Once upon a time, in a dark city far away, there lived a boy called Walter, who had nothing but his name to call his own ...' The handwritten book, with its strangely vivid illustrations, has been hidden in the old house for a long, long time. Tonight, four kids and their teacher will find it. Tonight, at last, the haunting story of Walter and the mysterious, tragic girl called Sparrow will be read - right to the very end ... From one of Australia's most renowned children's authors, comes an extraordinary story within a story - a mystery, a prophecy, a long-buried secret. And five people who will remember this night as long as they live.
"Black Cockatoo" is a vignette that follows Mia, a young Aboriginal girl as she explores the fragile connections of family and culture. Mia is a 13-year-old girl from a remote community in the Kimberley. She is saddened by the loss of her brother as he distances himself from the family. She feels powerless to change the things she sees around her until one day she rescues her totem animal, the dirran black cockatoo, and soon discovers her own inner strength. "Black Cockatoo" is a wonderful small tale on the power of standing up for yourself, culture and ever-present family ties.
Today would have been an ordinary Saturday, except that two things happened: 1) The peacocks escaped and 2) I started writing this story. Dad says if you want to write a story you should start by choosing a topic that you know a lot about. That?s why this is a story about peacocks. I know a lot about peacocks because: (a) Two peacocks live in the holiday flats across the road from me and (b) I?m good at finding them when they go missing. The last time William Shakespeare and Virginia went missing Cassie found them sitting on a coiled hose behind the fire station, and Dad called her ?Cassie Andersen, Peacock Detective?. So this time she knows what to do-she?ll look for clues and track them down. But the clues lead her in an unexpected direction and Cassie finds herself investigating a confusing mystery about her family. The Peacock Detectives is a warm and engaging story for middle-grade readers about dealing with change and finding out who you are.
This is a story about a boy called Pender and a kangaroo called Brindabella, about how they became friends, and all the things that happened to them because of it. Pender and his father live in an old house made of honey-coloured stone in the bush by the river, with only the company of his father's paintings and the loyal dog, Billy-Bob. Then, on one winter morning, a gunshot amongst the trees changes everything. When Pender rescues Brindabella from the pouch of her murdered mother, an unusual friendship blossoms between the lonely boy and the orphaned joey. But Brindabella is no ordinary kangaroo. And though Pender has saved her life, the untameable wildness of the bush--and freedom--call to her... Lyrical and unforgettable, Brindabella explores the brutal beauty of the Australian bush.
What if you had just one week left to say goodbye to everything you've ever known? Toby and his mum and dad are leaving their family farm after the death of Toby's younger sister, Leah. Together, they sort through all their belongings and put things aside to sell or throw out. It's a big task, and Toby doesn't want to leave the only place he's called home. As his last day on the farm approaches, Toby has a plan - a plan to say goodbye to all the things and places that mean something special to him and Leah, from the machinery shed to Pa's old truck to the chook house. With the help of his best friend, Trigger the dog, he learns what it means to take your leave.
The town of Spindrift is frequented by pirates, Shadow Mages and charlatans. It's also home to the Orphanage School, where Finlay lives with Glim, Taya and Eli. Just outside town is the painfully posh Brathelthwaite Boarding School, home to Honey Bee, Hamish and Victor, Duke of Ainsley. When the two schools compete at the Spindrift Tournament, stakes are high, tensions are higher, and some people are out to win at any cost. Before long, the orphans and the boarding school are in an all-out war. And then Whispering Wars break out, and Spindrift is thrust onto the front lines. Children are being stolen, Witches, Sirens and a deadly magical flu invade the town, and all attempts to fight back are met with defeat. Finlay, Honey Bee and their friends must join forces to outwit the encroaching forces of darkness, rescue the stolen children, and turn the tide of the war.
Summary: Peony lives with her sister and grandfather on a fruit farm outside the city. In a world where real bees are extinct, the quickest, bravest kids climb the fruit trees and pollinate the flowers by hand. All Peony really wants is to be a bee. Life on the farm is a scrabble, but there is enough to eat and a place to sleep, and there is love. Then Peony's mother arrives to take her away from everything she has ever known, and all Peony's grit and quick thinking might not be enough to keep her safe.
Summary: Henrietta, the great go-getter, is going to be a big sister, but she'll have to wait half way to Christmas before the baby is ready. Five charming and quirky stories from the author of the CBCA shotlisted book Molly and Pim and the Millions of Stars.
