ReadPlus is a collection of selected books and films arranged under themes. This web site provides lists, reviews and resources for librarians, teachers and parents about books for young people aged 5 to 18.
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Latest Review

Feb 23 2018

White Night by Ellie Marney

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Allen and Unwin, 2018. ISBN 9781760293550
(Age: 14+) Highly recommended. Themes: Mystery and suspense. Diversity. Family relationships. Collectives. Environmental protection. Country life. "In Bo Mitchell's country town, a White Night light-show event has the potential to raise vital funds to save the skate park. And out of town, a girl from a secretive off-the-grid community called Garden of Eden has the potential to change the way Bo sees the world. But are there too many secrets in Eden?" (Publisher)
With problems looming at home with his father, Bo becomes increasingly drawn to Rory, the girl from the Garden of Eden commune, the members of which believe in being self-sufficient, growing their own food, recycling everything and refusing to use plastic. But some things about Ray, the mediator in the community, seem off as Bo becomes more involved in their life.
Bo is one of the most engaging male adolescents that I have read about for quite some time. He has a very caring relationship with Rory and although there are opportunities, he doesnt take advantage of her. Although things are strained at home with family secrets beginning to emerge, Marney shows a loving home life with rules that Bo respects. At school, things are hard for Rory as she tries to fit in, but Bo tries to help her out, while he struggles with deciding what courses he should do - play football or become a chef. Bo's friends too are very relatable, as they party by the creek and organise a White Night to make enough money to keep the skate park open.
Marney has written a cracking suspenseful story that keeps the reader engaged and wondering what will happen next. At the same time life in a small country town is explored and the reader will learn lots about how teens could organise to keep a community place as Sprog fights to save the skate park.
With its complex themes of sustainability, family relations and communal living as well as a tense plot, White Night could make an engaging class novel for older teens.
Pat Pledger



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Feb 23 2018

How to blitz nits (and other nasties) by Mumsnet

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Bloomsbury, 2018. ISBN 9781408862155
(Age: Parenting book) This is a parenting book for people who hate parenting books. It portrays the reality of being a parent in a way that politically correct parenting books rarely do. Would they talk about what to do when you child does a poo so...
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Feb 23 2018

Insides out by Zack Zombie

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Diary of a Minecraft Zombie Book 11. Koala Books, 2017. ISBN 9781743818398
(Age: 8+) Highly recommended. This book is written from Zack's point of view and describes what it is like to be a 13 year old Zombie.
Zack finds himself changing and he has to find a way to deal...
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Feb 23 2018

Parmesan the reluctant racehorse by Jacqui Halpin

cover imageIll. by John Phillips. Little Pink Dog Books, 2018. ISBN 9780994626929
(Age: 4+) Themes: Racehorses, Being yourself, Dogs, Training. Parmesan is born a horse, but from the first moment much prefers the company of the dogs, to such an extent that he thinks he is a dog. Readers will love the...
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Feb 21 2018

The elephant by Peter Carnavas

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University of Queensland Press, 2017. ISBN 9780702259616
(Age: Primary) I highly recommend this book. Olive imagines the sadness felt by her family members as different grey animals. These animals appear to follow the person around and pull them down, while the grey animals are there the...
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Feb 21 2018

The wizards of once by Cressida Cowell

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Hodder Children's Books, 2017. ISBN 9781444939576
(Age: 10+) A wizard with no magic and a warrior with magic get stuck in a big mess. Can a wizard and a warrior be friends and get out alive?
This story is make-believe but the story is so intense it feels like you are the characters....
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Feb 21 2018

Battle for the shadow sword by Adam Blade

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Team hero, bk 1. Orchard Books, 2017. ISBN 9781408343517
The first chapter is when Jack used his powers to save people in his class. The first chapter made me want to read more.
The problem was not predictable and the conclusion was not predictable either. Sometimes when you...
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Feb 21 2018

Skip to the loo! A potty book by Sally Lloyd-Jones

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Ill. by Anita Jeram. Walker Books, 2018. ISBN 9781406377347
(Ages: 1-3) Toilet training. Board book. Rhyming book. Bunny needs his potty so off he skips to the loo and one by one, many other characters join in. "Look! Everyone's on their potties! POO! POO! POO!" It's a potty party: all...
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Feb 20 2018

Room on our rock by Kate and Jol Temple

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Ill. by Terri Rose Baynton. Scholastic, 2018. ISBN 9781742764108
(Age: 4+) Highly recommended. Themes: Refugees. By the time any child reads to the end of this book, they will be saddened by the selfish seals, reigning over their bit of rock in a vast ocean, turning away a mother and her...
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Feb 20 2018

Jack's daughter: Growing up German in World War 11 Broken Hill by Christine Ellis

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Wakefield Press, 2017. ISBN 9781743055090
Recommended for mature readers of historical biography. Christine Ellis writes a loving biography of her mother's life.
Maisie Schuster's father Jack died at the age of 54 years when she was ten years old. His illness from pneumoconiosis...
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Feb 20 2018

Boogie bear by David Walliams

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Ill. by Tony Ross. HarperCollins, 2018. ISBN 9780008172770
(Age: 5+) Highly recommended. Themes: Difference, Polar bears, Brown bears, Adventure. When the polar bear falls asleep after eating her magnificent lunch, she wakes to find that the ice on which she has slept has broken away and...
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Feb 20 2018

48 hours: The vanishing by Gabrielle Lord

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48 Hours series book 1. Scholastic, 2018. ISBN 9781743629758
(Age: 11+) Highly recommended. Themes: Kidnapping, Detectives, Murder enquiries. Jazz's best friend, Anika has been kidnapped. Her blog about a dusty old journal she found hidden in her house seems to have attracted the...
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Feb 20 2018

