Author – Marcus Sutter
Illustrator – Pat Kinsella
Age – 8+
The bombs have begun to fall and Matt and Rachel have been separated from Matt’s parents. It seems everywhere they run, the fires are burning and the rubble exploding. The air raid sirens are shrieking and the drone of more German bombers fill their ears. Where will they be safe?
Meanwhile, Chief; a German Shepherd who belongs to Matt’s big brother has also been separated from them. His smell guides him through the rubble where there are people looking for others in the devastation. One after another he helps to find humans in the rubble. But where are the young human pups? They need him to find their way home!
While Chief is busy rescuing people, Matt and Rachel are involved in a rescue. But is it worth it?
This is the first book in a new series about the brave dogs who helped save hundreds of people in human wars. Told in both Matt and Chief’s viewpoint, the action never stops! Will Matt forgive his parents for what they did? Will he finally accept Rachel, the refugee living with them? Will they survive the endless bombing of Canterbury England (June 1st 1942).
The end pages of the book show real dogs who were awarded bravery medals for their work in wartime, Q & A pages, an interesting, easy-to-read timeline of World War II and stats about the Canterbury Blitz where this story is set.
(War, Canterbury Blitz, German Bombers, Courage, Refugee, Family, Shelter, Bombs, Bravery, Dogs, Animals, Search and Find)
Author – Barry Jonsberg
Age – 12+
Rob Fitzgerald has a huge crush on Destry Camberwick. The problem with that is that Rob suffers from panic attacks, and is incredibly shy – only talking with his friend Andrew, his parents and his best friend – his grandfather.
Pop is funny, straight to the point and loves to swear. Rob sees him almost daily and can talk to Pop about anything. How will he get Destry’s attention? Rob’s mate Andrew has some suggestions, one being to impress Destry as a football goalie in the next inter-school game.
When Rob begins receiving strange text messages with more suggestions, he is intrigued about who they are from. Mum? Dad? What about Pop? No. He hates technology.
But Rob takes the text advice seriously and is soon in trouble again and again trying to make a good impression for Destry. And just as it seems to be working, things go terribly wrong.
It was so refreshing to read a teen novel that was true-to-life but had me bursting out laughing throughout the novel. Pop is the funniest character I have read in ages. This book made me laugh, cry and gasp in surprise. It’s about identity and believing in who you really are. Beautiful, funny, clever – pure Barry Jonsberg.
(Note: any swearing is replaced by the word blankety in the novel, which made some scenes even funnier.)
(Identity, Crush, Family, Grandfather, Grandparent, Anxiety, Counselor, Grief, LGBT, Funny)
Authors – Kate & Jol Temple
Age – 7+
Alice Toolie is mortified. Her arch enemy Jimmy Cook has found and read her diary. This is the final straw, and this means war!
But their teacher has decided that they need to put their differences aside and find out more about each other. Do they have anything in common? Could they be friends? They now must write letters to each other to find out.
Alice and Jimmy finally agree on something. This is the worst idea ever and their teacher must be bonkers! But the letters begin. Jimmy brags about all he knows about being a famous explorer, and Alice does all she can to pop his imaginative delusions.
But just as planned, they do find things in common – a ghost in the girl’s toilets, great ideas to make money for the school fete, and how to get their mothers to STOP being friends, and making them spend time together out of school as well!
It was great to see these characters in another story, after the hilarious Captain Jimmy Cook discovers Third Grade, and X marks the Spot. Alice loves sparkle, unicorns and positivity, and Jimmy is all about exploring, digging, and handling all the dangerous stuff. Their back and forth baiting banter is funny.
(Funny, Penpals, Letter, School, Nemesis, Enemy, School Fete, School Gala)
Author – Nic Stone
Age – 14+
Justyce is 17. He is the top of his class, an excellent debater and is aiming for Yale. All is good in his life until one night when he is helping his drunk ex get into her car. The police arrive, see a young black male with a drunk girl and assume the worst. He is immediately put in cuffs and read his rights.
Although released (hours later), Justyce has now experienced the racial profiling he’s heard and read about. He’s shocked when he realises he could have easily been just another police shooting accident involving a young African American man.
Justyce has been working on a personal project, studying the speeches and teachings of Martin Luther King. He has been writing letters to him in a journal – trying to work out the world around him.
His new awareness of the racial profiling around him makes him angry. Even his friends and classmates’ comments are getting under his skin. But it’s cruising around with his best friend one morning when the unthinkable happens. Bang! Bang! Bang!
This is a powerful story about prejudice, blatant racism in schools, courts, businesses and homes, and a young man trying to come to terms with it all. Gritty and gripping.
(School, Racism, Prejudice, Friendship, Family, Grief, Crime, Gang)
Author – Chaboute
Age – 12+
A man lives in a lighthouse on a rock. He was born there and has never left.
Another man is working in his new job on a fishing trawler. He asks why they are unloading boxes onto the steps leading up to the lighthouse, and is told the story of the disfigured hermit no-one has ever seen. He wonders what the hermit does all day?
The hermit hides until the trawler is gone before he collects his supplies. Then he goes back to his dictionary – worn, taped together, but cherished. A game he plays with his beloved dictionary fills much of his time. His days have been the same for decades.
But something changes. Just a small change. A tiny piece of kindness. The hermit considers it, and his life changes dramatically.
A graphic novel with sparse text and beautiful pictures capturing a gull on the wing, the pounding ocean and the melancholy of the hermit. Simple. Stunning.
(Loneliness, Lighthouse, Kindness, Sadness, Isolation, Change, Graphic Novel, Translated, French, France)
Author/Illustrator – Marcus Sedgwick
Age – 8+ Graphic Novel
Scarlett Hart was born to be a monster hunter, just like her dead parents. Now living with the family butler, Napolean and the housekeeper, she is carrying on the tradition of monster hunting.
Napolen is no ordinary butler and neither is the housekeeper, assisting Scarlett in killing monsters to claim the rewards posted for their demise. But Scarlett is officially too young to be a monster hunter, even if she could fence at 6, is clever and fearless. Count Stankovic is also a hunter, and will do anything for reward money. He is determined to catch and photograph Scarlett as she hunts, so she will be arrested and no longer any competition.
But that’s not all he’s up to. Why is there an increase in monsters lately? Has he teamed up with someone even worse than him, able to summon monsters from another realm?
This graphic novel is full of action from the first page! Scarlett is feisty, funny and brave, and The Count is a perfect nemesis. Loved it!
(Graphic Novel, Courage, Orphan, Monsters, Betrayal, Humour, Funny)
Author – Ellen Potter
Illustrator – Felicita Sala
Age – 6+
Hugo is a young Sasquatch eager for adventure and maybe to even become a sailor! But his big sister Gigi says he could never become a sailor because it would break their most important rule – never be seen by a human.
One day while out on a school trip practising their sneaking and camouflage, that very thing happens. A small human wanders into the same area and Hugo is so surprised by him that he bursts out with a laugh. The boy sees him and his teacher rushes them to safety. Hugo is in serious trouble. But his curious nature has been fuelled even further. The human didn’t look dangerous at all.
When an opportunity to explore presents itself, Hugo grabs his chance…
A fun story about friendship and feet, told from a young bigfoot’s point of view.
(Bigfoot, Friendship, Multiple POV, Curiosity, Bravery, Series)