The Day My Bum Went Psycho – Andy Griffiths
A part of the Bum Trilogy, the Day My Bum Went Psycho is a hilarious adventure extravaganza by acclaimed Australian author Andy Griffiths. Gain a new appreciation for your posterior as main character Zack battles a world of rogue rear-ends in an attempt to reunite with his own loose caboose!
Worm Story – Morris Gleitzman
Morris Gleitzman’s Worm Story certainly shows that hero’s come in all shapes and sizes. Worm Story takes the classic conventions of the self-discovery plot and literally takes the reader on a journey of self-discovery…inside the human body! Wilton the worm doesn’t fit in, but he is determined to find out where he belongs. He embarks on an epic adventure around the human body he inhabits, finds friends along the way and discovers who he really is.
The Tale of Despereaux – Kate DiCamillo
A beautifully written metaphoric tale of life’s good and bad, told through the analogy of light and dark. Divided into three parts, DiCamillo’s story brings together three unlikely characters—the unassuming mouse Despereaux Tilling; Roscuro, the misunderstood rat who dreams of a world of light; and the mistreated girl Mig who wishes for a better life. The characters lives intercept as they embark on an adventure that takes them from the dark depths of the dungeon to the light of the castle above.
Horrendo’s Curse – Anna Fienberg
Not for the fainthearted! Horrendo’s Curse tells the story of young boy Horrendo who is cursed to never speak a rude word or be violent, but Horrendo’s village has a problem—every year pirates come and kidnap all the boys. In a world where only the tough and crude survive, Horrendo manages to embrace his differences and embarks on a humorous swashbuckling adventure, filled with sword-fights, limb losses and plank-walking.
Where the Wild Things Are – Maurice Sendak
Where the Wild Things Are is a near classic tale about the powers of emotion, imagination and unconditional love that encapsulates the essence of childhood brilliantly. The main character Max is wild, and becomes furious after being sent to his room without dinner, but his imagination transports him on a fantastic adventure as his room is transformed into a wild jungle inhabited by the ‘Wild Things’. In a twist on the customary children fear monsters paradigm, Sendak reverses the roles paving the way for a subversive tale of growth and self-reflection.
The Graveyard Book – Neil Gaiman
Not your average ghost story, The Graveyard Book tells of the adventures of young boy Nobody Owens who, following the murder of his entire family, is adopted by the ghosts of a graveyard. Whilst chilling in tone and detail, Gaiman’s story explores the notion of growing-up and leaving childhood in quite a heart-warming manner. The reader follows the macabre adventures of Nobody as he encounters all manners of supernatural beings, but Nobody’s biggest challenge comes when the man who murdered his family hunts him down and attempts to kill him.
The Bromeliad Trilogy – Terry Pratchett
Pratchett manages to deliver a highly satirical adventure series that follows a colony of nomes inhabiting a department store, all whilst exploring large social issues. The nomes believe the department store is the world and nothing exists outside of the store but when outsider nomes inform them the store is closing they are forced to devise a plan to save their world. Religion, personal ignorance and the strengths of community are all explored through enchanting metaphors and comedic adventures.
Once series – Morris Gleitzman
Once, Then, Now, After, and Soon are a powerful series that highlights the innocence of childhood. A young Jewish boy, Felix, is sent to a Polish orphanage by his parents during the Second World War in an attempt to keep him safe. Felix’s innocence leads him to conceive stories about the atrocities happening around him as he embarks on a journey to find his parents, refusing to accept their probable fate. Through Felix’s quest across war-ravaged Europe, Gleitzman brilliantly explicates the evils of the holocaust in way in which children can comprehend.
The Little Ships: The Heroic Rescue at Dunkirk in World War II – Louise Borden
A beautiful account detailing the extraordinary rescue of allied troops on the beaches Dunkirk, told through the eyes of a young girl. The girl is worried her brother, who is fighting in the war, has been trapped by the Germans and she, along with her whole village, decide to help rescue the soldiers and join the flotilla of small ships bound for Dunkirk. With stunning illustrations accompanying insightful prose, Borden’s book is a truely remarkable tale that brilliantly describes the evacuation of Dunkirk with historically accuracy and adventurous spirit.
