Off the Shelf is a FREE resource from Penguin Teachers’ Academy for teachers and librarians. Each edition contains articles, author interviews, teaching resources and new books from Penguin and Puffin. Available from the iTunes Store, in Newsstand. For you to enjoy in this edition: an exclusive video interview with Morris Gleitzman about Soon, the latest book in the Felix series. Soon is an exciting surprise for those of us who were concerned that After might have been the last time we’d hear from Felix. In the video, Morris explains why he felt compelled to continue Felix’s story, and reflects on this world-famous series as a whole. Felice Arena talks about his writing career and his new series for younger readers, Sporty Kids. We’re thrilled to share such a candid and insightful interview with Felice, who has plenty to say about the special appeal of certain kinds of stories. And are we losing the ability to read deeply and savour long texts? Bec Kavanagh, head of the innovative and informative Stella Prize Schools Program, explores this important question in a thought provoking article. There’s exciting news, too, about a brand new Penguin Teachers’ Academy Special Edition. Women of the Sun is comprised of four stories that focus on the lives and struggles of four different indigenous women, each set in different times in Australia’s history. If you teach Years 9–12 English, contact us to get your free copy. As always, we have teaching notes and classroom resources for you (get them through the Penguin Teachers’ Academy iPad app) and plenty of new books to keep your students reading. Happy Reading!
Almost all the educators and librarians we encounter or converse with are avid readers. As former teacher librarians ourselves we know exactly how much reading is a requirement of the job. We understand that among all the books educators and librarians need to read for one reason or another, there is precious little time to read books simply for the sheer pleasure of reading. But with SO MANY books to choose from, and so little time to read them, where do you start?
We love when people recommend books to us, so we thought we would return the favour and recommend just a few of our top reads to date for 2015. It was s tough call, but here they are. And if you have a recommendation to share, please feel free to leave us a comment.
Finding one’s place in the world can be hard, but sometimes even more elusive, is finding where you fit in your family.
Peter Huang and his sisters—elegant Adele, shrewd Helen, and Bonnie the bon vivant—grow up in a house of many secrets, then escape the confines of small-town Ontario and spread from Montreal to California to Berlin. Peter’s own journey is obstructed by playground bullies, masochistic lovers, Christian ex-gays, and the ever-present shadow of his Chinese father.
At birth, Peter had been given the Chinese name juan chaun, powerful king. The exalted only son in the middle of three daughters, Peter was the one who would finally embody his immigrant father’s ideal of power and masculinity. But Peter has different dreams: he is certain he is a girl.
Drawing comparisons from Jeffrey Eugenides’ Middlesex to the work of Amy Tan. Sensitive, witty, and stunningly assured, Kim Fu’s debut novel lays bare the costs of forsaking one’s own path in deference to one laid out by others.
Winner, Edmund White Prize for Debut Fiction. PEN/Hemingway Finalist, shortlisted in the Lambda Literary Awards. Longlisted for the 2014 Flaherty-Dunnan First Novel Prize. The novel’s long list of accolades include being chosen for the Barnes & Noble ‘Discover Great New Writers’ program, being shortlisted for the Canadian Authors Association Emerging Writer Award, longlisted for the Flaherty-Dunnan First Novel Prize and for Canada Reads 2015, and being named a New York Times Editor’s Choice.
Ethan is a bright young boy obsessed with physics and astronomy who lives with his mother, Claire. Claire has been a wonderful parent to Ethan, but he’s becoming increasingly curious about his father’s absence in his life, wanting to fill in the gaps.
Claire’s life is centred on Ethan; she is fiercely protective of her talented, vulnerable son, and of her own feelings. When Ethan falls ill, tied to a tragic event from when he was a baby, Claire’s tightly held world is split open.
On the other side of the country, Mark is trying to forget about the events that tore his family apart. Then a sudden and unexpected call home forces him to confront his past, and the hole in his life that was once filled with his wife Claire and his son Ethan.
When Ethan secretly intercepts a letter from Mark to Claire, he unleashes long-suppressed forces that – like gravity – pull the three together again, testing the limits of love and forgiveness.
Heart-wrenching, absorbing and magical, Relativity is an irresistible novel about science, love, unbreakable bonds and irreversible acts.
‘Relativity is wonderful, a beautifully written, heartbreaking novel.’ SJ Watson, author of Before I Go to Sleep and Second Life
‘A transcendental book that mangers to stay grounded and true in its warmth and pathos.’ Alice Pung, author of Unpolished Gem and Laurinda
He was glad he existed, ecstatic; he was so close to the edge of a new life, they all were, he and his friends. Without their parents to tell them yes or no. It was freedom.
Tommy is in love with Lani. Lani is going out with Paul. Paul is having an affair with Julia, and Julia has a crush on Chris. Life is intoxicating when you’re about to turn eighteen and finish school.
But something goes terribly wrong for this group of friends. One day they have the world at their feet. The next, they are all divided, destined to carry their own versions of guilt into adulthood.
What unfolds is an agonising, incisive novel about loyalty and jealousy, about the possibilities of youth and the weariness of middle age. Guilt is a heartbreaking examination of friendship, luck and the elusive nature of redemption.
