The War That Saved My Life is an outstanding, heart-warming, coming-of-age story set in the English countryside during World War 2 and is historical fiction at its best. Reminiscent of Goodnight Mister Tom, we highly recommend it as a holiday read for our younger Middle Years' students.
The plot of Golden Boys begins when a new family move into a working-class Australian suburb. The Jensons are different to the other families in the neighbourhood. They are wealthy and their house, mountains of toys and brand new swimming pool are the envy of all. Yet, from the very beginning, it is clear that the father, Rex, is not all that he seems.
Loyal Creatures is set in World War One and although it is about a real war and inspired by real events, author Morris Gleitzman tells us that “it isn’t a history book”. Rather it is a book written to inspire our imaginations about what it may have been like to volunteer in the war as so many Australian men and women did.
What a strange and beautiful book this was! It was my first real taste of magical realism and I was prepared not to like it. However, I was hooked from the very start of this unusual saga by the lyrical writing style that I found reminiscent of Margo Lanagan's Sea Hearts.
A recommendation for teachers and parents is Jacks and Jokers. This novel is the sequel to Three Crooked Kings by Matthew Condon which was a popular read among the adults of our community last year. For those wanting to continue the tale of Terry Lewis, they won’t be disappointed by this next instalment in the planned trilogy. Readers of this book will witness the events that unfolded in Queensland as Terry Lewis becomes Police Commissioner and the era of drugs, crime and corruption at the highest level of the police and government continues.
If I stay by Gayle Forman, one of our favourite books, has been made into a movie that has been released just in time for holidays. We highly recommend seeing this movie but warn that you really should read the book first! The movie stars Chloe Grace Moretz, Mireille Enos and Jamie Blackly. The other good news is, if you love the movie, there is a sequel to the book.
Orphan Train is set during two time periods. The first is present day United States of America and the second focuses on the period in US history between 1854 and 1929. The historic setting delves into the “orphan train” movement, which transported a reported 200, 000 orphaned or abandoned children sent to the Midwest.
Justine and Perry are 20-year old twins. Perry has a brain condition that may cause him to feel anxious in social situations and he has trouble mixing and communicating with people. Justine has been both sister and carer to Perry all his life and more so since their father’s death from cancer. The two have decided that the time has come for Perry to move into supported living at the Fair Go Community Village
Light Horse Boy is a powerful book based on the historical events of 1914 - 1918. The characters in the book are fictitious but due to the author’s meticulous research of records and diaries, they are vividly brought to life. This is enhanced through the mixed media of the text which includes letters, diary entries and prose. The visual photographs and beautiful charcoal illustrations by Brian Simmonds also bring the story to life.
Brilliant is an uplifting book about children tackling an insidious mood that has taken over Dublin and many of the adults who live there. This includes their favourite uncle, Ben, who is no longer his cheerful self and has come to live with them after losing his business. The kids know something bigger is at stake because the adults are full of whispers and they decide to find out what it is.
The Red Kimono by Jan Morill deals with the experience of Japanese Americans who were put into internment camps during World War 2. The author's mother was interned and Morill informs the novel through both historical research and her own knowledge of her family experiences. She also explores the complex relationship between white, black, Asian and southern values that existed at the time.