The Silver Donkey: a novel for children – Sonya Hartnett
Hartnett’s tale is a very different account from the usual war-time stories and has an almost fairytale-like atmosphere. The plot centres around two young French girls who find a blind English soldier who has deserted his post in an attempt to reunite with his sick brother back home. As the story develops the girls plan to help the soldier escape and return back home, but they need help to get him safe passage back over the channel. Intertwined during their mission are tales the soldier tells which all involve a donkey. The soldier’s tales are left more intriguing with the good-luck charm he keeps—a little silver donkey.
The Night We Made the Flag: a Eureka story – Carole Wilkinson
Wilkinson brilliantly captures the spirit created the night of the Eureka Stockade and teaches young readers of the night regarded by many as the birth of Australian democracy. Told through the eyes of a young girl who helped the miner’s wives sew the Eureka flag, the story,
accompanied by beautiful illustrations, encapsulates wonderfully the night of the rebellion and the courage, danger and daring feats of the miner’s, their wives and their children, the night they made the flag.
Under Their Skin – Margaret Peterson Haddix
Haddix’s Under Their Skin is a pure thriller from open to close. The novel follows the lives of 12-year-old twins, Nick and Eryn, and their new blended family following their mother’s decision to re-marry. However, Nick and Eryn are curious about their new family and are particularly determined to find out why their mother has said they will never meet their new siblings. Robots, the fate of the human race and family drama meet as Haddix combines adventure, science-fiction and mystery to create a dystopian suspense epic.
Secret Agent Man Goes Shopping for Shoes – Tim Wynne-Jones
A picture book for aspiring secret agents with cleverly integrated humour and plenty of “spy-talk” to satisfy enthusiasts. Secret Agent Man (S.A.M.) needs new shoes but it’s a dangerous mission. Will he be successful and will his new shoes bring him new superpowers?
Zac Power series – H.I. Larry
An incredibly popular easy reader series with hi/lo appeal – high on action and low on word count ad difficulty. The series follows 12-year-old Zac Power, a secret agent for the intelligence agency GIB (Government Investigation Bureau) as he regularly and routinely saves the world with his quick thinking and cool spy gadges. Super villains and impossible missions – No sweat!
EJ Spy School and EJ12 Girl Hero series – Susannah McFarlane
Now it’s time for girls to save the world! Primary school girl Emma Jacks doubles as a spy for secret gency SHINE. EJ Spy School is an easy reader series aimed at beginner readers and follows Emma as she trains to be a SHINE agent. EJ12 Girl Hero is a chapter book series for more confident readers. Emma Jacks has graduated spy school and is now ready to tackle dangerous missions and take out the bad guys. Both series contain moral lessons for young readers.
Alex Rider series – Anthony Horowitz
A series of spy novels for older children. 14-year-old Alex Rider is forced into joining MI6 after the suspicious death of his secret agent uncle. These novels are action-packed with deadly missions and gripping suspense.
Fort – Cynthia DeFelice
A classic outdoor adventure story, 11-year-old Wyatt and his friend Augie spend their summer exploring, camping out, fishing, hunting and building a fort. But when that fort comes under attack they must launch Operation Doom. Featuring boisterous humour, maggots, booby traps and more, this is ultimately a story about friendship and standing up for yourself.
Hero On a Bicycle – Shirley Hughes
A wartime story set in Florence, Italy during the Nazi occupation in 1944. The story follows the courageous actions of an Italian family as they find themselves in the middle of the conflict. Eager to help the Italian resistance, 13-year-old Paolo sets out every night on his bicycle and shows that ordinary people are capable of becoming heroes.
