Publishing positive education information for parents and teachers since 2000

This page is for  teachers and parents, scroll down the page to access all book reviews, including books on learning difficulties and special needs with handy links to purchase.

Click here for reviews of books learning difficulties

Teachers & Parents

Penguin Books Australia

ISBN: 9780143784760

LION - A long way home

by Saroo Brierly


Warning: Tissues needed!


Lion is more than a book about someone looking for their original family. It is a book of survival and thriving against incredible odds.


Imagine for a moment,  a 5 year old child who has lost his revered older brother on one of their daily adventures who suddenly realises that he is not going to find him. Scared and with limited vocabulory and knowledge, no money and only the clothes Saroo is wearing, he has to fend for himself. What this young child does to survive is remarkable. Saroo takes the reader on his frightening experiences of travelling on a train to who-knows-where, he can't find his way back home, through his every day experiences living rough on the streets in a strange city and how he begs for a mere crumb or morsel to survive the gnawing hunger in his tummy to eventually a warm, safe, secure and loving home with new parents, half-way across the world to Tasmania and back again to find his birth mother and siblings.


This book touches the heart. At times I found myself reaching for tissues as tears rolled down my cheeks, so be warned have tissues close by!


It is also a story of the difference that one couple made to not one person, but to two, in need of care and love through adoption. The Brierlys are a special family,  with a story of their own. This book reveals the difference that adoption made to the lives of children in dire need, giving them opportunities that would have never been possible without this most generous gift.

Here Be Dragons

by Annmarie Kelly-Harbaugh, Ken Harbaugh


Reviewed by Janine Zimbler: Individual, Couple, Family and Child Therapist, Sydney, Australia.


My Rating:  Lovely book....will recommend to a 'mum for mum' volunteer who works with new mums suffering depression. Will also recommend to young couples contemplating having children!



Here Be Dragons is a charmingly fresh, intimate and honest book written by a married couple about their parenting experiences. The book is autobiographical in style and makes very easy reading. I particularly enjoyed hearing each parent's perspective, sometimes about the same event. I also enjoyed the little titbits of advice and warnings to others they offer.


Most parenting books are written In text book or manual style. Professional, distant and leaving you either feeling you have failed miserably as a parent or daunted by the task ahead. They are not for everyone!


This book is quite different. It enables the reader to reflect on his/her own experiences or contemplate what he/she might do in the same situation while immersed in the Harbaugh's journey. At the end of the book there are even questions provided to prompt the reader.

Penguin Random House Australia

ISBN: 9780143573166



by Shivaun Plozza


Reviewed by Janine Zimbler: Individual, Couple, Family and Child Therapist, Sydney, Australia.


My Rating: Most suitable for high school students.
A must for the Senior School Library.


Frankie is the debut novel of a young Australian writer. I certainly look forward to her next offering.

The style, language and theme of the book are all modern and feel very real and I think the book will especially appeal to young women.
I found the characters believable and the suspense of the unfolding story kept me hooked in right to the end.


Frankie is a troubled young woman. Abandoned by her mother when very young and raised by her aunt. She is contacted out of the blue by someone purporting to be her stepbrother. When he suddenly disappears, her search for him leads her to many unexpected places.


In my experience as a family therapist, students, their parents, teachers and others often tend to judge difficult young people by the behaviour they display rather than seeking to understand the back stories of their lives that provoke their reactive actions and emotions.

This book definitely promotes empathy, compassion and understanding.


Published by
Short Stop Press

ISBN:  9780994496010

To Prey and to Silence – One survivor’s story of child sexual abuse and her fight for justice.


by Joan Katherine Isaacs


Reviewed by Janine Zimbler: Individual, Couple, Family and Child Therapist, Sydney, Australia.


My Rating:  This book is a detailed biographical account of the lived experience of Joan Isaacs from the time of her high school years in the late 60’s when at 15 she was the victim of sexual abuse by her school chaplain and her determined pursuit of justice right through until 2013 when she gave evidence at the Royal Commission into the Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse. 
The book describes the Catholic Church’s response to her abuse, to her abuser and to other abusers and the manner in which she was treated by its power hierarchy.

