Kids’ Club Review by Emma: The Sandwich Swap

The Sandwich Swap, by Her Majesty Queen Rania Al Abdullah

The book shows how friendship can join people together even if they are a bit different. The story started with Lily and Salma were BFFs and they did everything together. At lunch they kept their feelings that they did not like each other’s sandwiches. Then one day Lily said that Salma’s sandwich was ‘yuck’. This started a food fight in the cafeteria and later, they made up. They swapped sandwiches and they loved it.

4 stars

Reviewed by Emma from Johnsonville and West Park School , 9 years old

New Historical Fiction

In the current context of international tensions, isn’t it a good time to pick some good new fiction that will make you think, understand and reflect on important issues such as war, refugee and society crisis?

Alexander Altmann A10567, by Suzy Zail Image courtesy of Syndetics

Fourteen-year-old Alexander Altmann doesn’t need to look at the number tattooed on his arm. A10567: he knows it by heart. He also knows that to survive Auschwitz, he has to toughen up.

When he is given the job of breaking in the commander’s new horse, their survival becomes intertwined.

Alexander knows the animal is scared and damaged, but he must win its trust. If he fails, they will both be killed.

Age 10 and +


Image courtesy of SyndeticsMy brother’s secret, by Dan Smith

Twelve-year-old Karl is a good German boy. He wants his country to win the war – after all, his father has gone away to fight.

But when tragedy strikes and his older brother Stefan gets into trouble, he begins to lose his faith in Hitler. Before long, he’s caught up in a deadly rebellion.

Age 10 and +



Image courtesy of Syndetics

Refuge, by Jackie French

When a boat carrying a group of asylum seekers is sunk by a freak wave, Faris wakes from the shipwreck in an Australia he’s always dreamed of. There are kangaroos grazing under orange trees and the sky is always blue. On a nearby beach, Faris meets a group of young people who have come from far different times and places.

They are also seeking refuge, and each has their own story of why they had to leave their country to make a new life for themselves. It is only when Faris chooses to return to “real life” and find his father in Australia that he learns the extraordinary truth about the friends he made on the golden beach.

Age 10 and +


Image courtesy of SyndeticsValentine Joe, by Rebecca Stevens

Rose goes to Ypres in Belgium to visit the graves of those who died in the Great war. There, the name of one boy stays in her mind: fifteen-year-old Valentine Joe.

That night, Rose hears marching and when she looks out of her window, she sees a young soldier…

Age 10 and +

New non-fiction: Cooking up a storm

Here’s a great selection of cookbooks  for younger readers.

Cook it! 30 delicious recipes for scientists of all ages

This book is written by the “Punk Scientists”; three wacky guys who love science and cooking and try to bring the two together. All the recipes are easy, but look pretty delicious.  They’re mostly ‘classic’ recipes, like spaghetti and pizza and muffins, but there are some trickier recipes as well, like Baked Alaska and chicken casserole. But it’s not just a cookbook; there are plenty of science factoids that go along with the recipes, as well as some fun experiments in the back for you to try.





Christmas fairy cooking

Ok, so it’s a bit early for books about Christmas cooking. But this book is so adorable that I couldn’t resist including it here. It’s also filled with things you could make all year round. It’s mostly made up of sweet treats; my particular favourites are mini raspberry swirls and frosty fairy fudge.  None of the recipes are complicated, and all the ingredients are easily available. It’s also a lovely looking book, with a mixture of cute photos and illustrations in pastels.





Princess Poppy’s Cookbook

Princess Poppy is a popular series of picture books in our collection. Now Poppy and her friends will show you how to cook all sorts of delectable treats, both sweet and savory.The recipes are divided by occasion, rather than by meal type, but it’s pretty easy to find what you’re looking for. The illustrations are really cute, as they’re done in the same style as the picture books. There’s also a wide range of food to make; the sticky sausages and Daisy’s Fruity Banana split sound really good! And while you’re waiting for your food to cook, you can whip up one of the adorable craft projects that are also included.




One world kids’ cookbook

If it’s your turn to cook  dinner and you want something out of the ordinary, then you should turn to this cookbook.  It promises “easy and healthy” meals from around the world, and it delivers! There’s a section of information about each country, and then a typical national dish.  New Zealand even features, with a yummy kumura recipe. I think what makes this book really unique is the variety of the different countries mentioned; try Jolof Rice from Ghana or salmon stew from Brazil.



New Non Fiction: Amazing Series.


Art Smart.

Two new books, Paint it! and Make it!  from the Art Smart series has made it to our library shelves. With the school holidays just around the corner, why not check out these awesome new non fiction books, each complete with 12 inspiring projects to try out and get inspired on making  a puppet, sock snake, dino doorstop, (in Make it!) and different painting techniques such as watercolor acrylic and sgraffito (in Paint it!) I thought the project ideas in the books were fantastic, especially the activities for creating your own Picasso self portrait in Paint it! and the get well card project in Make it! These projects are a great way to beat the boredom busters during the school holidays and even better during a rainy day!



Disgusting & Dreadful Science.

Prepare to be grossed out! Prepare to be shocked and amazed! Prepare to be gut wrenched! Prepare to be enlightened! Boys and girls, the newest (and greatest) resources are here to help you with your science homework (and questions) and ideas for science fair experiments! In Ear-Splitting Sounds, you will learn the awful truth about all the yucky, painful,  disgusting and dreadful aspects of sound, not mention there are some equally gross, but interesting photos contained in this book. Gut-Wrenching Gravity contains even more disgusting facts about gravity! Covers everything from blackouts caused by g-forces to toilet-troubles in space. Glaring Light covers all the most disgusting and dreadful aspects of light. Finally Electric Shocks covers everything you need to know about the most disgusting and dreadful aspects of electricity, like whizzing electrons and static shocks to flying flies and freaky frog legs.



Animal Family Albums.

You will find books about Cats, Dogs and Horses and Ponies from this series at your local library. Each title in the Animal Family Albums series feature information about all favorite pets and animals which includes descriptions of popular breeds, facinating facts about wild relatives and a quiz to help you discover which breed you would be. The book about cats was a fantastic read. I learned a lot of interesting facts, especially  about Russian Blue cats , which are considered to be good luck and the Manx cats, which are born with either no tail or a short stumpy tail. The book about dogs contained facts about how pet dogs are descended from wolves, and like their ancestors, they like living in packs, which is made up of its human family. It was very interesting to learn while reading about horses and ponies, wild horse herds are normally led by a female and how the herds include other females, foals, a stallion and a few young males.



World Cultures.

Feel like taking an amazing journey and exploring all the different cultures the world has to offer? There are four new books exploring the  Maasai, Bushmen of Southern Africa, Polynesians and Maori  culture, from the World Culture series. These books are great resources to use that takes an educational look at cultures that are struggling to maintain their traditions in an ever-changing world, so these books are great to use if you are doing an assignment or homework on exploring issues and oppression within different cultures. Each book unveils the traditions, myths and social activities of each culture. Also includes bibliographical references and index. Great for ages 4 to 12 years.