New series for new readers: Read a review of What Zola did on Monday by Melina Marchetta

New series for new readers: Read a review of What Zola did on Monday by Melina Marchetta

Zola and her cousin Alessandro live near each other in a suburban street of a big city and they love to play together. They miss their newly-departed grandfather and their grandmother always seems sad. Although they do their best to cheer her up by joining her in the gardening, things always seem to go wrong – from precious seeds being lost to naughty dogs running amok and causing problems.

Zola and Alessandro go to the same school, and their teacher hatches a plan to rejuvenate an old community garden. The children learn about gardening, look at old photos and discover that their grandparents were previously involved in the community garden. Will Nonna come and help them make a beautiful community garden? Will she ever smile again?

Melina Marchetta has previously drawn on her own experience of the multicultural experience in Australia, authoring a defining novel more than 20 years ago that resonated with teenagers struggling to come of age in households that were already strained because of tradition and expectations. That novel, Looking For Alibrandi, was made into a feature film and has been included on school booklists continuously since its release.

Melina once again draws on her experience in an Australian-Italian family to show us the intricacies of relationships and the strength of family. Indeed, it was family that inspired this book. Melina’s daughter was a reluctant reader and so Melina wrote this story about characters that her daughter would relate to and recognise, in the hope that it would help her daughter enjoy reading.

This book is the first in a series. There will be seven in entirety – one for every day of the week. It is beautifully illustrated by Deb Hudson, and the illustrations are generously placed so that newly independent readers can rely on pictures to assist them with context. I particularly like the delicately designed jacket and the pretty nameplate inside the front cover – little touches that add to the value of book ownership in my view!

There are some lovely scenes in the book that I found particularly charming: kids bouncing on the trampoline so they can sticky-beak on the neighbours, the good older dog and the destructive younger dog, and the home garden produce that kids don’t like to eat. There’s a lot included that will resonate with contemporary Australian kids, regardless of ethnicity or location. The themes of kindness, compassion, co-operation and shared celebrations are universal across our diverse communities and so I would recommend this book for any reader, boy or girl, aged 6+.

 

Reviews

Pretty as a picture: Activity pack from What Zola Did On Monday by Melina Marchetta and Deb Hudson

Review | Extract

5 June 2020

Pretty as a picture: Activity pack from What Zola Did On Monday by Melina Marchetta and Deb Hudson

Related Articles

Perfect for new readers: Read an extract from What Zola Did on Monday by Melina Marchetta

Kids & Ya

17 June 2020

Perfect for new readers: Read an extract from What Zola Did on Monday by Melina Marchetta

A writer's life: Read an interview with beloved author Melina Marchetta

News | Author Related

17 June 2020

A writer's life: Read an interview with beloved author Melina Marchetta

Podcast: Melina Marchetta on Writing for a Whole New Age Group

Podcast

16 June 2020

Podcast: Melina Marchetta on Writing for a Whole New Age Group

    Book Chat with Melina Marchetta - Wednesday June 10, 8-8.30pm

    News | Events & Festivals

    9 June 2020

    Book Chat with Melina Marchetta - Wednesday June 10, 8-8.30pm

      Celebrating 80 years: Read the story behind the story of Puffin books

      News | Book Life

      9 June 2020

      Celebrating 80 years: Read the story behind the story of Puffin books

      Synopsis

      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! Seven stories in the series - one for every day of the week. From the bestselling author of Looking for Alibrandi.
      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

      COMMENTS

      Leave a Reply

      Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *