Across the Risen Sea by Bren Macdibble

 

Across the Risen Sea by Bren Macdibble is an action-packed adventure set in a future affected by climate change where the sea has risen and communities are finding new ways to live.

Naoma and Jag (Jaguar) are best friends who want to become the best fisher people and salvagers on the whole inland sea. They are ‘living gentle lives’ on high ground, living off the land, fishing and salvaging what they need for their small community in the peaceful Ockery Islands.

One day, three tall strangers from the Valley of the Sun arrive unannounced to chop down trees and set up a mysterious piece of ‘Teknology’ on Cottage Hill. No explanation is given. Naoma decides to take things into her own hands, but Jag is taken away to the Valley of the Sun to pay the debt instead of Naoma because “A wild spark like you will be no end of trouble.”

Naoma boldy sets off alone across the risen sea in Licorice Stix to rescue Jag and find the truth needed to save her village and their way of life. With Naoma as narrator, we are swept along on her daring and dangerous journey as she bravely battles boat-jumping crocodiles, a hungry giant shark and tries to evade Pirate Bradshaw, a mad and ruthless sea hag.

One of my favourite parts of the story is when the elusive Valley of the Sun appears beyond the fog and is not at all what I was expecting to see and is very ingenious!

Across the Risen Sea encourages us to think about our own impact on the planet as it explores life in a world affected by climate change and highlights the importance of communities finding ways to work together with understanding and respect. It also has a stunning cover that captures the dangers Naoma faces sailing alone across the menacing waves. Take a close look at the cover, what do you see? Would you have braved sailing alone across the sea to rescue Jag? 

You might also enjoy reading Bren’s previous books How to Bee and The Dog Runner.

Happy reading!

Teacher notes

Dharma the Llama by Matt Cosgrove

 

Dharma the Llama likes reading for hours and hours and hours. The other llamas can’t understand why she’s always reading. When they’re out stampeding, Dharma is having her own exciting adventures lost in the pages of her books. Dharma is happy doing her own thing and doesn’t listen to the sneering and jeering, but when the other llamas get stuck in a big pit of mud, it’s Dharma and her books to the rescue! Finally the llamas have to agree…It sure pays to read!

Matt Cosgrove has created another fun, colourful and joyful book that begs to be read aloud. Dharma is a great example of being ‘you’ and doing what you love. She is also a total bookworm and Dharma the Llama celebrates reading, the adventures you can have and how books can help us learn new things. I really enjoyed the way reading sparked Dharma’s creativity to solve problems, especially her astronaut idea. Matt has also had fun giving some of Dhama’s books a ‘llama make-over’. Can you spot them? Try giving some of your favourite books a ‘llama make-over’ too!

Get creative and download Matt’s illustrations from Dharma the Llama and add your own colour.

RAP BOOKS…

Something very exciting has recently happened to Dharma the Llama. Dharma’s book has been made into a rap performed by Jessica Mauboy. 

Have fun doing karaoke with the Dharma the Llama rap. 

There are other raps on the  BIG W Rap Books website including Alpacas with Maracas by Matt Cosgrove and rapped by Tom Thum.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Happy reading and rapping!

Hello Jimmy! by Anna Walker

 

Hello Jimmy! by Anna Walker is a gentle story about Jack and his dad as they find a new way of being a family together.

When Jack visits his dad’s house it’s quiet and his dad doesn’t tell funny jokes any more. Jack wonders if his dad is lonely. Then Jimmy a loud and cheeky parrot unexpectedly arrives on dad’s doorstep. Jimmy’s big personality fills the house and dad is laughing again with his new friend who helps with the dishes, entertains with his witty chatter and is full of surprises. Jack feels left out. What happens when Jack accidentally lets Jimmy out the window? 

Anna has used pencil, collage, paint and mono-printing to create her delicate illustrations filled with tiny details of every day life that invite you to look closely at each page. She has captured Jimmy’s larger than life personality with his cheeky antics and vibrant green feathers that can also be found floating gently across the endpapers. 

Read HERE to learn more about Anna’s ideas behind creating Hello Jimmy!

On her Twiglet website, Anna shares ‘tiny ideas’ to inspire creativity. Click on the links below to explore three ways you can make your own Jimmy and bring him to life.

Jimmy Parrot 

Jimmy split pin 

Flying Jimmy 

Anna has made Jimmy using felt and he is being very cheeky in the Hello Jimmy! book trailer…

Happy reading!

