Engaging reads for children, from Books go Walkabout

Tag: BookMonitor

The House on the Mountain by Ella Holcombe & David Cox

The House on the MOuntain - cover image

A wonderful read!

Atmospheric and immensely moving, this is the story of a family experiencing a bush fire in Australia. The aftermath is a harsh reality for a family whose home is in the middle of the woods. 

It is though, a story of healing and reconciliation. Lives are changed but not broken, there is a future through the devastation.

‘ We drive in silence, with the windows down. The hills are bald, with black spikes where the trees used to be. I don’t recognise any of the old familiar turns or corners. I don’t recognise anything’.

Before the fire this family in Australia have fun and do all the normal things that families do. After the  fire they eventually return and start all over again.

In real life it didn’t always work out so well.

A great picture book style story of a real life event with some changes. What an accolade to the author, Ella Holcombe and also to the illustrator David Cox, for setting the atmosphere so well.

Allen and Unwin, publishers have terrific books which are meaningful, good to read and so well produced. The House on the Mountain is well up there and especially as a reminder of Black Saturday.

Highly recommended for all ages.

Sue Martin

Peter in Peril – Courage and Hope in World War Two

Peter in Peril - cover image and web link

Peter in Peril – buy this book here…

A brilliant graphic novel of a boy trapped in the terrors of World War Two.

Peter lived in Budapest, Hungary where the book is based on a true story where the family are persecuted and torn apart as war strikes terror across the country.

Before the war Peter is an ordinary boy, who loves playing football with his friends  and eating cake. But as the pace of war increased, Peter’s life went to hiding in the cellar and being known as a ‘Jewish Boy’.

At the back of the book you will meet the real Peter, the picture of a smiling man with his family, it’s hard to think of the dreadful life he endured as a child.

…with free delivery

Helen Bate is an exciting author and illustrator, who has a number of books to her name, including Me and Mrs Moon. She has also established Pictures to Share, a Social Enterprise company publishing illustrated books for people with dementia.

Otter-Barry Books are the publishers of Peter in Peril and other books by Helen, they have a distinctive portfolio of excellent books.

A book we recommend highly for anyone interested in families and the effects of WW2. It’s a great read and as a graphic novel, has appeal and meaning extending beyond the words.

Sue Martin

We Build Our Homes

We buld our homes - book cover and weblink

Biuy this book with free delivery…

 We Build Our Homes is a beautiful book to have and to read. It is packed with information about how different creatures make their homes. Each page has a stunning picture with the text woven into the  illustrations

Another great book from Lorna Knowles  and Chris Madden.

The front cover is beautiful, and shows a shiny blue, bower bird making his home with all sorts of useful and interesting things, like a wrist band and jam jar top.

On the back of the book a beaver wanders across his lodge as he makes a dam under which he and his family can live.

Buy this book here with free delivery….

These are small stories of incredible animal architects. It is not only humans who can create incredible structures around the world; there are weaver birds, gophers, termites, honey bees, meerkats and moles.

The world map shows locations and key facts for each animal with lists for mini beasts builders and mammal builders.

We Build Our Homes follows on from Laura’s previous book called We Travel So Far and Once Upon a Jungle, The Coral Kingdom, and It Starts with a Seed, which was awarded the Margaret Mallett Award for Children’s Non-fiction.

Laura Knowles has a love of natural history and along with Chris Madden, they have produced this creative and visual book of facts and creatures, making every little creature come alive on every page.


A great book from publishers Word and Pictures, part of The Quarto Group, making books open the doors of children’s imagination and exploring other worlds.

Recommended for all ages and especially for ages 6-10 years.

Sue Martin

Books Go Walkabout


Bone Talk, Short Listed for Costa Children’s Book Award 2018

Bone Talk - cover image and web link

Buy this book with free delivery here…

Congratulations to Candy Gourlay, author of Bone Talk, shortlisted for the Costa Book Awards, Children’s Book Award, 2018.

Candy is an award-winning author, her books include Tall Story, Shine and most recently Is It a Mermaid?

At Books Go Walkabout, we are pleased to work with Candy on school visits in the UK and Far East.

Bone Talk is a story from 100 years ago, about a boy named Samkad,  who thinks he knows everything about the world. He knows the mountains he lives in. He knows his people. He knows his blood enemy, the Mangili and he  wants  to  become  a  man,  to  be  given  his  own shield,  spear and axe to fight with.

