A Whirlwind Journey from St Andrew's Cathedral School 

We had an amazing whirlwind journey to friendly Blackheath Public last week for the KOALA Awards Day and loved every second of it. 

Thank you again for making it possible for our students to share their love of reading and get up-close and personal with their heroes.

Our Stage 2 and 3 Book Club members (which have more than doubled in size from last year… word got around we go to KOALA and it’s fantastic!) were in attendance again this year and would like to pass on their thanks…

Chris from 5M wrote:

“KOALA is a very fun event.  At KOALA you get to meet authors like Morris Gleitzman, author of Boy overboard.  My favourite part was when we had the author’s answer a time travel related question because it was interesting hearing their thoughts on various historical events.”


Adriana from 4L wrote:

“The experience of seeing lots of authors was fun.  I loved this year’s KOALA awards.  When we first got there a kind lady showed us to the book store.  The school was very welcoming.  After everybody finished buying books we went to go listen to the author’s do their speeches.  Finally it was prize time.  Two of our Book Clubers Harry and Jackson got to touch Morris Gleitzman’s hand as they handed him an award.  Last of all they said if you got a gold sticker on your programme you would get an envelope and people who got a blue sticker got to get a book called Charlie and the war against the Grannies.  I won the book which I really enjoyed.  Then with a pleasant good bye from the school we left back for school.  It was another 2 hours but it was worth it!”


Rishita from 3/4O and Danielle from 3F together wrote: “We hopped on a bus and it drove for 2 hours until we reached Blackheath.  Then we bought books.  At the start of the ceremony we watched a fabulous play.  We loved the play and our favourite authors were Jacqueline Harvey and Deborah Abela.  It was so worth going.  You should go too! Even though it was a very long way away.”


Nicolas from 3F said: “I enjoyed watching all the authors doing their speeches and I liked David Legge draw the rabbit reading.”


Liam from 6W wrote: “It was a great day, and I loved hearing the authors’ answers to the question “Where would you go if you could travel through time?”  We were also lucky to win 30 books for the library.”


Daniel from 3F wrote: “I really enjoyed the KOALA awards because I got to meet authors and illustrators.  I also loved David Legge draw on the white board.”


Bronte from 5T said: “Even though it was a long 4 hour journey and we only got 2 hours at KOALA, it was worth it!”


Ollie from 3/4R wrote: “I liked the illustrator drawing the picture.”


Jo from 5T said: “I really liked the KOALA awards.  Even though it was a 4 hour journey, it was worth it. We got to see awesome authors like Emily Rodda.  It was awesome!”


Cecilia from 5T wrote: “I loved the KOALA awards even though it was a long trip at least I got to meet my favourite authors like Emily Rodda and Morris Gleitzman.”


Elle from 5/6L said: “KOALA was awesome. We saw lots of famous authors including Aaron Blabey, Emily Rodda, Morris Gleitzman and Deborah Abela.”


Ella from 3F said: “It is very fun, you can buy books and you can get your books signed.  My favourite book is Alice-Miranda by Jacqueline Harvey.  I also enjoyed the painting, it was amazing!  I love KOALA.”


Danny from 6RA said: “I enjoyed seeing all the authors.”


Emily from 3F said: “We got to buy books and the author’s even signed our books, it was very fun!  I really liked when some students from Blackheath School performed.”


Jackson from 6W wrote: “I enjoyed handing the gift to Morris Gleitzman.”


And Harry from 6RO also agreed saying: “I enjoyed giving the award to Morris Gleitzman.”


Thank you and we look forward to next year!

Svetlana Paul
Junior School and Gawura Teacher Librarian



A Waltz for Matilda  by Jackie French (Harper Collins)

In 1894, twelve-year-old Matilda flees the city slums to find her unknown father and his farm. But drought grips the land, and the shearers are on strike. Her father has turned swaggie and he's wanted by the troopers. In front of his terrified daughter, he makes a stand against them, defiant to the last. 'You'll never catch me alive, said he...' Set against a backdrop of bushfire, flood, war and jubilation, this is the story of one girl's journey towards independence.

Chapter Excerpt ~ Author's Website ~ Teachers' Notes  ~ Book Review


Loyal Creatures by Morris Gleitzman (Penguin Books)

Like many of his mates from the bush, Frank Ballantyne is keen to join the grand adventure and do his bit. Specially as a chest full of medals might impress the currently unimpressed parents of his childhood sweetheart. So Frank ups his age and volunteers with his horse Daisy ... and his dad. 

In the deserts of Egypt and Palestine he experiences all the adventure he ever wanted, and a few things he wasn't expecting. Heartbreak, love and the chance to make the most important choice of his life.  From Gallipoli to the famous charge at Beersheba, through to the end of the war and its unforgettable aftermath, Frank's story grows out of some key moments in Australia's history.

Read or Listen to Chapter 1 ~ Teachers' Notes ~ Author's Website


Nona & Me by Claire Atkins (Black Inc Books)

Rosie and Nona are sisters. Yapas.

They are also best friends. It doesn't matter that Rosie is white and Nona is Aboriginal: their family connections tie them together for life.

