We’re nearing the end of the year, but some absolutely beautiful reviews continue to come in to the challenge!
Brona revealed that she’s a little ashamed that it’s taken her 6 years to get to Sally Rippin’s Billie B Brown books, but found it an easy choice for her niece’s birthday (and don’t feel too ashamed – I’m still to get to them as well!) Billie B Brown the Soccer Star deals with a common playground gender problem when Billie is told she can’t play soccer with her best friend and other boys because she’s a girl.
“In three easy chapters, Rippin introduces Billie and her best friend, Jack . . . With large font and fun illustrations by Aki Fukuoka, the beginning reader experiences success and satisfaction from start to finish.”
We don’t get to see too many early reader books here, but they’re such important books for new readers and Australian women writers are doing a fabulous job at creating modern, interesting books.
Cassandra reviewed Shattered by Sharon M. Johnston – a sci fi/urban fantasy second book in the Open Heart series. Cassandra was particularly pleased to see that the book picked up where the first one left off:
“Thus begins a road trip across Queensland. I loved the Australian setting and speech patterns. Americanisms are one of those things that Aussie readers get used to seeing in our fiction, to the point where, when Mischa commented that she had to go to the loo, I sat back and grinned about it.”
“This book is amazing guys. Actually it’s even better than that. It’s uplifting, inspiring, comforting, fresh, invigorating, devastating, and kind of a little miracle all at once. For anyone who likes mythology or even knows a bit about it, this is the book you need to read pronto!”
This book combines a small Australian town with all that brings, mythology and a love story of epic proportions. Jess writes that it was a spur of the moment read – and she was very happy she picked it up. As well as the mythology, she was struck by other elements of the book:
“The characters. Oh the characters. Jane Abbott has gone above and beyond board to create a very uniquely Australian setting and cast of characters that keep their ‘Australian qualities’ while also being very universally readable. Kincasey, Abbott’s fictional rural town has all the big personalities you’d expect to find the world over – the jocks, the bullies, the outcasts etc -, and yet somehow these ‘basic’ characters seem fresh and more daunting when faced with mythological powers.”
It’s very clear that Australian readers are looking to read Australian stories. It’s wonderful that we have so many of those available to us.
Despite others hinting that I am supposed to ‘grow up’ at some point, books for young people continue to play a huge part in my reading life. This has served me well, when I became a teacher and was known for always having a book recommendation at hand. I’m currently writing novel studies as teaching resources, enjoying the rich world of picture books with my four-year-old and baby, revisiting some of my favourite authors and reviewing books when I manage not to lose my blog . . .