Kindergarten to Primary age group
Snugglepot and Cuddlepie, by May Gibbs
This is a fabulous tale about gumnut babies living in the blossoming Australian bush. A great range of characters including the banksia men, the goanna, snakes, possum, insect and aquatic life really brings this story to life. I adored the book and used to read this story many times when I was a kid.
The Last Tiger, by Andrew McDermott
A young tiger cub called Wang who lost his parents to poachers is sent on a quest to find the mythical sanctuary, Blue Tiger Mountain. This book informs kids about issues facing endangered species such as loss of habitat and extinction. It is also cleverly written to educate about animal behaviours, culture, dialects, and folklore. As Wang journeys towards his destination, he meets various other characters along the way, an Australian cassowary, an English pine martin, a golden monkey, and a boy, which all share a common ground - survival. The vivid description of the travellers’ characters and surrounds make for an exciting read that children love.
Little Mouse on the Prarie
By the same author and illustrator as Leo the Lop. This tale describes an industrious little mouse who never enjoyed life much and was always very serious. A big contrast to her lazy counterparts who were always playing and having fun but also not preparing busily for the comming winter as she was. The little mouse and her friends learn an important lesson about balance and moderation in life when the cold winter strikes.
Leo the Lop
An illustrative wonder. A little bunny rabbit is different from his fellows. He and his friends find self-acceptance after trying to conform to the 'norm' !
The Legend of the Golden Snail
Expressive and touching illustrations. A boy sails in a little boat with his cat accross the seas to find a special enchanted ship. The difficult choices and decisions come back to him in times of need. This demonstrates wonderfully the proverb - A man that has friends must shew himself friendly.
The Girl Who Loved Wild Horses
This book has extraordinarily stylish illustrations and is a wonderful tale of a girl who loved the wild horses. One day she disappeared in a wild storm surrounded by the frightened horses only to reappear as something beautifully different.
Young Adult to Mature age books
Wild Brother by Mary
(Young/Adult Australian fiction) Absolutely spellbinding story
about a dingo called Shula.
Dragonlance Chronicles I, II, & III, by Margaret Weis & Tracy Hickman
This is one of my all time favorites of a fantasy world with dragons, elves, dwarves, kenders, draconians, and humans. 11 Volumes in total but my preferences are the first three: Dragons of Autumn Twilight, Dragons of Winter Night, and Dragons of Spring Dawning.
Come In Spinner, by Barry Wilks
This is a fantastic personal account (autobiography) of a local New South Welshman who as a boy emmigrated to Australia from wartime Britain. It is an easy and very entertaining read delivered to my door by the author himself - wow!
The Silver Brumby, by Elyne Mitchell
Anyone who likes horses will love this book (even though I think the target audience is youth). It makes you feel like a wild horse. Roam in the terrain of a brumby, learn about their fears and pleasures and be amongst them. The characters of the story are very well developed in first person, the plot is exceptional and visualization of the scenary is brilliant.
The Forgotten Garden, by Kate Morton
This is another fantastic read. A young girl is found on a ship docking in Austrlia from England, without any person claiming to be carers or parents. She gets adopted into a loving home, but when she comes of age learns she was adopted. This took her onto a lifelong journey to discover who she really was. Over three generation, her granddaughter finaly uncovers the truth. Cleverly written in a way that the lives in the 1800's and 1900's come starkly to life into the present, with times of desparation, passion, friendship and duty.
The Martyr of the Catacombs
It has been well over 15 years since I read this one but I still remember it. This is a story about the persecution of Christians in ancient Rome. The believers lived under the city in the catacombs - a vast network of underground chanels and tunnels - in often very adverse conditions. Bound by their faith, if captured for questioning in the city they would not lie about being followers and were thus sentenced, often on public display in the Coliseum - a kind of stadium where wild animals, gladiators, and the persecuted dualed to the death in front of an eager audience.
A Cage of Eagles, by James Follett
What an amazing book! German prizoners of war (all officers e.g. navigators, U-boatmen, radio experts, and airman) kept in POW camps in wartime Britain. Determined to escape untill a U-boat ace joins them and turns the camp into a clearinghouse functioning to send intelligence back to their homeland. Written with such passion, insight, moving true life accounts, and not a speck of racism on either side. This is a book I couldn't put down.