Focus on Fiction for Older Readers

52 Mondays by Anna Ciddor

We're going to look everywhere,' said Anna.

And they did.

When Anna sets out to find the doll of her dreams, her two younger sisters are eager to help. But it's not easy. This is 1960s Australia and there's no computer or internet yet. This is a time when teachers still write with chalk, cars have no seatbelts, and Mr Whippy sells ice-cream cones for half a penny.

Anna and her sisters fill their days with fun, mischief and adventure - like the time Anna glues a block of wood to her middle sister's foot, then worries it will be stuck there forever! They celebrate birthdays and Passover together, cope with friends being mean, and feed peanuts to the bears at the zoo.

But through it all, Anna never loses sight of her dream.

Inspired by the author's real childhood, this is a warm, funny and fascinating family story

Anna Ciddor’s website

52 Mondays teaching notes from Allen & Unwin

Fearless Frederic by Felice Arena

When the river rises and the city of Paris begins to disappear under water, Frederic decides to help those who can’t help themselves. But as his heroic acts escalate, so does the danger. Frederic will have to battle an escaped zoo animal and fight off pickpockets and looters but, as the waters subside, can he find justice for his father and find out what courage really means?

Felice Arena’s website

Fearless Frederic teaching notes from Penguin

Fearless Frederic book trailer

Felice Arena (video) talks about where he writes

Felice Arena (video) interview about his books

PRC 7-9 Booklist #23177

Finding Serendipity by Angelica Banks

Tuesday McGillycuddy loves stories - and her mother is a writer. A very famous writer, who has locked herself away in her writing room to finish the final book in her best-selling series for children. But when Tuesday knocks on her door, she discovers her mother is missing!

In search of Serendipity, Tuesday and her faithful dog Baxterr soon find themselves on a very dangerous mission. They enter the magical world where stories come from, a mysterious and unpredictable world, full of real danger and heart-stopping adventure.

With the help of pint-sized heroine Vivienne Small, Tuesday will need all her wit, courage, perseverance and imagination in order to get to The End and be reunited with the people she loves.

Finding Serendipity teaching notes from Allen & Unwin

Series website

Angelica Banks (video) interview about Tuesday McGillycuddy

PRC 5-6 Booklist #1063

Funny Kid for President by Matt Stanton

Every kid wants to laugh, but Max Walburt is the boy who can make it happen. He’s the class clown, the punch line and he’s even volunteered his bottom to be the butt of the joke. Max is the funny kid … and he’s running for class president.

Poop-scandals, stalker-ducks, surprise-debates, psycho-sports-teachers, tell-all-interviews and the great-library-vomit-a-geddon are just some of the things in store for Max and his friends at Redhill Middle School this election season.

Matt Stanton’s question of the day (Video) – Why Funny Kid?

Matt Stanton reads (Video) chpt1 of Funny Kid for president

Funny Kid teaching notes from Harper Collins

PRC 5-6 Booklist #4007

Help around the house by Morris Gleitzman

Ludo helps other people. It’s how he was brought up.

When Dad is elected to Federal Parliament, Ludo grabs the chance to make Australia an even better place.

But he soon discovers it’s not the homeless of the national capital who most need his help - it’s the rich and powerful.

Morris Gleitzman’s website (read chapter 1 for free)

Help around the house teaching notes from Penguin

PRC 5-6 Booklist #580933

Nevermoor: the trials of Morrigan Crow by Jessica Townsend

Morrigan Crow is cursed. Born on an unlucky day, she is blamed for all local misfortunes, from hailstorms to heart attacks - and, worst of all, the curse means that Morrigan is doomed to die at midnight on Eventide.

But as Morrigan awaits her fate, a strange and remarkable man named Jupiter North appears. Chased by black-smoke hounds and shadowy hunters on horseback, he whisks her away into the safety of a secret, magical city called Nevermoor.

It's there that Morrigan discovers Jupiter has chosen her to contend for a place in the city's most prestigious organisation: the Wundrous Society. In order to join, she must compete in four difficult and dangerous trials against hundreds of other children, each boasting an extraordinary talent that sets them apart. Except for Morrigan, who doesn't seem to have any special talent at all.