Beyond Belief by Dee White

 

Inspired by the true story of Muslims who saved the lives of Jewish children in the Second World War.

It is no longer safe for Ruben and his parents to shelter in Uncle Abe’s cellar so his mother reluctantly takes him to the Grand Mosque in Paris which is secretly providing shelter for Jewish children. Ruben is to wait there until the mysterious Fox can take him to Spain to reunite with his parents and his missing older sister, Rosa. Ruben’s mother tells him “You must be strong like the cedars in Jardin des Plantes. You must not bend like the sapling in the wind.”

To hide his true identity Ruben has to learn to pray, eat and speak as a Muslim. Ruben becomes Abdul. The only link he has left to his family and religion is the tattered yellow Star of David he hides in his shoe. At the mosque, Ruben is offered shelter and kindness, but one mistake and his life and the people protecting him could be killed. The Imam warmly welcomes him into his family and Daan becomes Ruben’s protective older brother. He also befriends feisty orphan Amra who he works with in the garden until Nazi soldiers raid the mosque and he is forced to flee.

Ruben is helped by Evette and Fida to escape along with orphans Hana and her little brother Momo. He has to be strong like the cedar and needs courage and resilience to survive the dangerous journey through filthy sewers beneath the streets of Paris and  a life-threatening river crossing to reach the South of France where he finally discovers the surprising identity of the infamous Fox.

Beyond Belief is a moving story of family, friendship and faith that shines a light on brave people from different religions working together with courage, compassion and kindness during one of the darkest times in history. 

Beyond Belief was inspired by Dee White’s own family’s story during the Holocaust and her older brother provided inspiration for eleven-year-old Ruben. Dee also travelled to Paris for the research that brings this story to life with its detail. This is the first I have heard of the Muslims who saved Jewish children in Paris. I’m so glad their little known story has been told and I hope Dee will be writing more stories of ‘Heroes of the Holocaust’. 

When you have finished reading Beyond Belief, look closely at the front cover for seven clues from the story. Can you find them? Why do you think the title is Beyond Belief?

Look HERE to read more about how Dee wrote Beyond Belief or if you would like to try some of her ideas for writing your own story.

Happy reading!

Zoe, Max and the Bicycle Bus by Steven Herrick

 

Zoe, Max and the Bicycle Bus celebrates the fun and adventures you can have bike riding with friends and caring for our planet at the same time.

When their new teacher Ms Dillon introduces Grade 5D to a Bicycle Bus, travelling to school becomes a lot more fun!

Ms Dillon leads the bicycle bus
with her shiny red bike
and she calls for us
to
stay
in
single
file
nottooclosetogether
not     too     far     apart.

We roll down Burton Street,
a caterpillar of clanking gears
and whirring pedals.

But there’s a narrow stretch on Fisher Road with no white line to separate the cyclists from the traffic where the cars feel louder and closer and faster. When a ute carrying a pile of timber passes dangerously close to Ms Dillon, it’s Zoe and Max who come up with a bold and clever plan that might involve breaking a few rules. Will they succeed in making the bike ride to school safer?

As the students in 5D ride their Bicycle Bus to school it’s heartwarming to see their friendships and independence grow. Dabir’s grandfather was a wise man when he said  A bicycle makes a sound heart’. What do you think he meant?

Zoe, Max and the Bicycle Bus is a free verse novel. It has verses, but it doesn’t rhyme like a poem. There are less words, but each word is carefully chosen. The length of sentences, sentence breaks and use of white space are important in writing free verse. In this book there are different perspectives as the characters narrate their story and reveal their feelings about riding to school. Jordi has been wearing his bike helmet at breakfast every day hoping his mum would let him ride to school one day, Max loves doing wheelies, Olivia can fix a puncture in no time, Dabir’s dad has proudly given him the bike he rode as a boy in his village, while Zoe’s bike named Esmerelda has been carefully cleaned so it sparkles.  

Steven Herrick’s passion for bike riding and the environment shine in this story, particularly through Ms Dillon as she quietly empowers her students and the school bike racks begin to fill.

 Zoe, Max and the Bicycle Bus is a book that will have you smiling and wanting to grab your bike and ride with your friends!

If you have enjoyed reading this verse novel, I highly recommend you read Bully on the Bus, Too Many Friends and On Track by Kathryn Apel or The Little Wave by Pip Harry that have also been published by UQP.

Thank you for the copy of this book to review UQP.

Happy reading!

