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June 14, 2024

Book Reviews by Byron Bay Public School Students

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Grace by Morris Gleitzman.

Author: Morris Gleitzman
Reviewed by: Billie Aitken-McGregor
Class: Age 11
Byron Bay Public School 

“We were a happy family. We were bountiful. But it came to pass that I started doing sins. And that’s when all our problems began.”

Imagine having your father taken away from you and being told to forget about him. This tragedy  is what the novel Grace is based around.

Gavin Hillside, Grace’s dad, is expelled from the church for questioning the rules and for encouraging Grace and her two younger twin brothers to do the same. Grace tries to find her dad to bring him home but to do that she must commit a few sins. Talking to outsiders, interrupting prayers and sneaking out just to name a few. Throughout her challenges and adventures, she learns that family is important and that sometimes, you have to take risks to keep them safe.

Grace has a great engaging  plot and is relatable because it is written through the eyes of a child. It makes you realise how easy it is to misunderstand things and how important it is to protect the people and things you value. I loved Grace and think it is suitable for all ages especially 8-14 year olds. Morris Gleitzman is an excellent author who writes a huge variety  of books from the heartbreaking Once to the ridiculous Snot Chocolate and Other Stories . Both types are written wonderfully. Personally, I prefer the more serious ones, but every reader is different. I would definitely recommend Grace and would give it a very high rating.

The Bad Butterfly 

Billie B Brown Series

The Bad Butterfly by Sally Rippin.
The Bad Butterfly by Sally Rippin.

Author: Sally Rippin
Reviewed by:  Jordan
Age: 12 Years
Byron Bay Public School.

Billie B Brown is a girl with two messy plaits and a pretty tutu. She wants to become a famous ballerina but her first dance class was a disaster! Her dance teacher told all the girls to flutter around the room like delicate butterflies and the boys to stomp around the room like trolls. Try as she may, Billie just didn’t have the grace of a butterfly.

She has a best friend, who is also her next-door-neighbour. He is a boy named Jack. They’ve been friends for a long time and they would do pretty much anything the other would do, whether it be soccer or dolls, sewing or basketball, they were inseparable!

I think that Billie B Brown, the Bad butterfly, is a great book with a curious twist. It is an easy book to read with a basic storyline and simple language. The book challenges gender stereotype and is a good example for younger kids. The large text with pictures on every page makes it easier for young readers to stay engaged and follow along with the story.

I would recommend this book to young children around six or seven years old.                



Soon by Morris Gleitzman.

Author: Morris Gleitzman
Reviewed by: Jade
Age: 11
Byron Bay Public School

Felix lost his parents and his best friend.

Felix has seen things no child should see.

But Felix will fight making sure everyone in his life will be safe.

Soon’ is the fifth book in the ‘Once’ series. It follows his experience before, after and throughout the Second World War.

Felix is a doctor in training. He’s thirteen and living in the dark streets of Poland affected by the war. He soon realises that even though most Nazis are dead or in prison camps, no one is safe. People are savaging to simply feed their family. Innocent people are dying and turn not so innocent, when they start to kill. Felix always helps others and realises it gets him in big trouble. He hopes soon everyone he loves will make it alive.

Anyone can read this heart-wrenching and wonderful story. It taught me what people had to go through in war.

‘Soon’ shows a reflection of society and our world. Even today wars are being fought and individual people are fighting for better futures. Morris Gleitzman tells beautiful stories. This book will stay with you long after you turn the page. 

Hey Jack

Hey Jack by Sally Rippin.

Author: Sally Rippin
Reviewed by: Samantha Teale
Aged 9
Byron Bay Public School 2017

Have you ever read a book called “Hey Jack the Extra-Special Group”? I find this book inspiring because Jack never gives up, no matter what happens.

As well as this book being inspiring, it tells a beautiful story about a boy named Jack, who finds spelling hard. Jack had to join a special spelling group that helps kids like him who find spelling hard.