Melbourne, Victoria : The Text Publishing Company, 2017
Honour Book 2018
Audience: Ages 9 - 12
Summary: There's a hill out the back of Joey's house. Hardly anyone goes there--it's not a beautiful place, just a covered-over old rubbish tip. But Joey likes it up there. It's his hill--somewhere he likes to go to wonder about life. He longs to be the best at something, to be a famous astronaut, or mountain climber, to stand out. When Joey discovers a tree house in an old peppercorn tree on the hill, he is annoyed that someone has invaded his special place. But he is also curious about who the intruder could be. But making contact isn't easy. The tree-house girl is wild and hostile and full of secrets--Joey needs to work out a way to win her over. And as he does, he finds a way to shine. This is a story about friendship and trust and learning to believe in yourself and what makes you special.
Summary: 'An elephant?' Arthur gasped. 'In your house? But... is it real?' Olive leaned a little closer and lowered her voice. 'Well, that's the thing . . . ' Olive's father has a sadness so big that she imagines it as a large grey elephant following him around. With the help of her cheery grandfather and her best friend, Arthur, Olive sets out to chase away her father's elephant.
Summary: Eleven-year-old Jonquil (known as Quil) Medway is a girl with more than an unusual name. Quil's parents died in a car accident when she was a baby and she now goes to boarding school, but spends her holidays with an aunt - or at camp, which is where Quil is heading when she decides to get off early at a train stop called Hoopers Bend. It is there that Quil meets Pirate, a chunky little white dog with black spots who immediately adopts her and Bailey, a crabby older lady who has gone to Hoopers Bend to check out the shop that has been left to her by an uncle. There is something magical about the shop at Hoopers Bend though, and once it casts its spell on Quil and Bailey they are drawn together in an unlikely friendship and their fight to save the shop from developers.
Summary: It struck Henry that perhaps he was waiting for the exact right moment to be daring and brave. The exact right moment where he felt no worry at all, not one tiny flicker. But what if that moment never came? Henry Hoobler is a reluctant adventurer who is worried about his summer vacation camping at the beach: bugs, spiders, snakes, stingers, blue-ringed octopi, or sharks. Worst of all, his family and friends are pushing him to ride his new silver bike--without training wheels. But when Henry meets Cassie, he discovers that courage is there to be found when you have a friend who is straight-up and true.
Summary: Join Clancy and Uncle Egg on a rambling, rockhopping adventure in Gariwerd (the Grampians), to find the source of the Glenelg River. A story about following your flow, and the unexpected places you may go.
Summary: Captain Cook and I have a lot of things in common. Here are three of the big ones: 1. We are both named James Cook. 2. We are both great explorers. 3. We both look great in a tricorn hat. Meet Captain Jimmy Cook - the not-quite-so-famous explorer (yet). He might be stuck in Third Grade, but he's got big plans to discover the world. First he needs to rally a crew, save an axolotl, and defeat his nemesis - Alice Toolie. Luckily, Jimmy's adventures are all recorded here in the history-making pages of his captain's log (which definitely in no way is a diary).
Summary: The little girl found under a bush has no name and cannot speak. Is she a miracle child who escaped the raiders, or is she a bad-luck child, the one who called the Bull King's ship to the island? No one sees the mama-stone around her neck, with the sign of the dragonfly. And only Luki, in training to leap the bulls, knows that she charmed the viper who would have killed him. When the girl turns twelve, she discovers her name - Aissa - and she knows that her one chance to live freely is to become a bull dancer, and be taken away to the island of the Bull King.
Summary: Annabel Grey is primed for a proper life as a young lady in Victorian England. But when her mother suddenly disappears, she is put in the care of two eccentric aunts who thrust her into a decidedly un-ladylike life, full of potions and flying broomsticks and wizards who eat nothing but crackers. Before Annabel can assess the most ladylike way to respond to her current predicament, she is swept up in an urgent quest. Annabel is pitted against another young witch, Kitty, to rescue the sacred Moreover Wand from the dangerous underworld that exists beneath London. The two girls outsmart trolls, find passage through a wall of faerie bones, and narrowly escape a dragon, but it doesn't take long for Annabel to see that the most dangerous part of her journey is her decision to trust this wild, magical girl.
Summary: Marnie Clark of Curdie Vale can ride but she doesn't have a horse. She dreams of owning one and having the whole world to ride it in. Before too long Marnie is gifted Mrs Margaret 'Maggie' Whitlam, a beautiful, big Clydesdale - bold, fearless and able to jump anything. From the very first ride, Marnie and Maggie get more adventure than they bargained for. Soon Marnie is learning to negotiate newfound friendships, pony club and how to stand up for what she believes in. Will her friendship with George Costa, another outsider, make being accepted harder? Or will being true to yourself be the hardest decision Marnie makes?
