Tag Archives: Music

Tell Me Why for Young Adults – Archie Roach

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  • Simon & Schuster Australia
  • (March 3, 2021)
  • ISBN13: 9781760858865

I can say unreservedly that this is one of the most powerful memoirs I have read in recent years and for young adults this is a book worth promoting heavily.

Archie’s life story is at times harrowing and confronting but also uplifting and inspirational. Taken away from his family at the age of 2, he was placed in foster care – initially, in a very distressing situation – but later in a family home with foster-parents who were both kind and loving. But an unexpected letter received in his teens, alerted Archie to his lost family and his search for his own people began. As it was, and has been, for many First Australians the impact of the Stolen Generation was devastating with long-term effects still being felt, Archie’s struggle to re-connect with his natural family and his culture was a roller-coaster of emotions, highlights and low periods.

Archie does not hold back on his battles with alcohol and the often tragic circumstances that punctuated his life as he endeavoured to find his place within his culture. His recollections of his life with his much-loved, and also highly acclaimed, wife Ruby Hunter are poignant and utterly heart-rending as both fought their own war against booze and depression.

His determination to rise above the often sordid events of his life was helped and accelerated by his music, something which had always sustained and nourished his spirit. As this confidence in his music grew so did his mission to awaken all Australians to the issues and tragedies of his people and culture. This career has seen Archie rise to the heights of respect not only within the industry but across the nation as more and more people develop an understanding of and empathy for our First Australians.

Archie’s ongoing goal to promote healing for his people and his personal resilience and inner strength is truly admirable and this history, both the personal and our nation’s past, is vital for all our young people at a time when society is faced with much unrest, uncertainty and division.

I cannot recommend this memoir highly enough – I was completely gripped by it (and read way past my bedtime as I was so engrossed with hit). I will certainly be promoting it actively to my young readers from Year 7 upwards.

Thank you Archie for sharing your life – the good, the bad and the ugly – with us all.

Two for Tweens/Teens

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Well here we are a week out from Christmas 2020 and while you likely have most of your shopping sorted you may just still be tearing your hair out for the age group that always seems to be the hardest to please.

These two titles have been thoroughly vetted by The Kid who approves of them with enthusiasm, the content being two of her favourite topics.

We Love Billie Eilish: her life, her music, her story

Allen & Unwin

Publisher: Mortimer Imprint: Wellbeck

November 2020

ISBN: 9781839350252

RRP: $14.99

Table Of Contents:Welcome • Profile: Billie • The Story So Far • Profile: Finneas • Don’t Smile at Me • 9 Reasons We Love Billie • When We Fall Asleep Where Do We Go? • Billie By Numbers • Music Videos • Speaking Out • Promoting Change • Gallery: iconic looks • Quiz: Your Billie look • Awards and Nominations • Influences • How to Be the Ultimate Fan • Top Billie Quotes • Spot the Difference • Hair gallery • Songwriting Process • Things You Didn’t Know • Gallery: Performance highlights • 2020 Tour • Quiz: How Well Do You Know Billie? • The Future.

She’s probably be one of the most talked about performers this year and by all accounts a great role model for young people. Still just 19 this young woman has risen to the pinnacle of stardom by staying true to herself whether that’s with her music, her style or her advocacy.

Young fans will gobble up the facts and images in this attractive informational text and perhaps find their own inspiration to create. With stats galore, packed with fabulous photos, quizzes and with loads of quotes from both Billie herself as well as her family this will be a highly-prized addition to a bookshelf. I foresee many of our students going wild to get their hands on it (we had put it on our orders list when it was first promoted!).

‘I’m not going to say I’m cool, because I don’t feel that. I just don’t care at all, and I guess that’s what people think is cool.’

Show your cool and get this one into the hands of some young thing who knows their stars.

Recommended for kiddos from around 10 years upwards.

The Ultimate Fan Book Tik Tok Famous – Malcolm Croft

December 2020

ISBN: 9781838610760

Publisher: Welbeck

RRP: $14.99

We might all shake our collective heads at the ubiquitous social media sensation – and of course, are cautious about the content – but there’s no denying there has never been anything quite like this phenomenon in my experience.

The Kid loves watching the dance clips and for her it’s just an amusing diversion but for some it’s a huge money-spinner like no other. This book gives the facts and photos about the virtual superstars who have gone viral around the world.

