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Checkout the latest recommended resources from the SLANSW Review Team

  • 14 Aug 2023 11:22 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Title: Remember Triple zero Heroes

    Author: J.E. Miller

    Reviewer: Donna Dobson

    Audience: 7-10

    “They help us all and make the world a better place to live.”

    In this story a young child ‘steps into the shoes of others’ to experience what their job entails. 

    The story carries a message encouraging the reader to develop an understanding and respect for the way in which people help out in the community, often putting their own lives at risk. 

    This book is shortlisted on the Speech Pathology Australian Book of the Year Awards, age category 8-10 year olds, nominated for children’s language and literacy development.

    Links to PDHPE Curriculum

  • 14 Aug 2023 11:12 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Title: The Concrete Garden

    Author: Bob Graham

    Reviewer: Donna Dobson

    Audience: 5+

    "The picture crossed deserts and mountains and cities. It bounced across the world…"

    Lockdown, children living in high rise apartments, time to venture outdoors. Armed with chalk and imagination, the children take over the concrete basketball court, creating ‘a beautiful and exotic garden…And the Queen of Swirls ruled’.

    The innocence and creativity of children making the best of what’s in front of them is revealed in this book. The children create a massive piece of art that is shared online once, then quickly multiplies until it is shared around the world. 

    Links to Science and Art Curriculums.

  • 14 Aug 2023 10:59 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Title: The Jammer

    Author: Nova Weetman

    Reviewer: Rhonda Bruce

    Audience: Middle Grade

    "And I heard the wire door, banging my way outside to the hot summer night and no more conversations about the derby. Behind me, I hear quiet whispery voices like everyone is trying to work out how to deal with me. And everything hurts like I've taken a bad fall on wheels." (Page 68)

    Fred is a twelve-year old  whose name was chosen by her Dereby-mad Mum to rhyme with her derby name, Fred the Dead. Fred lives and breathes derby and started skating as soon as she could walk. Her derby roller kit is now at the bottom of the Brisbane River. Fred is struggling with major changes in her life including grief, growing up, relationships and belonging. 

    This is a book that handles coping with grief in a sensitive way and the tumultuous changes that can occur in life.

    Links to the English Curriculum


  • 14 Aug 2023 10:48 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Title: Hamish and the Double Bass

    Author: Margaret Dugdale

    Reviewer: Donna Dobson

    Audience: 5-8 

    “And the music begins! Fast, slow, loud, soft. Gentle like  rain, strong like thunder; wandering like a stream…”

    Hamish is a small boy who learns to play a cello, whilst his friends learn other instruments. The children discover it takes time and practise to master an instrument, but there is joy in doing so. As Hamish grows and masters his instrument, one day he is finally ready to play a much bigger instrument. 

    This book is a lovely introduction to an array of instruments and their sounds. It introduces the idea of an orchestra and how it is made up of many instruments. 

    Links to Music and English Curriculums.

  • 14 Aug 2023 10:23 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Title: The Great Gallipoli Escape

    Author: Jackie French

    Reviewer: Donna Dobson

    Audience: 11+

    “All of them, no matter how kind they are, or how friendly, or how much they’re like us. We have to get through the Turkish lines…This is what war is.”

    The story is told from the point of view of Nipper, a 16-year-old Australian boy, who has just played cricket with the enemy, and is gifted with a small painting done by a Turkish soldier, before he has to return to the trenches. Through his experiences, we learn about the Gallipoli War, including the secret retreat.

    A quick read, due to chapter size and the matter-of-fact way that the author has woven the story. It reveals the atrocities of war, without being graphic. This ensures a practical, less emotional read that will engage young readers. This story is about endurance, friendship, compassion and courage.

