Posted in book reviews, Book reviews by kids, Book reviews by Kobe

Book review. Georgia Ward-Fear: reptile biologist and explorer

Georgia Ward-Fear Reptile Biologist and Explorer by Claire SaxbyREVIEWED BY KOBE, 9, WA

Georgia Ward-Fear: reptile biologist and explorer, Wild Dingo Press, ISBN 9781925893342

The publisher provided a review copy of this book.

Do you want to visit rainforests and discover new species of animals, hold anacondas and pat great monitor lizards? You can find out a way to be that kind of person just by reading this fabulous Aussie Stem Stars book.

This book is written by Claire Saxby, an author from Melbourne. She moved to Newcastle when she was a toddler and the to Bougainville in Papua New Guinea. Claire is an amazing author for the Aussie Stem Stars series. Claire is such a good author that she makes the reader think they are a part of the story.

Georgia Ward-Fear is an outstanding reptile biologist and explorer. Since she was a toddler she loved animals and the world around her. Soon she became a reptile expert and daring explorer. And before you know it, she was an expert reptile biologist and adventurous explorer. Georgia didn’t become so excellent as quick as light although; with years and years of passion and practice, she got there in the end and she accomplished her goal. The lesson is that even though you might be good at something it takes passion and practice to be truly good at it.

I feel that this book will be most helpful to children willing to be an explorer or animal biologist. Also, I like how the Aussie STEM Stars books give a little quote from the science genius or animal expertise, this book’s quote is:

Follow your curiosity, express your unique self and always stop to observe the wonders of Nature; we are just one among millions.

I think this quote is completely correct and that you will appreciate that this book was made and published.

Read an interview with the author of Georgia Ward-Fear: reptile biologist and explorer.


Kobe is a regular book reviewer for Alphabet Soup. You can read all her reviews hereTo send us YOUR book review, check out our submission guidelines. Happy reading!

Posted in authors, interviews

Dianne Wolfer and Munjed Al Muderis: from refugee to surgical inventor

MEET THE AUTHOR

Dianne Wolfer

Dianne Wolfer lives on the south coast of Western Australia, but she grew up in Melbourne, Bangkok and Albury. Dianne’s love of books is one reason she became a writer. She writes picture books, novels for  children and teenagers, and nonfiction for all ages. Her stories are about many things; different cultures, the environment, friendship, being brave, turns in the road and taking chances. Today we’re thrilled to have Dianne visiting to chat to us about her latest book, which is part of the Aussie STEM Stars series.

Munjed Al Muderis from refugee to surgical inventor

From the publisher:

Munjed is a humanitarian and world-leading pioneer of surgical osseointegration. The book follows pivotal moments in Munjed’s life: becoming a surgeon under the regime of Saddam Hussein, fleeing from war-torn Iraq and arriving at Christmas Island in a rickety boat, being held in the Curtin Detention Centre, his hard-gained medical success, and his acknowledgement as the 2020 NSW Australian of the Year.

On with the questions!


You’re a writer of fiction and nonfiction. What’s different about writing nonfiction compared to writing a fiction novel?
Writing fiction is just me and my imagination. There is some research, for example in The Shark Caller I wanted to find out more about Papua New Guinea and the practise of calling sharks, but with nonfiction you have to always check and double-check the facts that link to your book. When it’s biography, like Munjed Al Muderis from refugee to surgical inventor, and the person is alive, it’s super important to not only get the details correct but also to capture the ‘voice’ of the person you are writing about. That’s not easy. Historical fiction is different again, it sits between the two and some people call it ‘faction’. With the Light series, set in WWI, I imagined the characters; both real and fictitious. For example, when I began work on Lighthouse Girl in 2005, very little was known about Fay’s life on Breaksea Island in 1914. As time passes research sometimes uncovers interesting details that I wish I’d known way back then. Each genre has its own challenges and its own fun.

Your latest book is part of Aussie STEM Stars – a new series for kids celebrating Australia’s experts in Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths. Had you met Munjed Al Muderis before you began writing the book?
No, sadly I still haven’t met Munjed. He lives in Sydney and soon after I began work on his amazing story, COVID happened.

How did you go about your research for writing the book?
Munjed has co-authored two books for adults, given TED talks, been painted by Anh Do’s ‘Brush with Fame’ and been on many media shows, so although I could not meet him in person, I was able to watch Munjed on screen and listen to him speak about his life and surgical achievements. Munjed often spoke about pivotal life moments, like when he had to choose between probable death and cutting off the ears of prisoners, and coming to Australia by boat, and being locked in Curtin Detention Centre where they called him by a number instead of his name. These were some of the life-changing moments I pieced together to create the book. As I wrote I often asked myself, ‘How did these experiences shape the man Munjed has become?’

Australia is now the world-leader in osseointegration, a surgical technique that allows amputees to feel the ground as they walk, because of Munjed and his team’s surgical work. He’s the current NSW Australian of the Year and his resilience and positive ‘glass half-full’ (rather than ‘half-empty’) attitude inspired me as I drafted and re-drafted his story. “Life is about making a difference,” Munjed says. “We all have a mission in life, to leave behind a legacy.”

