Red Dog – Louis de Bernières

Red Dog(From Goodreads)

In 1998, Louis de Bernieres—acclaimed author of Corelli’s Mandolin—came upon a bronze statue in a town on Australia’s northwestern coast and was immediately compelled to know more about “Red Dog.” He did not have to go far: everyone for hundreds of miles in every direction seemed to have a story about Red Dog. He was a Red Cloud Kelpie, a breed of sheepdog known for its energy and cleverness. But Red Dog was a kind of ultra-Kelpie, energetic and clever enough for an entire breed in himself.

Red Dog official trailer:

A Long Walk to Water: Based on a True Story – Linda Sue Park

7981456A Long Walk to Water begins as two stories, told in alternating sections, about two eleven-year-olds in Sudan, a girl in 2008 and a boy in 1985. The girl, Nya, is fetching water from a pond that is two hours’ walk from her home: she makes two trips to the pond every day. The boy, Salva, becomes one of the “lost boys” of Sudan, refugees who cover the African continent on foot as they search for their families and for a safe place to stay. Enduring every hardship from loneliness to attack by armed rebels to contact with killer lions and crocodiles, Salva is a survivor, and his story goes on to intersect with Nya’s in an astonishing and moving way.

Linda Sue Park’s website.

Linda Sue Park discusses A Long Walk to Water:

I Am Malala – Malala Yousafzai

malalaWhen the Taliban took control of the Swat Valley in Pakistan, one girl spoke out. Malala Yousafzai refused to be silenced and fought for her right to an education. In 2012 when she was fifteen, she almost paid the ultimate price. She was shot in the head at point-blank range while riding the bus home from school, and few expected her to survive. Malala’s miraculous recovery has seen her become an inspiration around the world, a champion of girls’ education and a symbol of peaceful protest. At sixteen she became the youngest nominee ever for the Nobel Peace Prize.

The current

On Two Feet and Wings – Abbas Kazerooni

on-two-feet-and-wingsjpgThis is the amazing true story of Abbas Kazerooni who grew up in Tehran at the time of the Iran Iraq war. When he was nine years old the age of recruitment into the army was reduced to ten. In an attempt to keep him safe his family sent him away. But events didn’t go to plan and Abbas found himself alone in the strange and frightening city of Istanbul. Unable to speak the language, Abbas had to learn to survive, to judge who was friend or enemy, while hoping for his dream visa to England.

Angus & Robertson

Red scarf girl : a memoir of the Cultural Revolution – Ji-li Jiang

The story opens with twelve-year old Jiang and her optimism for the future, with her absolute belief in Chairman Mao and her country, China. Soon, though, her family becomes ostracised by the regime as her grandfather used to be a landlord. Initially questioning her parents’ behaviour, Jiang even goes to the extent of trying to disassociate herself from them but she soon comes to wonder about the brutality and atrocities commited by the regime – including public beatings, bullying and murders – and ultimately questions government’s abuse of power.


Lionheart – Jesse Martin

Courageous and determined, Jesse Martin set off to sail around the world when he was aged just 18 – aiming to be the youngest person to ever sail solo non-stop around the globe. In a thirty-four foot yacht named Lionheart, he had no visitors, used no fossil fuels, received no supplies and did not step off the boat during this ten month journey. The overall message that even ordinary, young kids can follow their dreams and passions, is inspiring – even if the prose doesn’t always convey the excitment of the journey.


When I was a soldier – Valerie Zenatti

Looking back on her experiences as a conscript in the Israeli army, Zenatti opens with her final weeks before joining up. She is getting ready for exams, hanging out with friends and dealing with a break-up with her boyfriend. Soon, though, she is taken by bus – with all the other 18 year-old conscripts – to the training base where they have to acclimatise to the grueling discipline of army life. On her two year ‘tour of duty’, she has to grapple with the challenges of living in a society where violent conflict is the norm and where ‘right’ is not always clear – this true story is both topical and challenging, and will be a read that you will have trouble forgetting.

Fantastic Fiction