To stay in the safety of Nevermoor for good, Morrigan will need to find a way to pass the tests - or she'll have to leave the city to confront her deadly fate.

Nevermoor teaching notes from Hachette

Nevermoor book trailer

Jessica Townsend (video) reads from Nevermoor

NewsToME chat with Jessica Townsend about Nevermoor and Wundersmith, about who she'd cast in the film adaptations of her books and plays a game of "Drawing in the Dark"!

PRC 7-9 Booklist #35548

So Wrong 2 by Michael Wagner and Wayne Bryant

Michael Wagner and Wayne Bryant have put together book 2 in the series, and crammed it full of more: -short stories -satirical advertisements -highly suspect 'life advice' -naughty cartoons and other visual delights -and laughs on every page.

Michael Wagner’s website

Michael Wagner CKT featured author

So wrong Youtube channel

The 104-storey treehouse by Andy Griffiths and Terry Denton

Join Andy and Terry in their now 104-storey spectacular treehouse. They've added thirteen new levels, including a never-ending staircase, a burp bank, and even a mighty fortress. But Andy and Terry are in a race against time to find a funny story for their next book – will the tooth fairy, the two-million-dollar shop or even the riddles of the deep-thoughts thinking room be able to help?

Andy Griffiths’ website

Dymocks interview (video) with Andy Griffiths and Terry Denton

Andy Griffiths (video) advertises about the 104-storey treehouse

PRC 5-6 Booklist #571116

The Forgotten Pearl by Belinda Murrell

‘Let me tell you a story. A story about friendship and sisters, about grief and love and danger, and about growing up . . .’

When Chloe visits her grandmother, she learns how close war came to destroying her family. Could Poppy’s experiences help Chloe face her own problems?

In 1941, Poppy lives in Darwin, a peaceful paradise. But when Japan attacks Pearl Harbor and then Australia, everything Poppy holds dear is threatened. Terrified, she flees to Sydney – only to find that the danger follows her there. Poppy must face her war with courage and determination. Will her world ever be the same?

Belinda Murrell’s website

Teachers’ Resources Notes

Belinda Murrell - The best job in the world video

KOALA 2018 Legend Award announcement

You choose alien invaders from beyond the stars by George Ivanoff

Protector of planet Earth or abduction by extraterrestrials!

You see strange lights in the sky. It’s a flying saucer, just like in the movies. Inside are lizard aliens – disguised as humans. They have come to invade 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?

George Ivanoff’s website

Alien invaders from beyond the stars reviewed by CKT

George Ivanoff’s (video) thank you for the 2016 K.O.A.L.A. nomination

PRC 3-4 Booklist #580039

Focus on Fiction for Years 7-9

A song only I can hear by Barry Jonsberg

Introducing Rob Fitzgerald: thirteen years old and determined to impress the new girl at school, but it's a difficult task for a super-shy kid who is prone to panic attacks that include vomiting, difficulty breathing and genuine terror that can last all day. An anonymous texter is sending Rob challenges and they might just help. Or not.

A song only I can hear teaching notes from Allen and Unwin

A song only I can hear review from Readings

Akarnae by Lynette Noni

Dreading her first day at a new school, Alex is stunned when she walks through a doorway and finds herself stranded in Medora, a fantasy world full of impossibilities. Desperate to return home, she learns that only a man named Professor Marselle can help her... but he's missing.

While waiting for him to reappear, Alex attends Akarnae Academy, Medora's boarding school for teenagers with extraordinary gifts. She soon starts to enjoy her bizarre new world and the friends who embrace her as one of their own, but strange things are happening at Akarnae, and Alex can't ignore her fear that something unexpected... something sinister... is looming.

An unwilling pawn in a deadly game, Alex's shoulders bear the crushing weight of an entire race's survival. Only she can save the Medorans, but what if doing so prevents her from ever returning home?

Will Alex risk her entire world—and maybe even her life—to save Medora?