South by South East – Anthony Horowitz
A comical series following Tim Diamond, the world’s worst private detective, and his brainy kid brother Nick Diamond. Together they create mayhem as they bungle their way from one disastrous mystery to the next. Full of humour, corny jokes and word plays, readers will find this series to be a wild ride.
Oddrey Joins the Team – Dave Whamond
Oddrey loves to play sports and she is excited when her friend asks her to join the Piccadilla Bees soccer team. She soon discovers that everyone in the team has their own bizarre techniques but it is not until they use their individual talents to work together do they have a chance of winning the big game. In this picture book Oddrey and her friends learn about teamwork, having fun and never being afraid to be yourself.
Diary of a Rugby Champ – Shamini Flint
Marcus Atkinson is a Maths whiz but his dad has other ideas. Convinced Marcus can be the next sporting champ, his father forces him to take on various sports with disastrous consequences. In a diary format with lots of comical drawings and quirky humour, children will enjoy seeing Marcus blunder from one sporting catastrophe to the next (all while learning a surprising amount about the sport).
I Survived series – Lauren Tarshis
In this series the most terrifying disasters in history are brought to life – from the sinking of the Titanic to the 2011 Japanese Tsunami. Each book in the series tells the fictional story of a well-known tragic event from the viewpoint of a 10- to 12- year old child who has survived the disaster. Historical details add interest and authenticity to the story, while the serious nature of the event leaves readers on the edge of their seat. The resilience and courage of the protagonist is questioned, as they discover if they are a true survivor.
Magic Tree House Series – Mary Pope Osborne
In the first book Dinosaurs Before Dark, brother and sister, Jack and Annie come across a mysterious tree house filled with magical books. They soon discover that these books are able to transport them through time and place, and they are whisked away to a prehistoric world on their first adventure. Many more adventures follow in subsequent books as the duo are transported through history to the Ice Age, Ancient Egypt, Medieval Ireland and the Wild West to name a few.
Mark of the Thief – Jennifer A. Nielsen
Set in historical Rome, this is a story about a young slave Nic who discovers a magical amulet that belonged to the great Julius Caesar. The amulet puts Nic in immediate danger as he finds himself in the middle of a conspiracy to destroy Rome. He must harness the deadly powers of the amulet to save Rome and free himself from slavery.
WeirDo Series – Anh Do
It’s not easy being the new kid in school, especially when your first name is Weir, your last name is Do and the teacher introduces you to the class on your first day as WeirDo. A funny series about the whacky adventures of an everyday schoolboy, albeit one with crazy name and an even crazier family.
Star Wars The Force Awakens: Rey’s story – Elizabeth Schaefer
This book retells the events of The Force Awakens from the perspective of heroine Rey. Aimed at younger readers, children will enjoy reliving the galactic adventures from a new point of view. For Star Wars fans there are some fresh insights into Rey’s character and background, plus lots of
action in this fast-paced novel. Young girls in particular will appreciate having a strong female protagonist as the focus of the story.
The Way Back Home– Oliver Jeffers
While on an adventurous flight into outer space, a young boy finds himself stranded on the moon. It is dark, scary and lonely on themoon, but the boy realises he is not alone. A young Martian is also stranded and they must work together to make their way back home.
House of Robots – James Patterson
Nerdy Sammy already has trouble fitting in but when his scientist mother sends him to school with her latest robot invention, named E (for Error), things quickly go from bad to worse. Not only does this boost Sammy’s nerd status, but the robot even thinks he is Sammy’s real brother. Young readers will enjoy the collection of weird robotic characters, the silly humour and the comical illustrations.
Simpson and His Donkey – Mark Greenwood and Frane Lessac
A picture book for young readers recounting the World War I legendary tale of John Simpson Kirkpatrick and his donkey. It is an age appropriate introduction to the subject of war and the heroes that emerge from it. Historic details, maps and illustrations add to the impact of the story.