Beginning with a general introduction to the app that’s taken the world by storm the content is then categorised: houses, people, artists, music and fashion which kids will no doubt find fascinating (as they plan their own stellar future digital careers). The book concludes with some rising stars and a very handy guide on How to be Tik Tok Famous which I’m sure they will love!

Given that over the past few years approximately half the secondary students I’ve asked re their potential future careers have given the response ‘I’m going to be a YouTuber’ I feel sure that answer has probably been overtaken by the hullabaloo that is Tik Tok.

Recommended for readers from around 8 upwards.

In the Key of Code – Aimee Lucido

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Walker Books Australia

ISBN: 9781406389333
Imprint: Walker
Australian RRP: $16.99
New Zealand RRP: $18.99

It speaks volumes that this was read in just one night in the past week and that I was immediately talking it up the next day to my ChocLit group.

A verse novel that combines music and coding is not something I’d ever encountered before but this is a combination that works superbly and will undoubtedly engage many readers from around 12 years upwards.

Emmy has moved to a new state, to a new school and to a completely unfamiliar environment, when her parents take up new jobs in San Francisco, leaving Wisconsin behind.

While Emmy loves music she is not the least bit musical despite all efforts, unlike her parents – one a concert pianist and one an opera singer – and struggles to even initiate a conversation at the new school. But when she finds herself in the Computer Programming elective, a shift begins and the first tentative beginning of a new friendship develops. Of course, it’s not without hiccups as one boy in the group is openly resentful not only of Emmy and her new friend, Abigail, but also Ms Delaney, their passionate and expert tutor in coding. Misogynism starts early sometimes and the perception that some occupations or interests are suited to one gender or the other, still pervades.

Emmy’s immediate and intense immersion in the world of Java will be fascinating even to those readers who are unfamiliar with coding language, and could well be the prompt for some to explore this fascinating subject. her journey towards acceptance and real friendship is at times painful but ultimately a beautiful testament to faith in one self and building relationships with care.

It will come as no surprise that this outstanding debut novel is a direct result of the author’s passion for all three aspects – poetry, music and coding.

Highly recommended for your readers from around mid-primary upwards to at least Year 9 – I already have kids in my group waiting to read it too.

The Long Distance  Playlist – Tara Eglington

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Harper Collins Australia

January 2020

ISBN: 9781460755211

ISBN 10: 1460755219

Imprint: HarperCollins – AU

RRP: $19.99

Well if you told me I would absolutely fall in love with a YA (primarily) romantic novel I would no doubt have scoffed loudly. However, this is just delightful and so so much more than just romance. Eglington explores contemporary culture, family relationships, aspirations, dreams and music with such a deft and ‘spot on’ ability that this will be a sure-fire hit with your teen readers.

It’s an immediately engaging format told for the greater part through Instagram messages, Skype, email and texts, accompanied by playlists (readers will love these!) which bounce with growing rapidity between Isolde in Sydney and Taylor in Queenstown. This young pair has been best friends all their lives, with a quirky but cool family connection, until a big bust-up when each speaks their mind and a rift of Cold War proportions extends over eighteen months.

In that space of time momentous things have happened to both. Taylor, who had been a rising snowboarding champion, lost his lower leg in a car accident which has effectively rendered him gloomy and despondent. Isolde has studied  – actually lived and breathed – ballet her entire life and has her sights set on the National Ballet company but within a year she has muffed her first audition badly and also been terribly hurt in her first romantic relationship and feels similarly.

However the two do reconnect and forgive each other and over a space of almost a year their online conversations become deeper and more meaningful and are headed, for both, towards feelings that run much deeper than childhood friendship. The growing warmth between them is not without hiccups though as (don’t we all know it?) the medium of cyber conversations can lead to missteps and misunderstandings. Happily though there is a completely satisfying resolution – though the ending does lend itself to a continuation at some point down the track.

It is charming, refreshing, often humorous but also sobering at times with serious family issues with which both teens are faced. The trans-Tasman relationship will most certainly be of appeal to a wide readership and the insight into both settings, not to mention both passionate pursuits,  is fascinating.

Unlike others in this genre there is nothing which might preclude readers who may be younger or more ‘sheltered’. Even swear words are not explicit which will mightily please many who would want to include it in their collections but otherwise might have to pass it up.

Highly recommended for readers from around 12 years upwards. Loved it!