Lynette Noni’s website

Akarnae teaching notes from Pantera Press

Q&A interview (video) with Lynette Noni

Lynette Noni interview (video) about writing

Everything I’ve never said by Samantha Wheeler

Ava wants nothing more than to tell her family she loves them, particularly her big sister, Nic. But Ava has Rett syndrome – she can’t talk, nod her head or even point at a communication card. She understands everything, but no-one understands her. When tragedy strikes her family, Ava becomes even more determined to talk. But it’s not until she meets occupational therapist Kieran and new friend Aimee that she is hopeful for change – and to be heard at last.

Samantha Wheeler’s website

Samantha Wheeler (video) reads chapter 1

Everything I’ve never said book trailer

Everything I’ve never said teaching notes from UQP

Samantha Wheeler (abc podcast) talks about Rett Syndrome

Reading Time interview (short)

In the dark spaces by Cally Black

A genre-smashing kidnapping drama about Tamara, who's faced with an impossible choice when she falls for her captors.

Yet this is no ordinary kidnapping. Tamara has been living on a freighter in deep space, and her kidnappers are terrifying Crowpeople – the only aliens humanity has ever encountered. No-one has ever survived a Crowpeople attack, until now – and Tamara must use everything she has just to stay alive.

But survival always comes at a price, and there’s no handbook for this hostage crisis. As Tamara comes to know the Crowpeople's way of life, and the threats they face from humanity's exploration into deep space, she realises she has an impossible choice to make. Should she stay as the only human among the Crows, knowing she'll never see her family again … or inevitably betray her new community if she wants to escape?

Cally Black’s website

In the dark spaces teaching notes by Pegi Williams

ABC radio interview with Cally Black

PRC 7-9 Booklist #21095

Maybe by Morris Gleitzman

A powerfully moving addition to Morris Gleitzman's bestselling series about Felix and Zelda which takes place in 1945, following directly on from the story told in Soon. This intensely affecting story will move readers of all ages. It will be welcomed by the many Holocaust educators who use Once, Now, Then, After and Soon to teach upper primary and lower secondary children and embraced by any reader who loves passionate, moving and brilliant stories.

Maybe teaching notes from Penguin

Morris Gleitzman Website – read chpt 1 of Maybe

PRC 7-9 Booklist #4792

Take three girls by Cath Crowley

Ady - not the confident A-Lister she appears to be.

Kate - brainy boarder taking risks to pursue the music she loves.

Clem - disenchanted swim-star losing her heart to the wrong boy.

All are targeted by PSST, a toxic website that deals in gossip and lies. St Hilda's antidote to the cyber-bullying? The Year 10 Wellness program. Nice try - but sometimes all it takes is three girls.

Take three girls teaching notes from Pan Macmillan

Cath Crowley talks (video) about her writing process

Cath Crowley’s website

The Build-up season by Megan Jacobson

He’s back.

The monster.

It’s the middle of the night and I’m awake, because even though I’m seventeen I still haven’t outgrown the childhood monster that haunts you in the dark. I haven’t outgrown it, because when I was a child, the monster was real.

He was my father.

Seventeen-year-old Iliad Piper is named after war and angry at the world. Growing up with a violent father and abused mother, she doesn’t know how to do relationships, family or friends. Ily takes off her armour for nobody, until she meets Jared, someone who's as complicated as she is.

Megan Jacobson’s website

Megan Jacobson talks (video) about growing up and writing

The Endsister by Penni Russon

'I know what an endsister is,' says Sibbi again.

We are endsisters, Else thinks, Sibbi and I.

Bookends, oldest and youngest, with the three boys sandwiched in between.

Meet the Outhwaite children. There's teenage Else, the violinist who abandons her violin. There's nature-loving Clancy. There's the inseparable twins, Oscar-and-Finn, Finn-and-Oscar. And then there is Sibbi, the baby of the family. They all live contentedly squabbling in a cottage surrounded by trees and possums...until a letter arrives to say they have inherited the old family home in London.