Jack found his friend Aaron there and they’re in the spelling group together. Jack also had a friend named Billie who was very clever. They remained friends in spite of their differences.

My favourite part of the book was when Jack finished the first level on the frog game so quickly and Aaron said it took him 2 days to finish it. It gave Jack some kind of confidence that he may not be as dumb as he thinks after all.

Sally Rippin’s way of engaging the reader sure worked on me! I would recommend this book to students finding school hard. It may be a short book, but it sure has a powerful message. Have a go, you should read it; it may inspire you as much as it inspired me!!!

The Strawberry Thief 

Strawberry Theif by Sally Rippin.

Billie B Mystery
Author: Sally Rippin
Reviewed by: Grace O’Connor, Aged 9
Byron Bay public school 2017

Billie, Jack, Mika and Alex have a mystery to solve! One day Mrs Okinawa’s  strawberries go missing and the SMC (secret mystery club) must find the culprit. Who was it? Was it the gardener? Was it Andrea, Billie’s neighbour? Or was it a bird or creature?

This is a good book, I’d recommend it for 7 or over.

A funny sentence of this book reads, “It’s detectives, Billie. Remember?” said Alex. “Spies are like James Bond! Detectives are the ones that solve mysteries.”

For me the message is;

Don’t guess who did the crime… learn the facts and figure out who the culprit is and never give up because then you will NEVER EVER accomplish what you wanted. Not all of the pages have pictures but on the pages that do, I think that Aki Fukuoka sure did a good job with her details. I wish it went on longer, 90 pages is not very long

Two Wolves 

Two Wolves by Tristan Bancks.

Author: Tristan Bancks
Reviewed by Woonona Banfield
10 years
Byron Bay Public School

An old man tells his grandson there is a battle inside him, inside all of us – a terrible battle between two wolves. One wolf is bad – pride, envy, greed, self -pity. The other wolf is good – hope, service, truth, humility.  The child asks “who will win”? The grandfather answers: “The one you feed”. 

Tristan Bancks’ Two Wolves is well-written, gripping and exciting. It is exhilarating and leaves you wishing it didn’t end.

Ben Silver wants to be a policeman when he grows up.  He owns a leather notebook that his grandfather gave him before he died.  It contained a poem about a grandfather and grandson.  Ben really liked the poem and it features early on in the book.  By the end of the book Ben Silver learns that you can’t always be honest, because if you do it will put you in danger.

Ben Silver finds himself floating down a river, lost in the woods and on the run.  His dad is revealed as a criminal and taken to gaol.  If you like to read action-packed crime and adventure I would recommend this book to you.

Zac Power

Author: Hilary Badger
Reviewed by: Koan Harper
Year 5
Byron Bay Public School

Zac Power BadgerThe Zac Power series is exciting, funny and a great read for young boys and girls. Zac Power is a kid but not a normal kid, him and his family are super secret spies for G.I.B. the Government Investigation Bureau. G.I.B’s worst enemy is B.I.G who are always trying to stop Zac Power but he always finds a way to win!

Zac Power is really James Bond for kids, with even an older brother just like Q who hooks Zac up with amazing tech, such as ice claws, an X ray gun, balloon bubble gum and heaps of other awesome gadgets. The gadget he uses the most is his spy pad which he takes everywhere and has music, games and important info for his mission. There are plenty of illustrations throughout the book showing how the gadgets work and what they look like.

The Zac Power series is really cool and a bit like watching an action movie with plenty of excitement, cliffhangers and funny one-liners. Zac meets plenty of other agents and has to always solve puzzles to overcome obstacles and complete his mission. I definitely recommend these books to all kids who love a good adventure and want a book they can’t put down.

• For more on Byron Writers Festival visit byronwritersfestival.com

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Book Reviews by Byron Bay Public School Students

Grace Author: Morris Gleitzman Reviewed by: Billie Aitken-McGregor Class: Age 11 Byron Bay Public School  “We were a happy family. We were bountiful. But it came to pass that I started doing sins. And that’s when all our problems began.” Imagine having your father taken...


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