ReadPlus is a collection of selected books and films arranged under themes. This web site provides lists, reviews and resources for librarians, teachers and parents about books for young people aged 5 to 18.
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Latest Review

Jan 24 2017

Lisette's Paris notebook by Catherine Bateson

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Allen and Unwin, 2017. ISBN 9781760293635
(Age: 14+) Highly recommended. Paris. Romance. Art. Fashion. When eighteen year old Lisette hits Paris for the summer holidays before going to uni in Melbourne, she is aware that she is doing something her mother always dreamed of doing. Mum has arranged that she stay with Madame Christophe, a clairvoyant she met online and Lisette will take French lessons to improve her language skills as well as gain an appreciation of the arts and fashion, touring art galleries and haute couture. From the start the reader is aware of some tension between Lisette and her mother who raised her after her artist lover abandoned her and fled to Wales.
With misgivings Lisette goes along to French lessons in her vintage punk and Doc Martins, only to be challenged by much she sees and hears.
Her great-grandmother was the proud owner of a Chanel jacket and with a seamstress mother, fashion is part of her makeup.
But she does not reckon with the men she meets and readers will laugh out loud as I did, when Lisette consents to being a model for one of the art students at her French class, and then has a worrying time trying to work out what to wear to disrobe.
But try as she might, this man is not for her and accidentally meeting an Englishman in the park, begins to fall in love.
This funny, absorbing coming of age novel, full of references to Paris, fashion, art galleries and food will fascinate teenage girls yearning like Lisette to try all that Paris offers.
Paris invades every page: its sights and sounds, colours, fashion, architecture and people are the thread of the novel, making every reader want to go and capture the essence of the city, while those who have been will wish to return.
Lisette has some real choices to make, but is always aware of her return ticket to Australia and the looming departure date. Finding that her dead father left her money, allows her to make a decision that had been impossible and in ringing his widow, finds common ground with the woman she has never met. Middle secondary girls will love Lisette, seeing Paris through her eyes, looking at her options as she becomes more involved with Hugo who must return to England. Bateson has again produced a wonderfully entertaining story of a young girl in an unfamiliar situation, potent with choices, impelling the readers to ponder what choice they would make.
Lisette is surrounded by beautifully written characters that will endear the reader to Lisette and her friends. Hugo is an enigma but adorable, Madam Christophe magnificent with her tarot cards and scarves, Fabienne stunning with her stilettos, Anders and Gabi ooze early warning signals, while the girls Lisette meets give her courage. All of her experiences encourage her to take her own path, to find her own way, to be herself. And she does.
Fran Knight



More Reviews

Jan 24 2017

Girl detached by Manuela Salvi

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Barrington Stoke, 2016. ISBN 9781911370024
(Age: 15+) Recommended. Sexual content. Fiction. Romance. Tragedy. Teenage. The book, Girl detached, falls under the umbrella of romance and tragedy. Aleksandra (Alek) is a teenage girl with a bad stutter. Living under the roof of her...
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Jan 24 2017

The complete adventures of Figaro and Rumba by Anna Fienberg

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Ill. by Stephen Michael King. Allen & Unwin, 2017. ISBN 9781760292997
(Age: 5-8) Recommended. Early chapter book. Humour. Friendship. Adventure. With two Figaro and Rumba stories in one book, newly independent readers will thrill to the adventures of these two friends.
In the...
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Jan 24 2017

Diary of a 6th grade Ninja by Marcus Emerson

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Allen and Unwin, 2017 ISBN 9781760295554
(Age: 9+) Recommended. School. Martial arts. Chase talks directly to the reader, enfolding them into his world of being a Ninja. Eleven year old Chase has an unromantic view of himself, scrawny, unpopular, not good at sports, a reader, but when...
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Jan 24 2017

Stone cold by Jane Yolen and Adam Stemple

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Ill. by Orion Zangara. The Stoneman mysteries bk 1. Graphic Universe, 2016. ISBN 9781512411553
Graphic Novel. Murder mystery. Dark fantasy. Set in Edinburgh in the 1930s this very dark graphic tale begins with a murder and suicide rescue, and a talking Gargoyle on a local...
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Jan 23 2017

Pax by Sara Pennypacker

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Ill. by Jon Klassen. HarperCollins, 2016. ISBN 9780008124090
(Age: 11 - adult) Highly recommended. War, peace, Animals, Foxes. When his gruff and distant father leaves to fight in the war, motherless Peter is forced to stay with his grandfather and made to abandon his pet, a fox called...
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Jan 23 2017