Summary: Whatever is coming, we'll face it together, as a family. As long as we're together, we'll be okay. For Miri and her family, life in Warsaw is full of simple joys. The smell of freshly baked challah, the promise of summer holidays, and Fridays when everyone comes together to celebrate the Sabbath. But when the Germans march into Warsaw with their campaign of hatred against the Jews, Miri and her family must move to the ghetto. One by one her family are taken from her, and Miri finds herself alone.
Based on true events, this book gives a realistic account of what is was like to be a Jewish child in Warsaw during the Holocaust.
Summary: After the Nazis took my parents I was scared. After they killed my best friend I was angry. After I joined the partisans and helped defeat the Nazis I was hopeful. Soon, I said, we'll be safe. I was wrong.
Series: Once - Book 5
Summary: A young Aboriginal girl is taken from the north of Australia and sent to an institution in the distant south. There, she slowly makes a new life for herself and, in the face of tragedy, finds strength in new friendships. Poignantly told from the child's perspective, Sister Heart affirms the power of family and kinship.
Summary: Britta of Del wants nothing less than to be the new Apprentice Trader of the Rosalyn fleet. Family and friends and even the terrible secret of her parentage will not stop her. But how can she succeed when her true identity must surely be guessed by Trader Mab, who knew her father, and the crew of the Star of Deltora? Relying on no more than her wits and the kind acts of friends she makes along the way, Britta is drawn closer and closer to her terrible destiny.
Summary: Cleo's best friend is away, her parents are busy, and there's nothing to do but count raindrops - or tidy her room. Just when she thinks she'll never cheer up, Cleo has an idea. In the next story, Cleo longs for a pet but her mum and dad say no. Perhaps the answer is hidden somewhere unexpected.
Summary: A smart but prickly 10-year-old must survive on wits and luck when she goes on the run in modern-day Sydney. Pip Sullivan's 10th birthday was a disaster--and that was only the beginning. With her beloved Sully in hospital and the welfare hot on her heels, Pip needs time, money, and a place to stay. She's determined to stay one step ahead of Senior Constable Molly Dunlop! With help from her friends--including a psychic cat and a canine escape artist--Pip needs to stay out of dreaded foster homes so she can help Sully get better. Run, Pip, Run is a warm-hearted story about a small girl on her own in a big city, but who knows a thing or two about loyalty, bravery, and friendship.
Summary: Molly's mother is not like other mothers: she collects herbs and makes potions, perhaps even magical potions. Molly wants to be normal, like her friend Ellen, and watch television and eat food that comes in packets. But when Molly's mother accidentally turns herself into a tree, Molly turns to the strange and wonderful Pim for help.
Summary: Meet Cleo, a little girl with a big imagination - a memorable character created by children's book legends Libby Gleeson and Freya Blackwood. Delightful, warm and irresistible, these stories show how a little girl with a big imagination can always find a way to have fun.
Summary: One afternoon, police officers show up at Ben Silver's front door. Minutes after they leave, his parents arrive home. Ben and his little sister Olive are bundled into the car and told they're going on a holiday. But are they? It does's take long for Ben to realise that his parents are in trouble. Ben's always dreamed of becoming a detective - his dad even calls him 'Cop.' Now Ben gathers evidence and tries to uncover what his parents have done. The problem is, if he figures it out, what does he do? Tell someone? Or keep the secret and live life on the run?
Summary: High on a cliff above the gloomy coastal town of Withering-by-Sea stands the Hotel Majestic. Inside the walls of the damp, dull hotel, eleven-year-old orphan Stella Montgomery leads a miserable life with her three dreadful Aunts.
Summary: Stephen has never met his great aunt Lola, and he doesn't want to. She sends him money twice a year and he always writes back, but Lola is almost eighty - what will they have to talk about? When they arrive at her house, Stephen discovers she's grumpy, scary and really, really old. He wants to turn around and go home, but his mum says they have to stay until Lola's birthday - three weeks away. Left to his own devices, Stephen learns about the simple things in life - like fishing, and cricket, and climbing trees - and the importance of family. Soon Lola entrusts Stephen with a great secret, and he realises that Lola has become more important to him than just an aunt who sends him money - she's now a friend.
Summary: Jesse is an eleven-year-old boy tackling many problems in life, especially fitting in to a new school. Luckily he meets Kate. She has curly black hair, braces and an infectious smile. She wants to 'save the Whales' and needs Jesse's help. But they haven't counted on Hunter, the school bully, who appears to enjoy hurling insults at random. With Hunter's catchphrase 'Ha!' echoing through the school, something or someone has to give. But will it be Jesse? Kate? or is there more to Hunter than everyone thinks?
