Skip to Main Content

Summer Reading Guide 2023-2024

We hope that you enjoy these book recommendations provided by the librarians from our Augustine Resource Centre. This reading guide is packed full of great reads for your summer book selections, which also make wonderful gift ideas.

Happy reading!

Dear Parents and Guardians,

As the school year draws to a close, our students find themselves on the eve of our widely anticipated Christmas holidays and a glorious summer break. This time offers a much-needed respite from the rigors of school (for both students AND parents) with the release of a traditional school day and the hours of homework and preparation that comes along with it. The absence of the school day presents us with a real opportunity for our students to put down their phones and pick up a great book.

Research consistently highlights the profound impact of reading on a child and teenagers’ academic skills and mental wellbeing. Recent studies emphasize that we can all reap significant benefits from reading for just 20 minutes a day.

As a child or teenager reads, they expand their vocabulary, they develop critical thinking skills and improve comprehension abilities. Apart from boosting these academic skills the act of reading itself builds confidence and a sense of accomplishment, setting a solid foundation for future success.

Books have the remarkable ability to transport readers into different worlds, experiences, and perspectives. Engaging with diverse characters and storylines fosters empathy and emotional intelligence, essential qualities for building healthy relationships and navigating the complexities of the world around them.

Reading is such a powerful tool for promoting mental wellbeing, providing an escape from daily stresses, and allowing the mind to relax and rejuvenate. Engaging with compelling narratives can reduce anxiety, improve focus, and enhance overall mental resilience. It encourages imaginative thinking, which is crucial for creativity and problem-solving.

But do not discount the value of works of non-fiction, especially for boys. Powerful words written by favourite sportspeople or successful entrepreneurs are equally as important. The key is the act of reading itself! You can find my recent podcast here on how to develop reading habits for boys and the challenges in getting our young men back to reading books.

It is important to acknowledge that some boys may be labelled as "reluctant readers." Indeed, I have sadly heard boys label themselves in this way. I implore you to always deflect this. As research suggests that with the right selection of books tailored to their interests, these boys can be transformed into avid readers.

Encouraging them to choose books that align with their passions, whether it be sports, science fiction, adventure, or historical fiction, can make a world of difference in their reading journey.

To support our students on their summer reading adventures the ARC has compiled a list of recommended summer reads for our boys of all ages and interests. These titles have been carefully selected to engage, inspire, and nurture their curiosity. We’ve even made some recommendations for our Staff and Parents.

We look forward to witnessing the growth and development of our young readers over the summer break. Together, let's work to return to just 20 minutes a day lost within a really great book.

Wishing you all a joyful summer,

Mrs. Mace
Head of Library Services

"Boys and Books" Season 5, Episode 2.

Listen to Mrs. Mace speak further on boys' education, developing reading habits for boys and how to meet the challenges in getting boys and young men back to books.

Available on Spotify here.

Years 5 & 6 Fiction

Scar Town by Tristan Bancks

Seven years after Old Scarborough was drowned, a house is emerging from the water. Will and his friends Dar and Juno dare each other to explore it. But when they find bones – and a stash of cash – they realise they’re not the only ones interested in its secrets.

Ghost Book by Remy Lai.

July Chen sees ghosts. But her dad insists ghosts aren't real. So, she pretends they don't exist. Which is incredibly difficult now as it's Hungry Ghost month, when the Gates of the Underworld open and dangerous ghosts run amok in the living world.

The Many Worlds of Albie Bright by Christopher Edge

When Albie's mum dies, it's natural he should wonder where she's gone. His parents are both scientists and they usually have all the answers. Dad mutters something about Albie's mum being alive and with them in a parallel universe. So Albie finds a box, his mum's computer and a rotting banana, and sends himself through time and space to find her...

The Bravest Word by Kate Foster

When eleven-year-old Matt finds Cliff, a hurt, neglected dog abandoned in the bush, he knows the brave little pup needs saving. He wants to help. But can he?

