Tag Archives: Neighbours

What Zola Did on Sunday – Melina Marchetta

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Penguin

  • September 2021
  • ISBN: 9781760895228
  • Imprint: Puffin
  • RRP: $12.99

This series has just been pure joy from the very first word with each new story building on the warmth, friendship and community of Zola’s neighbourhood. Now that we have finished the entire week with Zola I feel quite sad but I’m hopeful that Melina might take Zola and her friends, not to mention her mishaps, on a longer journey for us. I’m going to sit back and wait for What Zola Did in January now *grin*.


The climax of the entire series is the St Odo’s fete where so much that has featured along the way all comes together: the knitting, gardening, pets, music and baking as well as the entire cast of charming characters.

Of course, it was to be expected that Zola would once again be in the middle of a muddle and when she doesn’t quite manage to hold onto Tim Tam the cat in the face of excitable dogs before the Pet Parade starts, there is quite the calamity. But, despite the kerfuffle, the fete still manages to be a huge success and the funds raised by this caring community give everyone much satisfaction – particularly as their efforts will support the homeless, which gives the reader pause for reflection when one thinks about these happy families in their homes. Throughout the entire series, the opportunities for meaningful discussion and action learning have been plentiful, all the while without being ‘preachy’.

I feel sure you must have caught onto these sweet books for your newly independent readers by now – but just in case somehow you have overlooked them, do yourself and your little peeps a big favour and put them on your order list.

Highly recommended for readers from around 6 upwards.

Grace’s Mystery Seed – Juliet M Sampson/Karen Erasmus

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Graces-Mystery-Seed

Ford St Publishing

March 2019

$16.95

Have you ever had your children (or grandies) garden with you? I used to garden with my girls and now I have my beautiful granddaughter growing up here also loving planting and watching things grow. She especially loved planting radish seeds to spell her name and only having to wait a few days to see the results!

Juliet M Sampson has utterly captured the magic of that moment of watching the transformation of a seed into a thing of beauty and wonder.

Little Grace loves helping her favourite neighbour in her garden and especially feeding the pet parrot, Polly, his delicious stripy seeds. When Grace wonders aloud where these delicacies come from, Mrs Marino suggests planting one. Grace is enthralled and shares her excitement with her friends and family.

Grace’s joy when her sunflower blooms and does indeed seek the sun each day is truly super stuff to share with young readers (oh how I wish they could all experience this amazing transformation!). Of course, not only is Grace’s mystery seed the foundation of her joy in the flower, but the sunflower will keep on giving – seeds to her friends and to Polly.

I lament the fact that so many children no longer have this glorious joy and I’m personally so glad I have been able to share it with my own children and grandchildren.

Why not inspire your young readers to do likewise? I am planning now to start a seed or two in our library after the holidays and hand out some to kick off some young reader’s own nature journeys.

Highly recommended for readers from around five years upwards and check out the teaching notes here.  GROW your readers now!