June 8

Child trafficking

Every year, worldwide, an estimated 1.2 million children are “trafficked” into prostitution, domestic slavery or other exploitative labour.

The victims come from developing and industrialised countries. They are transported internally and across borders. But all are destined for ruthless exploitation.


There are several novels in our Library about this topic. Here are two:
F HAW Mountain Wolf by Rosanne Hawke

F MCC Sold by Patricia McCormick

October 21

‘The Chronicles of Vladimir Tod: Eighth Grade Bites’ by Heather Brewer

Dear Readers,

I liked this book. It kept me entertained for hours. It is recommended for teenagers and was set at school and Vladimir’s Aunt’s house. The book’s title is ‘The Chronicles of Vladimir Tod’, which was written by Heather Brewer. Vladimir likes eating blood bags.  Aunt Nelly likes working at the hospital and bringing blood bags home for Vladimir Tod. I liked the book very much and my favourite character is Vladimir Tod because he is a vampire and I like vampires.        Jasmine, Year 9   

“Sometimes you have to be alone to think, and sometimes the best place for thinking isn’t home.”

This story takes place in Vladimir’s aunt Kelly’s house and the school that Vladimir attends. He is a vampire who went to live with his Aunt Kelly after his parents were killed by a pure blood vampire. Vladimir is just trying to get through life with the help of his best friend Henry, a normal human being. A pure blood vampire is trying to kill Vladimir for his blood. Vladimir’s Aunty Kelly works in a hospital and brings home blood bags for Vladimir. I like this story because it is a horror story and I like horror stories. It really entertained me. I recommend this story to my friends because I reckon they are missing out on a really great story.

Hannah, Year 9


“ Morning, sunshine”

Vlad blinked at her. “Morning, sulfuric acid”

“Pardon me?”

“Well isn’t it kinda wrong to call a vampire ‘sunshine’?”

Junior High is not a fun place for thirteen-year-old Vladimir Tod. Bullies harass him, the principal picks on him, and the girl he likes prefers his best friend. Oh, and Vlad has a secret: his mother was human, but his father was a vampire. With no idea of the extent of his powers, Vlad struggles daily with his blood cravings and his enlarged fangs. When a substitute teacher begins to question him a little too closely, Vlad worries that his cover is about to be blown. But then he faces a much bigger problem: he’s being hunted by a vampire killer!

Vlad was orphaned three years previously and he lives with his late mother’s best friend Nelly, a nurse, in the quiet town of Bathory. He’s the target of bullies, embarrasses himself in front of the girl he likes and now his favourite teacher has gone missing….Oh, and he’s half vampire, and his strange new substitute teacher possibly knows his secret…

Until recently Vlad thought he was the only vampire left until a recent string of disappearances makes him realise that not only is he not alone, but someone’s after him. Vlad is also only just discovering his abilities, since his vampire father died before he could share his knowledge. But Vlad is on his own as he comes to understand just what he can do as well as the fact that among his kind, being a half vampire is not just unique, but unheard of.

Vlad himself is a good character and besides the vampire aspect he’s a typical thirteen year old boy. He’s got his best friend Henry, he’s shy around girls and he isn’t the biggest fan of school.

I like this book because I could relate to the things that happen to Vlad in terms of being bullied at school and not enjoying school. I would recommend this story to anyone who likes vampire novels and reading about characters who have everyday problems like we do.

By Noah Year 9.

Vladimir Todd, a young vampire teenage boy and the child of a vampire father and human mother, lives at home with his aunt Nelly. Aunt Nelly and Vlad’s best friend Henry are the two main important people in his life. However there is a vampire killer out to get Vladimir Todd or even someone close to him. What will happen? I love reading this book because it keeps me engaged as I read every page, and every chapter.  I really like Vladimir Todd. He isn’t like any of the others at school, he is vampire. Does anyone else know that Vlad is a vampire or is he hiding it?  How will Vladimir Todd be able to control his cravings for blood? I highly recommend this book to teenagers and above.

Samantha, Year 9

September 19

‘Fleshmarket’ by Nicola Morgan

Many of us know that if we had lived 200 years ago, we would not have lived for very long. Chances are that I would not have even survived my birth! ‘Fleshmarket’ by Nicola Morgan takes us back to life in 1822, providing a rare look at a time when many life conditions, including sanitation and medicine, were far more crude and rudimentary than they are today.

We are introduced to eight year old Robbie, the main character of this novel, in the prologue, where he is bystander at his mother’s breast cancer operation. Performed without anesthetic, the operation which is intended to save her life leads to her death from infection several days later, and Robbie blames the surgeon, Dr Knox, for her death. When family circumstances change for the worse, Robbie becomes fixated on Knox, trying to get close enough to him to work out how to get revenge. But morality is more complex than that, as Robbie’s own values are tested and he comes to understand more of Knox’s life mission.

Inspired by the author’s tour of Surgeon’s Hall in Edinburgh, this is a horrifying glimpse of life in the not-too-distant past. Both Robbie’s mother and Dr Knox are based on true characters, which intensifies the chilling reality and brutality of some parts of the story, including the prologue. For me, the accounts of surgery and post-mortems were almost unbearable, yet this is a true representation of life in that era. Morgan has captured early surgery so well that we quiver at the prospect of living in that era.

Although written with a teenage audience in mind, this novel could be read by adults. Morgan’s writing is powerful, the content definitely thought-provoking, lingering long after the novel is finished. It provides valuable reading to supplement studies of science and medicine in the early 19th century. It is definitely not a read for the faint-hearted! Mrs O.