I Saw Pete and Pete Saw Me by Maggie Hutchings

 

I Saw Pete and Pete Saw Me  by Maggie Hutchings is a gentle story of kindness and compassion, looking closely at the world around us and opening our hearts to others.

A small boy is the only one who sees Pete’s warm smile and bright drawings as he sits quietly with his dog on a busy footpath. When the boy says hello, Pete gives him a picture of a yellow bird like flying sunshine and their friendship begins. The boy makes Pete visible to others and through small acts of kindness, the boy and his local community care for Pete. While snuggled in his bed, the boy wishes he could give Pete a safe and warm home of his own. When Pete gets sick and nobody knows where he’s gone, his little friend knows the best way to get a message to Pete.

Yellow sunshine flows through Evie Barrow’s hand-drawn pencil illustrations highlighting kindness, friendship and hope in this tender story. I especially love that the endpapers wrap the book up in the warm colourful blanket given to Pete. Can you find the blanket in the story? 

I Saw Pete and Pete Saw Me shows us the connections we can make when we open our eyes to see the people around us. During lockdown here in Melbourne, I have enjoyed meeting and talking to people on my daily walks, especially older people who have the most interesting stories to share when you take the time to stop and listen. Everybody has a story.

One dollar from each sale is donated to The Big Issue that helps homeless and disadvantaged people make positive changes to their lives.

Happy reading!

 

The Fire Star by A.L.Tait

 

I have been waiting with great anticipation for The Fire Star by A.L. Tait and I couldn’t move until I had finished the last page!

The Fire Star is an exciting adventure mystery set in medieval times in the imaginary kingdom of Chatrell. We are transported to Rennart Castle filled with a rabbit warren of rooms, nooks and crannies and secret passages. It is home to lords and ladies, knights and maids, where secrets are kept, plans are hatched and spies lurk.

Lady Cassandra arrives at Rennart Castle to unwillingly marry knight protector, Sir Garrick. The marriage has been arranged so her greedy uncle, Airl Buckthorn can claim the Fire Star, a precious red jewel handed down through generations to the women in Lady Cassandra’s family.

When the Fire Star goes missing, Reeve the new squire is blamed and must prove his innocence by finding the missing jewel or he will never become a knight. Reeve has unexpected ally in Maven, Lady Cassandra’s feisty maid who will be banished to a nunnery with her mistress if the jewel isn’t found. Maven and Reeve have only three days to solve the mystery of the theft of the Fire Star. They will need to trust each other and work together or they will both lose their dreams.

The Fire Star also shines a light on the life of females in medieval times where beauty was valued over intelligence. Women were not allowed to be educated and were expected to be obedient to men. Definitely not the life fiercely independent Maven and Lady Cassandra dream of and why they are connected to a secret society of women called The Beech Circle.

This fast-paced story with its twists and turns, lies and secrets, unexpected friendships and touch of romance is narrated in turn by Maven and Reeve and will keep you turning the pages until the thrilling ending.

You can read an extract from The Fire Star HERE

Allison has a passion for medieval times and her fascinating page of resources will take you into the world of Kingdoms, Castles and Secret Societies that inspired The Fire Star.

I can’t wait to solve another mystery with Maven and Reeve and I know Allison is busy writing their next adventure!

In the meantime, if you want to continue your medieval adventures, I highly recommend you read The Mapmaker Chronicles and The Ateban Cypher series also written by A.L.Tait!

Happy reading!

My Dog is a Winner by Elizabeth Fensham

 

My dog, Ugly is a genius. All the kids in my class reckon he is too. He’s the school hero. I’m not showing off. It’s a fact.

If you’re a dog lover like me, you’ll love the adventures of Eric Bright and his best mate Ugly who was Eric’s present for his eighth birthday. My Dog is a Winner by Elizabeth Fensham is the third book in the series including My Dog Doesn’t Like Me and My Dog Gets a Job.

These days Ugly is a star companion dog at Eric’s school where he proudly wears his therapy-dog vest and blue-and-gold school tie. Ugly and Eric’s Grandad volunteer to work with kids like Barnaby who is autistic and Maryam who has recently arrived from Syria. Ugly seems to know just the right thing to do to support and encourage them and be a friend. He can even talk in his own doggish way. Every school needs an Ugly!

Eric is sad to discover what is making his big sister Gretchen miserable and even meaner than usual and is determined to find a way to help her. 

With the school pet show coming up, Eric has plans for Ugly to win big time, then Ugly goes off his food and refuses to play. Eric knows something is up with his best mate.