Born just five days apart in a remote corner of the Northern Territory, the girls are inseperable, until Nona moves away at the age of nine. By the time she returns, they're in Year 10 and things have changed. Rosie has lost interest in the community, preferring to hang out in the nearby mining town, where she goes to school with the glamorous Selena, and Selena's gorgeous older brother Nick.

When a political announcement highlights divisions between the Aboriginal community and the mining town, Rosie is put in a difficult position: will she be forced to choose between her first love and her oldest friend?

Author's Website ~ YouTube Interview with Claire Atkins ~ Radio Interview ~ Teachers' Notes


Soon by Morris Gleitzman (Penguin Books)

The Second World War has officially ended, but the streets are still a battleground - for food, for shelter, for protection...Felix is in hiding to stay safe, but finds he has been left holding the baby - literally. An orphaned infant has been left in his care and he will do everything he can to protect the child, in the way a few incredible people did for him during the Holocaust.

This powerfully moving addition to Morris Gleitzman's bestselling series about Felix and Zelda takes place in 1945, following the story told in After. 

Read or Listen to Chapter 1  ~  Morris Gleitzman Speaks about Soon  ~  Book Review ~  Author's Website


Naveed by John Heffernan (edited by Lyn White) (Allen & Unwin)

The explosion jolts him awake. He sits up, gasping for air, heart thumping.

Was the blast real? Perhaps it had only happened in his head, a bad dream. Demons of the dark, his father had called them. 'Push them away. They'll only poison your thoughts. Seek the light and they can't hurt you.'

Naveed is sick of war - of the foreign powers and the Taliban, the warlords and the drug barons that together have torn Afghanistan apart. He's had to grow up quickly to take care of his widowed mother and little sister, making what little money he can doing odd jobs and selling at the markets. When he adopts Nasera, a street dog with extraordinary abilities, he has a chance to help rebuild his country. But will a new friend's betrayal crush his dreams of peace forever?

From the winter of war comes the spring of hope.

Read an Excerpt  ~  Book Trailer  ~  Teachers' Notes  ~  Author's Website


Don't Call Me Ishmael by Michael Gerard Bauer (Scholastic Australia)

There’s no easy way to put this, so I’ll say it straight out. It’s time I faced up to the truth. I’m fourteen years old and I have Ishmael Leseur’s Syndrome. There is no cure.

But that won’t stop Ishmael and his intrepid band of misfits from taking on bullies, bugs, babes, the Beatles, debating and the great white whale in the toughest, the weirdest, the most humiliatingly awful – and best – year of their lives!

Teachers' Notes  ~  Book Review   ~  Author's Website 


My Life As an Alphabet by Barrie Jonsberg (Allen & Unwin)

This isn't just about me. It's also about the other people in my life - my mother, my father, my dead sister Sky, my penpal Denille, Rich Uncle Brian, Earth-Pig Fish and Douglas Benson From Another Dimension. These are people [with the exception of Earth-Pig Fish, who is a fish] who have shaped me, made me what I am. I cannot recount my life without recounting elements of theirs. This is a big task, but I am confident I am up to it.

Introducing Candice Phee: twelve years old, hilariously honest and a little . odd. But she has a big heart, the very best of intentions and an unwavering determination to ensure everyone is happy. So she sets about trying to 'fix' all the problems of all the people [and pets] in her life.

Laugh-out-loud funny and wonderfully touching, My Life as an Alphabet is a delightful novel about an unusual girl who goes to great lengths to bring love and laughter into the lives of everyone she cares about.

Book Review  ~  Author's Website   ~  Teachers' Notes  ~   Read an Excerpt


Six Impossible Things by Fiona Wood (Pan Macmillan Australia)

Fourteen-year-old nerd-boy Dan Cereill is not quite coping with a reversal of family fortune, moving house, new school hell, a mother with a failing wedding cake business, a just-out gay dad, and an impossible crush on the girl next door.

His life is a mess, but for now he's narrowed it down to just six impossible things...

Author's Website  ~  Teachers' Notes    ~    Author Interview about Six Impossible Things


The Last Thirteen : 1 by James Phelan (Scholastic Australia) 

13 books. 13 nightmares. 1 destiny.
Are you one of them?

I can’t run anymore. The race is ending.

Sam makes a shocking discovery about the last 13 that will change everything. The shattering revelation will set the race on a dangerous course, more terrifying than even his worst nightmares.

With the world into turmoil and their enemies circling closer, the last 13 assemble in Egypt to take their place in the prophecy. Can they all make it to the end or will the power beyond the Dream Gate be lost to evil forever?

The last 13 is complete. The battle ends now.

Series Website  ~   Series Book Trailer  ~  Author's Website  ~   Interview with James Phelan


Zafir by Prue Mason (edited by Lyn White)(Allen & Unwin)

Zafir has a comfortable life in Homs, Syria, until his father, a doctor, is arrested for helping a protester who was campaigning for revolution. While his mother heads to Damascus to try to find out where his father is being held, Zafir stays with his grandmother - until her house is bombed. With his father in prison, his mother absent, his grandmother ill and not a friend left in the city, Zafir must stay with his Uncle Ghazi. But that too becomes dangerous as the city becomes more and more besieged. Will Zafir survive long enough to be reunited with his parents?

