Children's and Young Adult Books

Mamang and Noongar Mambara Bakitj are retellings of traditional Noongar narratives by the Miles Franklin Award-winning author Kim Scott, in collaboration with a team of others. The books are part of a broader Wirlomin Noongar Language and Stories reclamation and revitalisation project currently under way in the south-western coastal region of Western Australia, an area roughly ...

Twelve-year-old Isabella and her best friend, Griffin, have been keeping themselves and three younger children alive in Grimsdon since a massive wave flooded the city three years ago

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Since the publication of Frank Moorhouse’s The Americans, Baby (1972), Australian literature has maintained a tense awareness of its powerful neighbour’s cultural sway over younger generations. Even the ‘Oz as’ Young Adult titles (think of Tim Winton’s Lockie Leonard series) concede, by studious omission, the impact of American cultural hegemony on the teenage imagin ...

Joy Lawn surveys a number of new children's picture books

Joy Lawn
Wednesday, 23 November 2011

Diverse memories of childhood, ranging from Indigenous and migrant experiences to the Great Depression, permeate these evocative Australian picture books. Admired illustrator Bruce Whatley displays his range of styles in a pair of them; two others are set in Western Australia and Queensland. The potential danger of water is a disconcerting theme.

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The way nostalgia works, according to theorists, is that we pine for the era just before our own. This may be why the twenty-something musicians of today mine the sounds of the 1980s. But does this pattern succeed in Young Adult fiction? What does an author gain by setting his or her story in the ‘nostalgia zone’ of potential readers?

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Benjamin Chandler reviews 'Liberator' by Richard Harland

Benjamin Chandler
Monday, 22 August 2011

Richard Harland’s Liberator begins three months after its predecessor, Worldshaker (2009), left off. The optimism and exuberance that marked the success of the revolution has dimmed as the inhabitants of the newly renamed Liberator struggle with the realities of running the mobile juggernaut. A saboteur breeds havoc and mistrust between the governing council of Filt ...

To make Ernest Giles’s trek across the scrub and desert of southern Australia interesting to younger readers, relate it through the eyes of a young protagonist. It was an inspired choice to invent Taj, twelve-year-old son of the historical figure Saleh Mohamed, Afghan cameleer, and an equally inspired choice to invent Taj’s beloved young camel, Mustara. The love and respect between camel an ...

Ruth Starke reviews eight recent children's books

Ruth Starke
Wednesday, 29 June 2011

Linda and Paul McCartney, so the story goes, became vegetarians the moment they looked up from a delicious meal of roast lamb and saw a flock of lambs gambolling in the field beyond their cottage. Young readers of Pamela Freeman’s Lollylegs (Walker Books, $11.95 pb, 64 pp, 9781921529078) might well have a similar reaction, since the connection in Lollylegs between the meal o ...

Bec Kavanagh reviews 'Pig Boy' by J.C. Burke

Bec Kavanagh
Wednesday, 29 June 2011

Damon Styles keeps a list of those who have crossed him. In a small, bully-rich town like Strathven, there are a lot of them. Damon has a plan, though, and getting his gun licence is only part of it. Next he needs to get a job with the Pigman. Nobody really knows the latter. He is foreign, shoots pigs, and keeps to himself, which is quite enough to fuel rumours in Strathven. Damon knows that th ...

Ruth Starke reviews six children's books

Ruth Starke
Wednesday, 08 June 2011

Leigh Hobbs has won thousands of hearts with his most famous creations, Horrible Harriet and Old Tom. Time will tell if Mr Badger, the special events manager in a grand London hotel, will have the same enduring success. As he is thoroughly decent, generous, responsible, and hard-working, it is up to minor characters to provide the necessary nastiness. In Mr Badg ...