Fritz and Kurt by Jeremy Dronfield

In 1938, the Nazis come to Vienna. They hate anyone who is different, especially Jewish people. Fritz and Kurt's family are Jewish, and that puts them in terrible danger. Fritz, along with his father, is taken to a Nazi prison camp, a terrible place, full of fear. When his father is sent to a certain death, Fritz can't face losing his beloved Papa. He chooses to go with him and fight for survival.

Impossible Creatures by Katherine Rundell

Another fantastic adventure that we have come to expect from this author. Along with her back catalogue of books, this new release belongs on your summer reading pile!

Five Nights at Freddy’s: The Twisted Ones by Scott Cawthon

Recommended by Ethan C 5V

“4.5/5 stars because it is exciting, scary, and fun to read.”

Percy Jackson and the Lightning Thief by Rick Riordan

Recommended by Declan M. 5V.

"4/5 stars because it was full of adventure and fun."

The Mind-Blowing World of Extraordinary Competitions by Anna Goldfield

From cheese-rolling races to baby-crying competitions, get ready for an adventure through the most amazing contests the world has ever seen.

Amazing Ancient World Atlas by Lonely Planet

Unearth our ancient world, continent by continent, with this amazing kids atlas. Explore over 40 historical cultures, societies and civilizations from across the planet.

Stories for Boys Who Dare to be Different by Ben Brooks

A beautiful and transporting book packed with stories of adventure and wonderment, it will appeal to those who need the courage to reject peer pressure and go against the grain.

Writes of Passage: Words To Read Before You Turn 13 by Nicolette Jones

A collection of 100 pieces of writing - poems, prose, letters, speeches, song lyrics, quotations, and more -from Shakespeare to Philip Pullman and from John Donne to Oliver Jeffers, which are in turn powerful, funny, moving, wise, and thought-provoking, expertly curated and with accessible, thoughtful commentary

The Atlas Obscura Explorer's Guide for the World's Most Adventurous Kid by Dylan Thuras, Rosemary Mosco, Joy Ang (Illustrator)

For curious kids, this is the chance to embark on the journey of a lifetime – and see how faraway countries have more in common than you might expect! Hopscotch from country to country in a chain of connecting attractions: Explore Mexico’s glittering cave of crystals, then visit the world’s largest cave in Vietnam.

Mamba Mentality by Kobe Bryant

Recommended by Mateo BL 5V

5/5 stars because it is an inspirational book that teaches you the value of hard work.”

Absolutely Everything You Need to Know about Lego by DK

Recommended by Ollie Harris 5C.

“4.5/5 stars because it is an amazing Lego book.”

Years 7 & 8 Fiction

We Run Tomorrow by Nat Amoore

Sticks, Maki, Jed and Tommy live on the same street. But the adults around them are making decisions that could tear the four friends apart.

When they discover their favourite comic book series is being made into a blockbuster movie, they know what they have to do. Get to the audition. Get the parts. Stay together.

The Fall by Tristan Bancks

In the middle of the night, Sam is woken by angry voices from the apartment above. He goes to the window to see what’s happening –only to hear a struggle, and see a body fall from the sixth-floor balcony. Pushed, Sam thinks.

Sam goes to wake his father, Harry, a crime reporter, but Harry is gone. And when Sam goes downstairs, the body is gone, too. But someone has seen Sam and knows what he’s witnessed.

The Cursed Carnival by Rick Riordan

A cave monster . . . an abandoned demon . . . a ghost who wants to erase history . . . a killer commandant . . . These are just some of the challenges confronting the young heroes in this highly entertaining anthology.

Ali Cross by James Patterson

The case that finally gives him a chance, Ali knows Gabe Qualls better than anyone, so when his friend goes missing, Ali jumps right into action. Being Alex Cross's son has taught him the skills he needs to solve the mystery: intelligence, persistence, and logic. One thing he didn't inherit? Patience..

Whippersnapper by Felice Arena

After a terrible accident, Gus can't believe he's survived. But has he? He's woken up in the body of an old man and his real body is unconscious in intensive care. Now he's got a seventy-year-old wife, really bad taste in clothes, and everyone thinks he's crazy.