Barefoot on the wind by Zoe Marriott

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The Moonlit Lands series, bk 2. Walker Books, 2016. ISBN 9781406333374
(Age: 10+) Recommended. Fantasy. This beautifully written retelling of Beauty and the beast is a companion novel to Shadows on the...
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Jan 23 2017

Royal rabbits of London by Santa Montefiore and Simon Sebag Montefiore

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Ill. by Kate Hindley. Simon and Schuster, 2016. ISBN 9781471157868
(Age: 7+) Highly recommended. The Royal Rabbits of London is a richly rewarding adventure story for newly confident chapter book readers to enjoy. Shylo Tawny-Tail lives with his family in a deep burrow in the...
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Jan 23 2017

The Twins of Tintarfell by James O'Loughlin

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PanMacmillan, 2016. ISBN 9781743548097
(Age: 10+) Highly recommended. The Twins of Tintarfell is a completely captivating fantasy adventure novel by author James O'Loughlin. The plot changes directions, focuses on different characters and their decisions and actions and is...
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Jan 23 2017

Last Descendants by Matthew J. Kirby

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An Assassin's Creed series. Scholastic, 2016. ISBN 9781743811788
(Age: 12+) 15 year old Owen's life has not been the same since his father was imprisoned for a murder Owen is sure he didn't commit and then died in prison. His mum has to work long hours and they live with his...
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Jan 23 2017

Little People, Big dreams series

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Frances Lincoln, 2016.
Amelia Earhart by Isabel Sanchez Vegara. Ill. by Maria Diamantes. ISBN 9781847808851
Maya Angelou by Lisbeth Kaiser. Ill. by Leire Salaberria. ISBN 9781847808905
(Age: 5-8) Highly recommended. Frances Lincoln Children's Books have published...
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Jan 23 2017

Tracy Lacy is completely Coo-Coo Bananas by Tania Lacy

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Ill. by Danielle Donald. Scholastic, 2016. ISBN 9781760156251
(Age: 9-12) Highly recommended. Move over Wimpy Kid and Big Nate, Tracy Lacy is ready to take her place in the illustrated diary genre. With a distinctive voice, unique personality, loyal friends and a crazy...
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Jan 23 2017

A dog like that! by Janene Cooper

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Ill. by Evie Kemp. Starfish Bay, 2016. ISBN 9781877378416
(Age: 2-5) Janene Cooper introduces us to a little girl whose dog just doesn't conform, he's not like that! Grandad's dog is a guard dog, while Uncle's is clever and the neighbour's dog is fierce barking at the local cats and...
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Jan 19 2017

Shield by Rachael Craw

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Walker Books Australia, 2016, ISBN 9781922179647
(Age: Secondary) Recommended. Science fiction. Future. Dystopian fiction. 'Love, freedom and future, in a final attempt to right the wrongs of the Affinity Project and save her family' (New Zealand author, Rachael Craw's elevator pitch for...
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Jan 19 2017

The awesome book of rap, rhyme and putrid poetry by Andy Jones

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Ill. by Jules Faber. ABC Books, 2016. ISBN 9780733335662
(Age: 8+) Recommended. Entertainer and author Andy Jones understands exactly the kind of things that children love to read and gross body humour rates highly. Burps, pus, dancing in your underpants, vomit and so much more are...
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Jan 19 2017

A most magical girl by Karen Foxlee

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Picccadilly Press, 2016. ISBN 9781848125742
(Age: 10+) Magic. Good vs evil. Friendship. Heroism. Annabel Grey is an ordinary but vibrant girl living in London during the era when young ladies were raised to decorate and adorn and needed to learn the refinements of a delicate life...
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Jan 19 2017

Animals in my garden by Bronwyn Houston

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Magabala Books 2016. ISBN 9781925360448
(Ages: 2-4) Recommended. Written by Australian author and illustrator, Bronwyn Houston, Animals in my garden is a vibrant and richly textured counting book that will engage toddlers to learn about the unique Australian animals found outside...
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Jan 19 2017

Cheeky animals by Shane Morgan

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Magabala Books, 2016. ISBN 9781925360431
(Age: 3-6) Recommended. Published by Australian company Magabala Books which aims to promote, preserve and publish Indigenous Australian culture, Shane Morgan's Cheeky animals reflects just that. Cheeky animals successfully captures...
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Jan 18 2017

The Midnight Gang by David Walliams

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Ill. by Tony Ross. Harper Collins Children's Books, 2016. ISBN 9780008188573
(Age: Independent readers) Themes: Humour; Hospitals/Illness; Hope; Adventure; Friendship. Walliams has created a great story that is Dahl-esque in style and quality, and fun for all ages. The children in the...
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Jan 18 2017