‘One that you can’t put down . . . Nable’s characters are shrewdly and finely nuanced.’ Canberra Times
‘An intense, rewarding read about the futility of escaping the past.’ Australian Bookseller & Publisher
Rachel catches the same commuter train every morning. She knows it will wait at the same signal each time, overlooking a row of back gardens. She’s even started to feel like she knows the people who live in one of the houses. ‘Jess and Jason’, she calls them. Their life – as she sees it – is perfect. If only Rachel could be that happy.
And then she sees something shocking. It’s only a minute until the train moves on, but it’s enough.
Now everything’s changed. Now Rachel has a chance to become a part of the lives she’s only watched from afar.
Now they’ll see; she’s much more than just the girl on the train…
Gripping, enthralling – a top-notch thriller and a compulsive read’ S J WATSON, bestselling author of Before I Go To Sleep
‘That room, for all of us, became a place of transgression. What a wonderland it was!’
Every Thursday morning in a living room in Iran, over tea and pastries, eight women meet in secret to discuss forbidden works of Western literature. As they lose themselves in the worlds of Lolita, The Great Gatsby andPride and Prejudice, gradually they come to share their own stories, dreams and hopes with each other, and, for a few hours, taste freedom. Azar Nafisi’s bestselling memoir is a moving, passionate testament to the transforming power of books, the magic of words and the search for beauty in life’s darkest moments.
‘I was enthralled and moved.’ Susan Sontag
Big news! We’ve updated our app (available for iPad via Newsstand) to pave the way for some great new features and resources we’re working on for teachers, educators and parents. You can get the new updated version of the Penguin Teachers’ Academy app right now from here – at its new home in the Apple store with Penguin Random House Australia. The current version of the app will be removed from the Apple store in July 2015. Questions? Download our handy FAQ information sheet OTS_UpdateAnnoucement
Puffin Books Virtually Live, is a series of free interactive webcasts from Puffin’s bestselling authors. On their website you can find a selection of previous webcasts which you can watch on-demand, as well as details of forthcoming webcasts.
Special teacher guides are specifically created for each event and are a fabulous resource for providing suggestions for ways in which you can use this content in your classroom and libraries.
The existing webcasts and events are suitable for ages 7+ and readers of all abilities. A very handy help page gives you all the information you need to share these webcasts with your students.
So! If you are looking for high quality content to engage and excite your students with books, authors and illustrators, supported by teacher resources and exclusive extracts and content, look no further than Puffin Virtually Live!
Sonya Hartnett’s latest novel – The Golden Boys has been shortlisted for the 2015 Miles Franklin Award. A comprehensive unit of work for The Golden Boys is available for download here Teachers-Unit-Golden-Boys
With their father, there’s always a catch . . .
Colt Jenson and his younger brother Bastian have moved to a new, working-class suburb. The Jensons are different. Their father, Rex, showers them with gifts – toys, bikes, all that glitters most – and makes them the envy of the neighbourhood.
To Freya Kiley and the other local kids, the Jensons are a family from a magazine, and Rex a hero – successful, attentive, attractive, always there to lend a hand. But to Colt he’s an impossible figure in a different way: unbearable, suffocating. Has Colt got Rex wrong, or has he seen something in his father that will destroy their fragile new lives?
Sonya Hartnett’s latest novel for adults is an unflinching and utterly compelling work from one Australia’s finest writers.
Off the Shelf is a FREE resource from Penguin Teachers’ Academy for teachers and librarians. Each edition contains articles, author interviews, teaching resources and new books from Penguin and Puffin. Available from the iTunes Store, in Newsstand. We have plenty to share with you, not least of which is James Patterson’s visit to Sydney and Melbourne in May. Inside you’ll find all the important details about how you can meet James Patterson, plus a sneak preview of the newest installment in his bestselling Middle School series. Also in this edition, we share stories of the inspiration behind new books by Nick Earls, Sue Saliba and Marc Martin.You can read a transcript of the beautiful speech Sally Rippin made at the launch of Alice Pung’s Our Australian Girl: Marly. Find out what’s new from Graeme Base – he’s launched his very own education platform! Written by teachers for teachers and focused around Animalia, it’s a must-have for any classroom. And don’t forget to register for National Simultaneous Storytime – the big day is fast approaching on 27 May. We hope you enjoy this jam-packed Off the Shelf. As always, don’t hesitate to get in touch with any questions. Download PDF Off_the_Shelf_May_2015_BLOG
Food Revolution Day is a global day of action to put food education back on the school curriculum. Jamie Oliver passionately believes that by educating children about food in a fun and engaging way, we can equip them with the basic skills they need to lead healthier, happier lives, for themselves, and their future families. In short, by fighting for every child’s right to food education, we can help to reverse the rise in obesity levels and diet-related disease.
Food Revolution Day is right at the heart of all the work Jamie and the Jamie Oliver Food Foundation do day in, day out, to engage and inspire people of all ages to learn about food and how to cook it. Food Revolution Day is about you, your families and your social networks, as well as schools, workplaces and communities all over the world coming together as one powerful and unified voice to fight for real sustainable change that’ll reach far beyond the day itself.
On Friday 15 May, Jamie will be hosting his exclusive Food Revolution Day cooking lesson for schools online, where he’ll be making his super simple Squash it sandwich recipe. Before the day, be sure to download the free school resources pack, jammed with loads of fun activities and ideas.
Jamie needs our help
To do this, we need your support to get your staff, students and wider community involved. You can do this by signing and sharing the petition and getting involved on Food Revolution Day. SIGN IT, SHARE IT.