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.

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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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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


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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.



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