Can Eric’s famous quiz help him with a plan to fix both Gretchen and Ugly?

My Dog is a Winner is a fun read that celebrates the gift of friendship, the joy of pets and the importance of caring for others.

Elizabeth Fensham has dedicated this book to Angela Davies, a headmistress and her dog, Chad who was a member of the school staff. I have often wished I could have a dog in my school library. My local Yarra Plenty Library branches have Doggy Tales so after school children can read to dogs who love to listen to stories.

jarmoluk / Pixabay

Thank you  to UQP for a copy of My Dog is a Winner to review. 

Happy reading!

 

 

 

 

The Heartsong of Wonder Quinn by Kate Gordon

 

Wonder Quinn is a lonely orphan who lives in a little nook in the old, dusty school archives room. Her only companions are a gloomy crow called Hollowbeak with knowing black-button eyes and her treasured books. Each new school year, Wonder yearns for a true friend..

A friend who saw her heart.
A friend who saw her.
A friend to wind up the clockwork key and begin her again.
Make her new.

Now that would be a thing!

This is the year Wonder’s dream will come true when Mabel Clattersham with her blaze of red hair sits next to Wonder in class and says ‘Let’s be friends, shall we?” 

It’s like they are destined to meet and a warm friendship grows between fiery, outspoken Mabel and Wonder who is quiet and shy. But Mabel has a secret and shares an unusual list of wishes including throw a pie, touch a star and break someone’s heart. Wonder promises to help her new friend, but can she protect her own heart from being broken? There is a sense of urgency as the list grows smaller and together Wonder and Mabel stand up to Georgiana Kinch, share bravery and laughter, make marks on each other’s lives and find the freedom they seek. 

Kate Gordon has written a gentle, enchanting and mysterious story that ends with a heartfelt twist. You can’t help falling in love with Wonder, Mabel and Hollowbeak who come to life with Kate’s rich descriptive writing and the story within is magically captured by Rachel Tribout’s front cover illustration that sparkles with burnished gold.

The Heartsong of Wonder Quinn  is a story of friendship, courage and being true to yourself that will squeeze your heart. 

Thank you to  UQP for a copy of The Heartsong of Wonder Quinn to review.

 

Happy reading!

The Secret Library of Hummingbird House by Julianne Negri

 

I thoroughly enjoyed The Secret Library of Hummingbird House from the first page to the last! This mystery, time-slip adventure is set in inner Melbourne with a secret library, lost words and a mullolly tree – what more could you want?

Hattie Maxwell is ten years old and a Sailor Moon fan who loves reading and discovering new words. Hattie’s life has been turned upside down by the Big Split. Hattie and her annoying little sister Ivy, now have to live ‘week about’ with their parents. Hattie feels ‘a bit like the lamp that everyone forgot to pack’ because she doesn’t feel quite right at either home. She just wants things to go back to the way they were with her family together.

Hattie’s favourite escape in her Brunswick neighborhood is Hummingbird House.

It’s a puddle of magic, out of time with the rest of the city. Even though it hums with a strangeness I don’t understand, I always feel as though the house is happy for me to be here – like a hand waiting to be held.

The old mansion holds happy family memories for Hattie where they played in the large mulberry tree that her dad transformed with lollies into a mullolly tree each year for her birthday. Hattie is horrified when she learns that Lord Landlord plans to demolish Hummingbird House and replace it with a 10-storey apartment block.

When Hattie goes on a midnight visit to Hummingbird House during a triple moon event, she finds herself slipping back in time to 1970 where she discovers a very different Hummingbird House and Hypatia, a mysterious girl with a love for words. Hypatia reveals her secret Nonesuch Library and together the ‘not friends’ work to find a way to save Hummingbird House and solve the mystery of Hypatia’s Lebanese family.

A clever twist at the end ties the threads of the story together and all is revealed, including the identity of the mysterious Brunswick yarn bomber.

Hattie is a realistic and resilient voice in this story as she grapples with living in a separated family, navigates time travel and learns to speak up and fight for what she believes in while trying to save Hummingbird House. As a teacher librarian, not only would I love a NoneSuch Library, I also have a soft spot for Ms Guide whose background turns out to be quite a surprise.

Julieanne Negri works at the magnificent State Library of Victoria which was a major inspiration for The Nonesuch Library.

I was fascinated by the lost words in the story. There is a Glossary at the back of the book for you to explore and it will also help with my message below.

As a big bibliophile, I highly recommend this flippercanorious book!

Read the first two chapters HERE

Happy reading!