Unless you were in some kind of mystical retreat with no access to outside communication, you could not have missed one of the summer’s biggest cinema releases, Penguin Bloom, based on the real-life story of Sam Bloom. Sam’s story, and that of her family, her life-threatening injury and subsequent inspirational journey was beautifully translated to film and many young people would have seen this during the holidays.
This media tie-in edition for younger readers will give both the kids who saw the movie, as well as those who missed it, the chance to explore the story from the perspective of Noah, oldest of the Bloom children. Noah’s voice is authentic and will immediately resonate with other children as he describes the aftermath of his mother’s devastating injury, sustained when she fell from a balcony during a family holiday in Thailand. The complete turn-around in their circumstances and family life put immense pressure on the Blooms and while Sam struggled to come to terms with her new physical limitations, Noah has secretly blamed himself for the accident. The exploration of the emotions is often raw and terribly moving but the fortitude and determination of this young family to repair their lives to be the very best they can be, is truly admirable. All this healing springs essentially from the family’s adoption of an orphaned magpie they name Penguin. When Penguin becomes Sam’s constant companion, she is able to pull herself through the overwhelming depression that engulfs her and begin a new acceptance of her condition as well as the resolution to transform herself, despite any impediments.
This is a beautiful and very special story and one which will provide young people with inspiration in adversity, and imbue within them Sam’s own attitude of “Never, ever give up.”
Highly recommended for readers from around 10 years upwards.
This series is so utterly charming and original that it has been such pleasure to read and review each of them. Tilly and Oskar continue their adventures with the ongoing quest to thwart the horrible Underwoods who have usurped the British Underlibrary. Book wandering has been prohibited and stories at large are under very real threat of being lost for all time.
Tilly has some clues gathered from story friends and others which she strongly believes might provide a sort of map to the Archivists – the legendary protectors of all stories and imagination. With her mother’s help Tilly and Oskar are off to America to meet up with Orlando and Jorge, her mum’s old friends and the best lead for the first signpost in Tilly’s possession. But the plan goes quickly awry when the pair find that even in America the Underwoods’ influence is infiltrating every layer of story.
It takes all their resourcefulness and courage to navigate their way through the intricate maze that their clues reveal but Tilly and Oskar are determined to not only save the world of stories but their very dear fictional friends. They are not unused to danger but this adventure, with its meandering journey, ultimately presents them with their biggest challenge yet. Can these two intrepid bookwanderers save story and imagination from complete annilhilation?
As with the first two books there are moments of real humour woven into the tension of the plot and readers will particularly find the appearance and help of William Shakespeare himself to be highly amusing.
I absolutely adore this series and have recommended it to many young readers who have all enjoyed it equally. If you’re late to the party I’d suggest you put all three on your orders list for the new year.
Highly recommended for readers from around 8 years upwards.
Whether you are celebrating a dad, step-dad, grandfather or the person who takes on the important role of a father figure – there are so many beautiful books which will add joy to your family’s or class’ marking of this special day. Here are some fabulous titles that will fit the bill perfectly!
I love Dad with the Very Hungry Caterpillar – Eric Carle
Published: 31 July 2017
Imprint: Picture Puffin
It’s not just that I have an absolute passion for Eric Carle’s work but these little gift books are just so darling! Even though I am now in a secondary library these little sweeties make regular appearances on my special little ‘sacred space’ table for inspiration or reminders.
This little kaleidoscope of colour expresses all the wonderful feelings that little people have for their dads’ special attributes. My clear favourite is the beautiful seahorse pair with their stunning rainbow-like shimmers.
This little charmer makes a perfect gift particularly for the littlest people and their daddies.
Peppa Pig: My Daddy
Published: 1 August 2011
This favourite has a delightful new look as Daddy Pig takes on that all important role of being the barbecue chef (or if you’re like my family – Tong Master!).
Everyone knows just how important Daddy is in the Pig family and how much Peppa loves him. Just like all dads Daddy Pig is not really perfect. Along with his many wonderful attributes he’s also a tiny bit clumsy at times and not really very good as a handyman for home projects but this just makes him all the more loveable – and no doubt for many littlies, more relatable!
We all know for little people, you just can’t go wrong with Peppa Pig so this one is a must-have!
My Dad Snores – John Williamson. Illustrated by Peter Carnavas.
Published: 6 August 2019
I got excited about this one when I got John’s latest Gumleaf newsletter a week or so ago and he had shared his video clip. I have to say – John is one of the very nicest people I’ve ever met and just saying, so is Peter Carnavas!
What an inspired pairing of creators this is and what an absolutely cracking gift for any family with a ‘snorer’ dad! This version of John’s song (which got many airings with my girls – we all loved John’s work) includes a new verse – increasing the hilarity even further.
If you are looking for a Father’s Day read to share with your minion troops this week – you can’t go wrong with this one. They will be falling about laughing and I am sure will be keen to share their own family ‘snorer’ stories!!
What do You Call Your Grandpa? Ashleigh Barton and Martina Heiduczek
Harper Collins Australia
ISBN 10: 0733340865
Imprint: ABC Books – AU
On Sale: 22/07/2020
List Price: 17.99 AUD
My final offering for your Father’s Day pleasure is this stunning new book that is not only a letter of love to all grandfathers but is inclusive and subtly informative. Little readers will be treated to an ‘around the world’ virtual visit to grandpas all over and learn their special titles in their own language. Given we have our own resident Nonno, this is one that appeals tremendously and in addition, in particular if your school like mine is a veritable melting pot of cultures and nationalities this will be a super exploration as well as lovely read-aloud.
Each beautiful double spread has a small rhyming verse to introduce the grandchild and grandparent and the book concludes with a list of the ‘grandfather’ names and a short explanation of their country of origin. Especially of note is the inclusion of one nomenclature in an Aboriginal language (Gurindji from the NT’s Victoria River region) and Maori as well as those from Europe, Africa, South America and languages such as Hebrew.
This is not only a superb inclusion for your Father’s Day collection but also for your HASS studies as it gives children an insight into cultural differences and similarities.
Highly recommended for readers from around 4 years upwards.