Picture books – they’re not just for little kids

Our library has acquired a large range of picture books over the years. Some are very clearly directed towards our younger readers (for example Who Sank The Boat?  and Where Is The Green Sheep?) but many are definitely for older readers (The Watertower and Fox, which always makes me cry)

Some new books on our shelves are suitable for a wide range of readers however. They are clever, funny and beautifully produced.

First cab off the ranks and clear favourite with all classes is The Day the Crayons Quit. Imagine you opened your crayons to do some colouring and found nothing but a stack of letters addressed to you? The crayons are cranky and they want change!

“Beige is tired of playing second fiddle to Brown. Blue needs a break from coloring all that water, while Pink just wants to be used. Green has no complaints, but Orange and Yellow are no longer speaking to each other.” – from Goodreads

A hilarious book, written by Drew Dewalt and illustrated by the very clever Oliver Jeffers.

Another favourite is Goldilocks and the  Three Dinosaurs by the inestimable Mo Willems.

It brings a fresh (and delicious!) new twist to the Goldilocks story, introducing three hungry dinosaurs: Papa Dinosaur, Mama Dinosaur and a dinosaur who just happened to be visiting from Norway. Great fun, great reading.

Maude the Not-So Noticeable Shrimpton is a new book  by Lauren Childs, the author of perennial favourites the Clarice Brown and Ruby Redfort series.

It is a cautionary tale about how sometimes, just sometimes, it’s good to blend  in to the background.

Finally we have a book without words: Journey.


“Follow a girl on an elaborate flight of fancy in a wondrously illustrated, wordless picture book about self-determination — and unexpected friendship.” – Goodreads

Journey takes us on a wondrous journey with beautiful, elegant and intricate illustrations. And not a word said.

Better get cracking if you want to borrow them!




Getting kids to read – book series to the rescue

There is nothing better than a series to get reluctant readers hooked on books and reading. If they read the first one and they love it, they’re hooked! But how do you know which series are good and which ones kids will like?

There are a few ways round this dilemma. Firstly, approach your town library or ask us here at school. We have a few suggestions of series for most kids. Secondly, head to a  bookshop and look at the shelves. You’ll find the series grouped together and it should make choosing easy. Thirdly, use the internet to search for popular book series. Try  bookseller websites such as Readings or Kinokuniya. They both have great suggestions to get your reluctant reader turning the pages. Finally, ask your child! They have often heard of books they want to try, so give them the opportunity to read them.

This list may contain some suggestions: they are series I have not really heard of, but will be looking for a few of them next time I’m in the bookshop.

Do YOU have any suggestions? I’d love to hear them!

Book Series

My latest buying trip!

During the holidays I visited my favourite bookstore in Sydney. After discussion with the children’s book experts I bought he first book in a new series of graphic novels – Amulet. It has already proved very popular! It is darker than Adventure Time but looks wonderful.

Speaking of Adventure Time I bought Fionna and Cake which is an “alternate universe” story. It has a few people waiting to borrow it too.

The last book I bought was a Marvel comic – Thor. It is richly coloured and looks very well produced.

Stay tuned for more information about new releases!

Graphic Novels – and MORE

On my last trip to Sydney I decided to focus on tracking down books I thought our Stage 2 and 3 boys would enjoy. I spent many hours in Kinokuniya asking everyone, from shop assistants to 10 year old boys shopping for books, what they thought 8 – 12 year old boys would enjoy in the way of graphic novels.

Bone came back a winner, as did Adventure Time. I’ve added the first in each series to test the waters.

Bone is a very popular work, highly regarded by those who love graphic novels. In fact, in 2005, Time called BONE one of the ten greatest graphic novels of all time. High praise!


The other graphic novel I bought is Adventure Time. It is based on a tv cartoon of the same name and is incredibly popular.


