Hero of Little Street by Gregory Rogers
An art gallery, a furry friend, a portal painting, seventeenth-century Delft, a chase scene and smallgoods! Everything a good story needs! When an art-gallery-hiding-place offers a more intriguing escape than any boy expects, high adventure ensues. A hilarious graphic novel for younger readers that is the perfect way to introduce 6-10 years olds to the grand art of visual storytelling.
Scarygirl by Nathan Jurevicius
This book could easily have gone in the younger readers or YA sections. I'm reliably informed by my favourite primary school teacher that, despite the pink, even tough football boys love Scarygirl. She's also perfect for the 20-something hipster in your life.**
The Great Gatsby by Nicki Greenberg (pb edition)
Gatsby as a (mysterious) seahorse. Daisy as a (flighty) dandelion-bird creature. And watching over them, Nick with his sensitive antenna attuned to all the excesses, the lies, the desperation and the dangerous infatuations around him. Compelling and tragic, F. Scott Fitzgerald's unforgettable novel is re-imagined in a superb graphic novel format. A sepia-toned triumph for Gatsby fans of all ages. Companion-gifting idea: Louis Armstrong or Duke Ellington1920s jazz recordings. Sure to be a hit.
The Silence by Bruce Mutard
Art, life, truth. Three little words. So much to talk about. So many questions to consider. Will Choosy track down her mystery artist? Will Dmetri overcome his artistic demons? And what is going on with the amazingly alluring artworks at the prayer house? The Silence: not as quiet as it sounds; not as black & white as it looks. Wrap it with creative flair for the artist or art-lover in your life.
The Tango Collection edited by Bernard Caleo
This is like 50 presents in one, because over 50 of Australia's best comic creators contributed to this collection. It is a smorgasboard, a spree, a nosh-up for the senses. The recipient will be feasting on it for days and days - just like Christmas lunch.
Maralinga - the Anangu Story by Yalata and Oak Valley communities, with Christobel Mattingley
'Maralinga - the Anangu Story is our story. We have told it for our children, our grandchildren and their children. We have told it for you.' This is the story of the Anangu people of South Australia; it's the story of British Nuclear testing on Anangu lands; it's a story of sadness, grief, survival and hope. It's a story that all Australians should know. And it's a beautiful book. Age range: 10-14, and grown-ups.
Hana's Suitcase by Karen Levine
If you haven't read this already, you might have heard the radio documentary, or seen the film, because the story Fuimko Ishioka, the head of the Holocaust Education Resource Centre in Tokyo, and her search for the owner of the small battered suitcase emblazoned with the words Hana Brady, Waisenkind, and the story of Hana and her brother George continues to inspire people all over the world to retell it again and again. It's incredibly sad and moving - but also full of hope. Ages range: 10-14
Riding the Black Cockatoo by John Danalis
Ok, so we don't usually quote from the back cover copy, but in this case, the blurb is so bang-on that we could write for a hundred years and not distill this remarkable book any better: 'All through his growing-up years, John Danalis's family had an Aboriginal skull on the mantelpiece; yet only as an adult did he ask where it came from and whether it should be restored to its rightful owners. This is the compelling story of how the skull of an Aboriginal man, found on the banks of the Murray River over 40 years ago, came to be returned to his Wamba Wamba descendants. It is a story of awakening, atonement, forgiveness and friendship. Part history, part detective story, part cultural discovery and emotional journey, this is a book for young and old, showing the transformative and healing power of true reconciliation.' Enough said. Read it. Age range: 14+ and definitely adults.
*And given that one category comes at the grand cost of $0.00, this is a huge bargain. I mean, that's just good maths.
** If you have one of these, please tell them to wear a bike helmet when they ride around North Fitzroy. Thanks.