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Student Reviews

We love hearing what our readers think here at Penguin Teachers’ Academy and we are delighted to share with you the latest student reviews below.

9780141355207Percy Jackson and the Greek Gods – Rick Riordan

In Percy Jackson and the Greek Gods, the character Percy Jackson, the hero of Rick Riordan’s popular adventure series, recounts the history of the ancient Greek gods and various ancient myths concerning them. It includes details on each of the twelve Olympian gods and Hades and Persephone as well as many interesting stories and legends from the perspective of someone who was immersed in the action.
I personally found Percy Jackson and the Greek Gods a riveting and fascinating read and would recommend it to anyone who is interested in Ancient Greek mythology. I have always been intrigued by Greek and Roman mythology, especially after reading the two Percy Jackson series by Rick Riordan – Percy Jackson and the Olympians and Heroes of Olympus. It was great having a back story of all the gods and other deities mentioned in the books, and my knowledge of Greek myths has increased considerably. Not only was this book educational, but also full of hilarious remarks by Percy Jackson and told in an easily understandable way. I laughed out loud more than once and was completely absorbed with the book from start to finish. I would press this book upon everyone I know, for it would fascinate anyone with its gripping tales and historical legends, passed down from the time of Ancient Greece itself.
Rosa, age 13

9780141341804W.A.R.P. Book 2: The Hangman’s Revolution – Eoin Colfer

The W.A.R.P. series – which stands for Witness Anonymous Relocation Program – by Eoin Colfer is about a time-traveling FBI agent named Chevron Savano who works across time with a boy named Riley, from the Victorian era. In The Hangman’s Revolution, the second book in the series, Chevie returns to London after the events of the first book, which took her back in time to Victorian England. When she arrives, she finds that the actions she took when she was in the past have made the present very different. Europe is now in the hands of a fascist movement called the Boxites and there is no such thing as the FBI. Chevie realises that she must work again across time with Riley and other characters, like Ram King Otto Malarkey, to try to save Europe from the evil Colonel Box. Unfortunately, there are people out to get them both in the present and in the past.
I haven’t read the first book in this series but I enjoyed reading The Hangman’s Revolution all the same. There was a sort of prologue at the beginning of the book, which helped me understand the story better. I enjoyed the fact that the book is based around time travel and that it gives a clear message of how dangerous it can be if events in the past are changed. I like the idea of time travel and the theories on time travel in the book were very interesting.
I think that this book would appeal to kids between the ages of 12 and 15. Although there are some reasonably detailed scenes with blood, which some young children may not want to read about, it does not have an overly complicated plot. This book is an exciting adventure story and thriller, which is full of witty remarks. I would definitely recommend it to others who like to read about time traveling adventures.
Malika, age 15

9780143571070Masquerade – Kylie Fornasier

Kylie Fornasier’s Masquerade is a charming novel set in the world of Venice in 1750. It follows the stories of seven teens, throughout the months of Carnevale, as they struggle with their romances, lies and betrayals. Orelia, a newcomer to the city, struggles to hide her secrets and discover a hidden truth. Her friends and family all have their own secrets and they slowly unravel as the book progresses.
I liked that the characters were all quite developed, especially considering there were seven main roles, and how well-researched it was. I found Masquerade to be very dramatic for what I had thought to be a light read, and it was hard to put it down. Some of the words used are quite unfamiliar, making it a little harder to read, but there is a glossary included which helped things a lot.
I would certainly recommend this book to someone looking for a slightly more refreshing young adult novel, but advise that it is best suited for more mature audiences, 14+ at least, due to some of the adult themes.
Miriam, age 15

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Off the Shelf September 2014 – OUT NOW!


















Just in time for a weekend read, we are delighted to bring you our very latest edition of Off the Shelf! Its a bumper edition for you this quarter and we hope you enjoy reading Issue 13.

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. off_the_shelf_sep_14_print

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

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Picture Books – October 2014

A brand new month approaches and we have some of our most anticipated picture books for 2014 to share with you! Written and illustrated by some of Australia’s most talented creators, we are letting the covers do all the talking. To learn more, simply click on the images below.













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Can you help Lyka?

9780143308324We know many of you have embraced Lyka, our little robot scientist with the big heart, and taken her and her message into your homes, libraries and classrooms. After her whirlwind Australian tour, where Lyka visited with hundreds of students and teachers across the country, she still has quite a journey ahead of her, not least of all, getting back to Ahmee, her home planet.

