Shy by Sian Prior

If you are a shy person or teach students who you think may be shy, then this memoir by Sian Prior is a great resource.


Although a memoir, Prior has done a lot of research and aligns some of her more difficult life experiences with the research and advice from experts. It will give you a greater insight into why some experiences are more difficult and stressful for some students. If you are a shy person, then it will give you a better understanding of yourself.

Click on the book for how/where to purchase.

The Third Gift by Linda Sue Park

The Third Gift is a delightful and stunning picture book written by Newbery Medallist Linda Sue Park and illustrated by Bagram Ibatoulline.

It is a Christmas story; the story of how and why myrrh is collected. Told from the perspective of a young boy who learns from his father how to collect the best myrrh, some of their myrrh is eventually purchased by the Magi on their way to visit baby Jesus. The author’s note explains more about the uses and meanings of myrrh as well as further information about how the details of the Magi have changed over the years.

A beautifully illustrated book, this is a lovely story for Primary and Elementary schools and school-aged children.

An apology to UQP. I should have reviewed The Third Gift before Christmas as it is a Christmas book. This book was received for review (unsolicited) from UQP Publishers. It will be given to Kim Yeoman’s at St Martin of Tours, Rosanna for their school library after they were flooded on Christmas Day, 2011.

Review: A long walk to water by Linda Sue Park

This moving account of one boy’s escape from the Sudanese war and subsequent survival begins in 1985 and is based on a true story. Intertwined with a second story set in 2008-9 where young Nya is unable to attend school as it is her daily task to collect water for the family, Salva’s story begins in 1985 and ends with meeting and helping Nya and her whole community.

An incredible 11 year journey of survival ensues as Salva flees from both rebels and government forces waging war on the largest African country. Frightened and alone, will Salva ever see his family again? Crossing three countries on foot, Salva’s resilience and strength grows as he does, from a frightened 11 year old boy, to a man who becomes a leader and a visionary.

Although simply told, A long walk to water is a powerful book: a high interest but easy to read story that will resonate with students and stay with them long after the last page has been turned.

Although recommended for ages 9+, A long walk to water is a harrowing but engaging read that I believe would be more fruitful for study and discussions at grade 6 or year 7. What students will find most amazing is that Salva’s story is true. Their empathy for someone of their own age facing such a disaster will assure engagement with the text.

Author Linda Sue Park is a Newbery medalist. Her website is

See also:

A long walk to water by Linda Sue Park
ISBN 978-0-7022-3870-3
University of Queensland Press : St Lucia, Qld, 2011.
122p. A$16.95

Disclaimer: I was provided with a review copy of A long walk to water by Linda Sue Park free of charge by the publishers.