Outhwaite House is full of old shadows and new possibilities. The boys quickly find their feet in London, and Else is hoping to reinvent herself. But Sibbi is misbehaving, growing thinner and paler by the day, and she won't stop talking about the mysterious endsister. Meanwhile Almost Annie and Hardly Alice, the resident ghosts, are tied to the house for reasons they have long forgotten, watching the world around them change, but never leaving.

The one thing they all agree on - the living and the dead - is never, ever to open the attic door...

The Endsister teaching tips from Allen & Unwin

Penni Russon talks (video) about why she writes

PRC 7-9 Booklist #5403

The girl from Snowy River by Jackie French

The year is 1919. Thirty years have passed since the man from Snowy River made his famous ride. But World War I still casts its shadow across a valley in the heart of Australia, particularly for orphaned sixteen-year-old Flinty McAlpine, who lost a brother when the Snowy River men marched away to war.

Why has the man Flinty loves returned from the war so changed and distant? Why has her brother Andy 'gone with cattle', leaving Flinty in charge of their younger brother and sister and with the threat of eviction from the farm she loves so dearly?

A brumby muster held under the watchful eye of the legendary Clancy of the Overflow offers hope. Now Flinty must ride to save her farm, her family and the valley she loves. Set among the landscapes of the great poems of Australia, this book is a love song to the Snowy Mountains and a tribute to Australia's poets who immortalised so much of our land. the Girl from Snowy River combines passion, heartbreak, history and an enduring love and rich understanding of our land.

The girl from Snowy River sample 4 chapters

The girl from Snowy River teaching notes from Harper Collins

Jackie French talks (video) about reading, writing and being the 2015 senior of the Year

PRC 7-9 Booklist #52669

The sky so heavy by Claire Zorn

For Fin, it's just like any other day - racing for the school bus, bluffing his way through class, and trying to remain cool in front of the most sophisticated girl in his universe, Lucy. Only it's not like any other day because, on the other side of the world, nuclear missiles are being detonated.

When Fin wakes up the next morning, it’s dark, bitterly cold, and snow is falling. There’s no internet, no phone, no TV, no power, and no parents. Nothing Fin’s learned in school could have prepared him for this.

With his parents missing and dwindling food and water supplies, Fin and his younger brother Max must find a way to survive all on their own.

When things are at their most desperate, where can you go for help?

Claire Zorn’s website

NSW Department of Education PRC 2015 interview (video)

The sky so heavy book trailer (video) – student made and winner of a competition

PRC 7-9 Booklist #73761



Download A3 Poster


Arty Farty Marty: The Paint Smashin' Kraken by Dale Baker

Arty Farty Marty loves to surf and paint! Join Marty as he tries his tentacles at painting in the styles of seven of the world's most famous artists. 
Join Marty as he tries his tentacles at painting in the styles of Leonardo da Vinci, Vincent Van Gogh, Salvador Dali, Andy Warhol, Claude Monet, Sidney Nolan, Jackson Pollock and Reg Mombassa.
But what happens when Marty's arty farty ways get a bit too farty?

The Book Bird Book Review   Author's Facebook Page


Busting! by Aaron Blabey

Lou was BUSTING for the loo. But the loo had quite a queue! What on earth was Lou to do?

Book Trailer   Busting! A Look Inside    Author Interview - Creative Kids Tales   Storybox Library Preview 

PRC Booklist K-2 #4593


Chip by Kylie Howarth

Chip, like most other gulls, would do anything for fish and chips. When he’s banned from his favourite food, he is desperate to get it back on the menu. So Chip hatches a brilliant idea to solve the problem...but has he gone too far this time?

Author's Website    Lamont Teacher's Notes    Teacher's Notes    PRC Booklist K-2 #4040


Do Not Open This Book Again! by Andy Lee & Heath McKenzie

He's back! And, once again, this cheeky blue character does not want you to open this book or turn its pages.

What reason does he have this time?

Story Reading Video  Book Review by Aussie Reviews    Andy Surprises His Sister (and Nephew) Video


Excuse Me! by Dave Hughes & Holly Ife & Philip Bunting

Martha May has marvellous manners. She always says please and thank you ... and she most certainly DOES NOT FART! 
But what will happen on the day of the Baked Bean Bonanza?

