Twitter_profile_imageWelcome to Penguin Australia’s blog for teachers, librarians and educators – bringing you professional development opportunities, book reviews, resources, guest bloggers, book trailers and much more. Have a question about books? Ask us and we will answer on the blog.

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Book Week 2014

Book Week 2014 is fast approaching and to celebrate, we are sharing a handy list and links to resources for the Penguin books, both notable and short-listed for the Book of the Year Awards. The winners will be announced during Book Week 2014 Saturday 16 – Friday 22 August. Happy Book Week everyone!

Older Readers

9780143568179The First Third by Will Kostakis




Early Childhood

Book Cover:  I'm a Dirty DinosaurI’m a Dirty Dinosaur by Janeen Brian, Illustrated by Ann James

Book Cover:  Baby BedtimeBaby Bedtime Mem Fox, Illustrated by Emma Quay

Book Cover:  Kissed by the MoonKissed by the Moon by Alison Lester

Picture Book

Book Cover: The Treasure BoxThe Treasure Box by Margaret Wild, Illustrated by Freya Blackwood


Early Childhood Notables

Book Cover:  Noah DrearyNoah Dreary by Aaron Blabey

Book Cover:  I'm a Dirty DinosaurI’m a Dirty Dinosaur by Janeen Brian, Illustrated by Ann James

Book Cover:  Baby BedtimeBaby Bedtime Mem Fox, Illustrated by Emma Quay

Book Cover:  Starting SchoolStarting School Jane Goodwin Illustrated by Anna Walker

Book Cover:  Kissed by the MoonKissed by the Moon by Alison Lester

Book Cover:  Davy and the DucklingDavy and the Duckling by Margaret Wild, Illustrated by Julie Vivas

Younger Reader Notables

Book Cover: The WishbirdThe Wishbird by GabrielleWang

Older Reader Notables

Book Cover:  PureheartPureheart by Cassandra Golds

Book Cover: The First ThirdThe First Third by Will Kostakis

Book Cover:  RunRun by Tim Sinclair

Picture Book Notables

Noah Dreary by Aaron Blabey

Book Cover: The Treasure BoxThe Treasure Box by Margaret Wild, Illustrated by Freya Blackwood

Kissed by the Moon by Alison Lester

Baby Bedtime Mem Fox, Illustrated by Emma Quay

Davy and the Duckling by Margaret Wild, Illustrated by Julie Vivas


Posted in Asia, Australian Curriculum, Awards, CBCA Award Shortlist 2012, Death and Bereavement, Environment, Events, Family, Historical, Resources, Themes | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

Off the Shelf – July 2014 OUT NOW!

We are delighted to bring you our very latest edition of Off the Shelf! We have a jam packed edition for you this quarter and we hope you enjoy reading Issue 12.

You can download Off the Shelf in the iTunes store HERE. OR, those of you without Apple devices, simply click on the cover icon below to download Off the Shelf in PDF format.

Your feedback is always welcome, so please do feel free to leave us a comment below.

Posted in Australian Curriculum, Competitions, Environment, Events, Extract, Family, Indigenous, New Books, Primary, Q&A, Relationships, Resources, Reviews, Special Guest, Themes, Watch | Leave a comment

New books for school – June/July 2014


Best-selling author, Jill Esbaum, and celebrated illustrator, Gus Gordon, team up for this funny and oddly reassuring rhyming romp about the brilliantly brave . . . Nadine the Cow.

Nadine is a ‘truly remarkable cow’ who is afraid of absolutely nothing; or so she claims. She’s a bit of a show-off, really, and when her friends take her up on her offer of a tour through the woods, Nadine is in her element. Then night falls, and when her friends leave and Nadine is left to explore a dark cave all on her own, suddenly she doesn’t feel quite to brave after all.

Oh, you are going to love this book. I’m great in it – really brave. You’re smart to read this. Not as smart as me, of course, or as brave, but then, I am cow, hear me moooooooo!

9780670077656One Sunday AUTHOR: PAMELA ALLEN

Outside the wind blew. Ooooh! The trees groaned. Ahhhhh! And the tiny wooden house creaked. Eeeeeek!

Inside, a delicious roast dinner was cooking.

The little old man was expecting visitors. The little old woman said no one would come.

Who was right? Come inside where it’s cosy and warm, and wait . . .

You might get a big surprise.

Here is a gentle story about home and hearth, about the comfort of ritual, and about opening your heart to the possibilities of life.

From the one and only Pamela Allen.

9780143308249Juliet, Nearly a Vet: Beach Buddies (Book 5) AUTHOR: REBECCA JOHNSON/ ILLUSTRATOR: KYLA MAY

Hi! I’m Juliet. I’m ten years old. And I’m nearly a vet!

