The boy, who remains nameless throughout the story, lives on an outback farm with his parents. The land has been cleared to make way for the wheat, and the parents have ambitions for their son to take over the farm and expand it in the future. But they are blind to the uniqueness of both the land and their son. The boy’s soul is tortured by the hardship of farm life, by the felling of the trees that takes habitat from the native animals, and by the lack of understanding that his parents show towards the boy’s feelings and nature. So when they are furious at the boy for renting a book from the library man, the boy makes a decision – to leave the farm and never return.
There are many interwoven strands in this unusual picture book – environment, individualism, teenage choices and families. Susy Boyer’s light pencil illustrations match the quality of light that you get in the outback – the washed-out colours and white, white light. Gary Crew has been on an environmental kick of late, and is working with an interesting selection of illustrators. The bleak ending may not be to everyone’s tastes, but it is certainly different.
Recommended for upper primary and above.
The Naming of Tishkin Silk is one of the most moving books you will ever read.
Griffin Silk is an uncommon boy, born after Scarlet, Indigo, Violet, Amber and Saffron, on that most uncommon of days, the twenty-ninth of February. But he is not the last of the family to born.
Griffin has a secret in his heart, that no-one else knows, and that no-one else can be told, until Layla comes into Griffin’s life.
Glenda Millard is one of Australia’s finest writers for young people. She has a particular style, a finesse, and a way of helping you to see right to the heart of the matter.
Recommended for Younger Readers and beyond.
Layla needs a Senior Citizen to take to school for Senior Citizens Day. Griffin offers to share his grandma, Nell, but both Layla and Nell know that it’s not the same is having your own special person. So Layla, Nell and Griffin start a search for someone to become Layla’s special friend.
In typical fashion, Glenda Millard writes with passion and love of the problems that face children AND adults.
Recommended for Younger Readers and above.
Gabby has embarrasing parents (like we all do). She has a best friend and someone she likes. But the person she likes (Si) happens to be her best friend’s boyfriend!! When Si throws himself at her, Gabby goes along with it. Her mum annouces she’s having a baby but Gabby wants nothing to do with the baby. She throws herself into her school life but it comes crashing down on her when her best friend finds out what happened with Si. Gabby feels very alone. Her mum has the baby and doesn’t want it. Gabby has to do it all.
Recommended for teens.
This is a good first novel with authentic male teen voices. Jack, or Sticks, is on the cusp of manhood. He is tall and thin, hence the nickname Sticks, and has the usual amount of problems with the way he looks. But Sticks has a little extra problem – PE – pectus excavatum – a condition where the sternum and ribs cave into the chest cavity. He is so mortified by this ‘deformity’ that he hides his PE from everyone, even his Dad. Sticks’ dad has great expectiations for his son. A Vietnam vet, with multiple health issues, Brian has high hopes that Jack will follow him into the army. But Sticks has other ideas about the direction his life is going to take.
Covering friendship, relationships, family, illnesses, school life, rugby, partying and bullying, this is a far ranging novel, which works on most levels.
Recommended for older readers. Drug use and mild swearing.
Recommended for Older Readers
The Knife of Never Letting Go is the first book in the Chaos Walking series by Patrick Ness. It is set on a futuristic earthlike planet, where settlers have come to start a New World. But all is not as it seems. Todd Hewitt is the last ‘boy’ in Prenticetown, a small village where the men rule and the women have all died from the virus that infects the settlers when they arrived – a virus that gives the men the ability to hear the thoughts of each other, and all the animals and sentient beings within range. The men call this The Noise. When Todd discovers a small patch of ‘quiet’ near his village he has no idea of the chaos that is about to be unleashed.
The Knife of Never Letting Go is compelling and frightening, dragging you along on a wave of adventure and intrigue. It is recommended for secondary students.
Check out Patrick Ness’s webpage HERE.