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

Dec 06 2019

The Fountains of Silence by Ruta Sepetys

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Penguin, 2019. ISBN: 9780241422236.
(Age: Older adolescents and adults) Highly recommended. This is a stunning novel that tells a narrative through short chapters featuring many quotations from real people of the historical time and telling the story of real and imaginary characters, both American and Spanish, who lived in that time. The narrative features two eras, the first and longest beginning in 1957 and set only in Spain, the second much shorter and set in Dallas, Texas in 1975, and Madrid, Spain in 1976.
While most chapters are very short, the narrative is clearly revealed both through the inclusion of quotations, at the start of many chapters, from American newspapers and statements about Spain and Spanish issues. Thus we feel deeply connected and drawn into the exposition of the reality of the communication between America and Spain. The plot line is deeply embedded in the world of the Diplomatic corps. Similarly, the interaction between the business section of both countries, relating both particularly and directly to oil, and the interaction between the Americans who resided in Spain and the Spanish who were part of their world, is an intrinsic part of this story. We are drawn into this world through the reality of many extracts from official documents.
In this narrative, there is a sense of both an historical document enabling a development of our understanding and our consciousness of the reality of life in the country of Spain during this time, and of the reality of that world for the people who lived in that era. The dark secrets that underlie this narrative relate to Franco's dominating Presidency and that of the compliance of the leaders of the Catholic Church and its acceptable dominance in Franco's world, revealing some details that are both surprising and some that are deeply unsettling.
This novel would be particularly appropriate for older adolescent readers and adults, and is indeed an inspiring and challenging novel of events and principles observed during one of the unsettling periods in history.
Elizabeth Bondar



More Reviews

Dec 06 2019

Angel Mage by Garth Nix

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Allen and Unwin, 2019. ISBN: 9781760630904.
(Age: secondary) Fantasy. Themes: The three musketeers, Magic, Angels. Garth Nix has created a world where magic is the domain of angels and those who are able to summon them. He begins by describing the destruction of Ystara, brought about by...
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Dec 06 2019

The Rise of Magicks by Nora Roberts

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Chronicles of The One book 3. Piatkus, 2019. ISBN: 9780349415024.
(Age: 16+) Recommended. Roberts completes her dystopian/fantasy novel with a stunning conclusion that neatly reveals the fates of all her characters from the previous books...
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Dec 06 2019

I, Cosmo by Carlie Sorosiak

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Nosy Crow, 2019. ISBN: 9781788003872.
(Age: 8-12) Highly recommended. Cosmo is an aging golden retriever who has long accepted that his role in life is to 'doggedly' love his human family and make them happy. Keeping them happy proves to be a challenge when it becomes obvious that the...
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Dec 06 2019

No more kisses! by Rebecca McGregor

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Illus. by Olivia Godbee. Little Steps, 2019. ISBN: 9781925839401.
(Age: 4+) Themes: Touching, Kissing, Comfort, Family, Likes and dislikes. When Sam turns five, he declares that he is past the kissing stage: those hairy, air born or smoochy kisses, hair ruffles, chicken pecks or snogs,...
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Dec 06 2019

Gregory Goose is on the loose! On the Moon by Hilary Robinson and Mandy Stanley

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New Frontier, 2019. ISBN: 9781925594867. Board book, 20pp.
(Age: 0-3) Recommended. Gregory Goose is having a ball swooping around in space and little children will love to follow his adventures. He zooms around in a rocket, tries to catch a falling star, bounces around the planets, and...
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Dec 05 2019

Beverly, right here by Kate DiCamillo

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Walker Books, 2019. ISBN: 9781406390704.
(Age: 10+) Highly recommended. Themes: Homelessness, Running away, Bingo, Old age. When Beverly, aged fourteen, leaves home, catching a lift with a neighbour after the burial of her beloved dog, Buddy, she has little idea of what she will do. She...
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Dec 05 2019

Through the animal kingdom by Derek Harvey

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Illus. by Charlotte Pepper. DK, Penguin Random House, 2019. ISBN: 9780241355442.
Recommended for library collections for younger Primary students. Themes: Animals, Environment. In this book the globe and all continents are traversed, revealing the animals that reside in various...
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Dec 05 2019

Blood in the water by Jack Flynn

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Macmillan, 2019. ISBN: 9781447298281.
(Age: 15+) Recommended. 'Homeland Security agent, Kit Steel, is committed to avenge terrorism. And she's after the blood of her nemesis, one of world's most ruthless and dangerous criminals, Vincente Carpio. He has the blood of her husband and young...
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Dec 04 2019

The Magnolia Sword: A Ballad of Mulan by Sherry Thomas

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Allen and Unwin, 2019. ISBN: 9781760876685.
(Age: 12+) Highly recommended. An engrossing retelling of the ancient ballad of Mulan will have fans of historical stories and martial arts with a dash of romance, grabbing this story as soon as it comes their way. It is China, 484 A.D. Mulan...
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Dec 04 2019

