Author – Jess Butterworth
Age – 9+
Ruby knows there is something wrong as soon as she gets home one night. But she never imagined the changes that are about to happen in her life.
Within hours she is escaping Australia and travelling to India with her father, grandmother, family dog and a smuggled baby kangaroo.
How can they do this to her? She is angry at her father for making this choice for her, but soon learns to love the mountain they are to live on. She makes a friend, photographs the wildlife and helps refurbish a run-down hotel with her family.
But strange things are happening on the mountain, and the local townspeople claim that it is haunted by an angry goddess. Will anyone ever want to work in their hotel, let alone guests come to stay?
Ruby becomes protective of the mountain, particularly the leopards that prowl the undergrowth. When she sees men behaving suspiciously she wants to know what’s going on.
Much of this story was written based on the author’s own experiences as a child in India. Ruby is a well-drawn character still dealing with the loss of her mother in a car accident, which has triggered other fears she must overcome. Her friend Praveen gives a young, girl-boy friendship and an environmental theme builds around the endangered leopards.
(Leopards, Endangered animals, India, Grief, Friendship, Courage, Family, Poaching)
Author/Illustrator – Peter Brown
Age – 8+
A ship sinks on the first page of this story, with only 5 boxes escaping the depths of the ocean. Four of them are dashed against rocks of an island, only one surviving. A group of otters surround the strange box and while investigating it, inadvertently push a button inside.
A strange shiny creature emerges. “Hello, I am ROZZUM Unit 7134, but you may call me Roz.” Roz is a robot, and she is instantly labelled by the animals on the island as ‘The Monster’.
Slowly but surely, Roz uses her computer brain to observe these animals and their habits – learning camouflage, their languages and their rules. Slowly but surely she is accepted among them, her adoption of a gosling egg helping smooth the way.
Roz not only has to learn be a mother, but how to look after herself and her new friends in an extreme winter while she waits for her gosling son’s return from his fly south.
This Award winning book is something special. Set in the future, it combines Technology and Nature and shows how they learn from one another. It lightly touches on Global warming, and shows a winter more extreme than before, both things we are dealing with now. The Wild Robot would make a fantastic Read aloud for classrooms, as it makes the reader think about our future and how we will look after not only ourselves but the other creatures that share our world. B & White Illustrations compliment this novel.
(Nature, Robot, Friendship, Environment, Global Warming, Island, Family, Leadership, Award)
Author – Katherine Rundell
Age – 7+
Fred, Con, Lila and her 5 yr old brother Max are all in a small plane together when the pilot has a heart attack and dies. They crash into the Amazon Jungle. Frightened but alive, they have to get to know each other and learn to work together.
They are quickly fascinated by the green world around them, teeming with birds, colour and wildlife, but they know they have to try and get home. On the way, they discover things they never imagined they would find on the journey, along with discoveries about themselves – courage, friendship and determination, and then finally a pact between them to keep their secret.
Pure adventure, The Explorer is yet another wonderful tale by award winning Katherine Rundell. Fans of Hatchet and Bear Gryls will love this tale of survival, learning to fish at night, catch tarantulas to cook, and making snares among the many lessons learnt by the characters.
(Jungle, Amazon, Courage, Siblings, Plane Crash, Secret, Environment, Friendship, Family)
Author – Laura Martin
Age – 9+
Sky Mundy continues her quest to find her missing father, following the clues he has left. Never did her and her friends believe they would lead to an immense underwater complex surrounded by huge dinosaurs bred in the complex. The three friends find themselves in even more precarious situations, learning terrible truths and betrayals along the way.
The powerful General Kennedy is hunting them with his skilled and deadly marines – driven by the powerful Noah with a deadly plan. Can they stop him before every living thing above ground is obliterated from the Earth? Is her father alive or dead and how will they ever outrun the dinosaurs?
I enjoyed Code Name Flood even more than the 1st title in this series – It’s them or us. Great read!
(Dinosaurs, Dystopian, Action, Betrayal, Spy, Friendship, Family, Science, Environment)
Author – Bren MacDibble
Age – 10+
Peony lives in a world where bees no longer exist and all pollinating and pest control is done by hand in orchards. She lives with her grandpa and older sister Mags in a tin shed, earning their living by working in the orchard. Peony, and Mags are ‘Pests’, killing pests as they find them. But Peony wants to be a ‘Bee’, climbing the trees and using special sticks to pollinate the flowers. At 9, she is one year too young, but she tries out anyway.
When her mum returns from the city, telling her of money to be made and lovely places to live, Peony doesn’t want to know. Although poor, they are happy in the orchard. But Mum won’t take no for an answer.
The city is like nothing Peony has ever seen, with a toilet inside, water that comes out of the wall, and lovely soft beds. But the work is long and the daughter of the house is incredibly spoiled. An unlikely friendship builds, Peony needing help to get home, and Esmeralda needing courage to leave her grand house.
This is a wonderful story of friendship, determination, and the power of family. Loved it!
(Climate change, Family, Abuse, Courage, Future, Friendship)
ER – CAR
Author – Emma Carroll
Age – 8+
This is a story of family feud’s, fairies and friendship.
When Alice has to go and stay with Nell, a grandmother she has never met; she is worried for her little brother as he receives a heart transplant, angry at her absent father who doesn’t seem to care, and intrigued by a girl she meets in the wood that all but surrounds her grandmother’s house.
But Nell wants to cut the wood down. It’s getting too close and is going to wreck the house. “But what about the fairies in the wood?” Alice’s new friend Flo asks. “If they lose their home they will take their revenge.”
Should Alice ignore Flo’s weird warnings or try and save Darkling Wood?
A very enjoyable read for girls 8+. A little magic, lots of family, and letters from the past that bring it all together.
(Fairies, Mystery, Magic, Conservation, Blended family, Friendship)
Author – Roberto Pavanello
Age – 7+
One of a series, this book is like a modern day Scooby Doo.
There are a group of friends, including Echo the Bat, who are investigating why the park’s pond began to boil and then fill with toxic waste. But what happened to all the fish?
After foul, reddish water gushes out of a town fountain, a council engineer tells a TV reporter that the problem is with underground pipes – but still he doesn’t explain what happened to the fish in the fountain.
But after checking out the underground, Echo and the Bat pack find something unbelievable – and the answer to the missing fish.
Check out the others in this series.