As we reach the end of another year, it’s a good time to look at some of the fabulous Children’s and Non-Speculative Young Adult books which have been reviewed over the past couple of months.
Brona’s Books had a great time looking at a range of children’s books dealing with imagination and animals and everyday living. Suri’s Wall by debut author Lucy Estella is a story about being different and wanting to be accepted. Brona loved the way this book gave her “equal shivers of delight and despair”, and she insists that you need to read it yourself!
Sad the Dog by Sandy Fussell also explores themes of belonging. Brona points out that it’s a book which is appealing to young readers and shoppers:
“. . . as a blogger, I wish I could share this whole delightful story with you, page by whimsical page. But my job is to entice you enough with this post so that you will go and check it out yourselves. And you should. Soon. You will be charmed I’m sure.”
There’s a new instalment in the award-winning The Cleo Stories, by Libby Gleeson – A Friend and A Pet. These books contain two stories which act as two chapters – a nice way of moving young readers into chapter books.
“Gleeson elevates these everyday dramas to story-worthy status – the good times and the not so good – rainy days, grumpy out-of-sorts days, no-one to play with days and boring days.”
Gillian Mears’ The Cat with the Coloured Tail is another early reader book, about a cat, its owner and their ability to help people feel happy.
“Some of Mears’ cat descriptions are so perfect you can almost feel the cat curled up in your lap or poking his head out through the top of your jumper. His kitten-like way of chasing his own tail of happiness is an image that I will cherish for a long time to come.”
Famous Animals Vol. 1 by Katie W. Stewart mixes animals and famous humans to create a quirky book for readers of all ages. Brenda loved the way the author brought together animal and human, with brief informative passages and clever combining joins.
“Children and adults alike will love Aussie author Katie W. Stewart’sFamous Animals (Volume 1) – her obvious sense of humour combined with a love of art, history and animals is sure to appeal to all. A great gift idea, released just in time for Christmas.”
In the Young Adults category Carol looked at Graffiti Moon by Cath Crowley, about four teenagers who are on the verge of adulthood and finding out who they want to be.
“This book is a beautiful coming of age story that is the perfect pick me up for any waning spirits – full of lovable characters, complex yet not complicated issues, full of big ideas ( the images/art work descriptions here are poetic and beautiful and sad all at the same time), some great descriptive prose, colours, colour and more colour. I loved it.”
Debbie looked at the classic Drowning Maze by Jean Curlewis which was an entertaining read filled with quick scenes and interesting characters. Debbie was particularly fascinated by the glimpses into the past, a look at an area she knows well but which seems completely different.
Tarla reviewed Rosanne Hawke’s The Messenger Bird, a story about grief and music and a time travelling visitor.
“It has everything I want in a novel: history, mystery, a crumbling old house with a secret garden, and a little romance. And all set in a South Australian landscape.”
Finally Brona also reviewed a Young Adult novel, looking at Green Valentine by Lili Wilkinson. She found a strong connection with the main character Astrid, and found herself revisiting her young-girl-with-a-cause days, while also enjoying the romance and summer holiday feel of the book:
“This is a romantic romp with a great big environmental heart. This is the kind of teen fiction I would have lapped up in my day – I’ve always been a sucker for a nobody-puts-baby-in-the-corner ending!”
It was fabulous to hear the results of the Prime Minister’s Literary Awards and to learn that The Protected by Claire Zorn won the Young Adult fiction category. This is a fabulous book which has been well received by many reviewers. You can read a review by Louise from A Strong Belief in Wicker here, and another by Lisa from Welcome to My Library here. Claire Zorn wrote a very thoughtful post about the awards and general funding for writing, authors and book at Inside a Dog, and I highly recommend reading it!
I hope you’ve enjoyed a wonderful 2015 filled with lots of Children’s and Young Adult’s reading – I look forward to bringing you more reviews in 2016.
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 enjoying the rich world of picture books with my three year old, revisiting some of my favourite authors and reviewing books when I manage not to lose my blog . . .