Welcome Educators and Students!
When I started blogging in 2013 I was a SAHM with 2 primary aged kids and a baby. When I wasn’t cleaning up vomit and playing house, in those moments when my little one slept, I would write. The product of this was a complete manuscript for my first YA novel Magpie Game. Blogging was about finding a place to write about my journey as a beginning writer aspiring for publication. At some point I started to review books and very quickly what was a blog about writing became a blog comprised mostly of book reviews.
I realised that I rather enjoyed writing reviews for other people’s stories. I discovered that although there are plenty of people reviewing books online, many of these reviews are quite poor and too frequently they are not really reviews (rather they are plot summaries and re-tellings). It became apparent that there was a distinct lack of reviews which were geared towards the needs of teachers and their students (Educational Reviews). By this I mean reviews which identify:
- The appropriate age and grade for a title.
- Identification of the best use for the title in an educational setting (Shared class text, individual reading, reading circles)
- Cross curricular links for a title.
- Comparative titles (for pairing of texts or for linking students to new titles)
- Identification of theme and content
- Evaluation of literary merit of the title
- Other issues about the text which may be pertinent from a teacher’s perspective (ie comment on sensitive issues raised in a text).
I returned to teaching at the beginning of 2014. I didn’t have much time (or indeed creative energy) for my own creative writing, but I did find my list of reviews grow rapidly as I sought to keep abreast of the new texts being released each month. It helped that the good people of Allen & Unwin and University of Queensland Press kept sending me things to review! It rapidly became apparent that in order to do this properly I needed to create a new blog entirely devoted to this. I made the decision to take some parenting leave for 2015 and devote more time to parenting and writing. OZ Books 4 Teachers was born!
Here you will find old and new reviews neatly categorised by genre and grade band. Where possible I have included links to book trailers and appropriate author interviews that can be launched straight from the blog (for ease of use in the classroom). I also have a friend (and awesome Early Years Educator), Kellie Moore who will be joining me to review picture books and titles for younger children.
I really hope that you will enjoy reading these reviews and find them of value to your planning and the students you teach.
Yours in solidarity,