'What if the very thing you were passionate about were forbidden by your family? This is the conundrum that Ditty Cohen has to face. Coming from an ultra-Orthodox Jewish family, she is expected to go to school and synagogue until she is old enough to be married and start a family. However, when she discovers ballet on TV, she knows she was born to do much more, and the story follows her from the time she is 12 until she is 17. Forced to keep her dancing lessons a secret from her disapproving family, she begins to wonder which is more important: passion or faith. The author gives an in-depth look at one aspect of Orthodox Judaism and how it can affect families. Although the religion plays a large role in the plot, Ditty's inspiring story will resonate with many people. It's an insightful look into the hardships that some young people must endure to find themselves, even at the risk of leaving everything they know behind. The theme of making sacrifices in order to pursue a dream is a universal one. An excellent debut novel.'
~ KIMBERLY CASTLE-ALBERTS, Hudson Library & Historical Society
Robyn is working on her second novel, Pirouette which will be published in the USA and Australia in November 2013.
Look out for Ritva Voutila’s beautifully illustrated and magnificently designed edition of Oscar Wilde's story The Selfish Giant. It was published by Allen & Unwin in November 2012. The Selfish Giant was picked by Readings as one of their Ten Best Picture Books of 2012. See the list here. See here how the story was highly recommended in a review blog in Read Plus.
‘Some books are simply a pleasure to pick up and hold, and this is one. Beautifully bound, the cover illustration is redolent of the northern European landscape, cold and dull, sun part hidden by the shadowy clouds, the castle lacking any warmth. But one tree is covered in blossom, standing out from the others which are bare in the winter cold. And Voutila's illustrations capture the eye for the rest of the book.....the story of a selfish man finally giving over his garden to the children of the town is certainly one of forgiveness and redemption......For classes looking at various fairy tales this is an exceptional book to use, the text and illustrations dovetailing together. For secondary classes this would be an entirely engrossing book to use to allow older students to marvel at the link between text and illustrations, or simply look at some fabulous illustrations and the imagery presented. '
~ Fran Knight
Wendy Orr’s sequel to Nim’s Island, has been adapted to film. The Pinnacle Films movie, Return to Nim’s Island, will be screened around Australia from 4 April 2013. See the official trailer here. Bindi Irwin plays the role of Nim. To co-incide with the release of the film, Allen & Unwin will be publish The Nim Stories, a two book edition, combining the novels that inspired the Nim movies, Nim’s Island and Nim at Sea. Wendy Orr’s latest books include the Rainbow Street Pets published in Australia by Allen & Unwin and the Rainbow Street Shelter Series published by Henry Holt in the USA. These are six tail-wagging, melt-your-heart stories of loyal, lost playful and cuddly pets. Allen & Unwin have packaged them in one collection, while Henry Holt have published them as six separate short chapter books for young readers.
MICE by Gordon Reece was published in Australia by Allen and Unwin in August 2010. It has since been published in many countries around the world including the USA, UK, Germany, the Netherlands, France, Italy, Spain, Russia, Portugal, Poland, The Czech Republic, Brazil and Taiwan. Sixteen-year-old Shelley and her mother move to Honeysuckle Cottage in the middle of the countryside, fleeing their fears and anxieties and hoping to put behind them years of suffering at the hands of others. Shelley has endured terrible bullying from the girls who used to be her friends; and her mother has been left reeling following a divorce from her selfish, demanding husband. For Shelley and her mother are ’mice’, timid, nervous and obliging. And for a while, in their cottage-haven, the women flourish. But one night their fragile peace is shattered when Shelley wakes to hear a creak on the stairs. Someone has broken into the house.
In the shocking, chilling events that follow, Shelley's world is turned on its head, as the women find themselves tested as never before. And as their lives spiral out of control, the tension