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

Feb 18 2019

Katherine Johnson by Ebony Joy Wilkins

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Ill. by Charlotte Ager. DK Life Stories. DK; Penguin Random House, 2019. ISBN: 9780241358580.
(Age: 8 - 13) Highly recommended. Themes: Biography; Katherine Johnson; Mathematicians; Space; NASA; STEM; Discrimination. Katherine Johnson may not be well known to Australian readers, but her story has now been told in the movie Hidden Figures. This amazing Afro-American woman was born in the era of segregation in USA in 1918. Her family though were determined that their children would explore every opportunity for education and it was obvious from very early in Katherine's life that she had considerable talent with numbers. No human restriction was going to stand in the way of her inquiring mind and determination to let numbers and their ability to describe the world to be understood and communicated. Working eventually as a 'human computer' and Mathematical analyst within NASA, she defied both discrimination of her race and gender to become an elite force to be reckoned with, originally in the Academic world and eventually within NASA. During the incredible era of the Space Race and the first Moon Landing, it was Katherine's role to create mathematical certainty for the astronauts. At the age of 97, Katherine was presented with the Presidential Medal of Freedom by President Barack Obama, an incredible honour for a long and incredible life. For someone who loves counting, she certainly has a lot of years of a rich life to count!
This is a book that should be read! Katherine Johnson is such an inspiring advocate for STEM learning and is also just an amazing person, not letting social obstructions be a barrier to learning and success. Her resilience and determination are also worthy of being shared with a younger generation. The presentation of this biography in the DK Life Stories series is simple with plenty of illustrations in a cartoon style, and with photographs dotted through the simple text. With some text boxes and bubbles explaining unfamiliar terms this is a book easily accessible for young readers and visually 'youthful'. The family tree and timeline of Katherine's life appears at the end of the biographical detail.
Carolyn Hull



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Feb 18 2019

Believe me by JP Delaney

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Quercus, 2018. ISBN: 9781787472419.
(Age: Adult, 18+) Highly recommended. An enthralling and turbulent psychological thriller, JP Delaney's re-written and re-published version of his 2001 novel The Decoy grasps the reader's attention and interest and never relents. Claire Wright,...
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Feb 15 2019

The extraordinary life of Stephen Hawking by Kate Scott

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Ill. by Esther Mols. Extraordinary lives series. Puffin Books, 2019. ISBN: 9780241373927.
(Age: 7-10) Highly recommended. Themes: Biography; Stephen Hawking; Scientists; Science; Cosmology. In a very unpretentious format, with simple language and naive illustrations, this...
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Feb 15 2019

How to train your dragon written and ill. by Cressida Cowell

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Hodder Children's Books, 2019 (c2003). ISBN: 9781444950380.
(Age: 8-12) Recommended. To become a Viking hero it was a tradition of the Hooligan Tribe to undertake the dreaded Dragon Initiation Programme. Failure meant banishment from the tribe forever.
The unremarkable Hiccup, the...
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Feb 13 2019

The Ice Monster by David Walliams

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HarperCollins Children's Books, 2018. ISBN: 9780008297244.
(Age: 8-13) Highly recommended. Themes: Mammoths; Humorous Fiction; Orphans. David Walliams writes in a style that would make Roald Dahl proud! Characters are quirky, some of the adults are Dahl-esque and unpleasant and the plot...
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Feb 12 2019

The ember blade by Chris Wooding

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Gollancz, 2018. 824 pages. Paperback. ISBN 9781473214859.
(Age: 15+) Recommended for advanced young adult readers. Two young boys living in an occupied Kingdom, are fighting to recover a stolen treasure of their people. The ember blade follows Aren and Cade, two young boys who are...
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Feb 12 2019

Stephen Hawking by Maria Isabel Sanchez Vagara

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Ill. by Matt Hunt. Little people, big dreams series. Frances Lincoln, 2019. ISBN 9781786037329.
(Ages: 6-10) Recommended. Themes: Physicists. Biographies. 'However difficult life may, there is always something that you can do and succeed at.' Stephen Hawking's life was truly...
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Feb 10 2019

Two can keep a secret by Karen M. McManus

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Penguin Books, 2019. ISBN: 9780141375656.
(Age: 15+) Recommended. Themes: Mystery, Diversity. McManus shows a masterly hand at the mystery genre with this easy to read, dark tale of secrets in a small town. Ellery and her twin brother Ezra return to Echo Ridge to live with their...
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Feb 08 2019

Nowhere on Earth by Nick Lake

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Hodder Children's Books, 2019. ISBN: 9781444940459.
(Age: 12+) Highly recommended. Themes: Adventure, Coming of age, Survival, Alaska, Family relations, Dance. The blurb says it all, to add to it would include spoilers:
It starts with a plane crash.
There are survivors: a
...
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Feb 07 2019

Muhammad Ali by Isabel Sanchez Vegara

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Ill. by Brosmind. Frances Lincoln Children's Books, 2018. ISBN 9781786037336.
(Age: 5+) Recommended. Themes: Muhammad Ali. Boxing. Ambition. One of a series called Little people, big dreams this little book about Muhammad Ali will intrigue younger readers to find out more about...
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Feb 07 2019

You make me happy by Smriti Prasadam-Halls

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Ill. by Alison Brown. Bloomsbury, 2019. ISBN 9781408878958.
(Age: 3-5) Themes: Happiness. Wellbeing. Friendship.
You make me happy, you make me new.
Together there's NOTHING that we cannot do.

Fox and Porcupine celebrate their friendship and happiness in this joyful...
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Feb 05 2019

On the come up by Angie Thomas

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Walker Books, 2019. ISBN 9781406372168
(Age: 14+) Highly recommended. 'I might have to kill someone tonight'. This is the startling first line of Thomas's novel, but the 'killing' isn't what it sounds like. Bri is a high school student who is finding it hard to sit through school when...
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