It’s the holidays and we’re going camping by the beach. I’m bringing my vet-kit in case of any animal emergencies. Vets needs to be prepared for anything! I can’t wait to toast marshmallows by the campfire, swim in the sea and explore the rock-pools – there are so many amazing animals at the beach.

Chelsea and I really want to see a dolphin or a whale.

9780143308256Zookeeper for a Day: Juliet, Nearly a Vet (Book 6) AUTHOR: REBECCA JOHNSON/ ILLUSTRATOR: KYLA MAY

Hi! I’m Juliet. I’m ten years old. And I’m nearly a vet!

I’ve won a competition to be a zookeeper for a day! My best friend Chelsea is coming too. I can’t wait to learn all about the zoo animals. There will be meerkats, tigers and penguins to feed. And maybe some zoo vets who need some help (I must remember my vet-kit!).

Most exciting of all, there’s a baby elephant due to be born!

9780143307877Crawf’s Kick it to Nick: Bugs from Beyond AUTHORS: SHANE CRAWFORD/ ADRIAN BECK

After a long first half of the season, the Crocs might finally have a chance to win a game.

But when mutant bugs start burrowing up from beneath the oval to attack, there may not even be a team left to take the field.

If Nick and his friends can’t figure out how to stop the bugs, losing the game will be the least of their problems!

9780143307884Crawf’s Kick it to Nick: Outbreak on the Oval AUTHORS: SHANE CRAWFORD/ ADRIAN BECK

Nick has been replaced as captain, right before the Crocs’ big game. It’s his worst footy nightmare come true.

And just when he thought all the mutant bugs were destroyed, the Queen bug rises. She has the whole school in her sights and she’s not happy.

It’s Nick, Ella and Bruiser versus their nastiest, ugliest enemy yet!

9780143307556Do You Dare? Fighting Bones AUTHOR: SOFIE LAGUNA

Fighting Bones is the convict-era adventure in this series of exciting, action-packed Australian stories for boys aged 8 to 12.

Irish brothers Danny and Declan Sheehan are inmates at Tasmania’s Point Puer prison for convict boys in 1836. When tragedy strikes and the prison bully is on the rampage, escape is their only chance to survive… But will they dare?

It’s an adventure in history.

Do you dare?

9780143307822Do You Dare? The Last Horse Race AUTHOR: JAMES MOLONEY

Do You Dare . . .

Stick up for your mates? Ride a horse at breakneck speed? Risk your life for freedom?

It’s an adventure in history.

Do You Dare?

9780143307969Our Australian Girl: Pearlie the Spy (Book 3) AUTHOR: GABRIELLE WANG

It’s1942 . . . and Pearlie is all alone in Darwin. Not only has she been separated from her family, but now Beake, the spy, is back and he’s on the loose. He’s out to get Pearlie – but she has a plan . . . Can she pull it off? And when bombs fall on Darwin, will Pearlie survive?

Follow Pearlie on her adventure in the third of four exciting stories about a courageous girl in a world at war.

9780143307655Our Australian Girl: Daisy in the Mansion (Book 3) AUTHOR: MICHELLE HAMER

It’s 1930 . . . and Daisy has been adopted and whisked away to a beautiful mansion. She’s to be a companion to Annie, a girl with a mysterious illness. While Daisy’s new life is full of luxuries she could never have imagined, what she wants the most is the thing her new parents can’t provide: the freedom to find her real family before it’s too late . . .

Follow Daisy on her adventure in the third of four exciting stories about a hopeful girl in troubled times.

9780670078004Blueback: Australian Children’s Classics AUTHOR: TIM WINTON

The final volume in the iconic Penguin Australian Children’s Classics series, Bluebackis a deceptively simple allegory about a boy who matures through fortitude, and finds wisdom by living in harmony with all forms of life. A beautiful distillation of Winton’s art and concerns.

9780141341804Hangman’s Revolution: W.A.R.P Book 2 AUTHOR: EOIN COLFER

FBI agent Chevie Savano is trapped in a nightmare future.

Unless she can return to nineteenth-century London and change the course of history, millions will die.

Luckily she has Riley the boy magician and a Victorian gangster with lovely hair to help her battle two crazed villains, who have brought the military technology of the future back in time – with potentially disastrous consequences.

The stakes are higher than the hangman’s noose and only Chevie can save the day. Assuming she can avoid being killed by a couple of psycho warrior-nuns first . . .

Warp is Eoin Colfer’s thrilling, steam-punk, time-travel, adrenalin-fuelled adventure series.