Book Trailer     Reading Time Book Review     Book Chook Book Review


Flapper, VC by Mark Wilson

Flapper, VC is based on the true story of an Australian carrier pigeon during World War II. Raised and trained in Australia, Flapper is sent off to war in the Pacific. While on patrol deep in the jungle, Flapper's unit find themselves surrounded by enemy troops. With no other means of communication, the men's only hope of survival is Flapper, who has to evade enemy snipers and machine guns to get a message through to save the patrol.

Flapper was awarded the animal equivalent of the Victoria Cross for his actions that day, and his medal is proudly displayed at the Australian War Memorial in Canberra.

This memorable tale, illustrated with Mark Wilson's beautifully crafted and evocative artwork, is a moving story of animals in war. 

Author's Website  Teacher's Notes   Reading Time Book Review


Go Go and the Silver Shoes by Jane Godwin & Anna Walker

When Go Go is allowed to buy the most beautiful shoes ever, she decides she will wear them EVERYWHERE!
Even to the creek, where she and her brothers go adventuring.

But - Oh no, Go Go! - that's when a terrible thing happens . . . 

Teacher's Notes     A Look Inside  Author's Website   Illustrator's Website    Better Reading Book Review

PRC Booklist K-2 #5355


Hickory Dickory Dash by Tony Wilson & Laura Wood

This story is for anyone who has ever wondered just why the mouse was running up and down the clock as it struck one. The rhyme has been told, and song sung, for generations, and in Hickory Dickory Dash Tony Wilson and Laura Wood share with us just what could have happened in the preceding few hours to cause a mouse to behave in such a way. With her children vanished, and a cat in hot pursuit, the tension builds as the valiant Mother Mouse continues the frantic search for her missing babies. What will happen to cause her to take up clock-running at the appointed hour, and will she find her children, evade the cat, and manage to get them all safely home? Woods’ illustrations mesh seamlessly with Wilson’s verses to take readers both young and old along with them on a danger-filled adventure with a satisfyingly happy resolution.

Book Trailer   Teacher's Notes    NSS Activities for Hickory Dickory Dash    Author's Website    

PRC Booklist K-2 #5858


Pig the Star by Aaaron Blabey

Pig just LOVES attention.

In fact, he's a great, bit SHOW-OFF. But when ANOTHER star appears at the photo shoot, Pig doesn't like it. 
No, Pig doesn't like it at ALL...

Aaron Blabey Introduces the Character 'Pig' Video    A Look Inside   Reading Time Book Review   

PRC Booklist K-2 #25800


Too Many Cheeky Dogs by Johanna Bell & Dion Beasley

'On Monday I went to my auntie's house and guess what I saw? ONE yellow cheeky dog sleeping on the floor.'

So begins this cheeky story set in a remote Indigenous community, romping through numbers, colours and days of the week to the hilarious finale.

Introducing Disabled Indigenous Artist Dion Beasley -  Lateline Video    Author's Website 

The Story Behind the Story - About the Author and Illustrator    Too Many Cheeky Dogs Facebook Page

PRC Booklist K-2 #38395




Download A3 Poster

Aquatica: a beginner’s guide by Lance Balchin

Welcome to future Earth. Despite repeated warnings, the environment has become polluted to such an extent that many areas of the globe have become uninhabitable and wildlife is now extinct.

From the ashes, a new style of ‘wildlife’ is created. Wildlife that will not remain harnessed by humankind.

Interview with Lance Balchin by Better Reading

A brief history and video for Mechanica

Making the illustrations

Teaching ideas from SCAN

PRC 5-6 Booklist #42514

Friday Barnes: Danger ahead by R.A. Spratt

Friday Barnes is forced to face her biggest fear – her own emotions! She must wave goodbye to Ian as he takes off to join his father in the Cayman Islands. But when your dad is a white-collar criminal, family reunions never go to plan. Ian is kidnapped en route and it’s up to Friday to rescue him.