We have much more of Lykas story to share with all of you, and to be sure that we make her story as engaging and informative as possible, we need your help. We have set up a survey so you can give us your feedback and suggestions and we hope you will take a moment to answer our questions HERE. 

Once you have completed the survey, leave us a comment here on this post and you will go in the draw to win a class set (25) of Lyka toys and Book 1 – Lyka and the Secret Forest. Winners will be selected by random generator on September 30th 2014 at 10 am and notified by email.

Thank you for helping us get our little robot scientist home.



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The Wimpy Kid READ-A-THON!

WKR2To celebrate the upcoming release of The Long Haul (book 9) in the phenomenally popular Diary of a Wimpy Kid series, we are hosting The Wimpy Kid Read-a-thon!

To help inspire your students to read, revisit or introduce a friend to the first 8 Diary of a Wimpy Kid books , we have great prizes to giveaway. The first 2000 participants to register will receive an exclusive DOAWK bumper sticker and the first 2000 to finish the Read-a-thon will receive a super cool DOAWK Planner. WKR

All participating schools go into the draw to win $5000 worth of transit vouchers to use on upcoming excursions with their local school transport hire companies!

What are you waiting for? Join us for the Long Haul and sign on for the Wimpy Kid Read-a-thon today! 



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Stuff Happens

StuffHappens4PackFour boys, four stories, four great Australian writers in an important new series

Stuff happens sometimes.
Everyday stuff. At school, at home, with sport, with mates.

STUFF HAPPENS is a contemporary reflected reality fiction series for young boys aged 7 to 10 years old. Each book tells the story of an incident of emotional importance to one of the boys in a fictional primary school class. The stories, written by some of Australia’s finest male writers make great reads and an important contribution to the emotional literacy of Australian boys.

‘The awareness of the emotional life of boys is slowly being recognised as a critical factor into the development of boys to strong and courageous sensitive men. Stuff happens explores feelings and emotions in an entertaining and humorous way, allowing boys to understand that it is OK to express emotion. This can only be positive! I highly recommend and love the books!’ Deborah Jepsen, Educational & Developmental Psychologist
Melbourne Child Psychology / School Psychology Services

‘[a] boy must see and believe that emotions belong in the life of a man. If we
teach our sons to honour and value their emotional lives, if we can give boys
an emotional vocabulary and the encouragement to use it, they will unclench
their hearts.’  From Raising Cain: Protecting the Emotional Life of Boys

Series Editor, Susannah McFarlane is a successful children’s book publisher and author who, loves creating stories that kids love to read. Susannah was the original concept creator of Go Girl! And Zac Power, and is the creator and writer of the award-winning EJ12 Girl Hero series, the creator and co-author of the hugely popular series for boys, Boy vs Beast, and the author of the Little Mates series of alphabet books for under fives. Susannah was previously the managing director of Egmont Books UK; the vice-president of the Egmont Group and the co‐owner, managing director and publisher of Hardie Grant Egmont.

9780143308225Stuff Happens – Jack by Tony Wilson

Stuff happens sometimes.

Everyday stuff.

At school, at home, with sport, with mates.

For Jack it happened when a game at recess went wrong.

Jack is one of the sporty boys, and is always after a new game to play, particularly if he can invent one that allows him to tackle without getting caught. He and his friends invent You Play, You Pay, and things don’t end well. When Jack, in pain and keen not to get in trouble, says it was Fadi’s fault, he almost immediately regrets it, but can’t take it back. Things go from bad to worse as Fadi gets into more trouble and Jack feels more and more guilty.

9780143308096Stuff Happens – Ned by Andrew Daddo 

Stuff happens sometimes.

Everyday stuff.

At school, at home, with sport, with mates.

For Ned it happened with a new teacher.

Ned’s worst fears are confirmed when he ends up in the class with the worst teacher in the school, possibly the world, and away from his best mates. Things don’t improve when the teacher seems to have adored both Ned’s older siblings – how is he going to survive the day, let alone the whole year?

9780143308119Stuff Happens – Sean by Will Kostakis 

Stuff happens sometimes.

Everyday stuff.

At school, at home, with sport, with mates.

For Sean it happened starting at a new school.

Sean has just moved from WA to Monvale where his parents grew up. Sean misses his friends and wonders if he’ll ever be able to make mates as good as the ones he has left behind …

9780143308102Stuff Happens – Michael by Phillip Gywnne 

Stuff happens sometimes.

Everyday stuff.

At school, at home, with sport, with mates.

For Michael it happened when he thought he was letting his parents down.

