Tag Archives: Louise Park

Last Man Out – Louise Park


Wild Dog Books

April 2023

  • ISBN13: 9781742036427

RRP: $24.99

Sometimes a book comes along that just has the most profound impact on you, as a reader and, in this case, also as an avid history nerd.

Louise Park’s new publication is just such a book. In the sort of way that makes one tingle – not to mention, well up with tears and feel every emotion as intensely as if one were there with the protagonist, I was unable to put it down once I picked it up.

In an utterly remarkable piece of family history, Louise’s grandfather was in fact the ‘last man out’ of Gallipoli, in that extraordinary and quite astonishing military exercise that saw the evacuation of about 36, 000 troops from the peninsula battleground, and created the stuff of legend, becoming Australia’s turning point as a nation (in my opinion).

Louise’s family, of course, has always known this fact and there have been other accounts of John Alexander Park’s role, from military historians, but this new book represents such an intensely personal labour of love and family pride that it will be hard to go past – particularly for younger readers. I predict that all readers, young or old, will be completely enthralled with each piece of the shared recount.

English-born Park was a veteran of the Afghan War, and the Boxer Uprising before settling in Australia and in 1915, aged 36 and a hardened veteran, signed up for the Australian Army and then arrived at Gallipoli.

Louise has taken her grandfather’s diary entries and letters, and combined with other primary documents, reconstructed the essence, the terror, the pain and the spirit of those last days in one of history’s most ill-fated and ill-conceived military endeavours. It’s not a long book – less than 100 pages – but it is both powerful and moving, and I can assure you that your readers from mid-primary right up to secondary will be transfixed with this.

With ANZAC Day approaching rapidly, this is the new ‘must have’ for your collection. I go as far as recommending that your schools buy a class set. It will never be considered anything but a valuable addition, you can trust me on this point. Narrative non-fiction is always a prime area of interest for young readers and in this context, one of the most iconic events in our collective history, even more so.

Just as children for decades now have been thrilled and moved by the story of Simpson and his donkey, they will now be as moved and impressed with John Park’s history, particularly with the addition of first-hand/primary material (including photos). In addition, the stylish and elegant presentation of this book is absolutely first rate, and the use of the khaki shades a brilliant strategy.

My absolute highest recommendation for this book, which is both a valuable historical record and a testament to a granddaughter’s love. Thank you Louise Park for allowing me to read and share this. It is magnificent!

John Alexander Park – I salute you.

Grace’s Escape – Louise Park


Simon & Schuster

September 2021

  • Publisher: Berbay
  • ISBN13: 9780645069631

RRP: AU$ 16.99 / NZ$ 19.99

Middle school readers fell in love with Grace’s adventures in her first book, Grace’s Secrets, and they will love this next instalment as Grace and her friend, Millie, continue to slip between past and present investigating mysteries and becoming acquainted with literary greats of the past.

Grace and her mother are settling beautifully into Faerie Castle, with the fun of Victorian-themed weekends, their guests, and, certainly, the added excitement of the girls setting up their beautiful olde-worlde style stationery shop is bringing much joy.

Once again the enchanted map leads the girls into a strange adventure in which they are mistaken for sisters, Georgiana and Theodora, who were meant to arrive at the castle of the past but did not. It’s up to Grace and Ellie to rescue these sisters it seems, along with Grace’s precious pup Coco, who is dog-napped by the same villain who has captured the girls.

As they dip in and out of the castle’s history, the girls become firm friends with Mamie – perhaps better known to some as May Gibbs, creator of the Snugglepot and Cuddlepie stories – as well as J. M. Barrie – playwright and storyteller who gave the world Peter Pan and the wonderful Beatrix Potter. Fortunately, they are able to outwit the villains, rescue the missing girls and, along the way, provide inspiration to these legendary creators.

This is such a delightful adventure that will enchant your readers who love to hear of historical people, particularly ‘bookish’ folk, and who relish the thought of living an almost double life – enjoying the wonders of modern life as well as savouring some of the beauty and elegance of times past.

My own thrill comes with the my own little mention – as Grace’s much missed teacher-librarian back in Broome – thank you Louise for such an honour !

Highly recommended for your readers from around Year 3/4 upwards. It is a must have for your collection!

7 Steps to Get Your Child Reading – Louise Park




Allen & Unwin

February 2020

ISBN 9781760524678

RRP $24.99 Au

Louise Park is not only a highly regarded writer of over 250 books including popular series, with a career spanning 30 years, but also a recognised literacy expert and educational consultant with a passion for supporting Indigenous children, ESL students and at-risk learners.

Now Louise has lent us the benefit of her wide experience and knowledge and provided parents a ‘primer’ so to speak for establishing successful reading routines with children from the earliest age upwards. This is no dry text book but is written with a conversational tone and  packed with easy to digest tips and strategies for all who pick it up. Whether new to this  notion of setting a child on the reading path or with some experience any reader will find antidotes for this hitherto uncharted territory of a generation of children who are often more familiar with swiping, pinching, tapping of devices than page-turning. Not that Louise ignores the potential of digital reading but rather illustrates the ways to make the most of all forms of reading to give children the foundation for literacy success and enjoyment.

As educators we already know that the boundaries have shifted and most of us see this on a daily basis. Those of us of a certain age who have been teaching for quite a long time definitely recognise the changes in our youngest students coming into Prep and the ensuing and often compounding difficulties faced by some as they make their way upwards throughout their year levels.

Rather than despairing over this, many of us are determined to do all we can to ensure that our students have every opportunity of success not only at the point in time but in the future. As readers of this blog will know, my own young person has had a rocky road in conquering her difficulties in reading and the joy in seeing her now not only confidently reading but enjoying it is a reward in itself. I believe that we, as teachers of literacy, want this for every single one of our charges and certainly, in my role as teacher-librarian, this is always the goal in mind for my library users. It’s not always easy but Louise’s book addresses the issues for children with difficulties as well which is a real bonus for those raising kiddos who struggle.

The chapter headings will give you a good sense of the outline and the topics covered address all aspects:

Introduction: Generation Alpha
That reading thing
Step 1: Talking their way to literacy
Step 2: Reading their way to literacy
Step 3: Linking writing and reading
Step 4: Taming the tech and making it count
Step 5: Harnessing the power of book ownership
Step 6: Embracing two reading philosophies
Step 7: Finding just-right books for any age
Difficulty learning to read, write and spell

This is a book that should be promoted to parents with vigour and copies should be available from all school libraries. I have already shared that promotion with our school community and know that there will be many parents who take it up in order to offer their own children the best start possible.

I cannot endorse this book enough. In my opinion it’s a must not only for your library but as a down-to-earth reference for all parents of growing readers.