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StoryLinks Best of the Best in 2020










Our reviewers have made a list of those titles that most impressed them in this remarkable year. Here are some ideas for late minute gifts or for leisurely and guaranteed enjoyable reading in the holidays. All good wishes for the festive season from the StoryLinks team: Mia Macrossan, Sarah Custance, Jenny Stubbs, Margaret McKay-Lowndes, Dajo Finlayson, Zewlan Moor, Maria Parenti Baldey and our two Junior Reviewers.

We Are Wolves by Katrina Nannestad. A terrific story about a little known aspect of WW2, engaging characters and heart stopping suspense. MM

The Giant and the Sea by Trent Jamieson & Rovina Cai. Thoughtful, arresting, memorable, beautiful. MM

Tiger, Tiger, Burning Bright, An Animal Poem for Every Day of the Year selected by Fiona Waters & illustrated by Britta Teckentrup. A rich treasure trove of linguistic delights and a visual feast on every page. MM

The End of the World is Bigger than Love by Davina Bell. So masterful, intriguing, heartfelt and hilarious. Who would think that the world could be destroyed by the scientific discovery of how to beam the internet to people through their disposable coffee cups? MMK

Aster’s Good Right Things by Kate Gordon. Character driven, beautifully written and dealing with some very sophisticated themes. MMK

The Strange Worlds Travel Agency by L D Lapinski. Magical, fun, and weird in the best way. SC

The List of Things that Will Not Change by Rebecca Stead. Skilfully written novel about family, love, and acceptance. SC

When the Ground is Hard by Malla Nunn DF

Azaria A True History by Maree Coote. A beautifully illustrated story about a shocking miscarriage of justice, sensitively told. DF

Fowl Twins 2: Deny All Charges by Eoin Colfer is a humorous and exciting tale that continues the plot of the series tremendously with building suspense throughout the book. LC

Diary of Wimpy Kid: The Deep End by Jeff Kinney was hilarious and original. LC

The Mummy Smugglers of Crumblin Castle  by Pamela Rush. A thrilling adventure travelling up the Nile in search of mummies.  JS

The Girl, The Cat and the Navigator by Matilda Woods. Stands out from the crowd of ‘girl power’ books. JS

The Left-Handed Booksellers of London by Garth Nix. A witty fantasy that makes you look again at your local bookseller.  JS

I Talk Like a River by Jordan Scott and Sydney Smith: stunningly illustrated word imagery embracing the author’s speech impediment (stuttering). ZM

My Possum Plays the Drums by Catherine Meatheringham & Max Hamilton: perfectly pitched introduction to musicality for the very young (and ideal gift for overseas friends). ZM

As Fast as I Can by Penny Tangey: funny and touching commentary on the positive “you can do anything!” culture (at least that’s how I read it!) with a quirky main character set on going to the Olympics. ZM

Mary Underwater by Shannon Doleski: Mary tries to channel Joan of Arc in her attempt to build and pilot a submarine to get away from her violent father. I liked the portrayal of the Catholic school and community. Bring the tissues. ZM

Juno Jones, Word Ninja by Kate Gordon & Sandy Flett: Fun little chapter book, a class of year fives, great characters clashing, but will reading save the school.

And some all-time favourites from Maria Parenti Baldey

Derek ‘Danger’ Dale: The Case of Animals Behaving Really, Really Badly by Michael Gerard Bauer & Joe Bauer: Fun fast-paced graphic novel, good belly laugh, Agent Dereks’ hilarious antics vs Doctor Evil MacEvilness – no contest. MPB

Mr Bambuckle’s Remarkables by  Tim Harris &  James Hart:  fantastical story, more fun than I’ve ever had at school, helicopter parents vs encouraging teacher – Mr Bambuckles wins hands down. MPB

On the Jellicoe Road by Melina Marchetta: intriguing parallel love story, secrets kept, secrets revealed, rumours save their lives when fire hits. MPB

The Midnight Dress by Karen Foxlee: Captivating story, beautiful imagery, friendships, intoxicating characters taste world for the first time, coming of age woven in each stitch of the dress. MPB

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