Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Recent Reads - for the smaller and medium types

Whilst life can feel like there is barely room to breath and I may be supposed to be cleaning our house for an inspection this week (blurgh!) I thought I'd shine a light on some recent reads for younger than adult people in your life, or yourself - I'm not judging!

At the moment I have about 7, I kid not!, books on the go - some serious and others less so.

These are the books I've been reading recently that fall into the younger category.

Hop Up! Wriggle Over! by Elizabeth Honey

This is a beautiful little book perfect for the under 3 bracket. The whole book is simply a collection of action words with gorgeous Australian animals participating. Essentially it is a record of a days adventure and activities with the odd whoops-a-daisy along the way. Sweet, engaging and a perfect introduction to doing words. I could imagine acting this one out with kindy kids to great delight. A lovely addition to your books to buy as a present if you have small people who want to be read to.
Details - Allen & Unwin, April 2015, RRP$19.99 HB. Also available as an ebook.

Teddy Took the Train by Nicki Greenberg

This is a delightful rhyming book about Dot and Teddy. Teddy and Dot end up separated when Teddy is left on the train. The conductor comforts Dot by suggesting that the train didn't take Teddy, Teddy took the train. There begins the whimsical imaginings of Dot about all the things Teddy might be up to. Just before bed there is a wonderful reunion! The illustrations have a graphic quality to them and use some collage features which I like. There are also some nice additions in the illustration like the fact that mum is in a wheelchair and there is a punk-male knitting on the train. Simple ways of challenging stereotypes through image.
Details - Allen &Unwin, April 2015 RRP $19.99 HB. Also available as an ebook

Ten by Shamini Flint

Set in Malaysia and following 10 year old Maya Ten is a perfect read for any soccer loving kid boy or girl. Maya lives through the world cup and dreams of when she will be able to play professionally. Of course one problem she faces is that she has never kicked a soccer ball and there are no girls teams she knows of. Child of an English father and Indian mother living in Malaysia Maya faces other discriminations too. I like that Flint has woven a story of family dysfunction, cultural exclusion and sibling rivalry and support into the story. The story doesn't feel contrived and I think it would be a great jumping off point to have discussions with children about their own thoughts on these issues. I like that it is also a book that casts minorities in major roles. I think this is a really important issue for emerging readers, particularly those who are in a minority. It is a read alone or read aloud book and I would recommend it for any interested reader from about 8+.
Details - Allen & Unwin, 22 April, RRP $12.99. Also available as an ebook.

Prince of Afghanistan by Louis Nowra

This book follows Mark dropped into Afghanistan at 18 for a mission that goes very wrong. Stranded with military dog Prince so begins their adventure to try and get home - back to rural Australia. This is an action book and an easy read. At times I found the solutions a little too convenient to feel realistic but I think it would appeal to readers who are engaged by adventure, dogs and war stories. The relationship that develops between Mark and Prince is a lovely story and there are some poignant moments between the too. There is drug use in the book, not by the character, but descriptions of drugs and people on drugs. The narrative in no way glamourises drug use, quite the opposite in fact. The book does give insight into the terrible realities of war, drugs and destitution as a result of the continued and continuing cross fire in Afghanistan. It manages to do this without becoming too explicit.
Details - Allen & Unwin, March 2015 RRP $16.99. Also available as an ebook.

Pieces of Sky by Trinity Doyle

This is probably my favourite of these reads. It really hits the young adult genre well and deals with death, depression, relationships, identity and family in ways that I think are realistic and thought provoking. The narrative follows Lucy - champion swimmer, focussed student and the aftermath of her older brother's unexpected death. As her family spirals one way Lucy struggles to get back into the water, struggles to answer the questions she has about her brother's death and struggles to hold on to her own identity. As a warning there are some intimate scenes - no sex but not far off. For that reason I'd recommend it at an older teen level. This is a debut novel for Trinity Doyle and I think she will do well. I read this book fast and have thought about the characters since which is the hallmark of a good novel for me.
Details - Allen & Unwin, May 2015 RRP $16.99. Also available as an ebook (released this week)

Many thanks to Allen & Unwin for keeping me reading even when the world is spinning fast!

love you more than 2 hours of reading with no interruptions xxx