It’s all a Matter of Opinion

The Matters of Opinion series examines a range of significant issues that affect teenagers cellphonestoday. Each title is structured to introduce the broad problem and then pose challenging questions to encourage readers to think about both the pros and cons of each issue. Commentary to inform the development of an opinion scaffolds critical thinking and examines a range techniques of across the books e.g.: bias, scare tactics, scapegoating, using testimonials and authority that inform the points of view presented. Titles conclude with steps to develop an essay to help students express their own view point and how to use examples to support their arguments.

This series is American and therefore timelines, statistics and examples are drawn from the US. However, the topics are global and relevant, and sourcing similar or related material based on the Australian scene would add a strong research purpose for students to explore these topics to develop their own reasoned opinions.

Smoking – Explores several smoking-related issues including: personal responsibility, corporate responsibility, second-hand smoke, and banning smoking.
Bullying – Bullying issues covered include: whether the internet is to blame, if schools are doing enough to prevent it, and punishments associated with bullying.
Cell Phones – Explores pros and cons of several issues related to cell phones including: the effects they pose on relationships, if they are addictive, and if children should be allowed to own them.
Video Games – Issues related to video games include: whether video games cause violence, discourage exercise, and require proper regulation.
Recycling – Recycling issue covered include: if it benefits the environment and is it economically efficient.
Obesity – Explores several issues related to obesity including: is the food industry at fault, can the government help prevent it, and effective treatments.
Food in Schools – Explores the pros and cons of several issues related to food in schools including: whether people have the right to eat whatever they want, and whether the federal government should control what students eat and weigh.
School Violence – Issues related to school violence include: is a violent culture to blame, are schools secure enough, and are non-violence courses a solution.
Cheating – Covers the pros and cons of several issues related to cheating including: how widespread it is, why it happens, and ways to prevent it.

The Matters of Opinion series provides relevant and contemporary debate on a range of 21 Century issues. They support the investigation of a several health related topics in the HPE curriculum, English in regard to persuasive writing and debating, along with several of the General Capabilities, most prominently, Critical and Creative Thinking. The language and layout is suitable for Years 7 to 10, however, some topics may be more appropriate for older students.

Available from INT Books for schools and libraries. For personal orders in Australia you can order direct at

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New additions to great STEAM series

Look out for these new titles to add to 2016 offerings in the Be a Maker and Get Into It (review) series:

Find out more about recent Be a Maker titles which include:

Discover the very popular Get Into It guides that has just got better with these forthcoming additions:

Available from INT Books for schools and libraries. For personal orders in Australia you can now order direct at


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The Godwits – Bruce Pickworth

godwitsBruce Pickworh and Lorraine Robertson have presented a thoughtful and thought-provoking visualisation of the plight of the migratory Bar-tailed Godwits due to habitat depletion. Harnessing dual perspectives through the voice of young Goa Wei living on the coast of China’s Yellow Sea and Gowie, a young godwit who leads the flock from their summer roost in Shoalhaven Heads, in New South Wales. There is a strong environmental message interwoven as the Goa family choose conservation over the father’s employment in land development.

The story itself is extended and enriched with a map and double page of amazing facts about Godwits, and actions that have been taken to ensure their migration path remains accessible  as the industrial world encroaches on these sites.

The recent launch of this book in late 2016 is recorded with further information at Weeksy Reviews.

It seems a little serendipitous that the publication of this wonderful longer picture book follows after Jeannie Bakers’ Circle – they compliment and extend each other in many ways to reinforce the strong themes of migratory birds and the impact of encroaching urbanisation.

Available from INT Books for schools and libraries. For personal orders in Australia you can now order direct at

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Prime Ministers & Their Governments

primeministers_trocaderoA new edition of Prime Ministers and their Governments from Trocadero is a timely update from the 2011 original considering the changes in political parties and leaders over the past 5 years. From Edward Barton to Malcolm Turnbull each entry covers the time leading up to, during and after leadership of Australia. A page or more is devoted to each leader and includes photographs and a fact box highlighting a significant event during their time in office. Includes current information on Rudd, Gillard, Abbott and Turnbull.

Available in print and PDF from INT Books for schools and libraries.

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Bounce – YA Fiction series

The Bounce series features senior high-school basketball players at the top of their game. Each title stands alone with different teams and events. The protagonists grapple with challenges on and off the court including a school cheating scandal, suicide, inner-city life, poverty and racial tensions. Dealing with personal issues push these athletes to the brink of quitting the sport they love.

