Posted by: Lisa Hill | July 17, 2015

#LoveOzYA Roundup July 2015

Further to my previous post about #LoveOzYA

Chatting with Danielle Binks from the Alpha Reader who’s leading the #LoveOzYA initiative, I asked for some help with finding reviews of what’s good in Australian YA titles and was delighted to find these suggestions landing very promptly in my inbox.

  • Alpha Reader book review: Soon by Morris Gleitzman (June 2015, Penguin Australia).  [LH: This is the latest in the series that began with Once, which features a Jewish boy called Felix, surviving WW2.  I read it when I was still teaching. Gleitzman is a brilliant author.]
  • Imaginary Misadventure review: Pieces of Sky by Trinity Doyle (June 2015, Allen&Unwin)
  • Steph Bowe book review: Frankie & Joely by Nova Weetman (July 2015, UQP)

Within Danielle’s summary of the Centre for Youth Lit’s ‘Reading Matters‘ 2015 Conference, there are links to numerous book reviews as exemplars of the issues discussed, which explored themes of diversity in Australian YA books.  It seems to me that on this one issue alone, it is essential that Aussie kids read their own culture, because our multicultural society is entirely different to the US and UK.  But the books have to be interesting and engaging, of course, not just worthy, or no one will want to read them.

Other contributors to the #LoveOzYA campaign include

  • Readings Children’s Book Specialist, Emily Gale, created a list of #LoveOzYA reading recs
  • Cait Drews for Boomerang Books listed ‘The Best of Australian YA‘, and
  • Michael Earp has created a #LoveOzYA list at Goodreads (and I was surprised to see how many I’d read, mostly dating back to when I was teaching, of course).
Danielle also passed on some upcoming events of interest:

I did a little research of my own to see what the YA offerings are at the forthcoming Bendigo Writers Festival because I’m presenting two sessions there myself and (yay!) have a festival pass for the entire weekend:

  • A workshop session with Ellie Marney, author of Every Breath, part of a series of YA crime novels now published in eight countries
  • A panel session called ‘What’s love got to do with it?’ that includes Fleur Harris whose first YA novel is called Risk.
  • A panel session called ‘Culture, Class and Conflict’ that includes Alice Pung, author of Unpolished Gem, My Father’s Daughter (see Karenlee Thompson’s review), Marly’s Business and Laurinda.

So there’s no shortage of titles and authors and opportunities to hear more about Australian YA books, the issue seems to be finding a way to connect with YA readers so that they begin to value the stories of their own culture at least as much as they value the cultures that are dominating the discourse…


  1. This is such a fantastic write up. I live in Australia but sadly I don’t read nearly enough Aussie lit, thanks for your links!

    Liked by 1 person

    • You’re most welcome! I wish I had time to do regular roundups of all the beaut new books that are issued, but *sigh* there’s just not enough hours in the day…

      Liked by 1 person

  2. I think #loveozya is a great initiative. Thanks for expanding on it Lisa.


    • You’re welcome, Louise:) BTW I always recommend your blog as a Go-To for Australian children’s books and books for younger readers (the books for 8-14 year olds) because you have reviewed so many of them, and I think your reviews are better than the ones I’ve found on blogs that specialise in that age group.
      I think there’s a reason for this: you don’t have an agenda (i.e. worthy books for educational purposes, you read ’em for fun, like most people do!) and you read other books as well. I’ve always said that I read books from Australia and ‘everywhere else as well’ because I think that if I read only from Australia, I’d have nothing to compare Aussie books with. IMO Blogs that specialise in a niche and *only read from that niche* are limited in their outlook because they don’t have an adequate frame of reference.
      If I were ever going to set up a blog specialising in YA, I would also include reviews of adult books that young adults might enjoy as well, e.g. among the classics: Jean Plaidy, the Austens, and Dickens and then others that crop up on senior reading lists like To Kill a Mockingbird and David Malouf’s Ransom. That way, an opinion about the merit of some new OzYA title would have more credibility and readers of the blog would be more inclined to trust it.
      When I read – as I did yesterday somewhere as I trawled around the web – that (paraphrasing) “YA books are my world” , I do wonder if I can trust that reader’s judgement…


      • Oh my gosh, thank you so much Lisa. I really appreciate your comments. I do always try to contextualise the book, and my reading of it, and think it is important to read widely- and kids books do have to be fun if nothing else. I am always cautious if people only read YA – although I guess lots of young people often do- I don’t like many of the modern YA books- all that dystopian stuff (although some is ok), and thankfully the vampire/shapeshifter stuff seems to be receding.


        • Twilight and all that? Apparently those are the books that YA readers name in the surveys… though I do wonder whether that’s really what they like or if it’s just what first comes to mind. I mean, I’ve never read the thing, but if I were asked to name a YA book that’s probably what I might name too… and if I were an adolescent worried about peer pressure I’d probably name whatever was thought to be ‘cool’.
          Young kids, if they’re asked about fairy tales, will always name the last Disney film they saw, but if you dig a bit deeper, as I used to do when I taught my units of fairy tales to Years 1 & 2, I would find that they knew and loved a much wider variety of stories – it’s just brand familiarity that makes them name other things, I suspect.


  3. […] blog for a while you might remember from 2015 a snippet of news about the #LoveOzYA campaign and a follow-up post later that year? It is now my pleasure to introduce readers to the driving force behind it… […]


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