Find a new book: what to try next

I thought I might try something a bit different this week. Sometimes it’s hard to find your next read, so I’ve made a list of related books – if you like the first one, you might like the second one.

Find a new book: what to read next | bookboy.com.au - a 13yo book blogger - has some suggested reads for you

I’ve linked to reviews where I have them, or the link on each title will take you to Booktopia for more information and to buy if you’re interested.

If you likeThe Outsiders by S.E.Hinton The Outsiders by S.E.Hinton, reviewed by a kid book blogger

Review of The Outsiders

 

 

TryBro by Helen Chebattebook review Bro by Helen Chebatte, reviewed by a kid book blogger

Review of Bro

 

 

If you like… The Ranger’s Apprentice series by John Flanagan The Rangers Apprentice prequel Tournament at Gorlan reviewed by a kid book blogger.

Review of The Ranger’s Apprentice (prequel)

 

 

TryBrotherband by John Flanagan Brotherband series by John Flanagan, great read for kids

 

 

 

If you like… The Treehouse Series by Andy Griffiths and Terry Denton The 78-storey Treehouse by Andy Griffiths, reviewed by a kid book blogger

Review of The 78-Storey Treehouse

 

 

Try… Danny Best by Jen Storer and Mitch Vane Review of Danny Best: Never Wrong by Jen Storer, by a kid book blogger

Review of Danny Best Never Wrong

 

 

Or… Artie and The Grime Wave by Richard Roxburgh 

Book Boy, a kid book blogger, reviews Artie and The Grime Wave by Richard Roxburgh

Review of Artie and The Grime Wave

 

 

 

Or… the My Life series by Tristan Bancks and Gus Gordon My Life And Other Massive Mistakes by Tristan Bancks reviewed by a kid book blogger

Review of My Life And Other Massive Mistakes

 

 

Or… the Weirdo series by Anh Do and Jules Faber Review of Weirdo 3: Extra Weird by Anh Do and Jules Faber, by a kid book blogger

Review of Weirdo 3: Extra Weird

 

 

If you like… Friday Barnes by R.A. Spratt Friday Barnes Girl Detective reviewed by a kid book blogger

Review of Friday Barnes Girl Detective

 

 

Try… Encyclopaedia Brown by Donald J. Sobol Encyclopedia Brown Boy Detective is still loved by kids today, according to this kid book blogger

 

 

 

If you likeThe Maze Runner by  James Dashner The Maze Runner by James Dashner reviewed by a kid book blogger

Review of The Maze Runner

 

 

Try… Gone by Michael Grant The Gone series by Michael Grant, reviewed by a kid book blogger

Review of Gone

 

 

What are you reading at the moment? What do you plan to read next?

Review: Bear Grylls Adventures (The Desert Challenge)

Bear Grylls adventure books for kids reviewed by a kid book bloggerThis week’s review is brought to you by my brother Book Boy Junior (aged 10).

Title: Bear Grylls Adventures (The Desert Challenge)

Author: Bear Grylls

Publisher: Allen & Unwin

About the book: This book is about a girl named Sophie who finds a mysterious compass that transports her to a desert where Bear Grylls is waiting to guide her back to safety. It’s good because it teaches you some survival skills that might not know.

What I thought: I thought this book was a page-turner. I read it in a couple of nights – it felt as though it went really quickly, and left me with a taste for more. I really liked the things that I learnt about the desert and the things I learnt about surviving.

Did you know, for instance, that if you’re in a desert and you find a dry lake or river, it can flash flood? So if you dig down, you’ll probably find a good supply of water buried under the surface!

I would recommend the book for kids aged 6+, and I think girls would enjoy it as much as boys because the main character is a girl. If you like a short, fast-paced book, this one is for you, and I look forward to reading others in the series. BBJ

Buy Bear Grylls Adventures (The Desert Challenge) here.

