The book we sent our Cockatoo subscribers this month tells the story of a young boy and his family who have immigrated to Australia. Between that and the current bushfire crisis, this amazing country is very much at the forefront of our minds at the moment. There are some fantastic middle grade chapter books set in Australia which we think would make perfect reading for anyone who would like to explore more about life Down Under. Here are five to get you started:
Flat Stanley: The Australian Boomerang Bonanza by Jeff Brown (Egmont)
We love the Flat Stanley series of early readers, which are ideal for those ready to take the leap from picture books to chapter books. In this volume, Flat Stanley and his brother Arthur have just won a trip to Australia. They fly down under on a private jet and go diving in the Great Barrier Reef. But when Arthur launches him into the air for a game of boomerang, Stanley is accidentally sent spinning off into the heart of the Australian outback! Perfect for kids aged 6+.
Elizabella Meets her Match by Zoë and Georgia Norton Lodge (Walker)
This hilarious new series, written and illustrated by Australian sisters Zoë and Georgia Norton Lodge, looks great! Elizabella - ten and a quarter - is a Poet, Fixer of Fairytales and the biggest prankster in the history of Bilby Creek Primary. And when her plans involve making a swimming pool in the playground without consulting a single teacher, the students are behind her every step of the way. But what happens when Minnie, an even bigger prankster, shows up? Can Bilby Creek handle them both? And more importantly, can they handle each other? Perfect for kids aged 7+.
How to Bee by Bren MacDibble (Old Barn Books)
This original and moving chapter book was a highlight of our 2018 book subscription boxes and one we have continued to recommend to young bookworms at the many events we attend. Set in a dystopian near-future world where bees are extinct and fruit trees are pollinated by hand, by a team of young ‘bees’, the book explores themes around environmental crisis, family loyalty and adventure. Highly recommended and perfect for kids aged 9+.
Anzac Boys by Tony Bradman (Barrington Stoke)
Set during World War I and inspired by a true story, this important book tells the story of orphan Bert and his little brother Frank, who are sent to Australia as child migrants. Determined to stay together, tragedy strikes when they end up separated; Bert to Australia and Frank to New Zealand. Years pass. As the Great War dawns in Europe, the ANZACs send their soldiers to storm Gallipoli, but can the battlefield also serve as a reunion for the two brothers? Particularly suitable for struggling, reluctant and dyslexic readers aged 9+.
Stolen by Lucy Christopher (Chicken House)
One for slightly older readers, this young adult novel is narrated by Gemma, a British city-living teenager, who is kidnapped while on holiday with her parents. Her kidnapper, Ty, takes her to the wild land of outback Australia. To Gemma’s city-eyes, the landscape is harsh and unforgiving and there are no other signs of human life for hundreds of kilometres in every direction. Here, there is no escape. Gemma must learn to deal with her predicament … or die trying to fight it. Perfect for young adult readers aged 13+.
Are you keen to supercharge your child’s love of reading but feel like you could be doing more to support them? We know that discovering, purchasing and recommending books that maintain your child’s enthusiasm for reading, helping them to reach their full potential, is time consuming. Why not let us take that off your to-do list? With a Parrot Street Book Club subscription your child receives a carefully chosen new children’s book and accompanying activity pack through the post each month. They receive a stream of varied and exciting books, whilst the book club-style questions and activities are perfect for sharing. Find out more here.