Wink by Rob Harrell

Based on Rob Harrell's real-life experiences, and packed with his cartoons and illustrations, this is a heartbreaking and hilarious story of survival, and of finding the music, magic, and laughter in all of life's weirdness.

Mortal Engines by Philip Reeve

Mortal Engines launched Philip Reeve's brilliantly imagined creation, the world of the Traction Era, where mobile cities fight for survival in a post-apocalyptic future. The first instalment introduces young apprentice Tom Natsworthy and the murderous Hester Shaw, flung from the fast-moving city of London into the heart-stopping adventures in the wastelands of the Great Hunting Grond.

Thing Explainer: Complicated Stuff in Simple Words by Randall Munroe

It's good to know what the parts of a thing are called, but it's much more interesting to know what they do. Randall Munroe explains things using only

drawings and a vocabulary of just our 1,000 (or the ten hundred) most common words. Funny, interesting, and always understandable, this book is for anyone who has ever wondered how things work, and why.

Survivors: Extraordinary tales from the wild and beyond by David Long

Be shocked and amazed by these incredible real-life stories of extreme survival

Unlocking the Universe by Lucy and Stephen Hawking

Embark on the adventure of a lifetime in this beautiful collection of up-to-the-minute essays mind-blowing facts and out-of-this-world colour photographs, by the world's leading scientists including Professor Stephen Hawking himself, curated by the brilliant Lucy Hawking

How To Be An Explorer Of The World by Keri Smith

Artists and scientists analyze the world around them in surprisingly similar ways, by observing, collecting, documenting, analyzing, and comparing. In this captivating guided journal, readers are encouraged to explore their world as both artists and scientists.

The Good Guys: 50 Heroes Who Changed the World with Kindness by Rob Kemp, Paul Blow (Illustrator)

Readers will find stories of extraordinary men including Muhammad Ali, Professor Green, Patrick Stewart and Lionel Messi, as well as unsung heroes such as James Harrison, who has spent fifty years donating his rare blood to save millions of babies proving it really is cool to be kind.

Immune by Philipp Dettmer

In Immune, Philipp Dettmer, the brains behind the most popular science channel on YouTube, takes readers on a journey through the fortress of the human body and its defences. There is a constant battle of staggering scale raging within us, full of stories of invasion, strategy, defeat, and noble self-sacrifice. In fact, in the time you've been reading this, your immune system has probably identified and eradicated a cancer cell that started to grow in your body.

Years 9 & 10 Fiction

The Faint of Heart by Kerilynn Wilson

Not that long ago, the Scientist discovered that all sadness, anxiety, and anger disappeared when you removed your heart. And that's all it took. Soon enough, the hospital had lines out the door—even though the procedure numbed the good feelings, too.

Nowhere on Earth by Nick Lake

It starts with a plane crash. There are survivors: a teenage girl and her little brother. They are running from something. But what? Then the men arrive. They are hunting the girl and boy. And- And that's all we can tell you.

Robert Runs by Mariah Sweetman

A fast-paced thriller based on the author's great-great grandfather, Robert 'Goupong' Anderson, who was once the fastest man in Australia and world record holder. Goupong, his little sister Dot, and his best friend Jonathan belong to the Ugarapul people, the Green Tree Frog tribe, and live with their families and others within the harsh confines of the Deebing Creek Mission - a place run by the malevolent Boss Man.

The F Team by Rawah Arja

Meet Tariq Nader, leader of 'The Wolf Pack' at Punchbowl High, who has been commanded by the new principal to join a football competition with his mates in order to rehabilitate the public image of their school. When the team is formed, Tariq learns there's a major catch – half of the team is made up of white boys from Cronulla, aka enemy territory – and he must compete with their strongest player for captaincy of the team.

Deep Water by Sarah Epstein

A gripping mystery about a missing boy and a group of teenagers who know more than they're telling about the night he disappeared.

Borderland by Graham Akhurst

A heart-pounding horror gothic that follows Jono on an epic quest to find himself in the face of unbelievable challenges. Graham Akhurst, the brilliant mind behind this coming-of-age gem, is a Fulbright scholar from the Kokomini of Northern Queensland. Brace yourself for a fresh, mind-bending tale exploring Indigenous identity, the impact of colonization, and what happens when you take a stand.

