Teacher Resources

2016 Education Catalogue here

2015 Education Catalogue here.

Jackie French 2016 Catalogue

Jackie French has her own teachers resource page here.

Michael Morpurgo also has his own dedicated  teachers resources located here.

For further information contact education@harpercollins.com.au

Teachers Notes

Curriculum supported Teacher Resources are  available to support many of  our titles .


Teacher’s Notes



THE DIARY OF WILLIAM SHAKESPEARE, GENT is part comedy, part love story, the threads of Shakespeare’s life drawn from his plays. Could the world’s greatest writer truly put down his pen forever to become a gentleman?  Ages 12+

Teacher’s Notes




By Book Title

Early Years

Daddy Cuddle by Kates Mayes, ill Sara Acton

The Day the Crayons Came Home by Michael Hall

Wombat Wins by Jackie French

Middle Years

Barney and the Secret of the Whales by Jackie French

Olive of Groves by Katrina Nannestad

The Doldrums

The Year of Billy Miller by Kevin Henkes

Older Readers

A Ring Through Time by Felicity Pullman

Act Of Faith by Felicty Pullman


HarperCollins Suggested Reads Premiers Reading Challenge 2015

 Grades K-2

Dashing Dog, by Margaret Mahey

First Day  Andrew Daddo illustrated by Jonathan Bentley

Foxy in Love by Emma Dodd

Good Dog Hank by Jackie French illustrated by Nina Rycroft

The Hueys in none the number Oliver Jeffers

Mike I don’t like Jol & Kate Temple

The ABC Book of Seasons  Helen Martin , Judith Simpson  & illustrated by  Cheryl Orsini

Grades 3-4

Beauty and the Beast by Michael Morpurgo Illustrations by Loretta Schauer

The Hairy Nosed Wombats Find a New Home by Jackie French and Sue deGenaro

Max and the Won’t Go to Bed Show by Mark Sperring

The Slightly Annoying Elephant by David Walliams

Wombat Goes to School by Jackie French illustrations by  Bruce Whatley

Grades 5-6

Demon Dentist by David Walliams

Disappearing Act by James Moloney

The Girl Who Brought Mischief by Katrina Nannestad

Nelson Mandela by Kadir Nelson

The Matilda Saga, Book #3 The Road to Gundagai by Jackie French

Shoutykid, Book #1Shoutykid (1) – How Harry Riddles Made a Mega-Amazing Zombie Movieby Simon Mayle

New Series 2015

The Roxy Ran Series, Book #1 White Ninja by Tiffiny Hall

The Roxy Ran Series, Book #2 Red Samurai by Tiffiny Hall

The Roxy Ran Series, Book #3 Black Warrior by Tiffiny Hall

Ruby Redfort, Book #4 Ruby Redfort (4) – Feel the Fear by Lauren Child

Ruby Redfort, Book #2 Ruby Redfort: Take Your Last Breath by Lauren Child

Ruby Redfort, Book #1 Ruby Redfort: Look Into My Eyes by Lauren Child

Grades 7-9

The Islands Of Chaldea by Diana Wynne Jones

Yoko’s Diary by Paul Ham and Debbie Edwards

Paruku: The Desert Brumby by Jesse Blackadder

Reaching Out Messages of Hopeby Mariah Kennedy, UNICEF

The Romance Diaries, Book #2 The Romance Diaries: Stella by Jenna Austen

Tape by Steven Camden

Between the Livesby Jessica Shirvington

A Boy Called Hope by Lara Williamson

Interworld by Neil Gaiman & Michael Reaves

New Series 2015

Divergent Trilogy, Book #1 Divergent Trilogy (1) – Divergent by Veronica Roth

Divergent Trilogy, Book #2 Divergent Trilogy (2) – Insurgent by Veronica Roth

Divergent Trilogy, Book #3 Divergent Trilogy (3) – Allegiant by Veronica Roth

2015 Education Titles Reviews-February

Birrung the Secret FriendBirrung the Secret Friend

Jackie French

HarperCollins, 2015

pbk., 144pp., RRP $A12.99  ISBN 9780732299439

Sydney Cove.  December 1789.  The new colony is 18 months old and Barney Bean is waiting in line for his share of the meagre rations doled out on Wednesdays and Saturdays.  He is so hungry he can taste the maggots in the cheese he is hoping for because they are extra meat.  He’s also hoping that there will be some cheese left because his pannikin was stolen the night his mother died and you can’t boil dried peas or rice without a pannikin.

