Oh my! June has flown by – with only one post since my last ‘What I Read’ post. I will write more soon about just why I have been so busy in June, but, in the meantime, here is what I managed to get read in amongst the busyness.
Books for Kids
- All in the Blue Unclouded Weather, by Robin Klein (Text, 2017). Continuing my exploration of Robin Klein’s works. This one was first published in 1991, but was re-released as part of Text’s Text Classics. I hadn’t read this before, but adored getting to know the Melling sisters, and will be following up with the sequels.
- Whisper on the Wind, by Claire Saxby & Jess Rackleft (Allen & Unwin, 2022). I love everything Claire writes, and this lyrical offering is no exception. It is gentle, and whimsical, and the illustrations are simply divine.
- Seree’s Story, by Irma Gold & Wayne Harris (Walker Books, 2022). I seem to keep using the word divine when talking about picture books – but I’m afraid that I’ll keep using it, because it is the perfect word. This is the story of a young elephant taken from her mother for a life in a circus – and of their joyful reunion. Irma Gold is a fabulous wordsmith, and Wayne Harris one of my favourite illustrators, making this – you guessed it – a divine offering.
- Girl from the Sea, by Margaret Wild & Jane Tanner. I was lucky enough to buy this at the recent CBCA National Conference – which meant that I could then get it signed by the author. Margaret Wild is an absolute treasure (and was the author of the very first verse novel I ever read). This is a stunning book – with Wild’s lyrical tale of a girl watching a family living in a cottage by the sea, and Tanner’s illustrations, mostly in grey scale with tinges of blue, haunting and beautiful.
- Ninni Yabini, by Cheryl Kickett-Tucker & Tyrown Waigana (Fremantle Press, 2022). This came to me as a review copy, and I am very glad to have received it. A beautiful story of a black swan family, told in dual languages – Noongar and English. It is so wonderful to see that the Noongar language – the language of the Noongar people of the South West corner of Australia, where I live and work is made accessible to children, families and educators through the story. I look forward to sharing this with my grandchildren and with my education students.
- How to Tackle Your Dreams, by Fiona Hardy (Affirm Press, 2022). A story about football – and sewing. A surprising combination, which works well. Homer is a footy star, but not as big a star as his mother, who is in her debut in the women’s league. Homer still loves footy but he’s dealing with the absence of his father and his passion for sewing, which is pushing his friends away.
- Old Fellow, by Christopher Cheng & Liz Anelli (Walker Books, 2022). A day in the life of two old fellows – a man and his dog, and their adventures, mostly in the local park. A joyful celebration of aging, community and the bond between people and their dogs.
Fiction for Young Adults
- Impossible Music, by Sean Williams (Allen & Unwin, 2019). Pulled from my to-read pile as I headed out the door for a flight, and I was so glad this one chose me. I read the whole way from Perth to Melbourne and then, in the hotel, had to finish it before bed. A moving story about facing up to the huge challenges life can throw up – for SImon, it is losing his hearing literally overnight.
- Another Holiday for the Prince, by Elizabeth Jolley, illustrated by Steven Bray (Angus & Robertson, 1996). Another op shop treasure. This is a small boo, reproducing a Jolley short story with the addition of illustrations and layout making it a kind of graphic novel. I really enjoyed the format as well as the story, told from the perspective of a teen whose mother seems to do everything in life to please the older brother – known as The Prince. An excellent short story.
Fiction for Adults
- Matthew Flinders’ Cat, by Bryce Courtenay (Penguin, 2002). This had been in my to-read pile for a while, after I bought it from a discard pile. Not sure why I had not read this before – I always find Courtenay’s work quite readable. I struggled a little with the nature of some of the subject matter here, set against some of the unsavoury parts of Sydney life.
- A Kiss From Mr Fitzgerald, by Natasha Lester (Hachette, 2017). I listened to this on audio, and really enjoyed the depiction of 1920s Manhattan, as well as the story of Evie, who is destined to be a wife and homemaker for a rich banker’s son, until she realises that she wants more: to be a doctor. Cut off by her family, and pushed out by all but her closest friends, she has to fight for what she is sure is her destiny.
Non Fiction for Adults
- Love Stories, by Trent Dalton (Harper Collins, 2021). I listened to the audio version of this. What a joy to listen to Dalton read this heart filled book. I thought it would be a series of short stories, but what it is is a celebration of love in all its forms, as strangers share their stories of love with Dalton, and he, in turn, reflects on what love is.
- Word of Dog, by Megan Anderson (Fremantle Press, 2019). I bought this one at a Fremantle Press event in 2019 and then found it last week still in the paper bag when I was moving things out of my rental unit. Oops. Anyway, it is a quick, quirky read – though you can also dip in and out, because each page stands alone, Anderson’s dog art accompanied by little vignette-quotes from anonymous people on all kinds of things.
That brings my total for 2022 to 81 so far. Half way through the year, I’m on track for my goal. Hopefully in July I will boost that total – I am taking a whole week off my day job next week.