Debra’s Best of 2016


Reviewer Debra shares her favourite reads of 2016…

Adult: What Alice Forgot – Liane Moriarty

I jumped on the Liane Moriarty bandwagon late and have been playing ‘catch up’ ever since. Although first published in 2009, I read What Alice Forgot this year and it is my all- time-so-far-favourite. I love the warmth and humour of her writing and characters and the insightful examination of what happens to relationships over time. I’ve given it to all my friends!


YA/Adult: Running Like China – Sophie Hardcastle

A beautifully written and important memoir about one young woman’s experience with mental illness. A book to give hope to those suffering from mental illness and a book to help others understand – I can’t recommend it highly enough for young and older adults.



Mid Grade/YA: One Thousand Hills – by James Roy and Noel Zihabamwe

This is a sensitively written, important story for older children about a survivor of the Rwandan genocide.  One Thousand Hills is beautifully and insightfully co-authored by Roy and Zihabamwe, the latter having lived through the events of 1994 in Rwanda. The themes in this book are challenging, the events described are horrific, and Roy and Zihabamwe tread carefully through the horror.


Mid Grade: 400 Minutes of Danger – Jack Heath

A face paced, mid-grade action adventure book that had me hooked and engaged with the teenaged protagonists fighting for their lives in each short (40 minute) story with a finale that draws them all together. I loved how Heath had equally brave and ingenious male and female characters.



Picture Book: The Fabulous Friend Machine – Nick Bland

I love a chook book and I love how Bland has used a hen to tell a very modern cautionary tale, echoing back to the classics like Henny Penny and The Little Red Hen. This picture book had me laughing out loud and sharing it with children and adults alike – The Fabulous Friend Machine has something to say to all generations. I’m sure we’ll all find a little bit of ourselves and our friends in the pages of this book!



A bit about reviewer and author Debra Tidball…

Debra’s obsession with picture books could be labelled eccentric: as a thirteen year old she requested the complete collection of Beatrix Potter for her birthday; as a social worker she went on to complete an MA in Children’s Literature. She is now the author of her very own picture book, When I See Grandma, reviewer for both Reading Time and Creative Kids Tales, blogger for Just Write For Kids, and committee member on her local CBCA sub-branch.

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