In front of him in the line is a convict who, even with his arm in a sling, looks as strong as a bullock and Barney mentally dubs him Bullock Man watching him warily him because he knows that he and his rations are at risk the minute he is out of sight of the storehouse.  And he’s right… Bullock Man sees him being slipped some cheese (which he had been denied) and follows him.  Barney scarpers and scampers amongst the huts with Bullock Man in pursuit not knowing that this chase will change the course of his life forever when Bullock Man is stopped in his tracks by a stone thrown from a beautiful yet mysterious Aboriginal girl wearing European clothing. Even the fact that she is an “Indian” is remarkable because it was thought that they had all been wiped out by the plague that hit them so soon after the arrival of the Europeans, but for one to be wearing shoes and “a clean dress, all bright with tiny blue showers on it, not the nothing colour of convicts’ clothes”???

This is Abaroo, or Birrung (meaning ‘star’), as she calls herself, an Aboriginal girl taken under the kindly wing of Mr Richard Johnson, the colony’s first clergyman and this is the story of Birrung, Barney and the enigmatic Elsie who never speaks but whose eyes have clearly seen more than they should have.  Flourishing amongst the squalor and dishevelment that is Sydney in its first year is the oasis of Mr Johnson’s vegetable gardens, tended and nurtured to feed a colony that is virtually on the edge of starvation because none of the promised storeships have arrived from England and the inhabitants, reluctant residents at best, have neither the skills nor the inclination to help themselves by growing their own food. Even Barney doesn’t know that a seed the size of a speck of dust can grow into a magnificent carrot!  Mrs Johnson reads the children stories and Barney’s favourite is that of Jesus and the fishes and the loaves. “We could have used Jesus in the colony.”  Yet all around them are the riches of the bush – bush tucker – some of whose secrets Birrung shows Barney. But because of the times they live in, his friendship and all that he learns has to remain a secret forever.

Although the Second Fleet finally arrives, it brings so many more problems than it solves…

Jackie French is a master of historical fiction for children and she tells fascinating stories of the not-so-well-known parts of our history, putting the reader right in the story so it becomes a personal experience not just a painting that has an historical backdrop. You are there, right alongside the characters with your tummy rumbling but feeling glad that there is a fridge with cheese and other goodies nearby!  While Barney Bean. Elsie and Sally are fictional characters, Mr and Mrs Johnson and Birrung were very real as were the circumstances in which the story is set.  Painted in less than flattering terms by others in Australia’s history such as Elizabeth Macarthur, and only tolerated by Arthur Phillip who had a different agenda, Birrung the Secret Friend shows a different side of Richard Johnson and the good that he did for the establishment of the fledgling colony.  He was revered by the convicts and those who benefited not only from the produce of his gardens but his ministrations in their hours of need. In fact, Jackie writes, “I had always taken the Johnsons at the valuation of most historians have accepted: well-meaning but ineffectual.  But as I read their letters and other writing, I became stunned that such an extraordinary and compassionate couple had been so misremembered,”

This is the first in The Secret Histories series from Jackie to be published by HarperCollins, a series that will reveal many more secrets at many levels.  There is an extensive teaching guide at http://4edd9444c072ad07aff7-11d966b2703d5a5467932b6516b2610f.r67.cf2.rackcdn.com/teaching-guides/TG-9780732299439.pdf explicitly linked to the Australian Curriculum, providing an even more compelling reason to have this in your collection – if you needed one!

Barbara Braxton, Teacher Librarian


Together, we learn from each other

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