Buy this book with free delivery here

His best friend, Luki, wants all the same things – except she is a girl, and no girl has ever become a warrior.  But everything changes when a new boy arrives in the village. He calls  himself  Samkad’s  brother,  yet he knows nothing  of  the  ways  of  the  mountain and he brings news of a people called  ‘Americans’,  who  are bringing war and destruction right to his home…

Candy is from the Philippines and her stories are linked to culture and childhood from this amazing country on the edge of the Pacific Ocean.

Whilst writing Bone Talk, Candy travelled to her book’s remote mountain setting and became engrossed in the spirit and dynamics of this incredible country.

Bone Talk is published by David Fickling Books and is a great read for children ages, 8-11 years.

Congratulations Candy on having Bone Talk shortlisted and Good Luck  for the Costa Children’s Book Award.

Sue Martin

Books go Walkabout, stories across the world






Lyla Through My Eyes by Fleur Beale

Lyla Through My Eyes - cover image and web link

Buy this great book here…free delivery

Lyla is a gripping and personal story about one girl’s experience of the 2011 Christchurch earthquake and its aftermath.

Lyla has just started her second year of high school when a magnitude 6.3 earthquake shakes Christchurch to pieces. Devastation is everywhere. While her police officer mother and trauma nurse father respond to the disaster, Lyla puts on a brave face, opening their home to neighbours and leading the community clean-up.

But soon she discovers that it’s not only familiar buildings and landscapes that have vanished – its friends and acquaintances too. As the earth keeps shaking day after day, can Lyla find a way to cope with her new reality?

This is a page turner of a book exceptionally well written by Fleur Beale. A young person’s life turned upside down with the major earthquake and then made even worse as the shakes continue and liquefaction of the soil makes moving around incredibly difficult.

Lyla - Buy this book button - image and web link

…with free delivery!

As she finds herself alone, with her parents helping others, Lyla establishes a friendship with Matt, who she has previously thought of as a real loser. She rescues her friend’s documents by entering a building about to collapse.

The book is great to read, with references to the 2011 Christchurch earthquake plus a timeline, and a glossary, the reader will be well-informed plus an understanding of life through this natural disaster.

Fleur Beale is author of many award-winning books for children and young adults – with 40 books published in New Zealand, plus books published in the United States and England. She is a former high-school teacher and lives in Wellington.

Fleur has won many awards including; the Storylines Gaelyn Gordon Award for a Much-Loved Book: with Slide the Corner in 2007, and I Am Not Esther in 2009, the Esther Glen Award for distinguished contribution to children’s literature for Juno Of Taris in the 2009 LIANZA Children’s Book Awards, Fierce September won the YA category in the 2011 NZ Post Children’s Book Awards and the LIANZA Young Adult Award in 2011.

In 2012 she won the Margaret Mahy Medal for her outstanding contribution to children’s writing, and in 2015 she was awarded the New Zealand Order of Merit for services to literature. In 1999, Fleur was Dunedin College of Education’s Writer in Residence Series editor and series creator

Allen and Unwin, Australia publish Through My Eyes series created and developed by Lyn White. Her work with refugee children motivated her to create the acclaimed Through My Eyes series of books set in contemporary war zones.

Lyn created and edited  Through My Eyes – Natural Disaster Zones series to pay tribute to the courage and resilience of children, often the most vulnerable in post-disaster situations. Lyn continues to teach EAL and is an education consultant and conference presenter.

We loved reading Lyla, a captivating book about this recent disaster.We recommend for children from 9-10 years and all ages.

Sue Martin

Books go Walkabout, stories across the world



Stuff You Should Know! by John Farndon and Rob Beattie

Stuff You Should Know cover image and web link

Buy this great book here…

The first things you will notice about ‘The Stuff You Should Know’  are the really good illustrations  and the interesting use of text, there are questions that you never ask but  the answers are fascinating.

What happens when you tweet on Twitter?

What happens when you recycle your drinks can?

What happens when you charge your iPad?

This book is packed with so many answers and  you will become full of knowledge! There is a page, for example, on Sending Mail, with the issues around transport and deliveries to rural areas, using postcodes and barcodes to get the letter to the right place.