Review: The School Of Music

The School Of Music, reviewed by a kid book bloggerTitle: The School Of Music

Author: Meurig and Rachel Bowen (illustrated by Daniel Frost)

Publisher: Wide Eyed Editions

About the book: Have you ever wanted to learn how music works, what the different styles of music are or how to make your own music? Than you should read this book!

Set out like an introductory course in music, with samples available to listen to online, this non-fiction book will tell you all about how music works and how to understand the basic concepts and structures in music.

What I thought: This is a great introduction to music. If you are already know quite a lot about music, this book may not be for you, but if you just want to know how you can make your own music and learn about the fundamental concepts of music, you should definitely give this book a go.

While I have been learning about music and playing instruments for a while myself, I still really enjoyed the section on how architecture affects sound, and the lesson on how to memorise a song or piece of music. I also liked the beautiful illustrations, which really add another level to the book.

I would recommend this book for ages 10+.

Buy The School Of Music here.

Review: Assassin’s Creed: A Walk Through History (1189-1868)

Assassin's Creed book reviewed by a kid book bloggerTitle: Assassin’s Creed: A Walk Through History (1189-1868)

Author: Rick Barba

Publisher: Scholastic

About the book: Have you ever wanted to know what life was like in the time of the Crusades or the Italian Renaissance?

Filled with fun facts, historical artefacts, snapshots of important dates and people, then this book is for you. Based around the hit video games ‘Assassin’s Creed’, the book aims to bring the worlds to life.

What I thought: I really loved the way that this book was presented. It’s got lots of little pieces of different information, which add up to build a big picture. The time periods it looks at are interesting because they’re very big events in the world’s history, and it takes an in-depth look at them and the people who made them happen.

Making it based around the video game helps to get kids, particularly teenagers, interested in history, which I think is a very good thing.

I’d recommend this book for ages 10+, as you don’t need to have played the video games (which are rated at least M) to enjoy the book. If you have played the game, you’ll probably get even more out of it because you’ll understand the world’s in which your characters are moving.

Buy Assassin’s Creed: A Walk Through History (1189-1868) here.

Review: 50 Shades Of Grey Matter

50 Shades Of Grey Matter by Dr Karl, reviewed by a kid.Title: 50 Shades Of Grey Matter

Author: Dr Karl Kruszelnicki

Publisher: Pan Macmillan Australia

About the book: Have you ever wondered why it is dark at night? Have you ever walked into a room and immediately forgotten why you are there?

Well this book holds the answers. Learn about the wonderful ways of science and impress your friends with knowledge such as why the sky is blue, all thanks to Dr Karl.

What I thought: I really loved this book because Dr Karl makes science fun and funny. As well as the science facts in the book, some of the general knowledge in it can be useful and clever to show off! For instance, I was able to tell my mum why she’d forgotten why she’d entered a room…

Having read one Dr Karl book, I immediately searched out others.

I would recommend this book for ages 12+ as some of the science in there, although being presented in a fun way, can get a bit confusing. If you like Adam Spencer, then you will love Dr Karl.

Buy 50 Shades Of Grey Matter here.

Q&A: Zanni Louise, picture book author

Picture book author Zanni Louise interviewed by a kid book bloggerMy first interview (with illustrator Jules Faber) went so well that I thought I’d give it another go. This week, I’ve got picture book author Zanni Louise in the hot seat. Her new book Archie And The Bear, illustrated by David Mackintosh, is out now.

I thought it would be quite a helpful interview for lots of kids, as many of us have to write a picture book for a school assignment at some point or another. I’m sure Zanni’s answers and tips will help!

Have you always loved writing?

“Yes. I am sending you one of the first stories I ever wrote (see below).

“I think I was about six [when I wrote this]. Before computers were cool, I sat at my dad’s clunky typewriter bashing out ‘literature’. I wrote stories and plays all through school, and university. I even studied some writing subjects. But I never entertained the thought of being a professional author. I just sort of rolled into it.