The soldier's curse by Meg and Tom Keneally

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Monsarrat series. Vintage Books, 2016. ISBN 9780857989369
The Monsarrat series begins with an absolutely mesmerising story of a trusted convict at Port Macquarie in the north of New South Wales. It is 1825, and Monsarrat, a convict with a legal background who does the...
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Jan 18 2017

The busy tailor crab by Bingbo

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Ill. by Gumbi. Starfish Bay Children's Books, 2016. ISBN 9781760360412
(Age: 5+) Recommended. Humour, Crabs, Sewing. Zhao Bingbo is a prominent author working at the Zhejiang College of Liberal Arts. He is the Vice-President of the Hangzhou Writers Association, and has many children's...
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Jan 18 2017

The horse thief by Jane Smith

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Tommy Bell Bushranger Boy bk. 2. Big Sky Publishing. ISBN 9781925520064
(Age: 7-9) Recommended. After his first escapade, Tommy now has some understanding of bushrangers, their lives and the history of the Australian goldfields. His teacher Mrs O'Grady is certainly surprised; she...
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Jan 18 2017

Bush bolts by Soraya Nicholas

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Starlight stables series. Puffin Books, 2016. ISBN 9780143308621
(Age: 8-12) Horses, Friendship, Adventure. Twelve years old Poppy is at her Aunt Sophie and Uncle Mark's property, a riding school Starlight Stables, with her friends, Milly and Katie, and soon her best friend,...
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Jan 17 2017

A snicker of magic by Natalie Lloyd

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Scholastic, 2015. ISBN 9780545552738
(Age: 10+) Recommended. Natalie Lloyd's warm-hearted debut novel celebrates the mystical and magical, families and friendships, the interconnectedness of village life, the impact of past decisions and the importance of making things right. She weaves...
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Jan 17 2017

Me and Moo and Roar too by P. Crumble

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Scholastic, 2016. ISBN 9781760156930
(Age: 3+) Highly recommended. Me and Moo and Roar too is a beautifully illustrated picture book. The main characters are Me, a young boy, and Moo, a cow. They are the best of friends and have had a book written about the two of them already. In...
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Jan 17 2017

Made you up by Francesca Zappia

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Greenwillow Books, 2015. ISBN 9780062670328
(Age: 14+) Recommended. Mental illness (Schizophrenia). High school. Friendship. Relationships. YA books can deal with tough issues, Made you up addresses the difficult world of schizophrenia. In this book Alex deals with the struggle of...
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Jan 17 2017

The Ogglies: A dragon party for Firebottom by Erhard Dietl

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Starfish Bay Publishing 2016. ISBN 9781760360016
(Ages 7-10) Recommended. Join the Ogglies of Smelliville as they organize a birthday party to cheer up their pet dragon, Firebottom. Written and illustrated by Erhard Dietl, The Ogglies: A dragon party for Firebottom is one of three...
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Jan 16 2017

Life hacks by Girlfriend Magazine

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Hachette, 2016. ISBN 9780733635755
(Age: Teens) Highly recommended for all school libraries. Themes: teenagers, puberty, love, friendship, sex, gender identity, depression, bullying, health. 'All of the answers, none of the awks' claims this teen guide. Based on the Australian teen...
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Jan 16 2017

Applesauce weather by Helen Frost

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Candlewick Press, 2016. ISBN 9780763675769
(Age: 10+) Highly recommended. Applesauce Weather is a beautifully illustrated story told through poetry. Faith and Peter know Uncle Arthur will arrive when the first apple falls and the first two poems introduce this brother and sister...
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Jan 16 2017

Growing together by Taro Gomi

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Phaidon Press 2016. ISBN 9780714871264
(Age: 2-5) Recommended. Written by internationally bestselling author, Taro Gomi, Growing Together is a four book box set designed to share. Neatly backed in a sturdy display box, readers will find four small books titled Growing,...
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Jan 16 2017

The grabbem getaway by Adrian C. Bott

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Ill. by Andy Isaac. Axel and BEAST series. Hardie Grant Egmont, 2016. ISBN 9781760127800
(Age: 7+) Recommended. What happens when a giant shape-shifting robot BEAST crash-lands in Axel's garage? Twelve-year old gamer Axel's life changes dramatically. One minute, he is...
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Jan 16 2017

