Junior fiction at its best: Why we love the What Zola Did series by Melina Marchetta

Junior fiction at its best: Why we love the What Zola Did series by Melina Marchetta

In 2020, we were introduced to sweet, cheeky Zola! Melina Marchetta’s new junior fiction series was inspired by her own daughter’s reluctance to read.

After realising she needed something engaging, fun and simple to interest reluctant readers, Melina pivoted from her usual genres – young adult and adult fiction – to write for the 6 to 8 age group. What resulted is a series that has all of the heart, warmth and colour of her award-winning novels (Looking for Alibrandi amongst the most well-known) but just happens to speak to a much younger audience.

About the Zola series

What Zola Did on Monday debuted in June 2020. Since then, we’ve seen Zola off on a different adventure on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday too, with the remaining three books to come in 2021. What Zola Did on Monday received rave reviews and even made Bookscan’s list of the 100 highest-selling books for children in 2020.

The first book introduces Zola and her family, including Mum, Nonna Rosa, cousin Alessandro and the two mischievous dogs, Monty and Gigi. They all live on Boomerang Street with its gorgeous gardens and Zola’s school just down the road. ­­­

Zola is curious and easily distracted – no matter how hard she tries, Zola just can’t seem to stay out of trouble. Nonna Rosa is often involved in Zola’s zany schemes too!

Why Zola is perfect for new readers

Simple yet effective writing style

Melina Marchetta is an expert at writing simply without losing any of her trademark humour and warmth. As a result, Zola features simple language but retains her wonderful characterisation and stunning imagery.

Gorgeous illustrations

Deb Hudson’s beautiful illustrations pepper most pages, meaning that kids who are reading independently for the first time are assists with reading comprehension and find the confidence to infer the meaning of new words.

Important core themes

With a beautiful focus on community, the Zola series warmly touches on important issues without feeling didactic. The questions Zola asks are natural and will get your kids thinking about their family, their environment and their feelings.

Seven stories to read

One of the best bits about Zola is that she’s the star of a seven-book series! Kids will want to keep devouring Zola’s fun adventures, fuelling their reading journey as they know exactly what to read next.

Well, what are you waiting for? Zola’s adorable hijinks and endearing stories are must-reads for kids ages 6 and up. They’re perfect for at-home reading as well as in the classroom.

Be sure to check out the books currently available in the Zola series – Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday and the latest book, Thursday. What Zola Did on Friday is out 30 March 2021, with Saturday and Sunday to come later in the year.

Reviews

Music mania: Read our review of What Zola Did on Thursday by Melina Marchetta and Deb Hudson

Review | Our Review

9 February 2021

Music mania: Read our review of What Zola Did on Thursday by Melina Marchetta and Deb Hudson

Can't keep out of trouble: Read an extract from What Zola Did on Thursday by Melina Marchetta

Review | Extract

9 February 2021

Can't keep out of trouble: Read an extract from What Zola Did on Thursday by Melina Marchetta

Related Articles

Colour, search, and focus: Activity pack from What Zola Did on Thursday by Melina Marchetta and Deb Hudson

News | Book Life

12 February 2021

Colour, search, and focus: Activity pack from What Zola Did on Thursday by Melina Marchetta and Deb Hudson

Synopsis

From the author of Looking for Alibrandi comes this gorgeous series to engage and entertain newly independent young readers. Zola loves living on Boomerang Street with her mum and her nonna. Every day of the week is an adventure. But Zola has a problem. No matter how much she tries, she can't keep out of trouble. Like on Thursday, when she and the gang form a band and upset their cranky neighbour, Mr Walton . . . Collect all seven stories in the series – one for every day of the week!
Deb Hudson
About the author

Deb Hudson

Deb’s illustration style celebrates colour, detail and texture. She enjoys drawing bright, happy, joyful everyday things. She works with coloured pencils on paper and refines digitally. She is currently illustrating a new chapter book series for 5-8 year olds, The Zola series. Written by best selling author Melina Marchetta and published through Penguin Books Australia.  The first book of the series of seven is to be released in June 2020. Deb illustrated her first children's book 'The Golden Thread', written by Amelia Donnelly and published by Lake press in 2018. She works from her studio in a seaside suburb in Melbourne, where she lives with her husband, 3 children, an energetic border collie and a bright yellow canary, who she loves to draw. Deb studied Fine Art at Griffith University in Queensland.

Books by Deb Hudson

Melina Marchetta
About the author

Melina Marchetta

Melina Marchetta is a bestselling author in more than twenty countries and eighteen languages. She has published award-winning young adult, fantasy and crime fiction, including her acclaimed crime novel, Tell the Truth, Shame the Devil. Her much-loved Australian classic, Looking for Alibrandi, swept the pool of literary awards when it was published, and was also released as a film, adapted by Marchetta, winning an AFI Award and an Independent Film Award for best screenplay, as well as the New South Wales Premier’s Literary Award and the Film Critics Circle of Australia Award. The companion novel to Marchetta’s award-winning book Saving FrancescaThe Piper's Son, also received much acclaim in Australia and internationally, and in 2009 Marchetta won the prestigious Michael L. Printz Award from the American Library Association for Jellicoe Road. She lives in Sydney.

Books by Melina Marchetta

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