To The Point: Randy prides himself on being all a team captain should be. He expects a lot from himself and from his teammates. But his high standards are challenged when he discovers some players are cheating in school.
On Guard: Point guard Mercedes Morgan is on track to set the all-state record for three-pointers. She’s even caught the attention of a big-time college recruiter. But her sister has fallen in with a gang from the old neighborhood, and a drive-by shooting lands her in a coma.
Pass it Forward: Lucas has big dreams of getting a basketball scholarship and helping his mom out of poverty. When a growth spurt helps Lucas become a force on the court, his dreams finally seem within reach. But Lucas’s brother tries to steer him toward a very different path.
At the Center: Cody’s basketball team, The Rebels, has an almost perfect record, thanks to the skills of his best friend Jayson “Dominator” Davis. Jayson is new to the team and to the nearly all-white high school. Tension between the coach and Jayson has simmered since he transferred from the inner city.

The Bounce books provide short, easy read, real life stories about personal decision making, responsibility, friendship and family around a central theme of basketball. See inside” each title for the blurbs and an indication of language level and story complexity.

Available from INT Books for schools and libraries. For personal orders in Australia you can now order direct at

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The Atlas of Cursed Places – YA Fiction

A series of short, easy read stories aimed at teen readers with a high interest, supernatural plot revolving around evil places and events. These can only be solved when the teenagers locate the Atlas of Cursed Places to guide them through danger.

Here’s a taste:
Deadman Anchor: A spring break mountain-climbing trip could be a chance for Kendal to connect with her distant father. A little adventure and time together seem like a good idea, but there’s one problem: the mountain might be cursed.
Breakdown: Maddy’s detective mother vanishes while investigating a mysterious disappearance near Pike’s Cave. Legend has it that the cave is inhabited by an evil spirit with the power to possess people.

With six titles to entertain, this series may grab the attention of reluctant or disengaged readers. “See inside” each title for the blurbs and an indication of language level and story complexity.

Available from INT Books for schools and libraries. For personal orders in Australia you can now order direct at

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Get-Into-It-Guides: Hands-on hobbies for kids

A timely release as education focuses on the “maker movement” and the importance of hands-on active learning. The six titles in this series focus on indoor leisure and hobby interests that embrace crafts, games and the arts. Each book provides clear step-but step instructions supported with explanatory and informative photographs. img_0585

 Image sourced from Crabtree website of pages in Get into Dioramas and Models.

Kids will love these for personal pursuits and teachers will find inspiration in guiding students for creative responses to projects. They also make ideal gifts for children aged 8 to 12.

Get into Minecraft: One of the most popular video games in the world, Minecraft is all about using creativity, collaboration, and skill to create and protect exciting digital worlds. Readers will delight in this engaging title, which reveals tips and tricks for using the digital version of the video game as well as creative offline projects. With clear instructions and exciting ideas, this book will motivate readers to “get into” the exciting world of Minecraft!

Get into Chess: This engaging title covers the rules, pieces, moves, and strategies. Step-by-step photos bring matches to life and connect readers to the instructions. Fact boxes highlight fascinating facts and records including the longest match, extreme chess games, and more.

Get into Photography: Smartphones and basic digital cameras have made photography more accessible than ever before, and the creative possibilities are endless! This engaging title takes readers through photography basics and photo editing techniques, giving them the skills to creatively picture their world. Exciting photography ideas and tips encourage readers to refine their skills and create personal photo projects.

Get into Knitting: Knitting projects are more than just scarves and hats! Creative readers will “get into” knitting with this title, which offers a clear and easy-to-follow look at knitting techniques, opening readers’ eyes to the fun possibilities of extreme knitting projects! A comprehensive guide to knitting basics and trouble-shooting will allow any reader to let their creativity shine in knitting!

Get into Diorama Models: It is amazing what children can do with recycled cardboard boxes, paper tubes, and other easy-to-find materials! Instructive text and photos guide readers as they create dioramas, models, and structures. Engaging questions prompt young builders to unleash their unique creative design skills to make the project their own.

Get into Cartooning: From tools and materials to different styles and techniques, this book is an ideal resource for kids interested in the world of cartooning. Creative projects motivate and inspire readers as they build skills in this creative art form.

The Get-Into-It-Guides encourage creativity and problem solving in primary students  from Year 3 to 6. With easily accessible language, clear processes and close up photography these books are perfect for children with creative interests. They also make excellent presents.

Available from INT Books for schools and libraries. For personal orders in Australia you can now order direct at

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