Spacemice Series – Geronimo Stilton
The incredibly popular Geronimo Stilton books have a series spin-off that is out of this world. Geronimo Stiltonix is a spacemouse – captain of the spaceship MouseStar 1. In this parallel universe, accident-prone Stiltonix and his crew encounter crazy aliens, bizarre new worlds and numerous galactic misadventures as they travel around the universe.
Extreme Adventures Series – Justin D’Ath
A true over-the-top, action-packed series that follows hero Sam Frost as he continuously finds himself in danger. Each story is a wild, rollercoaster ride as Frost faces deadly wildlife, perilous environments and evil villains. He’ll need to stay alive long enough if he’s going to save the day.
Big Nate Series – Lincoln Peirce
This series follows the exploits of 11-year-old Nate Wright, a mischievous school boy who always seems to be getting himself into trouble. When you’re the all-time record holder for detentions in school history, everyday life can be one crazy misadventure.
Peggy: a Brave Chicken on a Big Adventure – Anna Walker
Peggy the quiet hen is swept up by a big gust of wind and lands in the middle of an unknown, busy city. Here, Peggy makes new friends as she explores her new surroundings and works out how to get home, with a new found taste for adventure.
The Day Louis Got Eaten – John Fardell
Sarah’s little brother gets eaten by a Gulper and she has to act fast to rescue him from the Gulper’s belly. Sarah has to be clever in her rescue attempt as there are a number of other creatures who are hungry as well!
Sophie Scott Goes South – Alison Lester
Sophie Scott goes on an expedition to Antarctica where she makes new friends and adventures – all of which she documents in her diary.
Lost and Found – Oliver Jeffers
A lost penguin shows up on a little boy’s door. Determined to take the penguin home, the boy learns where it came from and sets out to return it to the South Pole – by rowing there.
Journey – Aaron Becker
A bored, young girl escapes from her house and adventures to find a magical place where she controls her future with her imagination.
A Boy and a Bear in a Boat – Dave Shelton
A boy and a bear set out on a short voyage on their boat, Harriet. They aren’t travelling far but their journey gets side-tracked by storms and a sea monster which forces them to send out an SOS message in a bottle.
Please Bring Balloons – Lindsay Ward
Emma is shown the how to ride a carousel right off its platform by a polar bear who flies her off to the artic and then back home again.
Harold’s Hungry Eyes – Kevin Waldron
Harold the Boston Terrier loves food and imagines it in the most unlikely places. One day, Harold follows the rubbish truck to take back his favorite chair and ends up getting lost in New York. Feeling very hungry, Harold makes his way home by following familiar landmarks that resemble foods.
Gary – Leila Rudge
Gary the flightless pigeon has a scrapbook full of the tales of other pigeon’s travels. When he falls from his perch and becomes lost in the city, Gary uses his scrapbook full of mementos to find his way home.
Scary Night – Lesley Gibbes and Stephen Michael King
Three friends, Hare, Cat and Pig, set out on an adventure to solve a mystery. They travel through the night and encounter numerous spooky obstacles to overcome but they never give up – they have to solve the mystery!
The Tomorrow Series – John Marsden
The Tomorrow Series, written by John Marsden, follows teenager Ellie Linton and her friends as Australia is invaded and occupied. The group of friends wage a guerrilla war on the soldiers that are living around the teenager’s home town. The first book in the series, Tomorrow, When the War Began, begins with Ellie going camping with her friends and when they return, the find their world has been completely turned upside down.
Flight – Nadia Wheatley
Twelve children are invited to sleep overnight in the new library, constructed by local genius Mr. Lemoncello. On the morning after the sleepover, the doors to the library stay locked. Kyle and the other eleven
children then have to solve a series of puzzles to work out how to escape.
Escape from Mr. Lemoncello’s Library – Chris Grabenstein
Twelve children are invited to sleep overnight in the new library, constructed by local genius Mr. Lemoncello. On the morning after the sleepover, the doors to the library stay locked. Kyle and the other eleven children then have to solve a series of puzzles to work out how to escape.