Holiday Reading 1999: A selection of children's and young adults' books

Fiction for older readers

Abelove, Joan Go and come back
The author, a cultural anthropologist, has based this insightful account of life in a Peruvian Amazon village on her own experiences in the 1970s.
Aiken, Joan Dangerous games
Her mission to bring an expert on games back to an ailing King James III in London takes Dido Twite to a small tropical island, where she is caught up in the conflict between a conniving city dweller and the more subtle powers of the native forest people.
Almond's second novel is even better than the award winning Skellig. A remote English mining town provides a tangible backdrop to this captivating story of loss and redemption. Almond's use of words is rivetingly beautiful.
Angels, William Blake, love and the extraordinary Mina are some of the elements that come together in this highly original novel, winner of the Carnegie Medal.
Bawden, Nina Off the road
In 2040, eleven-year-old Tom follows his grandfather through the Wall and into the forbidden Wild, where they seek to find his grandfather's boyhood home.
Creech, Sharon Bloomability
When her aunt and uncle take her from New Mexico to Lugano, Switzerland, to attend an international school, 13-year-old Dinnie discovers an expanding world and her place within it.
D'Lacey, Chris Fly, Cherokee, fly
A boy looks after a injured pigeon. Shortlisted for the Carnegie Medal.
Follows the adventures of four pre-historic children as they trek across an inhospitable landscape of erupting volcanoes, deserts and marshlands, foraging for food and keeping lions and crocodiles at bay. More than this, however, the novel explores some of the big questions concerning the evolution of people and spoken language.
Fine, Anne Charm School
Bonny's mother dumps her in Charm School for a one day course while she does a book-keeping course herself. Bonny finds herself in the midst of a group of girls all trying to become Miss Glistening Tiara.
Fleischman, Sid Bandit's moon
Twelve-year-old Annyrose relates her adventures with Joaquin Murieta and his band of outlaws in the California gold-mining region during the mid-1800s.
Fletcher, Susan Shadow spinner
When Marjan joins the Sultan's harem in ancient Persia, she gathers for Shahrazad the stories that will save the queen's life.
Life for Joey Pigza is tough. He has been emotionally abused by his grandmother, has never met his Dad and causes havoc at school because of his mood swings. When he injures another pupil he is sent to "special-ed" where his medication is re-assessed. Told in the first person in a sharp, worried style, the reader is given a vivid picture of life with Attention Deficit Disorder but is left with hope, as on the last page Joey is sitting in the "big quiet chair" reading.
Gleitzman, Morris Gift of the gab
The third in the trilogy which began with Blabbermouth and was followed by Sticky beak. Rowena finds her life turned upside down battling police, bombs and discovering startling revelations about her mother's death.
Picture book story about a dancing bear who escapes her tormentors to end up as a constellation. Dark, powerful illustrations with a minimum of text.
Haas, Dan You can call me Worm
Hoping to help their troubled father, who has been sitting on his roof for several days, Worm and his older brother set out from their mother's house on a trek across suburban Virginia to get to him.
Hirsch, Odo Hazel Green
Hazel gets the children of her town involved in the annual parade in this quirky, warm-hearted story.
Honey, Elizabeth Fiddle-back
"When Stella Street went bush and everything that happened!"
Hurle, Garry Sheena's deadly game and other spine-tingling stories
Jacques, Brian The legend of Luke
Twelfth title in the popular Redwall series.
Just in time: stories to mark the Millennium
Ten stories by leading writers.
An unashamed action story in the grand tradition of R L Stevenson. Shipwrecked by Cornish wreckers after a storm, 14-year-old John Spencer attempts to save his father and himself.
Lingard, Joan Dark shadows
A novel set in Northern Ireland.
Both of these titles were written with Australian Aboriginal storyteller and writer Boori Pryor. The narrative perspectives are Aboriginal while the texts are elaborated and extended by photographs. The Binna Binna Man is a spirit, a messenger from the old people sent to keep the younger generations on track and in touch with their land, their identity and the strength they can derive from their families. "Girragundji" is the green tree frog from which "the narrator learns to face his difficulties, both those caused by humans and the supernatural". (Review from Magpies.)
An allegory about the colonisation of Australia, stunningly and powerfully illustrated by the versatile and talented Shaun Tan.
Mazer, Harry The wild kid
Twelve-year-old Sammy runs away from home and becomes a prisoner of Kevin, a wild kid living in the woods.
Moloney, James Buzzard breath and brains
Sequel to the award winning Swashbucklers. When the principal's prized garden is vandalised, Rex and Tony get the blame.
Morpurgo, Michael Joan of Arc of Domremy
Illustrated by Michael Foreman. Eloise has always been fascinated by Joan of Arc and thinks of her as her guardian angel. When her family moves to Orleans, the scene of Joan's greatest triumph, Eloise daydreams she hears a voice, just like her heroine.
Morpurgo, Michael Kensuke's kingdom
Washed up on an island in the Pacific, Michael struggles to survive on his own. He is found by an old Japanese man and together they work out how he can be saved.
Naylor, Phyllis Reynolds Saving Shiloh
Third in the popular trilogy.
Pierce, Tamora First test
A return to Alanna's Kingdom of Tortall in the first of a series called Protector of the small.
Pullman Philip I was a rat! … or The scarlet slippers
Innovative retelling of Cinderella, going some way to make up for the delay in publication of the final volume of the author's His dark materials trilogy.
There seems little need to say much about the latest two titles in this wildly popular series. Endlessly inventive, fast-paced and great fun.
Rylant, Cynthia The islander
Daniel meets a mermaid and the encounter affects the rest of his life.
Stanley Yelnats (note the palindrome) is sent to a hellish correctional camp in the Texas desert for a crime he hasn't committed. Sentenced by the warden to dig a hole a day, Stanley finds his first real friend, a treasure, and a new sense of himself. This redemption fable is witty and wise and won the Newbery Medal.
Swindells, Robert Abomination
Although not as convincing as Fleur Beale's I am not Esther, this story of religious fundamentalism is still thought provoking.
Thompson, Kate Wild blood
Tess is running out of time to make the final decision as to what she will become when she makes her final switch. Furthermore, her parents have sent her to stay with relatives in the country, miles away from Kevin who can help he. Third in the Switchers series.
Cady and Nana are best friends but Nana is dying of cancer. An honest and moving story.
When his friend Chips is snatched and chewed, Tough Cookie sets out to stop Fingers. The biscuit jar will never seem the same after reading this picture book spoof on the hard-bitten private eye story.
More challenging perhaps than Wilson's usual offerings this story of a psychologically disturbed woman bringing up her two children has been well received by both readers and reviewers.
Wynne-Jones, Tim Lord of the fries
Short stories by award winning Canadian writer.
Yolen, Jane Twelve impossible things before breakfast
Short stories.