“I began writing training and education material when I moved to the North Coast NSW about eight years ago, then I began blogging, and one thing led to the other, and now I write thousands of words a day, in some capacity.

“I do love writing, yes. I love the rush of it, and the ease of it. I am quite expressive, and writing is my preferred tool. When I got into fights with mum or dad as a kid, I used to write lengthy letters to them to make up for the fighting. They’ve kept them all.”

What made you decide to write picture books?

“I was blogging about parenting, when someone contacted me to see if I’d be interested in interviewing [famous Australian children’s author] Mem Fox. I did the interview, and it got me thinking that maybe I could start reviewing books and interviewing authors on my blog. I was being sent box loads of picture books a month, and the more I read to my children, the more I wanted to write them myself.

“A picture book is a very clean format. You can express a big story, and beautiful story through very few words. The pictures  say so much, and add something that words can’t. Most of my favourite books are picture books.”

How many picture books have you written?

“Many. Two published, one coming out with Scholastic in the next year or two, and hundreds more in manuscript form on my computer. Too Busy Sleeping was my first picture book.”

How do you go about writing a picture book – where do you start?

“I like to free-write. I start with an idea, and start writing. I see where the story takes me. Sometimes, it has a natural story arc, and the story comes to life on the page. That happened with Archie.

“Sometimes, though, the story takes years to tease out. I’ll have an idea, and will try it in one way, but nothing comes of that. Then I try a new direction. And another. And then at some point, it may be a story I’m proud of. Many of those works in progress are idle on my computer.”

When you wrote Archie and the Bear, did you have an idea in your head of what Archie would look like? Does he look like that?

“Not really. I kind of imagined him in a full body suit I think, but it’s hard to remember. David has illustrated the real Archie now. It’s a bit like when you see a movie of your favourite book, and then you can’t remember how you used to imagine the characters.”

Are you working on any new books at the moment?

“Always. I am sketching out new picture book stories most days, and am waiting on feedback for some longer stories for independent readers. I am also in the very early stages of nutting out a middle grade fiction.”

You can find out more about Zanni Louise on her website here.

You can buy Archie and The Bear here.

Q&A: Jules Faber, Illustrator

A Q&A with Jules Faber, illustrator of the Weirdo series This week, I’m doing something a little bit different, and I’m excited to present my first interview! Jules Faber, the illustrator for the bestselling Weirdo series (among other things), was kind enough to agree to be my first victim er, interviewee.

What made you get into illustration?

“When I was 4 years old, I lived in a family with five older brothers and two younger sisters. It was noisy and I didn’t always like it noisy. I discovered a television program called Mr Squiggle and watching him draw (with his nose!) on a board before a picture magically appeared out of a few lines was very exciting. I wanted to make that magic happen so I started drawing too. I haven’t stopped since!”

How long have you been professionally illustrating for?

“I started fulltime professional illustration in 2004 so this is my 13th year. I did it for many years before but it was more part-time but I did work fulltime in animation for a year in 2002.”

How did you go from it being a hobby to being a profession?

“I used to draw for fun and after seeing other people making comics and having fun doing it, the idea started to grow on me. I joined some web forums and the Australian Cartoonists Association and got excited about the possibility of doing it for a job, just as I had imagined I could way back when I was 10 years old!

“I went to college and studied Animation for three years before graduating and getting a job working on a Disney program (it was called The Proud Family). I did that for a year before realising that I wanted something with more variety. So I left and started working fulltime for myself. It also took a lot of practice over the years to get from hobby level to professional level.”

Do you have a favourite thing you like to draw?

“Of all things, I think I like to draw animals best. I used to draw them more realistically and find that really fun. But I also love illustrating kids’ books because I can have so much fun doing it. I usually have at least one book on the go at a time but sometimes as many as four!”

Has drawing for Weirdo been different to drawing for other projects?

“Most every project I work on is different from the others and Weirdo is no exception. Weirdo was my first foray into big league publishing, so I wanted to be extra careful while drawing it. That meant I did several drafts and it took me a while to visually represent some of the characters.