May 23

‘Checkers’ by John Marsden

Checkers“She lives in the best suburb. She goes to the finest school. Her family is wealthy and powerful. She has everything that money can buy.”

I’m not really a fan of the main character, because she thinks that ordinary people live lives of boredom. When the main character’s father comes home all excited and exclaims to the whole family that they are going to be rich, everyone is ecstatic. In addition to their great news he brings home a black and white puppy. Every one is excited, however this excitement doesn’t last very long, as she entrusts a handsome young man to take photos of her dog which leads to tragic consequences. A large percentage of the book is spent describing circumstances, which ultimately increases tension and suspense until the very end when the consequential truth is finally revealed. I recommend it to persons who would enjoy mysteries that are true to life with a touch of heartbreak. Savannah, Year 8

“She has parents, a brother, friends and a dog. Sometimes the dog seems like the only one she can trust. Her life is about to fall apart. The dog is Checkers. The book is unforgettable.”
Checkers, by John Marsden,  is set in the first person and told by the main character in a set of flash-backs. The story is set in a mental hospital. The girl is in the hospital after a nervous breakdown and recovering. During the story the other characters all with a different mental issues – Emmine who has had a mental breakdown, Daniel who is obsessive-compulsive (OCD), Cindy who self injures and tries to cut herself, Ben who has Attention-Deficit-Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) and Oliver who is anorexic and develops a close friendship with the main character throughout the story. The main characters’ friendships are all bonded in a Group where they share their stories and how they feel. Marj is a leader in the group and always tries to get the Group to share their feelings. The narrator, during the book, describes her feelings and emotions while telling the story of why she is in the hospital. The book is all about the girl’s dad’s involvement with the share market and scandals, but she never thought that the connection the press were looking for was right in front of her eyes, her best friend. What is the connection and who is it with?
The story has so much suspense and tension I found it hard to put it down. Every chapter you read ends with a cliffhanger, so you just want to read on. The ending would never be expected and was shocking. It was a little depressing and sad. I believe the book was intense and a fantastic book. I would recommend the book to young adults, to a person who likes drama, true life reality, a touch of heartbreak and people who enjoy a mystery. I would rate the book 4/5 as it was an outstanding read. Gemma, Year 8

May 13

‘Don’t Call me Ishmael’ by Michael Gerard Bauer

Don't call me ishmaelThis story is about a St Daniels’ Year Niner, whose problems all come from his name: Ishmael Leseur. Ishmael was named after the great Ishmael in Moby Dick but can he live up to his name? In the story there is bullying and friendship, good times and bad, love and hate, and learning to stand up to your fears.  I liked this book a lot because in some ways I could relate to what he went through. It was also good because the characters were funny, there was love and there was pain, typical high school life. I would recommend this story to teenagers particularly boys, but girls would like it too. Ciara, Year 8

April 28

How to write a book review

Write a Review

A book review is like any other piece of writing. It has a beginning, a middle and an ending. Grab attention, give your opinion (don’t just tell the story), finish off the review with a recommendation. A blog entry for Aquinas Reads is really a short review which aims to draw in readers – to entice them to read the book! Not sure what to say? Here’s my advice:

How to write an online Book Review (for our blog):

  • Get the reader’s attention in the first line with a catchy intro, such as a short quote.
  • Give the title of the book and the author’s name near the beginning of the review.
  • Give a brief outline of the story, the setting and the main characters without giving too much away.
  • Explain why you liked it so much.
  • To whom would you recommend this story?
  • Sign the review with your FIRST NAME ONLY and Year level.
That’s the short version. The Scholastic website will help you write a much better review. It says to keep these tips in mind:

Be honest: Give your review personality and remember that kids want to know what you REALLY think.

Be detailed: Tell us exactly what you liked or didn’t. Was it a story you couldn’t put down? Were the characters just like people you know? What made it special?

Be accurate: Be sure to get the title, author, and character names right, plus double-check your spelling and grammar. We aren’t able to post reviews that don’t make sense or have the wrong information.

DON’T spoil it: Please don’t give away the ending! Tell readers enough about the plot to hook them, but keep them hanging so that they want to read the book.

Find out how to write a review in more detail at: http://teacher.scholastic.com/writewit/bookrev/index.htm

I particularly like the tips this author gives to young writers here.

Perhaps you’d like to use a scaffold to help you write a formal book review? Find one here: http://www.aquinas.qld.edu.au/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=124&Itemid=152

Remember that the more reviews you read, the better your reviews will be, because you understand the genre and know what to expect in a review’s content and writing style. Look on Goodreads for lots of great reviews.

August 13

Michael Bauer visits Aquinas

Michael BauerThis week, author Michael Gerard Bauer visited Aquinas, gave talks to Years 8 & 9 and conducted a writing workshop with Year 10. It was fun learning about the inspiration for his novel ‘Don’t call me Ishmael’. It makes me want to go back and read ‘Moby Dick’ again. Congratulations to the Year 8 & 9 students who picked the classic novel which was the source of Michael Bauer’s book title. Come and see me – there’s a prize waiting for you! Mrs O.

‘Don’t call me Ishmael’ F BAU

‘Ishmael and the Return of the Dugongs’ F BAU

‘Dinosaur Knights’ F BAU

                                                           ‘The Running Man’ F BAU

June 21

‘Drawing with Light’ by Julia Green

Drawing with lightEverything in Emily’s life is changing. Her older sister, Kat, is just starting college. Her father and Cassy are about to start a family without Kat and Emily. Emily finds a boy who loves her for who she is. She has a best friend who is supportive in every way. Then a comment during school one of her teachers make starts Emily thinking. Who is her real mum? Alicia. Year 8.