Pax by Sara Pennypacker

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Ill. by Jon Klassen. HarperCollins, 2017. ISBN 9780008158286
(Age: 11 - adult) Highly recommended. War, peace, Animals, Foxes. When his gruff and distant father leaves to fight in the war, motherless Peter is forced to stay with his grandfather and made to abandon his pet, a fox called...
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Feb 19 2018

The brilliant fall of Gianna Z. by Kate Messner

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Bloomsbury, 2018. ISBN 9781681195476
(Age: 10+) Highly recommended. E.B. White Read Aloud Award 2010. On your mark... get set... go finish your science project? All Gianna Zales wants is to compete at the cross-country...
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Feb 19 2018

Deception by Teri Terry

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Dark Matter, book 2. Orchard Books, 2018. ISBN 9781408341742
(Age: 13+) Recommended. Themes: Science fiction. Epidemics. Dystopian fiction. Following on immediately from Contagion, the first book in the series,...
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Feb 19 2018

In the city I see by Tori-Jay Mordey

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Magabala Books, 2018. ISBN 9781925360790
(Ages: 0-3) Themes: Cities. Board Book. These Young Art books (other titles are At the beach I see, At the zoo I see) are simple but beautiful with each...
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Feb 19 2018

Valensteins by Ethan Long

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Bloomsbury, 2018. ISBN 9781619634336
(Ages: 5-10) This can be summarised simply as monsters learning about love. Fans of Long's previous book Fright Club will love this as it uses the same cast of characters and...
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Feb 18 2018

Indigo Blue by Jessica Watson

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Hachette, 2018. ISBN 9780734418135
(Age: 12+) Recommended. Themes: Adventure, Friendship, Relationships, Sailing. Jessica Watson's magical story Indigo Blue explores Year 12 student Alex's move to a new school, her life with her eccentric aunt, her love of sailing and her...
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Feb 18 2018

Julius Zebra: Entangled with the Egyptians by Gary Northfield

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Walker, 2018. ISBN 9781406371802
(Age: 8+) Recommended. Themes: Animal Stories, Ancient Egypt. Julius Zebra: Entangled with the Egyptians is the third graphic novel written and illustrated by Gary Northfield. This is another laugh out loud story, filled with puns, jokes, sarcastic...
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Feb 18 2018

Quark's Academy by Catherine Pelosi

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Lothian, 2018. ISBN 9780734417800
(Age: 9-12) Recommended. Themes: Science, Scientists, Mysteries. Catherine Pelosi's debut novel explores the lives of three young scientific masterminds and their mysterious adventures at summer camp. Augustine, Celeste and Oscar receive special...
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Feb 18 2018

Me too by Erika Geraerts and Charl Laubscher

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Ill. by Andy Murray 'Gatsby'. Walker Books Australia, 2018. ISBN 9781925381900
(Age: 3-6) Me too is a delightful and simple exploration of friendship as a young girl and boy express their wishes for someone to share in their activities. There is a simplicity to the dialogue, a...
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Feb 18 2018

Release by Patrick Ness

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Walker Books, 2017. ISBN 9781406331172
(Age: 17+) Themes: Homosexuality; Family; Friendships; Sexual Identity; Ghosts; Freedom from the past. Patrick Ness is a patron for a group that promotes diversity in schools, and this book introduces sexually diverse representations. The central...
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Feb 16 2018

My brigadista year by Katherine Paterson

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Candlewick, 2018. ISBN 9780763695088
(Age: 10+) Highly recommended. "When thirteen-year-old Lora tells her parents that she wants to join Premier Castro's army of young literacy teachers, her mother screeches to high heaven, and her father roars like a lion. Lora has barely been outside...
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Feb 16 2018

Three cheers for women by Marcia Williams

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Walker Books, 2018. ISBN 9781406374865
(Age: 8-80) Highly recommended. Subjects: Women - History, Women - Biography. Popular British author and illustrator Marcia Williams (Dot) celebrates the astonishing achievements of women from all over the globe, from ancient to modern times. Her...
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Feb 16 2018

Beautiful mess by Claire Christian

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The Text Publishing Company, 2017. ISBN 97819254988547
(Age: 17+) Winner Text Prize. Themes: Mental Illness; Suicide; Grief; Coming-of-Age. The mess that occurs in Ava's life is not going to get cleaned up easily - her best friend has died. Gideon's mess is almost paralysing as he...
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Feb 14 2018

The Harper effect by Taryn Bashford

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Pan Macmillan 2017. ISBN 9781760552091
(Age: 13+) Highly recommended. Themes: Tennis. Change. Coming of age. Harper Hunter has devoted the last ten years of her life to tennis. It is her past, present, and, with any luck, her future. But that future is threatened when she turns to putty...
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Feb 14 2018

The Book of Dust: La belle sauvage by Philip Pullman

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Book of dust, vol. 1. David Fickling Books, 2017. ISBN 9780857561084
(Age: 12+) Highly recommended. Many years have passed since the completion of His dark materials and now Pullman fans have been graced by the first in a prequel series following baby Lyra and her...
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Feb 14 2018

Dino Diggers: Crane calamity by Rose Impey

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Ill. by Chris Chatterton Bloomsbury, 2018. ISBN 9781408872468
The Dino Diggers have a new project - this time they are building a new house for Mr and Mrs Triceratops and all the little ceratops. But not not all of them are working hard - Ricky Raptor the apprentice is day-dreaming about...
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