Book Trailer   ~   Teachers' Notes  ~  Author's Website  ~  Book Review






Mount Victoria Public School

Mount Victoria Public School parents have created this gorgeous KOALA display in their school hall.












And the poster looks great in the Library too!


Richmond Tweed Regional Library 

Our Public Library Friends have been busy promoting KOALA. Thank you Ballina, Byron Bay and Lennox Head Branches for sharing these wonderful displays.





Focus on Fiction for Younger Readers

Alice Miranda at Camp by Jacqueline Harvey (Random House)

This school camp is full of secrets and surprises!
An exciting announcement has been made and Alice-Miranda and her schoolmates are going on camp. There are sleep outs, treasure hunts and so many other activities to look forward to! However, it's not all fun and games. Alice-Miranda and Millie will need to keep a close eye on Caprice, the school's newest student, who seems determined to cause trouble. Series teaching notes ~ PRC 3-4 Booklist #9176 ~ Reading Time Interview


Billie B Brown: The Second Best Friend by Sally Rippin and Aki Fukuoka (Hardie Grant)

Billie has always been best friends with Jack. But now Rebecca wants to be her best friend. Will Billie have to choose?  Who will end up The Second-best Friend? Billy B Brown website ~ PRC 3-4 Booklist #33007


Diary of a Track and Field Titan by Shamini Flint and Sally Heinrich (Allen and Unwin)

Marcus is a maths whiz who is not good at sport. His dad is a self-help author who thinks Marcus can achieve anything he sets his mind to...with hilarious results. In illustrated diary format, Marcus's gentle, satiric humour and comic drawings will have readers laughing out loud while learning a surprising amount about sport. Book Extract


Don’t Look Now Book 4 by Paul Jennings and Andrew Weldon (Allen and Unwin)

At last, Ricky is friends with Samantha. But he still wants to be FAMOUS. Find out if he can finally realise his dream even though he can't let anyone see him fly.  Videos ~ Review ~ Talks and articles by and about Paul


EJ Spy School: Puppy Alert! by Susannah McFarlane and Dyani Stagg (Scholastic)

Emma Jacks is Agent EJ10. She goes to Spy School. EJ10 is learning how to rescue animals, but a puppy goes missing … Can EJ10 find her? EJ Spy School Website ~ Colouring Activity ~ Read a chapter ~ PRC 3-4 Booklist #4649


Ella and Olivia: Sports Carnival by Yvette Poshoglian and Danielle McDonald (Scholastic)

Ella and Olivia have been training hard for their school sports carnival! But can their team win the best-ever grand prize? Ella and Olivia website


Ghost Club 2: The Haunted School by Deborah Abela (Random House)

Angeline and Edgar have to go to their Senior School sleepover, but Angeline is dreading having to talk to the other kids. 

The night goes wrong when a ghost appears in the old boarding school dormitory where they are camped out. Their classmates are terrified — and Principal Prim is not happy!
With the help of Ghost Club, Angeline and Edgar must find out who the ghost is so they can help her — but first they have to convince their school principal that kids can be ghost catchers too; and they have to avoid Travis the bully, who is spying on them — and causing trouble wherever they go.
Ghost Club trailer ~ Teaching Notes ~ Writers Talk interviews ~ PRC 3-4 Booklist #35226


The Bad Guys Episode 1 by Aaron Blabey (Scholastic)

They sound like the Bad Guys, they look like the Bad Guys ... and they even smell like the Bad Guys.But Mr Wolf, Mr Piranha, Mr Snake and Mr Shark are about to change all of that! Mr Wolf has a daring plan for the Bad Guys' first good mission. The gang are going to break 200 dogs out of the Maximum Security City Dog Pound. Will Operation Dog Pound go smoothly? Will the Bad Guys become the Good Guys? And will Mr Snake please spit out Mr Piranha?  Trailer ~ Story Box Library Meet Aaron Blabey  ~ Teaching Notes ~ PRC 3-4 Booklist #10059


The Vanilla Slice Kid by Adam Wallace & Jack Wodhams and Tom Gittus (Hybrid)

Archie Cunningham is a shy boy who has three things – incredibly mean and greedy parents, no friends, and an amazing power. An uploaded video shows the world what Archie can do, and he suddenly becomes the main ingredient in a recipe for world domination. Which is when the fun really begins! ALEA Review ~ About Adam video


You Choose: Alien Invaders from Beyond the Stars by George Ivanoff (Random House)

Protector of planet Earth or abduction by extra-terrestrials!

You see strange lights in the night sky one night. It’s a flying saucer, just like in the movies. Inside are lizard aliens – disguised as humans. They have come to invade the planet Earth. You want to resist but your actions may lead to the destruction of humankind . . . Do you have what it takes to save the world? Or will the aliens unleash their ultimate weapon? A thank you from George ~ The Bottom Shelf blog ~ STUDIO3 Interview ~ STUDIO3 Interview 2 ~ George Ivanoff Ice Bucket Challenge


Download the category poster here