Danny Best : Never wrong by Jen Storer

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Ill. by Mitch Vane. Danny Best series bk. 2. ABC Books, 2016. ISBN 9780733333347
(Age: 6-8) Recommended. Diary narratives are an extremely popular genre for young readers. Now author Jen Storer's Danny Best is a larger than life character who believes he is a total legend,...
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Jan 16 2017

You are oh so horribly handsome! by Eva Dax

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Ill. by Sabine Dully. Starfish Bay, 2016. ISBN 9781760360139
(Age: 3-7) Recommended. Gregor, the little green monster has all the right attributes, he loves to shout ear-splittingly loud, he is also horrendously strong, and frighteningly fast. Unfortunately, one day a nasty thought...
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Jan 16 2017

Signal loss by Garry Disher

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Hal Challis series. Text Publishing, 2017. ISBN 9781925355260
(Age: secondary to adult) Highly recommended. Crime fiction, Victoria. When a bushfire erupts over Mornington Peninsula a burnt out Mercedes is found with two charred bodies, and the remains of a rifle. DNA is the only...
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Jan 12 2017

Alice Springs: From singing wire to iconic outback town by Stuart Traynor

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Wakefield Press, 2016. ISBN 9781743054499
(Age: Secondary) Recommended. Stuart Traynor spent 8 years researching the history of central Australia for this book, and it shows in the meticulous detailed recording of the lives spent in the outback - from the explorers who tried to find a...
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Jan 12 2017

The 12th dog by Charlotte Calder

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Ill. by Tom Jellett. Lothian, 2017. ISBN 9780734416926
(Age: 4+) Highly recommended. Dogs. Animals. Pets. Cricket. Friendship. Family. Arlo the dog simply adores cricket. He can't bowl or bat but he excels in the field. He is the fastest in the field to get to the ball, keeping his eye...
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Jan 12 2017

Diary of a Minecraft zombie series by Zack Zombie

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Scholastic, 2016.
A scare of a dare. ISBN 9781943330140
Bullies and buddies. ISBN 9781943330140
(Age: 7-9) Another fan fiction series recorded in the ever-popular diary style format made famous by Jeff Kinney's Wimpy kid. These books are simplistic, easy to...
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Jan 12 2017

Piggy by Trevor Lai

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Bloomsbury, 2017. ISBN 9781681190655
(Age: 6+) Recommended. Friendship. Reading. Loneliness. A little pig called Piggy simply loves to read. He reads day and night in his library, and his favourite book is about two friends. But one day he realises that he is down to his last book. He...
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Jan 10 2017

Night lights by Lorena Alvarez

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Nobrow, 2016. ISBN 9781910620137
(Age: 12+) Recommended. Picture book for older readers. Night lights is a beautifully illustrated story, touching on how fear can make us doubt ourselves. At night, Sandy's imagination allows her to catch the lights that come into her room. She...
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Jan 10 2017

The secret cooking club by Laurel Remington

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Chicken House, 2016. ISBN 9781910655245
(Age: 9+) Recommended. The secret cooking club is a delicious story, filled with family, food and friends. Twelve-year-old Scarlett's life is a mess, her mother is a blogger who writes about the ups-and-downs of family life. These blogs...
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Jan 10 2017

The roadman boogie by Nikki Slade Robinson

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Starfish Bay, 2016. ISBN 9781760360146
(Age: 3-5) New Zealand author-illustrator Nikki Slade Robinson brings a true story to life in The Roadman boogie. The Roadman controls the traffic with his large stop sign as the digger fills the truck at the side of the highway. He is...
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Nov 28 2016

Literature to Support the Science Curriculum Foundation - 7 by Fran Knight and Pat Pledger

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Pledger Consulting, 2016. ISBN 97801876678470
Teacher reference. Primary School. Highly recommended. Literature to Support the Science Curriculum Foundation - 7 is a collection of fiction and some non-fiction books linked to the Australian Science curriculum. Teachers and...
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Nov 02 2016

Literature to support the Science curriculum Foundation - 7 by Fran Knight and Pat Pledger

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Pledger Consulting, 2016. ISBN 9781876678470
Teacher Reference.This publication is an outstanding tool for the study of science for these year levels.
Fran...
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Feb 22 2016

Fiction gems: Recommended fiction lists for Upper Primary and Lower Secondary students by Fran Knight and Pat Pledger

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Pledger Consulting, 2016. ISBN 9781876678456
Teacher reference. What a great resource for those charged with purchasing or recommending reading material for Upper Primary and Lower Secondary students. The Middle School aged reader can have specific interests or reading demands and keeping...
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