The scholar by Dervla McTiernan

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HarperCollins, 2019. ISBN: 9781460754221.
(Age: Secondary-adult) Highly recommended. Themes: Crime, Ireland, University, Corruption. When Cormac Reilly and his girlfriend, Dr Emma Sweeney move to Galway they are hoping to put the past behind them and build their relationship, at the same...
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Dec 04 2019

Lie with me by Philippe Besson

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Penguin, 2019. ISBN: 9780241987094.
(Age:16+) Highly recommended. Philippe Besson is a French author and this novel (originally in French) is translated by Molly Ringwald. This book is a compelling read and impossible to put down. Told in three sections the narrator speaks of his first...
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Dec 04 2019

More by Matt Preston

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Pan Macmillan, 2019. ISBN: 9781760781828.
(Age: Adult) This may just be the book for anyone who is trying to add more vegetable into the daily diet. Subtitled More Recipes with More Veg for More Joy, Matt Preston presents a huge variety of recipes (over 100) that feature...
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Dec 03 2019

Mum's jumper by Jayde Perkin

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Book Island, 2019. ISBN: 9781911496137.
(Age: 4+) Recommended. Themes: Grief, Loss, Death. Loss and death are never too far from many children's lives and so a book helping children accept the death of a loved one will have a place in a classroom or home, where quiet time reading a book...
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Dec 02 2019

Messy, wonderful us by Catherine Isaac

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Simon and Schuster, 2019. ISBN: 9781471178054.
(Age: 17+) Recommended. Catherine Isaac provides a heart-warming read that reminds us that life is short.
Allie, the narrator, is a scientist working on a cure for cystic fibrosis and her life is ordered. When Allie unexpectedly comes...
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Nov 29 2019

Wayward Son by Rainbow Rowell

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Macmillan Children's Books, 2019. ISBN: 9781509896899. 356p. bkp.
(Age: 13+) Highly recommended. What happens to the heroes when they've won the war? They should be on top of the world, right? In Rowell's sequel to Carry On, living happily ever after hasn't quite happened. If...
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Nov 29 2019

Brain-fizzing facts by Dr Emily Grossman

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Illus. by Alice Bowsher. Bloomsbury Children's Books, 2019. ISBN: 9781408899175.
(Age: 5-12 years) Highly recommended. On her website Emily Grossman says 'My aim is to show people just how exciting science is, and to make it more accessible...
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Nov 28 2019

A single thread by Tracy Chevalier

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HarperCollins, 2019. ISBN: 9780008153823.
(Age: Senior secondary - Adult) Highly recommended. It is 1932 and Violet Speedwell, whose fiance and brother were killed in the Great War, has become a 'surplus woman', doomed to be a spinster because of the demise of a generation of young men....
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Nov 19 2019

A guinea pig nutcracker by Alex Goodwin

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Photography by Phillip Beresford. Guinea Pig Classics series. Bloomsbury, 2019. ISBN: 9781635574500.
(Age: 3-8) Recommended. Themes: The Nutcracker, Guinea pigs, Christmas, Classic stories. This is part of the Guinea Pig Classics series, in which Classic stories such as...
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Nov 19 2019

The twelve days of Christmas with Roald Dahl: Festive things to make and do by Lauren Holowaty

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Penguin, 2019. ISBN: 9780241428122.
(Age: 7+). Themes: Art, Craft, Recipes, Humour, Jokes, Games.
On the First day of Christmas my true love gave to me . . .
One Matilda in the Library
Two Smelly Twits
Three Naughty Muggle-Wumps
Four Repulsant
...
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Nov 13 2019

The crayons' Christmas by Drew Daywalt

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Illus. by Oliver Jeffers. HarperCollins, 2019. ISBN: 9780008180362.
(Age: 3+) Highly recommended. Themes: Crayons, Christmas, Humour, Pop up. This beautifully presented book, with flaps, letters, envelopes, lift ups and pop outs will intrigue and delight younger readers along with the...
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Nov 13 2019

The lonely Christmas tree by Chris Naylor-Ballesteros

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Bloomsbury, 2019. ISBN: 9781408892923.
Recommended. The lonely Christmas tree is a small picture book, based loosely upon the classic Christmas poem 'Twas the night before Christmas. This book also follows a poetic rhyme, which allows the reader to fall into a nice rhythm...
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Nov 13 2019

We're going on an elf chase by Martha Mumford

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Illus. by Laura Hughes. Bloomsbury, 2019. ISBN: 9781526606303.
Recommended. We're going on an elf chase is a cute little board book that encompasses a 'life the flap' on most pages.
It is the perfect size to read on the couch/bed with your little ones but also great to pop...
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Nov 13 2019

Peppa's Christmas jumper day

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Penguin, 2019. ISBN: 9780241371589.
Most parents of young children know the phenomenon that is Peppa Pig, and probably can't help but sing the tune when it comes on the TV! On top of the show, kids also have the ability to read about Peppa and her friends!
This story is called...
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