Like many of his mates from the bush, Frank Ballantyne is keen to join the grand adventure and do his bit. Specially as a chest full of medals might impress the currently unimpressed parents of his childhood sweetheart. So Frank ups his age and volunteers with his horse Daisy … and his dad.

In the deserts of Egypt and Palestine he experiences all the adventure he ever wanted, and a few things he wasn’t expecting. Heartbreak, love and the chance to make the most important choice of his life.

From Gallipoli to the famous charge at Beersheba, through to the end of the war and its unforgettable aftermath, Frank’s story grows out of some key moments in Australia’s history.

They were loyal creatures, the men and horses of the Australian Light Horse, but war doesn’t always pay heed to loyalty. This is the powerful story of a young man’s journey towards his own kind of bravery.



Posted in Australian Curriculum, Environment, Events, Family, New Books, Primary, Relationships, Resources, Secondary, Themes | Leave a comment

Paper Cuts 2014 –  Book Trailer and Book Cover Design Competition

 PCSecondary school students are invited to enter an exciting new competition to celebrate the importance of reading for literacy development and enjoyment.

Paper Cuts 2014 is a great opportunity for creative students who are interested in art or media to get inspired by books using the vast array of technological tools available today.

To take part students can choose their favourite book or one they are studying as part of the curriculum, and create a book trailer or design a book cover. Students can enter individually, or teachers might prefer to make it a whole-class activity.

Book trailers are similar to movie trailers and are a fun and engaging way to visually present a synopsis of a book. They range from professionally-produced short films to simple student productions using PowerPoint, iMovie or an iPhone. You don’t need expensive equipment to produce an effective trailer.

Paper Cuts is part of the Victorian Premiers’ Reading Challenge; however students don’t need to register for the Challenge to participate.  Entries will be judged by esteemed industry professionals, including celebrated Irish author Eoin Colfer creator of the popular teen series Artemis Fowl.

Students will be in the running to win great prizes including an iPad Air, Penguin books worth $200 for 1st, 2nd, 3rd place and people’s choice in each category. The winner’s school in both categories will also receive $200 worth of Penguin books of their choice.  Shortlisted entrants will be invited to a special event at Penguin studios and their work will be featured on the Paper Cuts web page.

The competition closes on July 31, 2014. For more information, links to book trailer examples, tips and guidelines, see: Paper Cuts Competition 2014 (



Posted in Australian Curriculum, Competitions, Events, Watch | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment

National Simultaneous Storytime 2014

NSS-Webpage-BannerIts here! National Simultaneous Storytime is this Wednesday – May 21st 2014!

Penguin Books Australia is thrilled to be participating in NSS 2014 and we wish to thank those of you sharing this charming story about Eric the boy who had Too Many Elephants in this House

We would like to thank the Australian Library and Information Association for their generous support and amazing organisation of this fabulous campaign. Below are the resources ALIA have compiled to help you celebrate your NSS event.

These versions of Too Many Elephants in this House are yours to enjoy until Friday 23 May 2014. Please refer to the Permissions from the Publisher for guidelines on appropriate usage of these resources.

If you are searching for some last minute activities for your event the ALIA resources page is still available with some wonderful ideas for activities including elephant crafts, quizzes, songs and rhymes. You can also find activities created by Andrew Joyner here. 

Thank you for being a part of NSS 2014 and we hope to see you next year! 

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

New books for school -April/May 2014


9780670077434Max by MARC MARTIN

Max and Bob are old friends. Max helps out in Bob’s shop, and in the evenings they go fishing together.

Until one summer, when everything changes . . .

From the winner of the 2013 Crichton Award for Australia’s best new illustrator comes this heartwarming story of enduring friendship.

And chips.

9780143307846Crawf’s Kick it to Nick : The Cursed Cup by SHANE CRAWFORD and ADRIAN BECK

It’s the first footy game on the new oval and Nick and his team, the Cobar Creek Crocs, are desperate to win the golden cup.

But when the cup is removed from its cabinet it turns into a terrifying metal monster, hungry to destroy everything in its path.  And only Nick can stop it.

This time Nick’s not just playing for a win, he’s playing for his life!

9780143307860Crawf’s Kick it to Nick: Forward Line Freak

Nick has been named the captain of the Cobar Creek Crocs. It’s a dream come true, but the pressure is intense.

He needs to get his team to work together, but they think he’s a power-hungry monster. Only Nick’s friends know that he’s also turning into a real-life monster – and maybe he’s not the only one.

Can they find out what’s causing it all before it’s too late to change Nick back?