Do you have any tips for kids who would like to try writing a biography?
So many … capturing someone’s ‘voice’ is important. The more research you do, the better chance you will have of doing that. Then start writing and keep going until you get to the end. You can make notes along the way about things you’ll need to research in following drafts. When you’re finished a read-through, reread and let the story settle.

Then ask yourself questions like:

  • What is the heart of this story?
  • Why has my character made the choices she/he has?
  • Are there important turns in the road when they could have taken another path? Why didn’t they? Would their life have been very different if they had?
  • What does my character care most about and what drives them?
  • Who are the important mentors for my character?

Thinking about smaller things like the kind of clothes they wear, favourite music and the food they like is also a fun way to bring a character to life.

If ever I go to Iraq I will definitely try Gaymer & Kahi for breakfast.

Can you tell us a bit about your next writing project?
I thought I’d finished writing about WWI but one story kept calling me back. It’s a little like the ‘Light’ series but it’s also different (a special animal is the hero). I’ve done a lot of research and I hope I can share more about it soon. I’ve also completed a middle-grade novel which is on a publisher’s desk. Lots of other ideas are swirling about but these are the ones I’m working on.

Munjed Al Muderis is out now! Ask for it at your favourite bookshop or library or order it from the publisher.


AWESOME EXTRAS:

Munjed Al Muderis from refugee to surgical inventor

Download the Teacher’s Notes for this book. (PDF)

Watch a 30-second video of Dianne Wolfer talking about the book.

Visit Dianne Wolfer’s website to find out more about her and her books.

Posted in book reviews, Book reviews by kids, Book reviews by Kobe

Book review: Minecraft master builder mega metropolis

Minecraft Master Builder Mega MetropolisREVIEWED BY KOBE, 9, WA

Minecraft: Master Builder, Mega Metropolis by Anne Rooney, Welbeck Publishing Group, ISBN 9781787393899

Kobe reviewed her own copy of this book.

For master Minecraft builders, you will know how to build, mine and craft. This book will make it much easier for you. It includes building tips, cool facts and more! Inside you’ll build road systems, housing, parks water slides and even more than before!

My favourite thing about this book is that it tells you all the steps and shows you the steps in the pictures super clearly so that it’s easier to follow. I also think it can improve by explaining what the materials are a bit more. Apart from that I think it was all pretty good.

If I would do building without this book, I would have been hopeless at building, but now this book has taught me how to build properly and beautifully. If you have any trouble building, here’s the key to it!

I hope you’ll be honoured to read this amazing book and enjoy building amazing structures in Minecraft. Try doing all of the structures in the book altogether in a single world and then it’ll look like a real city in real life! Then spawn some villagers to make the city look like it’s full of life!

Enjoy!


Kobe is a regular book reviewer for Alphabet Soup. You can read all her reviews hereTo send us YOUR book review, check out our submission guidelines. Happy reading!

Posted in book reviews, Book reviews by kids, Book reviews by Kobe

Book review: Fiona Wood, inventor of spray-on skin

Fiona Wood Inventor of Spray-On Skin by Cristy BurneREVIEWED BY KOBE, 9, WA

Fiona Wood: Inventor of Spray-on Skin, story by Cristy Burne, Wild Dingo Press, ISBN 9781925893281

The publisher provided a review copy of this book. 

Smart children will like this book! This is a true story about a famous scientist named Fiona Wood. This book will tell you how Fiona became a great scientist. This story talks about the childhood of Fiona. Like all people, she didn’t get to be a scientist straight away. She had to work hard to be one.

In this fabulous story, Fiona defends the weak ones and fixes the broken ones to fight for her chance to study medicine. The story of the plastic surgeon and spray on-skin inventor, Fiona Wood shows us the value of dreams, hard work and having the courage to do what’s right. This is the inspiring story of spirit and stamina, generosity and courage.

My favourite part about this story is that Fiona works hard on a study and she doesn’t give up because it reminds me that even if I have a bit of trouble with my sport in school, I don’t start giving up. I still haven’t given up yet!

I hope you will read this marvellous book and that you’ll enjoy it! If you think this book is marvellous, have a try book reviewing too! Now what are you waiting for? Go read this outstanding book! I hope you enjoy this book!


Kobe is a regular book reviewer for Alphabet Soup. You can read all her reviews hereTo send us YOUR book review, check out our submission guidelines. Happy reading!

Posted in authors, interviews

Claire Saxby on Georgia Ward-Fear: Reptile biologist and explorer

Claire Saxby MEET THE AUTHOR

Claire Saxby writes novels, picture books, nonfiction and poetry for children. Her books are published all around the world. This month she launches a new nonfiction book Georgia Ward-Fear: Reptile biologist and explorer, which is Book 2 in the new Aussie STEM Stars series.