Michael is the best swimmer in the school, probably the state, maybe the country. One day he might compete at the Olympics and his parents and teachers support him 100 per cent, making sacrifices so he can be the very best. Michael trains all the time, up and down the pool with discipline and determination to do his best for himself, for the coach, for his parents, for everyone. Then one day he sees a skater fly down the hill on a board and Michael starts to wonder if there’s more to life than swimming.

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New books for school – August/September 2014

We have some beautiful new books to share with you, suitable for all ages, for the months of August and September. We hope you enjoy sharing them with your students. If you have any queries, please don’t hesitate to get in touch in the comments.


Rose feels alone in the new town. Everything is different and strange. She wishes . . . but she’s not sure what she’s wishing for. She searches, but she’s not sure what for.

Then from somewhere far away, someone else begins a journey. And maybe, just maybe, Hasel and Rose can find the courage to begin again. Together.

A magical story of hope and new beginnings for anyone who’s ever loved and lost. Hasel and Rose celebrates the power of imagination and resilience, even when things seem too hard.


Eve thought that living in the middle of nowhere was better than living anywhere else in the world . . . Only one thing made Eve sad. She hadn’t seen Nan since they left the city long ago.

Eve lives in a roadhouse in the middle of the Nullarbor and when her Nan visits one day, Eve shows her all the things that are special about where she lives.

A moving celebration of the Australian outback and the special connection between grandparent and grandchild.


Emily knows her big brother, Tom, wants to leave Hillside Farm and go overseas to the war, but Emily doesn’t want him to go.

‘Everyone else is going,’ said Tom  to Emily when their uncle was gone.  ‘That’s not a good reason,’ said Emily.

The Soldier’s Gift is a moving story of one family’s courage and endurance during the First World War, the terrible losses at Gallipoli and a time that changed Australia forever.

9780143308263The Lost Dogs: Juliet, Nearly a Vet (Book 7) AUTHOR: REBECCA JOHNSON/ ILLUSTRATOR: KYLA MAY

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

There was a huge storm last night and now there are lots of lost dogs. One turned up outside my window (he must have known I’m nearly a vet). Luckily, Chelsea, Mum and I are helping out at the Lost Dogs’ Home.

I hope we can find all of their owners, because Dad definitely won’t let us have another dog!

9780143308270Playground Pets: Juliet, Nearly a Vet (Book 8) AUTHOR: REBECCA JOHNSON/ ILLUSTRATOR: KYLA MAY

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

Chelsea and I have such a cool school – we get to have playground pets! Guineas pigs, lizards, fish and insects are all part of our classroom. This week, we have a replacement teacher. Poor Miss Fine doesn’t know much about animals. Luckily we do (it’s so handy nearly being a vet).

We’re going to be flat-out keeping track of everything, but I’m sure nothing will go too wrong . . .

9780143307488Daisy Takes Charge: Wilderness Fairies: Book Three AUTHOR: JODIE WELLS-SLOWGROVE/ ILLUSTRATOR: KERRY MILLARD

Across the meandering river,

In a forest tall and green,

Live the magical Wilderness Fairies

And their wise Fairy Queen…

Daisy’s sister, Maggie, has been invited by the Fairy Queen to perform in the annual Songbird Festival to compete for a ‘momentous prize’. But the performance is only days away and Maggie is all a flutter about how she can possibly be ready in time. Daisy decides to help by writing Maggie a strict schedule and making sure she keeps to it. All goes well until Daisy’s further good intentions lead to a wardrobe disaster for Maggie, saved only by their Aunt Acacia, a master seamstress. But then when an overzealous mother of a competitor threatens to sabotage Maggie’s duet with Melody the Magpie, Daisy has the chance to save the day and redeem herself.

9780143307495Daisy’s Secret: Wilderness Fairies Book 4 AUTHOR: JODIE WELLS-SLOWGROVE/ ILLUSTRATOR: KERRY MILLARD

Daisy has been invited to stay with the Fairy Queen!

But when the Queen is urgently called away, Daisy overhears why and she soon finds herself on an adventure that could change her life forever.

9780141354156Danger Is Everywhere: A Handbook for Avoiding Danger AUTHOR: O’DOHERTY DAVID & JUDGE CHRIS (ILLUS)

Hello, reader.

My name is Docter* Noel Zone and I am a Dangerologist.  I used to work as a swimming-pool lifeguard.  Until I realized what actually makes swimming pools dangerous:  Water!

So I got rid of all the water.

