My Most Anticipated Kids and YA August New Releases from Walker Books Australia

Whistling in the Dark by Shirley Hughes

Liverpool, 1940: thirteen-year-old Joan’s home is under threat from the Nazi’s terrifying nightly air-raids. It is not an easy time to be a teenager, especially with the sweet rationing, strict curfews and blackouts. Joan and best friend Doreen love going to the cinema until the bombings intensify and then even that becomes too dangerous, especially when an army deserter is found lurking near their home. Who is he and why does he think Joan can help him? As the Blitz worsens, Joan and her friends make a discovery that will tear the whole community apart…

The Fortelling of Georgie Spider (Book 3 of The Tribe) by Ambelin Kwaymullina

The third and final book in the thrilling eco-dystopian series The Tribe.

A storm was stretching out across futures to swallow everything in nothing, and it was growing larger, which meant it was getting nearer… Georgie Spider has foretold the end of the world, and the only one who can stop it is Ashala Wolf. But Georgie has also foreseen Ashala’s death. As the world shifts around the Tribe, Ashala fights to protect those she loves from old enemies and new threats.

And Georgie fights to save Ashala. Georgie Spider can see the future. But can she change it?

Remix by Non Pratt

From the author of Trouble comes a novel about boys, bands and best mates. Kaz is still reeling from being dumped by the
love of her life… Ruby is bored of hearing about it. Time to change the record.

Three days. Two best mates. One music festival. Zero chance of everything working out.

Win a stack of new books from Walker Books for your school

Walker Books Australia have so many fantastic books being released this month.  From a tale of Ancient Greece, to a story of a girl who wants to act but suffers from stage fright, and even a new book by David Almond and Dave McKean.

Thanks to Walker Books I have a stack of their latest release novels to give to one lucky school.  The pack includes:

  • 2013-06-10 17.49.33That Boy, Jack by Janeen Brian
  • Murder at Mykenai by Catherine Mayo
  • In the Wings by Elsbeth Edgar
  • View from the 32nd Floor by Emma Cameron
  • Wild Boy by Rob Lloyd Jones
  • Mouse, Bird, Snake, Wolf by David Almond and Dave McKean

To get in the draw just enter your name and email address in the form below and tell me why your school deserves a stack of books.  These books are suitable for ages 9+.  Competition closes Wednesday 19 June (NZ only).

Thanks to everyone who entered.  The winner is Grace for St George’s School.

Books to Treasure: Beautiful books from Walker Books

Walker Books are renowned for publishing not only great stories, but also producing some beautiful books.  Their books are a pleasure to hold, touch, look at and read and you want to have them on your bookshelf to read whenever you want.  Two of their recent publications are new additions to my bookshelf – East of the Sun, West of the Moon by Jackie Morris and Mysterious Traveller by Mal Peet, Elspeth Graham and P.J. Lynch.

East of the Sun, West of the Moon by Jackie Morris

An extended version of the Norwegian fairy tale, set in the 21st century.

From the moment she saw him, she knew the bear had come for her. How many times had she dreamt of the bear… Now, here he was, as if spelled from her dreams. “I will come with you, Bear,” she said. It is the beginning of an extraordinary journey for the girl. First to the bear s secret palace in faraway mountains, where he is treated so courteously, but where she experiences the bear s unfathomable sadness, and a deep mystery… As the bear s secret unravels, another journey unfolds… a long and desperate journey, that takes the girl to the homes of the four Winds and beyond, to the castle east of the sun, west of the moon.

This is a wee gem of a book that you can carry around with you wherever you go.  Jackie Morris’ gorgeous watercolour illustrations are sprinkled amongst her magical fairy tale retelling.  I love the smaller format of the book as it’s easier to share, but you don’t loose the magic of the illustrations.  It’s the perfect book for those young and old who love folk tales and fairy tales.

Mysterious Traveller by Mal Peet and Elspeth Graham, illustrated P.J. Lynch.

A moving and beautifully researched story about camels, lost princesses and the strength of wisdom and knowledge.

