Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Book Talk: Great Australian Books

Yesterday (Jan 26) was Australia Day, which marks the anniversary of Captain Phillip landing in Sydney with boats full of convicts. To mark the occasion, I wanted to book talk some great Australian books I've read in the past couple of years (and one old favourite).

Pearl Verses the World by Sally Murphy: This is a sweet, short novel in verse. It's all about Pearl, whose teacher wants her to write in rhyme, though she has no rhyme in her life at the moment. And it's about her family - her, her mother and her grandmother who is slowly fading away. Just beautiful - I highly recommend it.

The ArrivalThe Arrival by Shaun Tan: If you are learning anything about visual literacy, then you must have this book. Tan has created a book completely in pictures, with the only words in an alphabet unfamiliar to us. It's the story of refugees, of people looking for a brighter future, and there are layers upon layers of meaning within it.

Will by Maria Boyd: When I started this book, I wasn't at all sure about it. I mean, it starts with a boy mooning a bus full of girls! But then the layers begin to fall away and it's a story of friendship and being yourself and coming to terms with your past. Just wonderful, with some great examples of good teachers in it :)

Murder Of Bindy MackenzieThe Betrayal of Bindy Mackenzie (known as The Murder of Bindy Mackenzie in the US) by Jaclyn Moriarty: Bindy Mackenzie is possibly the most annoying character ever at the beginning of this book, and a lot of that has to do with how much she's like I was at that age. She's gifted, and knows it, and she's willing to tell everyone else where they're going wrong. And then things begin to go wrong for her, and she'll need the others to help . . .

Pastures of the Blue Crane by Hesba Brinsmead: I got this book for my tenth birthday, and still return to it, again and again and again. It's the story of Ryl, the child abandoned by her father into the care of boarding schools. Suddenly she'd finished school, and she finds out that her father has died - leaving her a house and a grandfather. She moves with her grandfather to the Tweed (northern New South Wales) discovers surfies and falls in love with the ragged old house. Very interesting discussions of blackbirding, (essentially slavery). Some of the language is a little dated, but it's definately worth a read.

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Sally Murphy said...

Thanks for saying such lovely things about Pearl. Gave me a big Aussie grin. And I agree with the rest of your list - there are some wonderful reads there.

A Reader's Community said...

Pearl has pride of place in my classroom - she's much loved :) I'm asking my Year 5s to read some Australian books this term, so it's good to think about which ones are out there

A Reader's Community

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Queensland, Australia
A Reader's Community is a place to find ideas, information, resources and recommendations about Reader's Workshop.

This Blog has five main types of posts.

About Reader's Workshop - information about Reader's Workshop in my classroom and how it works

Reader's Workshop Tools - resources you can access and use to help you with reader's workshop

Book talks - Book recommendations of two or three books centred around a particular theme

Book letters - in-depth reviews of one particular book

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