From the publisher:

 Georgia Ward-Fear’s conservation journey has seen her travel the world, empower young girls to become environmental leaders, and carry out trailblazing work to save native animals from the threat of cane toads.

An inspiring story of an adventurous spirit whose love of the natural world has made her a STEM superstar.   

Georgia Ward-Fear Reptile Biologist and Explorer

On with the questions!


You’ve written fiction and nonfiction books and poetry on a variety of subjects. Do you have a favourite nonfiction subject to write about?
It seems impossible to have a favourite when there is so many interesting things to explore. Sometimes I write what I’m in the mood to write (and I’m just the same when reading … sometimes serious, sometimes curious, sometimes silly), but mostly the idea dictates the form. I had a story I really wanted to write as a picture book but it JUST WOULDN’T FIT! So eventually I gave in and wrote it as a novel (and it took forever!), but it was right. I’ve learned to follow where the idea leads.

Your latest book is part of Aussie STEM Stars – a new series for kids celebrating Australia’s experts in Science Technology, Engineering and Maths. Had you met Dr Georgia Ward-Fear before you began writing the book?
Georgia and I were paired by the publisher at Wild Dingo Press. We’d not met before. I’d never heard of her before. But she’s just fabulous, and was so generous with her time and her … life! I had to ask all sorts of questions and she trusted that I would know which bits to put in, which bits belonged just to our chats.

How did you go about your research for writing the book?
Firstly, I scoured the internet for information about Georgia. Fortunately, she’s done some things that make her interesting to newspapers and television so I could get to know her a little bit through them. Then I read many of her papers and articles. By then she was already my hero for teaching goannas NOT to eat cane toads. Then I emailed her and we started chatting. Every answer she gave me led to more questions. We met once in person and had some phone conversations. Once I started writing I had more questions! Curiosity was my friend.

What’s different about sitting down to write a fiction and sitting down to write nonfiction?
Georgia is a real person living a real life. She has real family and real friends. I have to be sure that I’m being true to her story. I can make up some things, for example I invented an encounter with a mob of wallabies behind her house, but although I couldn’t 100% be sure it DID happen, I knew enough about Georgia to know it COULD have happened. In a fiction story, I can follow any direction my imagination takes me, as long as I can convince my readers. But both need structure, clear language, and lots of rewrites!

Can you tell us a bit about your next writing project? 
Next year is going to be a busy one. I have three picture books coming out early in the year and there could be another longer work, but I don’t have a firm date on that. The picture books are all related to the ocean. One is funny (Treasure), one is really cool (Iceberg), and the third is thrilling (Great White Shark). I love the ocean, can you tell?


Georgia Ward-Fear Reptile Biologist and ExplorerAWESOME EXTRAS

Visit Claire Saxby’s website for more about her and her books.

Posted in book reviews, Book reviews by kids, Book reviews by Kobe

Book review: 3D Explorer: Oceans

3D EXPLORER: OCEANS by Jen Green and illustrated by Laszlo VeresREVIEWED BY KOBE, 9, WA

Oceans by Jen Green, illustrated by Laszlo Veres

Silver Dolphin, ISBN 9781684123346

Kobe reviewed her own copy of this book. 

Oceans is a very good book to read because it is filled with facts about the ocean, like we know more about the surface of the moon than the deep ocean.
It’s also full of fun pop-ups! Jen Green uses 3D see-through sections to make an illusion that it’s the surface of the water. She also includes layers upon layers of bits of the ocean habitat.
BUT be careful, please don’t rip or break her hard work! She probably spent a lot of time on it! TOP TIP: To not break it, you must open the book carefully and not quickly stretching the book.
My favourite part of the book is that she provides facts about the animals and plants she put in the scenes. After a fun pop-up, she includes facts about the environment they live in.
That’s why I encourage youth to read my recommended book of February. I’m sure you’d like this AMAZING book. If you like it you should introduce it to your friends!

Kobe is a regular book reviewer for Alphabet Soup. You can read all her reviews hereTo send us YOUR book review, check out our submission guidelines. Happy reading!
Posted in book reviews, Book reviews by kids, Book reviews by Rory

Book review: The Australia Survival Guide

THE AUSTRALIA SURVIVAL GUIDE by George IvanoffREVIEWED BY RORY, 7, WA

The Australia Survival Guide by George Ivanoff, Penguin Australia Pty Ltd,
ISBN 9780143796572

Rory received a review copy of this book from the publisher.

The Australia Survival Guide is a nonfiction book about how to survive in the outback. I liked the book because it has lots of fact boxes about different animals. I think this book would suit both boys or girls aged 7 to 11.

My favourite thing about the book is that there is the guide, called Avatar.  Avatar says things to you like,

“So, the Sydney Opera House isn’t really dangerous. Not unless you try to do something really stupid … like climb its roof and fall off.”

I think you should buy this book because I think it would help you survive outdoors in the bush. Three words to describe it are:

  • helpful
  • cool
  • funny

This is Rory’s first book review for Alphabet Soup. If YOU would like to send us a book review, check out our submission guidelines. Happy reading!