    Links to History Curriculum (World War 1/ War & Conflict); English Curriculum (Resilience and Belonging)

  • 16 May 2023 7:12 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Title: The Impossible Story of Hannah Kemp

    Author: Leonie Agnew

    Reviewer: Rhonda Bruce

    Audience: 12+

    She's left me with one missing mother, one adoptive mother, and now, a supernatural parent fuelled on ink. Three mothers. No matter what I've done, no teenager deserves that. (P209)

    Hannah Kemp is 15 years old, adopted, traumatised by an accident which she caused, a brilliant reader and, in her mind, unpopular with most people. Hannah's story changes when she encounters a weird mobile library that has books that contain true stories about local people and their secrets. Then, Hannah discovers her own book on the shelves...

    Links to the History and English Curriculum

  • 16 May 2023 6:55 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Title: Growing in to Autism

    Author: Sandra Thom-Jones

    Reviewer: Rhonda Bruce

    Audience: Parents and Teachers

    When I eat anything, whether a three-course meal or a handful of peanuts, I chew the food evenly on both sides of my mouth. The first piece I chew in the left, the second I chew on the right, then I repeat this until it's all eaten. Each piece of food needs to be the same size. (P 80)

    An enlightening and captivating memoir by a university researcher who writes about her journey with autism. It is both personal and poignant at times, with chapters dealing with particular aspects of autism; sensory overloads, deficits in social interactions, hypersensitivity, relationships and autistic strengths. A very interesting book, giving insights into how autism affects her everyday life. Recommended for both parents and teachers of students with autism. 

    Links to the English Curriculum

  • 28 Apr 2023 2:41 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Title: The Ghost of Gracie Flynn

    Author: Joanna Morrison

    Reviewer: Rhonda Bruce

    Audience: YA 13+

    "After my funeral, the three of them did their best to salvage things. They went to a coupe of films together and played Scrabble, drinking cask wine and discussing current affairs. But they knew it was futile." (Page 64)

    Gracie Flynn is dead but she is not gone. Years later, her friends are reunited and Gracie tells her part of the story wistfully as the story weaves its way to the solving of her death and that of the murder of one of her friends.

  • 28 Apr 2023 2:31 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Title: The Bravest Word

    Author: Kate Foster

    Reviewer: Donna Dobson

    Audience: Primary

    “I’m embarrassed and ashamed and filled with the worst guilt I’ve ever felt in my life. I’m a a failure. And I don’t think the world needs people like me. Instead of dismissing that thought, I keep it there, in my head, lingering, taunting. The world doesn’t need me.” (P173-174)

    A timely book, dealing with the issues of mental health in a young boy on the cusp of his first teenage years. Matt is a believable character, with supportive parents and good friends. But Matt is tired, all the time, and has lost interest in school, sport and friends. Every day activities now fill him with dread, leaving him feeling ill and teary. He feels lost, alone and useless. 

    Running parallel to Matt’s story, is Cliff, a dog who Matt and his dad discover abandoned and abused. Caring for Cliff, Matt learns that dogs can suffer from anxiety and depression, and he begins to recognise the signs within himself. This leads Matt to the bravest word…help. A sensitive, insightful read, particularly for 12-13 year olds, teachers and parents.

    Similar books are “The Way of the Dog” by Zana Fraillon, “Talking to Alaska” by Anna Woltz and Laura Watkinson, ”August & Jones” by Pip Harry, “OC Daniel” by Wesley King, and “Runt” by Craig Silvey.

  • 28 Apr 2023 2:25 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Title: Grace Notes

    Author: Karen Comer

    Reviewer: Rhonda Bruce

    Audience: YA 13+

    “This song has a grace note,

    a tiny note that's there for


    but can easily be ignored,

    not played.

    Tonight, I add it in -

    just because.

    We can all do with an extra note

    of grace” (Page 17).

    Grace is a gifted violinist who wants to play violin for the rest of her life. James would love to be a street artist, who draws, paints and redraws and paints in his family garage. James sees Grace on Instagram playing the violin and paints her portrait in a Melbourne alley. Grace sees her portrait and sets out to find the artist. It's a great story set when the first COVID outbreak occurred in Melbourne. It's about learning to follow your dreams.

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