Warcross by Marie Lu

For the millions who log in every day, Warcross isn't just a game - it's a way of life. The obsession started ten years ago and its fan base now spans the globe, some eager to escape from reality and others hoping to make a profit. Struggling to make ends meet, teenage hacker Emika Chen works as a bounty hunter, tracking down players who bet on the game illegally. Needing to make some quick cash, Emika takes a risk and hacks into the opening game of the international Warcorss Championships - only to accidentally glitch herself into the action and become an overnight sensation.

Engineers Making a Difference by Shini Somara, Manuel Sumberac (Illustrator) and Adam Allsuch Boardman (Illustrator)

In this book you’ll meet 46 engineers, from apprentices and lab technicians to university professors and start-up CEOs and hear what problems they are solving and why they love their jobs. Engineers are changing the world. Will you be one of them?

Amundsen's Way: The Race to the South Pole by Joanna Grochowicz

By fusing the real and the imagined in her stories of early Antarctic exploration, she reveals the human aspirations and tragedies that have shaped our understanding of what remains an utterly inhuman place. As an Antarctic writer and communicator, Joanna believes strongly that engaging with Antarctic history encourages a deeper connection with a globally significant continent that few will ever visit.

What If?2: Additional Serious Scientific Answers to Absurd Hypothetical Questions by Randall Munroe

What If? maintains a delightfully free-wheeling tone throughout, especially when complicated calculations lead to whimsical results. Despite all the hard facts and gigantic numbers, it never feels like a textbook and you don't have to be a rocket scientist to enjoy it. Munroe takes inane, useless and often quite pointless questions asked by real humans (mostly sent to him through his website), and turns them into beautiful expositions on the impossible that illuminate the furthest reaches, almost to the limits, of the modern sciences.

Ancient Rome Infographics by Nicolas Guillerat, John Scheid and Milan Melocco

Packed with cleverly designed graphics, charts and diagrams, Ancient Rome: Infographics uses data visualization to tell the epic tale of the city of Rome and its empire. Every aspect of the Roman world is explored, from the birth of the Republic to the imperial dynasties, from the political and legal system to Rome’s military might. Drawing on international sources, this complex history is made clear and comprehensible to modern readers, while offering the insights and rigour that historians demand.

Battles Map by Map by DK

Experience the world's most significant battles through bold, easy-to-grasp maps. Includes a foreword by Peter Snow, broadcaster and historian. Covering everything from the battlefields of the ancient world to the bomb-scarred landscapes of World War II and beyond, this book is packed with engrossing maps telling the story of history's most famous battles. Using brand new, in-depth maps and expert analysis, see for yourself how legendary military milestones were won and lost, and how tactics, technology, vision, and luck have all played a part in the outcome of wars throughout history.

Years 11 & 12 Fiction

Station Eleven by Emily St. John Mandel

One snowy night in Toronto famous actor Arthur Leander dies on stage whilst performing the role of a lifetime. That same evening a deadly virus touches down in North America. The world will never be the same again. If civilization was lost, what would you preserve? And how far would you go to protect it?

438 Days: An Incredible True Story of Survival at Sea by Jonathan Franklin

Based on dozens of hours of interviews with Alvarenga, his colleagues, search and rescue official and the medical teams that saved this life – this is the ultimate story of survival.

The Three-Body Problem by Cixin Liu

1967: Ye Wenjie witnesses Red Guards beat her father to death during China's Cultural Revolution. This singular event will shape not only the rest of her life but also the future of mankind. Four decades later, Beijing police ask nanotech engineer Wang Miao to infiltrate a secretive cabal of scientists after a spate of inexplicable suicides. Wang's investigation will lead him to a mysterious online game and immerse him in a virtual world ruled by the intractable and unpredictable interaction of its three suns.

