Review: A Fun Look at the Adventures of a Raccoon Who Thought She Was a Dog

Pumpkin: The Raccoon Who Thought She Was a Dog, Laura Young (author), Pan Macmillan 2016  Synopsis: When Laura Young found an injured baby raccoon in her back garden she didn't know what a big part of the family she was about to become. Laura and her husband, William, named her Pumpkin and her bond with their rescue dogs, Toffee and Oreo, was soon obvious. The three of them take naps, watch TV and cuddle each other and Pumpkin is always with her two new mums. Be prepared to fall in love with ...
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Top 16 of ’16

  Every year I, together with my two girls, reflect on our year in books - the ones that made us laugh, cry, connect, ponder and encourage affection. I also usually review my statistics on books borrowed, received for review and bought, but this year let’s just say, it's hugely extensive, and still counting. So, once again, of all the beauty, heartbreak, joy and wisdom we've so fortunately added to our literary repertoire, here are Miss M (age 7) and Miss A’s (almost 4) top 16 childre...
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Review: A Picture Book Exploring the Life of Dame Nellie Melba

Meet... Nellie Melba, Janeen Brian (author), Claire Murphy (illus.), Random House, 2016 Synopsis: Dame Nellie Melba was Australia's first classical music star. The beauty of her singing was celebrated around the globe. She was appointed Dame Commander, OBE for her enormous fundraising efforts during World War One and today she is commemorated on Australia's hundred dollar banknote. This is the story of how she rose to fame, and how she brought opera to Australians in the city and in the bus...
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Review: A Moving Picture Book Dealing with Love, Loss, Family and Legacy

One Photo picture book, Penguin Books, Ross Watkins, Liz Anelli
One Photo, Ross Watkins (author), Liz Anelli (illus.), Penguin Books, 2016 Dad came home one day with one of those old cameras, the kind that use film. But Dad didn’t take photos of the regular things people photograph... Created by Ross Watkins (who you may know as the illustrator of The Boy Who Grew Into a Tree, written by Gary Crew), the story in One Photo is at once moving, poignant, timely and inspirational. Many adults will be sure to identify with the story, which revolves around th...
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Review: A New Picture Book Perfect for Dog Lovers

Oh, Albert! Davina Bell (author), Sara Acton (illus.), Penguin Books, 2016 Synopsis: Albert can’t help getting into mischief when no one is around. But one day he goes too far... Oh, Albert! A perfect story about a family and their not-so-perfect (but loveable!) dog. Oh, Albert! is an adorable picture book perfect for animal-loving families who will no doubt enjoy reading about a mischievous dog, Albert, who is lovable but also often a handful. The story’s honest look at dog behaviours...
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How Fitzy Fox came to Amelia Trompf on a Bus

Primary teacher and language specialist, Amelia Trompf, is now the debut author of gorgeous picture book, Who is Fitzy Fox? (see my review). We are excited to be included on the Fitzy Fox blog tour as Amelia introduces us to the world of her curious four-legged friend. Thanks for sharing your experiences of creating your book with us, Amelia! 🐶 🐺 ________________________________________ Sitting in front of my Grade 1 class in my first year of teaching with a book in hand an...
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Lessons from a punnet of tomatoes.

One thing I love about the creative industries is that several people can have a similar idea yet express it in totally different ways. This was brought home to me the other evening when attending a talk by CBCA judge, Cathie Tasker. Cathie pointed out that two of the books shortlisted for awards this year were on the same theme, yet they were different in so many ways – Mr Huff and What’s Up MuMu? You can see even from the covers the difference in approach and mood – such a contrast! Wal...
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Connecting Friends Oceans Apart

Guest Post by Robert Vescio Connecting Friends Oceans Apart It is with great pleasure to welcome children's author Robert Vescio to share his inspiration for writing his latest, heartwarming book, Jack and Mia - a story on everlasting friendship and long-distance connections. ------------------------------------------------------------------------- I wrote Jack and Mia to show how friendships (rich in imagination) can survive distance by finding creative ways to stay connected. Jac...
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Our Country, Our Stories – Reviews and Activities

It's that glorious time again where teachers, parents, children, literacy creatives and advocates raid the bookshelves (and craft cupboards) in honour of the annual Book Week celebrations! Hosted by the Children's Book Council of Australia and running from August 20th to 26th, this year's theme is inspiring; it's 'Australia! Story Country'. Last year I wrote the articles Books Light Up Our World and More Books to Light Up Our World posts. In accordance, this year I will provide a summary of b...
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Naomi Hunter Shares her Secrets to her Success

It is a pleasure to welcome author Naomi Hunter to Just Write For Kids this week to share her experiences both personally and in the children's literature industry. Her openness and generosity is highly commended and appreciated in the community, and particularly for those with whom she's touched deeply with her first book, A Secret Safe to Tell. Here is a life-altering, empowering story of a young girl confused by the physical, intrusive actions of an older 'friend'. With gentle, encouraging ...
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