On her return to school, the Headmaster has a treat in store – a four-week camp for students to learn wilderness survival skills! ‘Camp Courage’ is even worse than Friday imagined. And all her book smarts aren't much help when she's got wood to chop, potatoes to peel and latrines to dig.

Can Friday survive the great outdoors, debunk the legend of a camp ghost and make it back to Highcrest Academy alive? Only time (and a compass) will tell!

R.A. Spratt talks (Video) Friday Barnes

Booktopia interview (Video) with R.A. Spratt

Friday Barnes teaching notes from Penguin

PRC 7-9 Booklist #40110

Funny Kid for President by Matt Stanton

Every kid wants to laugh, but Max Walburt is the boy who can make it happen. He’s the class clown, the punch line and he’s even volunteered his bottom to be the butt of the joke. Max is the funny kid … and he’s running for class president.

Poop-scandals, stalker-ducks, surprise-debates, psycho-sports-teachers, tell-all-interviews and the great-library-vomit-a-geddon are just some of the things in store for Max and his friends at Redhill Middle School this election season.

Matt Stanton’s question of the day (Video) – Why Funny Kid?

Matt Stanton reads (Video) chpt1 of Funny Kid for president

Funny Kid teaching notes from Harper Collins

PRC 5-6 Booklist #4007

Grimsdon by Deborah Abela

Grimsdon is in ruins. Three years ago a massive wave broke its barriers and the sea flooded this grand city. Most were saved, others were lost and some were left behind. Isabella Charm and her best friend Griffin live with three other children in the top of an opulent mansion. They've survived with the help of Griffin's brilliant inventions, Isabella's survival skills and their vow to look after each other. But what will happen when a thrill-seeking newcomer arrives in his flying machine? When bounty hunters attempt to capture them? When Byron P. Sneddon, the self-appointed protector of the flooded harbour, demands obedience? What if the danger is even greater? Something they can't see coming - something below the floodwaters?

Deborah Abela talks (Video) about Grimsdon

Grimsdon teaching notes

Grimsdon teaching notes from PETAA

PRC 5-6 Booklist #40640

Iris and the tiger by Leanne Hall

Twelve-year-old Iris has been sent to Spain on a mission: to make sure her elderly and unusual aunt, Ursula, leaves her fortune – and her sprawling estate – to Iris's scheming parents.

But from the moment Iris arrives at Bosque de Nubes, she realises something isn't quite right. There is an odd feeling around the house, where time moves slowly and Iris's eyes play tricks on her. While outside, in the wild and untamed forest, a mysterious animal moves through the shadows.

Just what is Aunt Ursula hiding?

But when Iris discovers a painting named Iris and the Tiger, she sets out to uncover the animal's real identity – putting her life in terrible danger.

Radio National interview with Leanne Hall

A Q&A with Leanne Hall

Iris and the tiger teaching notes from Text

PRC 5-6 Booklist #14962

Meet Grace by Sofie Laguna and illustrated by Lucia Masciullo

It's 1808 and Grace is living with her uncle in London. They have no money, and Grace is always lonely and often hungry. The best part of her day is going to Fleet Street to talk to the horses that she loves so much. One afternoon Grace can't resist taking a shiny red apple from a grocer's cart - and then another... Before she knows it, Grace is being chased through the streets! Will she be caught and sent to prison - or worse?

Meet Grace and join her adventure in the first of four exciting stories about a convict girl who is given a second chance.

Sofie Laguna (Video) on writing about Grace

Overview of Grace the character

Meet Grace teaching notes

PRC 5-6 Booklist #56280

Mr Bambuckle’s Remarkables by Tim Harris

He’s the first teacher to cook us breakfast.

Is his spark-maker beetle really that dangerous?

I heard he drank yak’s milk in Mongolia.

He’s the only person who isn’t afraid of Canteen Carol.

My mum says he used to be in the circus.

The class in room 12B has a new teacher, and nothing is ever going to be the same . . .