Summary: A quest that takes two children and a goat on an adventure on the road! A funny, original story from a young, first time author. Figgy has two problems. One is her name. Nobody in Ghana has that name. The other is that her grandmother is ill and needs special medicine. Figgy can't do much about her name, but she can do something for Grandma Ama.
Summary: Monsters have been infesting London's dark places for centuries, eating every child who gets too close. That's why ten-year-old Birdie McAdam works for Alfred Bunce, the bogler. With her beautiful voice and dainty looks, Birdie is the bait that draws bogles from their lairs so that Alfred can kill them. One life-changing day, Alfred and Birdie are approached by two very different women. Sarah Pickles runs a local gang of pickpockets, three of whom have disappeared. Edith Eames is an educated lady who's studying the mythical beasts of English folklore. Both of them threaten the only life Birdie's ever known. But Birdie soon realises she needs Miss Eames's help to save her master, defeat Sarah Pickles, and vanquish an altogether nastier villain.
Summary: Introducing Candice Phee: twelve years old, hilariously honest and a little ... odd. But she has a big heart, the very best of intentions and an unwavering determination to ensure everyone is happy. So she sets about trying to 'fix' all the problems of all the people [and pets] in her life.
Summary: Brought to life by illustrations, historical photographs, and memorabilia, this cloth-bound book is made to look like a notebook from the period. In 1914, Jim and Charlie abandon the Australian outback for the excitement of the war to end all wars. But, they quickly discover the brutal realities of life on the frontline, and nothing will ever be the same again. A beautifully illustrated historical picture book about the fate of horses during World War I, this adventure goes behind the scenes with the great Australian and New Zealand Army Corps legends for an intimate look at their experience.
Summary: Peat is on the run - forced to flee for her life when she's blamed for bringing bad luck to her village. She heads for the endless marshes, where she's caught by an old healer-woman who makes Peat her apprentice and teaches her the skill of storytelling.
Summary: Violet Mackerel has moved into her new house. There is a girl next door who could be a possible friend. Her name is Rose and she has a pink and white bedroom and a dolls house. Violet hopes that Rose might not be just a possible friend for very long. Instead, she would quite like Rose to be a very good friend.
Summary: It's 1939, and for Georg, son of an English academic living in Germany, life is full of cream cakes and loving parents. It is also a time when his teacher measures the pupils’ heads to see which of them have the most 'Aryan'- shaped heads. But when a university graduation ceremony turns into a pro-Nazi demonstration, Georg is smuggled out of Germany to war-torn London and then across enemy seas to Australia where he must forget his past and who he is in order to survive.
Summary: Kieran wants to be part of the in-group at school. He wants to be on the football team. He wants to fit in. But then his cousin Bon turns up. Bon doesn’t know anything about fitting in - he looks different, he wears the wrong clothes and he says weird things. Kieran just wants to ignore Bon, but soon he is forced to make a choice.
Camberwell, Vic. : Penguin Group (Australia), 2012
Audience/ Format: Secondary school age
Summary: In the fourth part of Felix's story, continuing his adventures in World War Two, he faces perhaps his greatest challenge - to find hope when he's lost almost everything, including his parents. As Europe goes through the final agonizing stages of the war, Felix struggles to reconcile hatred and healing. He's helped by a new friend, but if he should lose her as well...
Summary: Three children have been sent to live in the countryside, safe from the war in London. When they find two boys hiding in a castle, the past and future come together to make an extraordinary adventure.
Summary: In a country town, in a school just like yours, the kids in Class 6A write their poems. There's Mick, school captain and sometime trouble-maker, who wants to make the school a better place, while his younger brother Jacob just wants to fly. There's shy and lonely Laura who hopes to finally fit in with a circle of friends, while Pete struggles to deal with his grandpa's sudden death. Popular Selina obsesses over class comedian Cameron, while Cameron obsesses over Anzac biscuits and Pookie Aleera - whoever that is! For new teacher Ms Arthur, it's another world, but for Mr Korsky, the school groundskeeper, he's seen it all before.
Summary: Flame-haired Saffron is the youngest of the five Silk sisters. Her family know that she has a talent for becoming Anne of Green Gables or Cleopatra, and that she loves reading myths and legends. But they don’t know about the firebirds that come to warn her of terrible headaches. And Saffron doesn’t know how to tell them.