Alice-Miranda Keeps the Beat (#18) – Jacqueline Harvey

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Penguin Random House

9780143786030

June 4, 2019

Puffin

 

RRP $16.99

Jacqueline Harvey knows exactly how to reach those high notes with her readers and the overwhelming popularity of her series, and certainly Alice-Miranda, is proof of that. The tiny girl with the big heart always plays her part in helping others, redressing injustices and solving mysteries.

Life at Winchesterfield-Downsfordvale Academy for Proper Young Ladies is at fever pitch with Miss Reedy acting as Head and an increasingly disgruntled and resentful staff. The new teacher Miss Crowley seems to really be a target for the short fuse of the acting headmistress.  Surely Miss Reedy cannot be as despotic as it would seem? Could there be some other hand at work behind the imperious orders and contradictory decisions?

At the same time a fire in the village which destroys the Abboud family home and restaurant causes huge consternation amongst both villagers and young ladies, with the resulting determination to help out the family to raise funds for re-building.

The spontaneous suggestion to hold a music festival strikes a resonant chord with many of the would-be helpers but not everyone is on board with it. Alice-Miranda is certainly keen particularly as she has a happy secret she’s been keeping which would mesh beautifully with the proposed event. But A-M is not the only one with a secret. Young Zahra Abboud is closely guarding her own hidden agenda while Alice-Miranda’s friend Jacinta is trying to fathom the mysterious reason behind her errant father’s sudden re-appearance.

Into the mix are the usual cast of characters of school mates, ‘boy’ friends, villagers and personalities of note with lots of interaction accompanying the main threads.

There is always so much to absorb in these stories primarily the abiding themes of kindness (often in the face of difficulty/hostility), compassion and resilience.

It is little wonder they are such a huge success with readers from 8 to mid-Secondary. I have so many kiddos who are literally panting and begging to get their hands on this new one first.

Congratulations Jacqueline on another fabulously orchestrated adventure! Now all that remains is for me to duck and weave the crash tackles when it arrives in the library 😊 ..!

Girl vs. Boy Band: The Right Track – Harmony Jones

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Bloomsbury Publishing Australia

Published: 01-07-2016

ISBN: 9781408868546

Imprint: Bloomsbury Childrens

RRP: $14.99

If you have girls who are pop fans and are looking for a little innocent romance along with an engaging story, this will be a very popular addition to your collection.

It’s light and frothy and a bit bubble-gummy but perfect for tweens who are looking for something between Enid Blyton and The Hunger Games.

Lark is a painfully shy but quite talented musician/songwriter who is feeling pretty aggrieved that her mother and father have split up. Her father a Nashville sessions musician has stayed in Tennessee while Lark and her mother, a budding music manager intent on building a successful business, have relocated to L.A. Needless to say this causes some friction between mother and daughter but even moreso when Donna imports a boy band from the UK with big plans for their promotion. The very last thing that Lark wants is Abbey Road living in her house; she’s already struggling with emotions and having to share her mother’s time but to do so with three cheeky English teenage boys is really the last straw.  Add to this mix Lark’s growing interest in a schoolmate with equal talent and his persuasive argument for her to join him in the school talent quest and you have all the makings for a great read for girls in Upper Primary.

Aside from the fluffiness, Lark’s growth as a more confident and assured young woman is a valuable model for other girls.

This is the first in a planned series and I can well imagine it will be a highly sought after title once the word spreads.

Recommended for girls from around 10-13 who are beginning to flex their own teenage wings.

Mulga’s Magical Musical Creatures – Mulga

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Hachette Australia


ISBN:
 9780734416711

Publication date: 27 Sep 2016

Imprint: Lothian Children’s Books

RRP $19.99

 

What a joyous riotous romp through the creative process of a musician! A dream of all kinds of animals playing every type of instruments inspires a musician to write a new performance piece.

 

There is so much to genuinely like about this little book. The gorgeous hardcover with its sculptured figures in relief, the wild psychedelic colours (which make me immediately think of Jimi Hendrix!?) and the funky rhyming text.

 

I feel sure that every music teacher is going to want this but it is a fantastic read aloud or read alone just for small people as well – I’m already planning a combined library/music session using this with our Preppies!

 

I love it – and now I want Mulga’s colouring book as well!  You’ll find two freebie colour in downloads here including Harley the Hipster whose portrait can also be spotted in this book.

 

Get into the kaleidoscope world of Mulga now!