Tag Archives: Friendship

The Build-Up Season – Megan Jacobson

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Penguin Random House

9780143573388

July 31, 2017

Penguin (AU YR)

 

RRP $19.99

What a fantastic and gripping read this is! This one had to be read over two nights but it was a wrench to leave it halfway!

Ily (Iliad) Piper is a young woman who has had to face many emotional upheavals in her life and now as a young woman is dealing with the backlash of them. Her father is in jail after years of physical and mental abuse of her mother, Eve, and indeed Ily herself. Ily is living in Darwin now with her mother and her Nan but is sullen and resentful of the past few years when she has been sent away to boarding schools.  She doesn’t realise that this was a safety precaution on the part of her mum and nan, she is just pissed off with them both.  The only thing she enjoys at her new school is her rather quirky friend Mia and her Art which she hopes to turn into a career. Then she hooks up with Jared – self-obsessed, angry and a control freak, just like her father.  Despite all advice from friends including the annoying next door neighbour, Indigenous boy Max, Ily pursues the relationship with Jared and falls into the same trap as her mother had done before her.

This is a brilliant and insightful exploration of the nature of domestic abuse of women and how behaviours become patterns. Fortunately for Ily she has ‘look outs’ on her side. Her mum, her nan, Max, Mia and more are there at exactly the right moments to protect her both from Jared and from her father, recently released from jail.

There are some sensitive aspects to this which may preclude it from your secondary collection such as sexual activity, violence and profanity but truly it is such an exceptional book that examines such a topical issue I would still urge you to consider it, even with provisos.

Highly recommended for mature readers from around sixteen years upwards.

Paper Cranes Don’t Fly – Peter Vu

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Ford St

August 2017

ISBN 9781925272765

RRP $19.95

Exquisitely poignant and so beautifully written this is a young adult book which will touch the hearts of every reader. There have been other books that look at the lives of young people with life-threatening or terminal illnesses but this is the first I’ve read that really offers the reader true insight from the point of view of the patient.

Three young adults have grown up together as the closest of friends. From their first meeting in Prep they have been inseparable.  Adam, Ambrose (AJ) and Tess are the trio who form the centre of this novel. Their love for each other is deep and without reservation.  They are more bonded than some siblings and even in high school when they are at different locations they still are as close as ever. Except for the all times that Adam is in hospital but even then AJ and Tess are by his side as often as they can be either in person or via technology.

Adam has grown up with a small benign brain tumour but over the years the tumour has started to become more troublesome often causing extensive hospital visits. He is quite the favourite there as he has developed close relationships with staff. Just as these young people are about to step over the threshold into their adult lives, Adam’s tumour becomes even more aggressive and ultimately serves him a life sentence.

In the final long months of his life, Adam has started to write down his story from the first beginnings of friendship with his two closest companions to his daily life in the hospital. It is this which we read giving us an intimate and warming insight into the care of patients for whom hospital is a second home.  This is not only another ‘young cancer victim’ narrative but a deeply personal look at how unconditional love, support, patience and compassion can transform the unspeakable into something beautiful.

I cannot recommend this book highly enough. As we seek to model to our students the transformational effects of love and empathy, this is exactly the sort of book which can demonstrate this without preaching.

Highly recommended for readers from around 13 upwards.

The Teenage Guide to Friends – Nicola Morgan

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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.

Raymie Nightingale – Kate DiCamillo

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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.

Dotty Detective #1 Super Secret Agent – Clara Vulliamy

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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!

Piggy – Trevor Lai

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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.

 

Glitch – Michelle Worthington/Andrew Spark

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Glitch PB HR Cov RGB

Ford St Publishing

July 2017

Author: Michelle Worthington

Illustrator: Andrew Plant

 

ISBN 978192527271

 

RRP $16.99

 

Here is a really lovely picture book about friendship, self confidence, and persistence, upcycling, overcoming anxiety and being positive.

 

Glitch is a twitchy little bug who lives in the dump and just loves recycling junk into useful things especially billy carts. Every year he builds a billy cart and his best friend, calm and kind June is the driver. They never win because in Glitch’s twitchiness he has usually mucked up something.

 

This year they have their fastest billy cart ever but in a practice run that goes awry, June’s antenna get bent. She won’t be able to drive like that but she insists that Glitch can. His nervousness almost gets the better of him but June, like a true friend, supports him and gives him just the boost of confidence he needs.

 

Andrew’s illustrations as always are so striking in each double page spread and Michelle’s text combines some lovely techniques like alliteration and assonance to make a really readable and rhythmic piece.

As well as all the above it’s a fabulous story that underlines that winning isn’t everything!

 Highly recommended for your little readers from around 5 upwards.

 

 

Little Lunch series – Danny Katz/Mitch Vane

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Walker Books

I said earlier today that I’m not that across kids’ TV but this is one show I’ve watched with Miss K and we both think it is very funny.  She, like other kids, because she thinks the antics of the kids and their interactions a real hoot and me, because I reckon over my years of teaching I’ve had all of those kids in my class at one time or another. I think the children’s acting is superb and poor Mrs Gonsha as she swings between kind and caring and completely frazzled is just hilarious.

