Engineers Making a Difference by Dr Shini Somara

This interesting book highlights 46 engineers whose work is changing the world through improving our lives and making a positive difference. 

There are so many different types of engineers. There are aeronautical engineers who research, test, build and design anything from supersonic jet engines to drones and rockets, to name a few. Material engineers work with fabric, metals, plastic and clay to new alloys in jet engines. Environmental engineers use their knowledge of civil engineering to think up solutions to environmental problems.

We meet Dr Samantha Micklewright, a biomedical engineer who performs clinical assessments of patients with speech and mobility difficulties. She designs solutions that allow them to use computer technology as their voice. This might be an eye-tracking iPad that activates a voice, depending where they look.

Kate Todd-Davis is a manufacturing engineer and an apprentice at Rolls-Royce working on the rotating components within a jet engine. She has a fascination for learning how things are made from a lump of metal to a finely honed functional bit of metal that in this case, enables a plane to fly. 

This book highlights the role engineering plays in our lives. It includes QR codes throughout that link you to videos where you can meet the engineer featured and learn more about them. For those with interest it shows the breadth of this science and just how fascinating and life-changing it can be. 

Reviewed by Jane Stephens

Age Guide 12+

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Deep is the Fen by Lili Wilkinson

Merriwether (Merry) Morgan lives in Candlecott with her Da. She hates witches and those that wield magic but is living a happy life spending time with her best friends Sol and Teddy. She’s recently jointly won Dux of her school with the big snobbish and rich Caraway. She can’t stand him and the glamour he uses to hide his true face.

When Teddy is offered a chance to join the secret society of the Toadmen, Merry tries her best to talk him out of it. She suspects they are a sinister group hiding magic and is frightened for her best friend who she secretly holds a crush for.

When Caraway offers her a chance to travel with him to Deeping Fen where the Toadmen meeting will be held and Teddy will be initiated, she swallows her pride and hatred of Caraway and agrees. She is determined to change Teddy’s mind and save him from the Toadmen’s clutches.

But what Merry finds at Deeping Fen is much worse than she ever imagined. There is much more to a Toad than she first thought.

What a great writer Lili Wilkinson is. Her writing is so self assured as she leads me along a journey with Merry. There is an almighty climax before the final climatic scene which drove me to read through to the end of this book.

Wilkinson’s fabulous imagination has been let loose with Deep is the Fen. I often found myself thinking that this is a story from far left-field if I’ve ever read one. With eye-opening moments, I found myself thinking, how did she invent this or that? This certainly kept me engaged from start to finish.

It’s a love story, a thriller and a fantasy, with just a touch of horror. It’s a fabulously inventive read.

A highly recommended croak from me.

Reviewed by Emily Ross

Age Guide 13+

Teachers’ Resource – Deep is the Fen

 

FIND MORE REVIEWS

Read a book review of Hunger of Thorns by Lili Wilkinson

Discover a book review of After the Lights Go Out by Lili Wilkinson

Read a book review of The Erasure Initiative by Lili Wilkinson

 

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Lili Wilkinson, Australian author for young adults and childrenLili Wilkinson is the award-winning author of 19 books for children and teenagers, including A Hunger of Thorns, After the Lights Go Out, The Erasure Initiative and How To Make A Pet Monster.

She established the Inky Awards at the Centre for Youth Literature, State Library of Victoria. With has a PhD in Creative Writing, and lives happily in Melbourne with her partner, child, dog and three chickens.

Visit Lili Wilkinson’s website

 

Those Girls by Pamela Rushby

Sometimes the best way to teach history is to tell it as a story, and this author has mastered that technique in her many books for children, young adults and adults.

Those Girls is about the Australian Women’s Land Army (AWLA), formed during World War II to replace the labour of men leaving rural properties to join the services. Its central character is Hilly, a schoolgirl who sees a poster for the Land Army, is eligible to join as she is over 16, and has an unhappy home life.

With groups of Land Army girls, she harvests potatoes, strawberries and pineapples around the Brisbane area, picks fruit on the Granite Belt, and works individually as a rouseabout in a shearing shed near Charleville.

Rushby writes of the prejudice shown by young women when the Land Girls came to their local dances; the disapproval shown by some older women; and how some Land Girls were subject to sexual harassment by their male employers.

She slips in items of history such as the fighting in Brisbane between Australian and American soldiers; the fears for the fate of brothers and sons taken prisoners of war; and the eventual return at war’s end of some of those men, emaciated and ill.

Hilly grows and matures during the war, finding her way as a writer by sending stories about the Land Army to The Australian Women’s Weekly. Along with her friends in the Land Army, she is appalled when told they are not recognised as a ‘service’ so cannot march in the victory parade in Brisbane in 1945.

Hilly meets an American soldier who wants to marry her, but is he the right man for her? An easy read, this book reveals an important page in Australian history.

Reviewed by Jennifer Somerville
Age Guide 14+

 

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Pamela Rushby, Australian authorI was born in Queensland, Australia, more years ago than I care to divulge.

I grew up (mostly) in Ipswich, though my family spent a couple of years in Penang, Malaysia. High school years were in Ipswich.

