Tag Archives: Honesty

The Book of Chance – Sue Whiting



Walker Books Australia

April 2020

ISBN: 9781760651367
Imprint: Walker Books Australia

Australian RRP: $17.99
New Zealand RRP: $19.99

For Chance Callahan life has always been simple and straightforward. She and her mum and her dog, Tige, have a happy existence with their almost-family next door including Chance’s best friend Alek.   The two girls are about to start second term at their girls’ secondary school and looking forward to it greatly.

Since she was a mere toddler Chance has been an ‘all or nothing’ kind of kid – she sees things as black-and-white with no room for shades in between but things are about to impact that will force her to consider that there is room for blurring the two.

When a home makeover reality show chooses Chance’s entry to surprise her mum a chain of events unravel beginning with the producer remembering the fire that killed her father before she was born and then the discovery of photos which confirm her mother was not pregnant at that time, as she had told Chance. Her confusion is further complicated by old newspaper articles she finds hidden away in her mother’s special cabinet, detailing a horrific car crash which killed a young couple and their newborn baby. How can that dead young woman look so like herself? Why was there no evidence of the baby’s body left behind in the charred car?

Piece by piece Chance’s whole world, indeed her very existence, is called into question and with her innate attitude to truth versus lies, she’s not prepared to let her suspicions rest.

This is a pretty intense story as Chance stumbles from one revelation to another, all the time driving a bigger wedge between herself and the woman whom she has always known as her mother. It’s the support of her Sudanese almost-family next door that helps her traverse the hard road to the shocking truth about her ‘fake’ life.

Exploring themes of honesty and love, the question of ‘what is family’ and forgiveness, this is a compelling read for tweens and teens.  This is a ‘coming of age’ narrative like no other I have read and I recommend it highly for astute readers from around 12 years upwards. I fully expect to see this receiving the highest accolades from all the award committees.

Max Champion and the Great Race Car Robbery – Alexander McCall-Smith



Bloomsbury Children’s


July 2018

RRP:  $19.99

Alexander McCall-Smith has long been a favoured writer for adults for me – in fact I’m listening to one of his audio books in the daily commute at present.

I’ve bought several of the young Precious series for the library as so many of my Juniors just love detective stories but this is the first of his children’s books I’ve read that is on a different topic altogether.

Max lives with his mum and his grandpa in a small house just big enough for them all – though Grandpa Gus sleeps in his own little shed. They don’t have much money but they do have a lot of optimism and a whole lot of love for each other. Grandpa fixes older style cars in his rundown workshop, Mum has a busy sandwich making business and even Max helps out by mowing lawns as well as washing cars that are in for repairs.

One day Max discovers that Grandpa Gus once had a very successful race car building enterprise and also a well-regarded rally driving career until it was all taken away by the ghastly Grabber family – rich, powerful and out-and-out cheats.

When an opportunity presents itself for Max to prove the nefarious actions of the Grabbers he seizes it without hesitation.

This is a simple feel-good story for newly independent readers that resonates with themes of honesty, hard work and confidence. Young readers will enjoy seeing the Grabbers get their come-uppance and as  read-aloud would provide much discussion on ethical behaviour and values.

Recommended for readers from around Year 2 upwards.

An activity pack can be found here.