So just to extend the fun, Danny Katz and Mitch Vane have transformed the episodes into these great books each containing three stories and illustrations. A lot can happen in just fifteen minutes! Read and find out now!

Triple the Trouble

1487923241151

ISBN: 9781925381825
Imprint: Black Dog Books
Release Date: May 1, 2017
Australian RRP: $12.99
New Zealand RRP: $14.99

Why is Debra-Jo so stressed out about a mysterious truck in the school grounds? Is it because she has to hide something small and crawly? And who on earth would imagine that Rory of all people would be put in charge of the class during a wet break? And then there’s Tamara starting a game of kiss-chasey just so she can kiss Battie? What the…?

Triple the Laughs

1497404269666

ISBN: 9781921977398
Imprint: Black Dog Books
Release Date: August 1, 2017
Australian RRP: $12.99
New Zealand RRP: $14.99

Atticus is always so sweet and so nerdy and also really, really smart so why is throwing away his playlunch every day? It must have something to do with those weird smelly green things his YaYa is putting in his lunchbox. Battie, being batty as usual, is running around finding superhero things to do while dressed as his imaginary hero Stretcho (that is the weirdest superpower outfit I’ve ever seen and always makes me laugh!). Then Melanie, who never does anything wrong seemingly, is suddenly ‘Germblocked’ for no apparent reason.

These playlunch sized stories are perfect for kids wanting an engaging and amusing read in short bursts. The series is now up to fifteen so if you haven’t started collecting them yet, you should. They will fly off the shelves for your readers from around 8 upwards.

 

 

The Fighting Stingrays – Simon Mitchell

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9780143784104

Penguin Random House

9780143784104

July 31, 2017

Puffin (AU YR)

RRP $17.99

This is, in old parlance, a ripping yarn – a real Boys’ Own adventure. Charlie, Alf and Masa are the best of mates who go to school together, fish, swim and most of all are ‘The Fighting Stingrays’ determined to beat all imaginary Nazis and even Hitler himself. Of course, the Nazis aren’t very near to beautiful Thursday Island but that doesn’t stop them.

Charlie is one of the few white kids on the island which is a glorious melting pot of cultures in the 1940s. For decades the island has been peaceful although not without its injustices as Charlie discovers when he realises just how his father treats his pearl divers.

The boys’ loyalties and friendship are tested severely however when the threat of Japanese invasion looms nearer and nearer. Masa, who has lost his pearl diving dad, is about to be interned with the rest of the Japanese on the island and his two mates know they can’t let that happen. Add to the mix a certifiably insane, bigoted and criminal commanding officer in charge of the island’s troops and here is an adventure fraught with risk, danger and what seems an impossible task.

This is a great read and has it all; suspense, drama, danger, initiative and courage.

Not only will it provide readers with a gripping narrative but offer a viewpoint of a rarely discussed incident in Australia’s wartime history as well as some history of the Torres Strait islands.

Highly recommended for readers, particularly boys, from around ten years upwards.

 

Tell it to the Moon- Siobhan Curham

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9781406366150

Walker Books

ISBN: 9781406366150

1 Aug 2017

RRP $16.99

 

Readers of The Moonlight Dreamers will be delighted to receive this second book in the series – I know I was!

 

The four girls who formed the Moonlight Dreamers club because none of them felt like they fitted in anywhere else are back and we follow their progress through another year of their teens as they continue to face challenges and support each other.

 

Amber who lives with her two dads, dresses in vintage men’s clothes and is the Oscar Wilde devotee, is troubled by her feelings of lack of self-awareness. She founded the club because she felt so alone in her ‘unique-ness’ and the bullying from the OMG girls at school. The fellow dreamers helped her to realise that she’s not entirely alone but her writer’s block and the rejection from her surrogate birth mother have plummeted her into an identity crisis.

 

Sky’s dad needs to earn more money from his yoga teaching and can no longer afford to home school his daughter, so she is going to secondary school for the first time ever. The regimentation, the pressure, the bullying and the overload of pointless homework weighs down on her. It’s only through her poetry and meeting fellow poet Leon that she begins to see a way to ‘be free’ and help other students.

 

Rose has spent a week in New York with her famous father and his surfer-chick new girlfriend which wasn’t quite as bad as it could have been but created ructions back home with her super-model mother when she came out to them first. She’s been holding back on revealing her sexuality but now comes to terms with it especially when her mother starts to realise how much she has neglected her daughter in favour of her diminishing career. Her dreams of becoming the best patissier in the world are beginning to take shape but her crush on her boss is completely taking over.

 

Maali, the sweetest and kindest girl, faces a crisis of faith in her beloved Lakshimi and her Hindi belief when her father becomes seriously ill and the family is plunged into turmoil.

 

This, like the first, is beautifully written and the issues of sexuality, bullying, racism, trust and anxiety are handled sensitively and without coming across as heavy-handed.

 

The girls’ example of creating their own version of the ‘circle of women’ is one that many teens could well take on as inspiration as they embrace each other’s problems and give each other the loving support each needs.

 

Depending on the ethos of your library due to the issues and a little bit of swearing this would be a superb addition to your collection.

 

Highly recommended for girls from around 13 upwards.