Book Recommendation: Jackson Jones – The Tale of a Boy, an Elf and a Very Stinky Fish

Book Description:

Sometimes you have to get lost to figure out where you’re going. All Jackson wants is to be the hero, just for once in his life. The hero who steps in at the last minute to save the universe. The hero who saves the entire village from a raging fire. Great Aunt Harriett is always telling him find his own story, but so far his story doesn’t seem very exciting. Until he falls into Great Aunt Harriett’s hair, that is. There Jackson will encounter a world of elves, trap doors, bubblegum-blowing birds, hairy-backed spiders, kangaroo meat, and perilous danger which requires … a hero.

Narelle’s Thoughts:

I really enjoyed reading this book and I asked my daughter to provide her thoughts on the story.

Jackson Jones is a good book because it has got a lot of imagination in it. It has lots of cool but weird things like: elfs, stinky fish, beet risotto, and bean burgers. And other things. Jackson Jones is a funny book because Jackson falls into Great Aunt Harriett’s hair and has the most exciting adventure ever. I can’t wait to read Book 2!”

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ACRBA Tour Swallow Me, NOW! by Melissa Gijsbers

2 – 6 March 2015

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Swallow Me, Now!

(Lilly Pilly Press, October 2014)


Melissa Gijsbers


About the Book:

All Sam wants to do is to fit in at her new school. Feeling alone, and desperately trying to find her place in the world, she concocts an AMAZING story – BUT it backfires on her, and she becomes known as the ‘Evil Genius’s Daughter!’ Can her life get any worse?

About the Author

Melissa Gijsbers started writing when she was in High School during the 1990s, even winning some awards for a short story and a script. For many years, life got in the way of creative writing, however she did start blogging around 2006.

She currently lives in Melbourne, Australia with her two sons and a pet blue tongue lizard.

Narelle’s thoughts

I enjoyed reading Swallow Me, NOW! and I read the whole story in one sitting. The story is easy to read and the target audience is children aged 7-12 years.

Sam is in Year Five and the story starts on Sam’s first day at a new primary (elementary) school in suburban Melbourne. Sam’s parents were missionaries in Nepal, and she recently returned to Australia after many years abroad. An Aussie school is a culture shock for Sam. We follow her journey as she struggles to fit in at her new school. The story addresses important social issues that confront many children. I highly recommend Swallow Me, NOW! for children who are looking for a fun story with a positive and inspiring message of hope.

My daughter’s thoughts: I liked how the story is realistic and shows how hard it can be for kids to adapt to a new school. Even if you’re not starting at a new school, bullying can still happen to you. I also loved how Sam was very creative and was brave enough to talk about the mean things that were happening to her. I understood why she finally fought back and didn’t just let it keep happening to her. The story was fun and exciting. I can’t wait to read the next book in the series.

We received a complimentary review copy from the author.

Friday Weekend Escape to Pokhara, Nepal with Melissa Gijsbers

Today we’re escaping for the weekend with my Aussie author friend, Melissa Gijsbers, to Nepal. Melissa is sharing her memories of Pokhara, where she lived for a few years when she was younger. Enjoy!


I haven’t been there for nearly 30 years, but join me on an escape to Pokhara in Nepal. I would like to take you on a tour of the places I remember most.

First stop on our tour is the place we used to live. Back then, it was a two-bedroom, single storey, unfinished house. I shared a bedroom with my three siblings. We would play on the roof and have BBQs with buffalo steak that had been marinaded overnight to help it be tender enough to eat!


The house may have been small, but there were spectacular views, especially from the outside toilet!


Down the road in one direction, it will take you to the “Shining School”, the two room primary school where I was a student. It is also the school mentioned in Swallow Me, NOW! as Sam’s favourite primary school.


Going in the other direction from the house, you will end up at the bazaar. You can buy all sorts of things from little shops and carts. I used to go there with my mum. Doing the weekly shopping in Pokhara was different than going to the supermarket here in Melbourne!


It has been a long time since I’ve been to Pokhara. My parents went back earlier this year and told us it has changed a lot. The house we lived in has been finished but the bazaar is still there.


All Sam wants to do is to fit in at her new school.
Feeling alone, and desperately trying to find her place in the world, she concocts an AMAZING story –
BUT it backfires on her, and she becomes known as the ‘Evil Genius’s Daughter!’
Can her life get any worse?


Melissa Gijsbers lives in the South Eastern suburbs of Melbourne, Australia, with her two sons and pet blue tongue lizard. Between 1983 and 1986, her family were missionaries in Nepal. She enjoys catching up on the events of the day over mugs of hot chocolate with her sons after school.