As long as I can remember, I’ve been a reader. And ever since encountering, at the age of about six, a photograph of Enid Blyton, seated at her desk in an English country house, dogs at her feet, probably engaged on rattling out another Famous Five adventure, I decided that that was the life. I wanted to be a writer.

I achieved it after taking the long way round of working as an advertising copywriter, a publicity officer and a pre-school teacher; studying ancient history, journalism and art history; and writing and producing for television. As technology changed I also wrote and produced multimedia.

Along the way I got married, had two children (both now grown up) and travelled whenever and wherever I could.

I now live in Brisbane with my husband and son (our daughter is married, also a writer, and she and her husband have produced a delightful daughter and son). There’s also six or seven (it’s hard to tell, they all look alike) free-loading scrub turkeys that peck at the back door for handouts.

I write full time, and do my best thinking while swimming laps in the backyard pool.

Visit Pamela Rushby’s website

Let’s Never Speak of This Again by Megan Williams

Megan Williams’ novel Let’s Never Speak of This Again focuses on the issues that most teenagers experience during their adolescent stage in life.

This story explores changing friendships, self-growth and tackling grief as a teenager. Set in Brisbane, tenth grader Abigail faces an unfortunate and unexpected passing of a close friend. Alongside her grief, the new girl at school, Chloe, is fitting in a bit too well and is doubting Abigail’s relationship with her best friend. This leaves her to face her emotions up against reality. This coming of age story has humour, high school drama and the true meaning of friendship.

I would recommend this book to anyone who is interested in core values of relationships alongside the ups and downs of life. Personally, I quite enjoyed this novel and Megan Williams’ has done a wonderful job to capture the essence of a teenage girl’s life featuring personal experiences we can all relate to.

Reviewed by Yashica
Year 10, Cerdon College
Merrylands NSW

Read an interview with Megan Williams 

 

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Megan Williams, young adult authorMegan Williams won the 2022 Text Prize for her debut YA novel Let’s Never Speak of This Again. She lives in Brisbane with her husband and their three children.

Visit the publisher’s website

Friendship Never Ends by Alexandra Sheppard

Friendship Never Ends is a quick summer read that gripped me from the first page. It’s about four friends who for the first time are spending their summer apart. They want to use the time to become more grown up and mature before starting Year 10 in September. Gifty is off to Scotland to stay with her grandparents, Sunita is going to France with her family, Dawn is heading to a musical theatre summer school and May is staying at home to help with her family’s takeaway.

I loved reading each girl’s point of view of their summer adventures. The first chapter of the book took me by surprise. It hooked me in and all I wanted to do was read more.

I liked how all the girls were different. I also enjoyed reading the postcards they wrote to each other, although there were always big gaps between them, so I found that I had to reread some postcards, when they were writing back to one another. This is the perfect holiday read for teens.

Reviewed by Sarah Rayner
Age Guide 11+

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Alexandra Sheppard, young adult authorI am a Young Adult Author based in North London. My debut novel OH MY GODS was published by Scholastic UK in January 2019 and has since received coverage from The Guardian, Buzzfeed and Refinery 29.

She runs school workshops and assemblies exploring creative writing and Greek mythology.

Visit Alexandra Sheppard’s website

Let’s Never Speak of This Again by Megan Williams

Let’s Never Speak of This Again focuses on the issues that most teenagers experience during their adolescent stage of life.

It skilfully explores changing friendships, self-growth and tackles the emotion of grief when a teenager.

Set in Brisbane, 10th grader Abigail faces an unfortunate and unexpected passing of a close friend. Alongside her grief, the new girl at school, Chloe, is fitting in a bit too well and is doubting Abigail’s relationship with her best friend. This leaves her to face her emotions up against reality.

Surrounding this coming of age story it is full of humour, high school drama and the highlights true meaning of friendship.

Exploring the core values of relationships alongside the ups and downs of life I really enjoyed this novel. Megan Williams’ has done a wonderful job to capture the essence of a teenage girl’s life featuring personal experiences I’m sure we can all relate to.

Reviewed by Yashica, Year 10, Cerdon College, Merrylands NSW

Age Rating:14+

 

Read an interview with the Megan Williams about Never Speak of This Again

 

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Megan Williams, Australian young adult authorMegan Williams won the 2022 Text Prize for her debut YA novel Let’s Never Speak of This Again. She lives in Brisbane with her husband and their three children. ‘

Navigating life is hard. Abby and her friends might look like they have it covered, but really they’re still learning the rules.

 

 

ABOUT THE TEXT PRIZE

Awarded annually to the best manuscript written for young readers, the $10,000 Text Prize for Young Adult and Children’s Writing aims to discover incredible new books by exciting authors. The prize has unearthed extraordinary, multi-award-winning books and launched international publishing careers.

Since its inception in 2008, the Text Prize has become one of the most renowned prizes for young adult and children’s writing in Australia and New Zealand.

Near the beginning of each year, published and unpublished writers of all ages are invited to submit works of fiction or non-fiction for young readers. The winner receives a publishing contract with Text and a $10,000 advance against royalties.

Visit the publisher’s website