards.

 

 

 

Published: 01-07-2018
Format: Paperback
ISBN: 9781408889503
Imprint: Bloomsbury Children’s Books

Bloomsbury Australia

RRP $14.99

Well, we hear a lot of talk about fake news these days so I think most kids will enjoy a book about fake facts and guessing which is true and which is not!

Woodlice have blue blood. Dead cabbage café is the name of a band. King Edward III banned football in England. Do your best to work out which is the fake fact!

Kids who (like me) are always in search of fascinating and completely irrelevant trivia will love this as well as enjoy bugging their friends with their ‘is it true?’ moments.

Very much in the style of a graphic novel with as many illustrations as text, this will also be a hit with those who are not keen readers I anticipate.

Anyone with kids will know (and possibly groan) the feeling of being beset by endless jokes and riddles when their young reader has discovered the joy of those books. This one will be equally as popular for plaguing adults I foresee!

Highly recommended for kids from around 8 years upwards.

 

High Five to the Boys: a celebration of ace Australian men

Penguin Random House

9780143791782

July 30, 2018

Random House Australia Children’s

$29.99
Following on from the brilliant ‘Shout Out to the Girls’ comes this celebration of Australian males from days gone by to right up to the moment.

This format is so very suitable for young readers to dip into with snapshot mini-bio’s faced by funky illustrations. While it’s entirely possible that young readers may well know Eddie Woo far better than they know Weary Dunlop this is a wonderful resource for finding out more about a wide range of significant men in the Australian fabric of society. Encompassing males from all walks of life and, dare I say, class this will enlighten many a young reader and, it is hoped, prompt some to investigate further. With so many endless English assignments which look at ‘significant achievers’ at least this provides reader with some engaging and interesting factual text.

As with its companion book this one’s royalties go to the Smith Family which is a fabulous way to encourage the development and growth of more outstanding Australians.

Highly recommended for readers from around 10 years upwards.

The Firefly Code – Megan Frazer Blakemore

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Bloomsbury Australia

Published: 01-12-2017
ISBN: 9781681195278
Imprint: Bloomsbury USA Childrens
RRP: $11.99

 

Mori and her friends have grown up a tight-knit circle in their neighbourhood in Old Harmonie.  They believe their life to be normal and regular although they know their city is ‘apart’ from others, except for similar communities around the world.  Their world is sheltered from the outside and well-ordered with state of the art scientific benefits.  Mori’s grandmother and her dearest friend Dr Varden were the founders of this Utopian settlement, with their research into genetic enhancements leading the way for a perfect world. But Baba died when Mori was just little and even before that Dr Varden had left Old Harmonie in mysterious circumstances.  Now the city like its counterparts is run by the huge corporation Krita. Still all seems to go on in the same undisturbed manner as always. Every one’s house has the same floor plan, every family eats the same food delivered weekly, every one follows the same rules.

Then Ilana arrives. The new girl in the neighbourhood is beautiful, graceful and athletic to a point of disbelief. But there is something odd about her at times. The way she speaks, the memory lapses and the lack of social mores all point to her being somehow not the usual kind of kid.

The kids of Firefly Lane are curious and not just about Ilana but also the mystery of Dr Varden and their explorations reveal something quite sinister and disturbing. Not least of all is the revelation about Ilana and eventually the planned outcome for her as a ‘failed project’.

This is a mesmerising dystopian novel for younger readers which would lead to deep and philosophical discussions in much the same way as Lowry’s The Giver.

In a 21st century world where designer babies, artificial intelligence and humanoids are becoming more and more commonplace, this narrative has many themes worth investigating and debating.

The second episode is on its way and I have no doubt it will be just as intriguing as the children strive to discover answers and solutions to their many questions.

Highly recommended for able and discerning readers from around ten years upwards.