This is the second tale in a trilogy from acclaimed storytellers Mal Peet and Elspeth Graham. This tale begins with a disgruntled camel, desperately trying to protect a little baby from a violent desert storm whipping up all around him. He is rescued by Issa – the desert guide – who takes the child in, naming her Mariama. She becomes Issa’s family and, as he begins to lose his sight, his eyes. Many years later, a mysterious stranger arrives at their doorstep, a stranger who will change both their lives for ever.

Mal Peet and Elspeth Graham are gifted storytellers who have woven a touching tale.  I’ve always loved P.J. Lynch’s illustrations and his illustrations for this story are absolutely stunning.  Like Mariama is the eyes for Issa in this story, P.J. Lynch is the eyes for the reader, creating an image of the characters and showing us the beauty of the land.

The Tribe: The Interrogation of Ashala Wolf by Ambelin Kwaymullina

Walker Books Australia have introduced me to some of my favourite books and authors – Brian Falkner, Lara Morgan, and Patrick Ness.  When they sent me some information about an exciting new series that they were publishing, called The Tribe, I knew that it would be great.  Like many Young Adult novels at the moment, it’s set in a future world, but The Tribe has plenty to set it apart from the rest.

The world has ended. It died in an environmental cataclysm called the Reckoning, brought about by humanity’s abuse of nature.

Three hundred years later, and the society that emerged from the ruins of the old world are obsessed with maintaining “the Balance” between all life. They live in harmony with each other, and the earth. It is almost a perfect world. Except for one thing.

Anyone born with an ability is seen as a threat to the Balance. They are feared, controlled and locked away in detention centres. Ashala Wolf has run away to avoid such a fate. Along with the other runaways she calls her Tribe, she lives in the vast Firstwood. Her Tribe is defying the government –and the government doesn’t like defiance.

Can the Tribe survive their oppressors and transform the world in which they live?

“There will come a day when a thousand Illegals descend on your detention centres. Boomers will breach the walls. Skychangers will send lightning to strike you all down from above, and Rumblers will open the earth to swallow you up from below … And when that day comes, Justin Connor, think of me.”

Ashala Wolf has been captured by Chief Administrator Neville Rose. A man who is intent on destroying Ashala’s Tribe – the runaway Illegals hiding in the Firstwood. Injured and vulnerable and with her Sleepwalker ability blocked, Ashala is forced to succumb to the machine that will pull secrets from her mind. And right beside her is Justin Connor, her betrayer, watching her every move. Will the Tribe survive the interrogation of Ashala Wolf?

The Interrogation of Ashala Wolf is a refreshing, futuristic adventure, full of twists and turns.   The story is like a puzzle that you have to fit together as you read.  At the beginning we don’t know much about Ashala and her life with the tribe, but through her memories we piece together how she came to live in the Firstwood with the rest of the Tribe.  The main part of the story concentrates on the interrogation that Ashala faces at the hands of the Chief Administrator, Neville Rose, who is trying to extract information from her about the Tribe.  All children with abilities are supposed to be rounded up and imprisoned in detention centres so that the government can keep them, and their abilities, under control.  However, the Tribe lives free in the Firstwood and Neville Rose will stop at nothing to find them and capture them.

I really liked Ambelin’s characters, especially Ashala.  Ashala is the leader of the Tribe and a mother-figure for the other children.  She’s incredibly strong and will do anything she can to protect her Tribe and keep them free, including putting herself in danger.  Jaz was the other character who really stood out for me because he’s got heaps of personality.

The main reason The Interrogation of Ashala Wolf stands out from other Young Adult books like it is because of the cultural and spiritual connection that Ambelin has given to her characters.  Each of the Tribe has connections to an animal, which means that they can communicate with them.  For Ashala it’s the wolf, and other characters are connected to crows, spiders, and even the dinosaur-like creatures called Saurs.  When the Tribe first enters the Firstwood they must make a promise to the trees that they will not harm them in any way and that they will protect them if needed.  Ashala also communicates with the spirit of her ancestors who offer advice and protect her along the way. 

The story comes to a satisfying conclusion, with no specific lead-in to the next book, but there is plenty more I want to know about this world.  Why do some children get powers?  What is it like in one of the big cities? Is this the last we see of Neville Rose?  I’ll be eagerly awaiting book two in this exciting new series.

4 out of 5 stars


You can win 1 of 5 signed copies of The Interrogation of Ashala Wolf right here on the blog.  Enter your details here to win.