9780143571711Side Effects May Vary by JULIE MURPHY

What if you’d been living your life as if you were dying – only to find out that you had your whole future ahead of you?

When Alice is diagnosed with leukaemia and time is suddenly not a luxury, she convinces her friend Harvey to help her with a crazy bucket list.  It’s as much about revenge as redemption and warped or not, it gives Alice the focus she needs when everything else seems pointless.

Then she goes into remission.

Now faced with the consequences of her actions, can Alice repair the damage she’s caused to those around her?  And maybe, just maybe, show the one who loves her most how much she loves him in return?


9780143571629The Fault In Our Stars (Movie Tie In Cover)
Out in Cinemas: 5 June

‘Damn near genius… The Fault in Our Stars is a love story, one of the most genuine and moving ones in recent American fiction, but it’s also an existential tragedy of tremendous intelligence and courage and sadness.’ Time Magazine

The critically acclaimed worldwide phenomenon that has sold millions internationally, is heading to the big screen. Starring Shailene Woodley and Ansel Elgort, the film has already captured attention with a trailer that has been viewed over 12 million times. The film will be released in Australian cinemas on 5th June.

9780143308324Lyka’s Adventures: Lyka and the Secret Forest by Connected Sparks

A next-generation reading experience!
Meet the little robot scientist with the big heart as she ignites the passion of kids everywhere.
This ground breaking series of chapter books for boys and girls aged 5 to 10 fills a much-needed gap in the market for quality, entertaining content that encourages children to engage with the natural world.
Fun and satisfying in their own right, the books also provide a unique interactive reading experience when enjoyed with the Lyka plush toy and accompanying free mobile app. Children will be enthralled by this fantastic marriage of traditional book publishing and digital innovation.

9780670077687Our Island by ALISON LESTER & ELIZABETH HONEY with the Children of Gununa

In this lyrical celebration of place, the children of Mornington Island explore their home in their own words and pictures. This is a collaboration with much-loved children’s picture-book creators Alison Lester and Elizabeth Honey.

All royalties from Our Island and one dollar from the sale of each copy will be donated to Mornington Island State School to fund art projects in the community.

9780143307648Our Australian Girl: Daisy All Alone by MICHELLE HAMER & LUCIA MASCIULLO

It’s 1930 and Daisy’s worst nightmare has come true. She’s alone on the streets, separated from her family. Things get worse after the police send her to live at the Melbourne Orphanage. Daisy is miserable and when she hears some shocking news she decides it’s time to plot a daring escape.
Follow Daisy on her adventure in the second of four exciting stories about a hopeful girl
in troubled times.

9780143307952Our Australian Girl: Pearlie’s Pet Rescue by GABRIELLE WANG & LUCIA MASCIULLO

It’s 1941 and school is almost over – not just for summer, but forever. Darwin could be bombed any day, and everyone Pearlie knows is leaving for a safer place. Animals and pets of all kinds are being left behind, and Pearlie can’t bear it. Can she rescue them all? And what will happen when it’s her turn to leave the home she loves?
Follow Pearlie on her adventure in the second of four exciting stories about a courageous
girl in a world at war.

9780143307532Frank Davies and the Amazing Frog Catapult by ROHAN CLIFFORD

Frank Davies is your typical 12-year old boy, or so he thought. Very strange things start to happen in his life, involving a mysterious diary from his grandfather, an unnaturally huge and persistent frog and some extremely disturbing and, as it turns out, life-threatening Supertoads…

A mad and funny junior novel for 10+ readers set in the badlands of the outer Australian suburbs. Kind of like The Castle for kids, but with a Super Cane Toad invasion by first time author and teacher Rohan Clifford.


Posted in Asia, Australian Curriculum, Death and Bereavement, Environment, Extract, Family, Historical, Indigenous, New Books, Primary, Relationships, Secondary, Themes | Leave a comment

Event: Loyal Creatures with Morris Gleitzman

The Centre for Youth Literature and Penguin Teachers’ Academy present


Tuesday 10 June, 10am – 11am
Wednesday 11 June, 10am – 11am

The Courtyard, State Library of Victoria
Cost: $7.70 per person
Bookings: Book online (Tues/Wed) or (03) 8664 7555

Beloved children’s writer Morris Gleitzman has been making Australians laugh and cry for many decades. Gain insight into his newest title, Loyal Creatures, with a special stage performance, followed by a question session with Morris Gleitzman that will further explore the experience of one brave Lighthorseman and his horse during World War 1.

Signing opportunity to follow.

Posted in Australian Curriculum, Death and Bereavement, Events, Family, Historical, New Books, Relationships, Secondary, Themes | Tagged , , | Leave a comment