Best Books of 2019: Liz Derouet

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Most favourite 3 from lists below

Yahoo Creek by Tohby Riddle (picture book)

Publisher Site

Yahoo Creek by Toby Riddle is a tribute to the Australian legend of the yahoo man, or yowie. Made up of excerpts from historical accounts of the Yahoo man from Trove and information from Peter Williams, Ngiyampaa Elder from North West New South Wales and haunting dusk-time illustrations, this is an authentic and special piece.

Our review

Trove

Tohby Riddle’s Teachers’ Illustrator’s Notes

Catch a falling star by Meg McKinlay (younger readers)

Publisher’s Site

Frankie is reminded of her father when she hears Skylab is about to re-enter atmosphere and fall to earth. She remembers being with her father six years earlier, in the space shack, watching Skylab dart across space. Now her younger brother is eight and she feels a huge responsibility to look after him. But how can she do everything while her father is still missing, and Skylab keeps reminding her? This is a heartfelt, moving novel for young readers. Beautifully written, it will also be enjoyed by older readers.

Our review

Classroom notes

Wearing paper dresses by Anna Brinsden (adult book)

Publisher’s site

This beautifully written story is about Elise and Bill, and their family. Elise, born and bred in Melbourne, marries Bill, from the Mallee. When they move back to the Mallee with their two young daughters to help out on the family farm, it is soon apparent that Elise is not made for this tough environment. Spanning two generations, we follow their path as Elise’s mental health deteriorates despite help from those close to her, and then Marjorie’s viewpoint when she is a young woman, after moving to Melbourne.

Picture books

Yahoo Creek by Tohby Riddle

Yahoo Creek by Toby Riddle is a tribute to the Australian legend of the yahoo man, or yowie. Made up of excerpts from historical accounts of the Yahoo man from Trove and information from Peter Williams, Ngiyampaa Elder from North West New South Wales and haunting dusk-time illustrations, this is an authentic and special piece.

Moonfish by Graham Base

Publisher’s site

Our review

When an orphan fish is taken in by a loving couple, he grows to be very different to all the others. He experiences bullying and leaves his town and home. However, when he returns, he finds his home threatened, and changes in a most drastic way to save everyone. This fable style story is beautifully illustrated with under water scenes, set in China. Base includes some puzzles, as he usually does. This is picture book is captivating for all ages.

The Tiny Star by Mem Fox and Freya Blackwood

Publisher’s site

Our review

Mem Fox and Freya Blackwood have produced a beautiful book that will stand the test of time. A tiny star falls to earth and turns into a baby. This baby is cared for and loved, growing into a child, then an adult. The baby grows older, then smaller, then is no more, returning as a star to the sky. The illustrations are typically beautiful, as is all Freya Blackwood’s work. An absolute gem, this is a must!

Younger Readers/YA

A great escape by Felice Arena

Publisher’s site

Felice Arena’s historical novels just get better and better. This book inspired many of my students to read about the Cold War and Europe after World War 2. When Peter refuses to come inside to get ready to visit his father in West Berlin, his mother leaves him in the care of his Grandparents for the night. Little do they know, however, that West and East Berlin would become fenced and physically divided that night, causing much anguish and despair in not only young Peter’s life but many others.

Catch a falling star by Meg McKinlay

Frankie is reminded of her father when she hears Skylab is about to re-enter atmosphere and fall to earth. She remembers being with her father six years earlier, in the space shack, watching Skylab dart across space. Now her younger brother is eight and she feels a huge responsibility to look after him. But how can she do everything while her father is still missing, and Skylab keeps reminding her? This is a heartfelt, moving novel for young readers. Beautifully written, it will also be enjoyed by older readers.

Detention by Tristan Bancks

Publisher’s site

Our review

This was a huge hit in my library when it arrived. It is tightly written with some humour in just the right places for a serious read. Sima is a refugee in detention, while Daniel is a secondary school student. Written from both characters’ perspectives, the prose alternates between the two characters. They meet at Daniel’s school where Sima is hiding after a botched escape attempt from the detention centre. The school is placed in lockdown and Daniel is faced with many choices. Suitable for all independent readers.

Adult reads

Wearing paper dresses by Anna Brinsden

This beautifully written story is about Elise and Bill, and their family. Elise, born and bred in Melbourne, marries Bill, from the Mallee. When they move back to the Mallee with their two young daughters to help out on the family farm, it is soon apparent that Elise is not made for this tough environment. Spanning two generations, we follow their path as Elise’s mental health deteriorates despite help from those close to her, and then Marjorie’s viewpoint when she is a young woman, after moving to Melbourne.

Allegra in three parts by Suzanne Daniel

Publisher’s site

Eleven-year-old Allegra lives with her Hungarian Grandmother, while her other Grandmother lives next door. Her father lives above the garage in a small flat. Allegra’s two Grandmothers cannot be more different, and Allegra has to be the go-between. This is wearing on a young girl, and there are other mysteries which Allegra must try and solve. Set in the 1970s, although Allegra is eleven when the book begins, this is not a book for eleven-year olds. It is more an adult read, with a complex plot and deep issues. It is a most rewarding and satisfying read though, beautifully written and unputdownable.

Dead at First Sight by Peter James

Publisher’s site

If you want a gripping murder mystery, you can’t go past this. Roy Grace investigates a string of murders connected to a complex and intricate fraudulent dating agency on the internet. Characters from previous books in this detective series appear, but I did not feel lost having not read the previous instalments. I could not put this down. It is real and quite frightful. A good read for the holidays when you have got time to indulge!

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