“Now things are different as I’ve done a lot of different sort of books since then. With my second series, the Kaboom Kid, I drew the characters in a totally different style so it didn’t just look like the Weirdo universe. Now I try to make each book look different but I think my own style still comes through anyway.”

Are you working on any new projects at the moment?

“As a general rule, I’m always working on new projects. in 2016 I drew eight books and a cover for another, which means I’m often working on books concurrently. At present though, since you asked, I am working on Weirdo 9 and The Stinky Street Stories 2.

“Coming up later this month I’ll be drawing my first book for grown-ups with Dr Karl Kruszelnicki (which is exciting, because I saw one of his books over 20 years ago and have wanted to draw one ever since. I actually credit Karl with inspiring me to consider illustrating books! So it’s one of those lovely life achievement moments where something comes full circle).”

Weirdo 8: Really Weird is out now! Buy it here.

You can find out more about Jules Faber on his website, here

Review: Bro

book review Bro by Helen Chebatte, reviewed by a kid book bloggerTitle: Bro

Author: Helen Chebatte

Publisher: Hardie Grant Egmont

About the book: In a school divided into racial gangs, there are three unspoken rules:

  • Stick with your own kind
  • Don’t dob on your mates (or your enemies)
  • Respect the family.

But fight clubs, violence and racial prejudice get in the way of these rules. Romeo Makhlouf knows to follow these rules, but when he gets into a fight with another boy, the rules become so much harder to follow.

What I thought: This confronting book feels like a modern-day version of The Outsiders, with its gangs, love and engrossing plot line. Set in Australia, it feels realistic and very close to home.

I didn’t really connect with a lot of the characters, possibly because they were the tough guys of the school, who started a lot of fights, but I still really liked the book. It was an interesting insight into racism in teenagers.

I think a lot of boys would really enjoy Bro, although Romeo is in year 10 so it feels like an older book. I would recommend it for ages 14+. Anyone who enjoys reading books by S.E. Hinton, or very Australian books, would like this one.

Buy Bro here.

Review: Thirst

Thirst by Lizzie Wilcock reviewed by a kid book bloggerTitle: Thirst

Author: Lizzie Wilcock

Publisher: Scholastic

About the book: Fourteen-year-old Karanda Hooke is on her way to her sixth foster home when a crash leaves her stranded in the Central Australian desert with a backpack, a bottle of water and an old picture of her mother.

She realises that this could be her escape from the foster system, but there is one slight problem. Eight-year-old Solomon wants to tag along.

What I thought: I thought this book was really well-written, because it kept me interested, unlike most ‘wandering through the desert’ books. I hesitated before picking it up, because I thought it might be long and boring. But I was hooked before I knew it because the writing was so good.

I particularly liked the character of Solomon, with his knack for survival and vast knowledge of plants and animals.

I would recommend this book for ages 10+ as some themes in it might upset younger children.

Buy Thirst.

Review: The Mysterious Benedict Society

The Mysterious Benedict Society by Trenton Lee Stewart, reviewed by a kid book blogger.Title: The Mysterious Benedict Society

Author: Trenton Lee Stewart

Publisher: The Chicken House

About the book: Four children with unusual gifts and talents are called in to do a top-secret mission after completing an elaborate and difficult test, set by the mysterious Mr Benedict.

They must infiltrate a prestigious and secluded school to find out why secret messages are being sent out.

What I thought: This book was full of twists and turns and had me engaged right from the start. It kept me interested throughout the whole book and there were no dull bits – I couldn’t wait to get home from school and read it in bed.

I liked all of the characters, even though they are very different. The book was easy to read, but had sublte undertones of more serious themes. It’s shelved under junior fiction, but it feels more grown up than that.

I would recommend this book for ages 11+ because I feel that younger readers may not stick with the long book of nearly 500 pages.

Buy The Mysterious Benedict Society.