Tim Harris interviewed (Video) about writing

Children interviewed about Mr Bambuckle’s Remarkables (Video)

Mr Bambuckle’s Remarkables teaching notes from Penguin

PRC 5-6 Booklist #3078

The 91-Storey Treehouse by Andy Griffiths and Terry Denton

Join Andy and Terry in their ridiculous 91-storey treehouse! Go for a spin in the world's most powerful whirlpool, take a ride in a submarine sandwich, get marooned on a desert island, hang out in a giant spider web, visit the fortune teller's tent to get your fortune told by Madame Know-it-all and decide whether or not to push the mysterious big red button. Well, what are you waiting for? Come on up!

Andy and Terry draw (Video) a submarine sandwich

88.9 FM interview (Audio) with Andy and Jill

The 91-Storey Treehouse teaching notes from CCLC

PRC 5-6 Booklist #19448

The boy and the spy by Felice Arena

Life has never been easy for Antonio, but since the war began there are German soldiers on every corner, fearsome gangsters and the fascist police everywhere, and no one ever has enough to eat. But when Antonio decides to trust a man who has literally fallen from the sky, he leaps into an adventure that will change his life and maybe even the future of Sicily…

Felice Arena interviewed (Video) about writing (Part 1, there are 2 other parts)

The boy and the spy on stage (Video)

The boy and the spy teaching notes from Penguin

PRC 7-9 Booklist #5075

The forgotten pearl by Belinda Murrell

‘Let me tell you a story. A story about friendship and sisters, about grief and love and danger, and about growing up . . .’

When Chloe visits her grandmother, she learns how close war came to destroying her family. Could Poppy’s experiences help Chloe face her own problems?

In 1941, Poppy lives in Darwin, a peaceful paradise. But when Japan attacks Pearl Harbor and then Australia, everything Poppy holds dear is threatened. Terrified, she flees to Sydney – only to find that the danger follows her there. Poppy must face her war with courage and determination. Will her world ever be the same?

Belinda Murrell talks (Video) about The forgotten pearl

The forgotten pearl teaching notes from Belinda Murrell

The forgotten pearl teaching notes from Penguin

PRC 5-6 Booklist #1932


Congratulations to the shortlisted authors and illustrators.
It’s now time to READ!

A huge thank you to the children of New South Wales, Victoria and the Northern Territory for their nominations and to their teachers and librarians who made sure their 20 000 nominations were received.

"Challenge to Change" ASLA Conference 2017

Thank you to the wonderful ASLA (Australian School Library Association) team for an inspirational, challenging and diverse program over the past two days. The focus on reading was powerful and reassuring. The Children's Choice Literature Awards are well placed as an appealing and effective way to get students reading and critically thinking about the texts they read. The KOALA team caught up with some familiar faces and connected with some new ones too.

We were also thrilled to meet and listen to two of our 2017 shortlisted authors, Tim Harris and Will Kostakis, who spoke about creative influences and representation in their writing. Hopefully we will see them again at Awards Day in November.


It's time to think about voting

There are a number of ways to engage your students with the voting stage of the KOALA year. Kids love this stage and the options make it fun and exciting for all age groups.

  • Online Survey - ideal for Years 3-6 who read across the categories; add the link to your website, blog, ipad shortcut; no tallying numbers

  • Paper and Postbox- create a point of interest in the Library; develops familiarity with both author and illustrators' names; great job for library monitors to sort and tally

  • Cups and Counters - heighten excitement with K-2; anonymous-secret vote! (see image)

  • Sticky Notes - display based voting; students place a post-it note on the cover of their favourite book; great for younger years; saves writing time; quick tally count

The Tally Sheet for non-online votes is due by the end of Term 3.

Happy voting!

Bring your sticky notes to life with these post-it designs. Go to Learning in Hand for instructions on how to print. 


We all know koalas have their favourite trees and yours is now The Pearltrees will give you access to all the links and resources you could possibly need to add further value and fun to the shortlisted titles. Subscribe to the collection as resources are added.

Photo from our 2017 Awards Day Hosts - North Rocks Public School

"Waiting for the KOALAwards"