Stuff you shuold know! Buy this Book - image and web link

…with free delivery!

The double page open spread on Using a Mobile Phone is amazing!

Fact – by 2015 around 2.7 billion people worldwide owned a smart phone and it is now one of the most important gadgets on the planet.

The book describes the operating system, the battery, USB connector, the Sim card, touchscreen technology, emails, apps, music, location services, games and much more. For instance, when you touch the screen it interrupts a current of electricity informing the phone where your fingers are, it’s called capacitive touchscreen!

John Farndon is an internationally known author, as well as a playwright, composer and songwriter. He has written hundreds of books, which have sold millions of copies around the world in most major languages and include many best-sellers, such as the award-winning Do Not Open.

Rob Beattie is a professional writer and life-long camper and angler. He has written numerous titles on a wide range of outdoor activities, including: The Pocket Survival GuideThe Campsite Companion: All You Need to Know for Life in the Great Outdoors, The Boating Companion: All You Need to Know for Life on the Open Water, and The Fishing Handbook(published in the UK as 101 Golden Rules of Fishing). All have been published internationally and translated into several languages. He lives in the seaside city of Brighton, England.

STEVE FRICKER is a renowned illustrator and painter. Awarded the Rhone-Poulenc prize for his illustrations for What Happens When? His work has appeared in many of the worlds leading newspapers and magazines as well as private and National collections. Steve studied painting at Chelsea School of Art .He worked for 25 years as a political cartoonist and illustrated comment pages by Tony Blair, John Major and Boris Johnson and many others.

This book, published by Marshall Editions, part of Quarto Knows, is a great way to find out information and then maybe find out more on the internet too. It will be great for the summer holidays and I think parents will have as much fun with this as any child.

And now to find out about jet engines!!

Sue Martin

Books Go Walkabout

Art Masterclass with Van Gogh and Wassily Kandinsky

Van H+ogh - cover picture and web link

Buy this book…

Master art with these two new activity books that will teach you how to make art like Van Gogh, the post impressionist painter, and with Kandinsky, a very  famous twentieth century artist.

In each book, you will have 12 masterclasses, an introduction to the artist, a time line, over 50 stickers and a pull-out double-sided poster, which will enable you to create your own Van Gogh or Kandinsky masterpiece.

These are beautiful books to have at home, in the school and the library. The style and layout make them a joy to hold, to read and to look at the pictures from these two great artists.

Van Gogh Cover image and web link

…with free delivery!

In MasterClass Van Gogh, you will do drawing, colouring and collaging activities that show how Van Gogh created the art that has inspired so many.

Kandinsky - cover image and web link

Discover Kandinsky here…

In MasterClass Kandinsky you’ll learn how to draw from your imagination, listen to music for inspiration and use the shapes and stickers to make your own pictures.

Buy this book - button image and web link

…with free delivery!


Hanna Konola, from Finland is the illustrator and designer of these beautiful books, and Wide Eyed Editions are the publishers who produce amazing books which inform and inspire.

A beautiful book for the holidays, for art work  and for finding out about art…. take a MasterClass!

Sue Martin

Books Go Walkabout

Kangaroo Kisses
by Nandana Dev Sen
from Otter-Barry Books

Kangaroo Kisses cover image:

Buy this title from Amazon.co.uk here…

Kangaroo Kisses by Nandana Dev Sen and illustrated by Pippa Curnick is an opening title for Otter-Barry Books, an exciting new imprint, being launched on June 8th in London.

Kangaroo Kisses is beautifully produced in hard back by Otter-Barry Books. It is a a book of adventures for bedtime as the toys become real wild animals.

I’m learning to fly with the geese in the sky!’ and the illustrations are engaging and fun for young children. From hippos to bears and at the end to Kangaroo… who is god with the kisses to send you to sleep.

Great for young children, a debut children’s book for Nandana Dev Sen who is an award winning actor writer and child-rights activist. Visit her website to see her amazing work. I was inwardly most impressed by Princess Jasmine in Disneyland!

Pippa Curnick is a freelance designer and illustrator, and winner of the Seven Stories Illustration Competition, 2013.

Looking forward to being at the launch of Otter-Barry Books, a great start and future ahead.

Sue Martin       Books Go Walkabout         Dolphin BookSellers

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