I also bought two books from new series that have recently been released. The first is Predator Cities – Mortal Engines. In these books, giant cities on wheels hunt and destroy other cities. In the first book London is on the move, hunting smaller cities to canbibalise for parts and people to turn into slaves. The books are dark and gritty, set in a distant future. They are well written.

mortal engines

The last book is Spooks Apprentice, a well-told fantasy. It centres around the constant battles to defeat “spooks” – ghosts, goblins, witches and boggarts – and keep the County safe. Only one person is left to stand up to them, but even he isn’t sure he’s up to the challenge!


They’ll be appearing on shelves soon!

Children’s Book Council Australia’s winners

The list has been released and it’s exciting that quite a few of the great books we’ve got in the library feature on it!

Here they are- the 2013 winners and honour books.


OLDER READERS: Sea Hearts, Margo Lanagan

(Honour books: The Ink Bridge, Neil Grant; Friday Brown, Vikki Wakefield)

YOUNGER READERS: Children of the King, Sonya Hartnett

(Honour books: Pennies for Hitler, Jackie French; The Tender Moments of Saffron Silk, Glenda Millard &Stephen Michael King)

EARLY CHILDHOOD: The Terrible Suitcase, Emma Allen &Freya Blackwell

(Honour books: With Nan, Tania Cox &Karen Blair; Too Many Elephants in This House, Ursula Dubosarsky &Andrew Joyner)

PICTURE BOOK: The Coat, Ron Brooks &Julie Hunt

(Honour books: Herman and Rosie, Gus Gordon; Sophie Scott Goes South, Alison Lester)

INFORMATION BOOK: Tom the Outback Mailman, Kristin Weidenbach &Timothy Ide

(Honour books: Lyrebird! A True Story, Jackie Kerin &Peter Gouldthrope; Topsy Turvy World: How Australian Animals Puzzled Early Explorers, Kirsty Murray)

Books we’ve loved lately

Today I’d like to share some sensational books we’ve read over the past few weeks.

Let me start with the book I’ve been working on and reading to 5/6. It’s called House Held Up By Trees and is written by US Poet Laureate Ted Kooser. It examines issues of abandonment, the urge of nature to reclaim what it owns and dealing with the loss of family. It is a beautiful, carefully written and sensitively illustrated picture book for older readers. It certainly has sparked some conversation about visual literacy in the 5/6 room.

The second book I have been reading to a class is Tuck Everlasting by Natalie Babbitt, I was unaware of this book until I heard Margot Lindgren, owner of the wonderful blog Momo Time to Read talk about it. I’m  reading this book to 4/5 and we are enjoying the rich imagery contained in it. It is a book that examines the thought: what if you could live forever? A great book, first published in the 70s.

do you have any recommendations? We love reading!

Garth Nix talks about writing

Garth Nix is a favourite in our library. Many students enjoy his Keys To The Kingdom series, as well as those perennial favourites Sabriel, Lirael and Abhorsen. He has a new series called Troubletwisters and in this interview he talks about the writing process. It’s interesting to read about how authors approach writing a book, especially a great writer like Nix.

click on the link below to read the interview

Garth Nix – The Way We Work

Garth Nix and Sean Williams – photo via Readings


Your Favourite Book

Have you ever loved a book so much you think about it  long after you’ve finished it? That you have read, re-read and re-re-read  until the cover falls off and  pages start to flutter out of it when you open it?

What makes a great book? What makes a special book?

What is YOUR desert island book?

The children’s book from my own childhood  that has stayed with me long after I read the last page is Children of Green Knowe by LM Boston. I loved the world it created: a world very different from mine growing up in the Australian country.

When I was a bit older (okay a LOT) older and buying books for my own children my favourite was the wonderful wonderful Phantom Tollbooth by Norton Juster. I loved the way he played with language and words and made jokes and puns about English.

The book I have most enjoyed reading recently has been a toss up between Keeper by Mal Peet (yes, 5/6 I DID cry at the end) and Andrew McGahan’s The Ship Kings.

But what would I take on that desert island now? Ask me, I’ll tell you.

What about YOU? Leave me a reply. I’d love to know.