This is a very important book. As someone who worked at a Catholic Institution in Sydney in the 90’s where a member of the clergy was convicted and jailed for the sexual assault of several boys this book serves as a reference point and gives hope and courage to those who have been through a similar experience and/or who seek to protect children.

The continuous support that Joan received from her parents, her husband and her son’s is remarkable and perhaps the key to her ability to stay the course.

A book for high school students, teachers, principals and especially members of the clergy working in schools.

Published by Exisle Publishing

ISBN: 9781942934820


Teacher's Lessons Last a Lifetime
(or at least until the next exam)

by Gene and Linda Perret


Your poor teacher endures chaotic classrooms, parent-teacher conferences, edicts from the principal, homework that’s incomplete, and complaints from school boards, principals, assistant principals, hall monitors, parents, and other teachers. Even more impressive: your teacher puts up with you.


Written by US professional comedy writers Gene and his daughter Linda Perrett these 175 one-liners will make teachers laugh, it will make teaching fun and therefore learning more fun, so they say!


A fun gift to cheer someone up or simply give them a chuckle.  Nicely present, in a hard cover with a cut out revealing the naughty child.

Published by Exisle Publishing

ISBN: 9781942934660


The Mix + Match Lunchbox

by Cherie Schetselaar and Britney Rule


First impressions - WOW, love the look of this book!


Cleverly designed, a hard backed, open flat book with internal wire binding, the length of the book's pages are divided into three to show different recipes and combinations for healthier lunch boxes. The pages are coated so it's easy to clean up any spills.


There are many good ideas for sandwiches, healthy snacking, salads, hot and cold food and how to keep them hot or cold until school lunch time. On the cover it claims 27,000 wholesome combos to make a lunch.  Also like the ideas for putting notes into your child's lunch boxes  - tear out notes included for you. The book includes guides on a healthy lunch is important, how to create a balanced lunch, what grains are best,  information on protein,  veggies,  fruit, serving sizes and more.


The authors are Cherie Schetselaar who has a passion for superfood and Britney Rule who is a mother of four picky eaters and is the author of Grain Crazy, Quinoa Crazy.  Even if this doesn't resonate with you, don't be put off, this book will be very useful for every parent who sends their child to school with a lunch box, or eats at home.  Do remember that some food names used are different to ours as the authors are in the USA. (it's a pumpkin not squash!)

Published by Allen and Unwin

ISBN: 9781760290559


The Teacher's Secret

by Suzanne Leal


Reviewed by Janine Zimbler: Individual, Couple, Family and Child Therapist, Sydney, Australia.


What a great read! I could not put it down. I can imagine this book being talked about and passed around from teacher to teacher in the school staff room and from parent to parent in the school  car park.


 Primary school staff and parents will particularly relate to this book, but I think staff and parents from preschool right through to high school will enjoy it too. I  think  the  a book will appeal to both women and men.


It is certainly a book with messages that provoke responses and much thought. The author describes the stories, dynamics and interplay of a small school community in Australia - between the staff, staff and parents, students and between parents. It attests to the enormous power of a school community to heal and to hurt and why schools are such a significant reference point in the lives of students.


My Rating: Have already given this book to a male high school teacher to read!

Published by The Positive Publisher


ePub AU$7.99

wainwright's Cure - A Personal Journey

by Janice Collins


An interesting story of how one woman overcame the death of her husband from cancer.  This is the  story of her epic 306km walk across England on her own. It will have you laughing out loud, then crying as she describes the walk that has changed her life.


The diagnosis of an inoperable, brain tumour in a very dear friend, followed by the stillbirth of their first grandchildren, twin boys and finally a diagnosis of cancer in Janice's previously fit husband which put an end to their plans of walking in the UK and other plans in retirement.


This is a blisters and all, heart warming account of a very personal journey towards living again.

Illustrated with many photographs showing the magnificent vistas the author encountered on her walk.

© 2001 - 2017


Disclaimer: All information in is provided for educational purposes only and is not the recommendation of the publishers. When assessing author's recommendations or suggestions the reader should conduct their own investigations as to whether this information is suitable for their needs. All information on this site is subject to copyright.  If any information is copied we know you are doing it. Some education institutions may be permitted to copy some information, please contact the publisher first.

Privacy Policy & Cookies