What is the point of this Book? That is a good question.  Good questioning!

  1. To remind you that Danger is Everywhere
  2. To make you into a qualified Dangerologist (Level1)

I’ve braved every everyday danger so you don’t have to . . .

* I gave myself the first name Docter so I could concentrate all of my energy on being a Dangerologist.  It saved a lot of time and hardly anyone notices the spelling.

9780141355207Percy Jackson and the Greek Gods AUTHOR: RICK RIORDAN

If you like horror shows, bloodbaths, lying, stealing, backstabbing and cannibalism, then read on . . .

Who could tell the true stories of the gods of Olympus better than modern-day demigod?

In this whirlwind tour of Greek mythology, Percy Jackson gives his personal take on the gods and goddesses of Ancient Greece – and reveals the truth about how they came to rule the world.

Rick Riordan is the myth master. The Greek Gods are alive and kicking – go to and see for yourself.


Walk Tall is a special younger readers’ edition of the Jim Stynes autobiography My Journey, adapted by Warwick Green.

Part football autobiography and part coming-of-age story, Walk Tall is an inspirational and unforgettable account of a man who continues to inspire through his life and his legacy.

There were men in strange jerseys on the TV, running around with some kind of rugby ball.

I turned to my father. ‘What’s this, then, Dad?’

He looked up from his paper. ‘Australian football.’

What’s the big deal about that? I thought.

At first, Jim Stynes didn’t understand Australian football at all. But once he accepted the challenge to play, there was no stopping him. Jim never took the easy road, on or off the football field. He pushed himself, and he worked hard to help others realise their potential. In this special younger readers’ edition of his bestselling autobiography, Jim Stynes shares his early life as a knockabout kid growing up in Ireland, his move to Australia as a teenager and his rise to football stardom, with all the trials and tribulations along the way.

9780143307600Crystal Bay Girls: Romy Bright Book 2 AUTHOR: JEN STORER

Romy Bright is going to rock the Harvest Festival and become a hardcore muso. But right now she’s stuck babysitting, minding the flower shop and watching out for her erratic mum. At least Romy can rely on James. He’s her best friend and when they’re playing music together, nothing else matters. That is, until Matt arrives in Crystal Bay . . .

Who cares if Matt’s off limits? Romy’s determined to win his heart. Even if she has to become someone else to do it. Even if she has to turn her back real love. . .

Think family, friends and fashion, romance, tears and laughter.  That’s Crystal Bay!

9780143571070Masquerade AUTHOR: KYLIE FORNASIER

In the glittering masked world that is the Carnevale of 1750 everyone has a secret . . . Seven teens, from the highest aristocrat to the lowest servant are all consumed by their own secrets: their loves, desires, loyalties and betrayals.

There entwined dramas are played out in Venice’s ballrooms, theatres, palazzos and promenades where delicious gossip, devilish fun and dangerous games threaten to unmask their secrets and even destroy their lives.

All the world’s a stage. Let the show begin.

9780143571087The Rapunzel Dilemma AUTHOR: JENNIFER KLOESTER

A love of theatre. A drama competition. A once-in-a-lifetime chance . . .

Lily’s had a charmed life so far, and now she’s off to London to pursue her dream of becoming a great actor. But the London Drama Academy is full of surprises – and for the first time, Lily finds that things don’t always go her way.

It’s not just the other students who are making things difficult. Lily’s got a secret she’s not sure how to handle, but she finds that a room in one of the Academy’s deserted towers makes a perfect refuge. Lily can’t stay locked in the tower forever, though. And when she meets the mysterious Ronan Carver, everything starts to change . . .

A fast-paced and fun modern fairytale and companion novel to The Cinderella Moment, from talented YA author Jennifer Kloester.

9780718178369Revenge of Seven AUTHOR: PITTACUS LORE

The have killed four of us.

They will not rest until we are all dead.

They will not stop until your planet is theirs.

They think we are broken.

We will not be defeated.

We are all that stands in their way.

We know secrets they thought hidden.

We have power they never expected.

The time has come for them to fall.

The Garde have suffered the ultimate betrayal: Number Five has allied himself with the Mogadorians, killing Eight and helping the Mogs to abduct Ella from the safe house. Now the fight for Earth’s survival has just become that much more impossible.

The Garde may not have time to mourn their fallen ally, but they’ll make sure to avenge him. And help is at hand from the most unlikely of sources: Adam, a Mogadorian, has turned his back on his people. He might just be their lifeline, but are the Garde repeating past mistakes by putting their trust in him?



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