Fifteen Young Men: Australia’s Untold Football Tragedy by Paul Kennedy

It was a maritime tragedy that unfolded one sad, dark hour at a time. A cold, cruelly blustery night revealing - with agonising slowness - that fifteen young men of the Mornington Football Club would never make it home. As dawn broke and families began to mourn, a nation was to learn the full extent of one of the world's worst sporting disasters.

The Boys in the Boat by Daniel James Brown

Cast aside by his family at an early age, abandoned and left to fend for himself in the woods of Washington State, young Joe Rantz turns to rowing as a way of escaping his past. What follows is an extraordinary journey, as Joe and eight other working-class boys exchange the sweat and dust of life in 1930s America for the promise of glory at the heart of Hitler's Berlin.

The Long Walk by Stephen King

Against the wishes of his mother, sixteen-year-old Ray Garraty is about to compete in the annual grueling match of stamina and wits known as The Long Walk. One hundred boys must keep a steady pace of four miles per hour without ever stopping...with the winner being awarded "The Prize"-anything he wants for the rest of his life.

At the edge of the solid world by Daniel David Wood

A compulsive, compelling and lyrical novel, told with extraordinary empathy and emotional intelligence, this sweeping saga examines the nature of loss, the resilience and fragility of the family unit and the stories we tell to explain the world.

Astrophysics for People in a Hurry by Neil deGrasse Tyson

While waiting for your morning coffee to brew, or while waiting for the bus, the train, or the plane to arrive, Astrophysics for People in a Hurry will reveal just what you need to be fluent and ready for the next cosmic headlines: from the Big Bang to black holes, from quarks to quantum mechanics, and from the search for planets to the search for life in the universe.

Humble Pi: A Comedy of Maths Errors by Matt Parker

Our modern lives are built on maths: computer programmes, finance, engineering. And most of the time this maths works quietly behind the scenes, until ... it doesn't. This book shows how, by making maths our friend, we can learn from its pitfalls. It also contains puzzles, challenges, geometric socks, jokes about binary code and three deliberate mistakes.

Troy by Stephen Fry

The story of Troy speaks to all of us - the kidnapping of Helen, a queen celebrated for her beauty, see the Greeks launch a thousand ships against the city of Troy, to which they will lay siege for ten whole years.

Mythos by Stephen Fry

The Greek myths are told to you here by the ever-soothing voice of Stephen Fry, who takes you from Zeus to Athena with his typical humour. It is joyfully informal yet full of the literary legacy threaded through so much of the tapestry of contemporary Greece.

Into Thin Air by Jon Krakauer

The true story of a 24-hour period on Everest, when members of three separate expeditions were caught in a storm and faced a battle against hurricane-force winds, exposure, and the effects of altitude, which ended in the worst single-season death toll in the peak's history.

A History of the World in 500 Maps by Christian Grataloup

Meticulously rendered maps chart the sequence of broad historical trends, from the dispersal of our species across the globe to the colonizing efforts of imperial European powers in the 18th century, as well as exploring moments of particular significance in rich detail.

History of War in Maps by Philip Parker

Meticulously rendered maps chart the sequence of broad historical trends, from the dispersal of our species across the globe to the colonizing efforts of imperial European powers in the 18th century, as well as exploring moments of particular significance in rich detail.

Parents & Staff Fiction

Homecoming by Kate Morton

An epic novel with a thrilling mystery at its heart tracing a shocking crime whose effects are felt across continents and generations.

The Midwife of Auschwitz by Anna Steward

Inspired by an incredible true story, this poignant novel tells of one woman's fight for love, life and hope during a time of unimaginable darkness.

What You Are Looking for is in the Library by Michiko Aoyama, translated by Alison Watts

This is an incredibly sweet, charming, and wholesome novel about feeling lost, and finding your way with the help and support of others. For fans of The Midnight Library and Before the Coffee Gets Cold, this charming Japanese novel shows how the perfect book recommendation can change a reader's life.

After She Wrote Him by Sulari Gentill

Aa piece of meta-fiction with a wildly inventive twist on the murder mystery genre that takes readers on a journey filled with passion, obsession, and the emptiness left behind when the real world starts to fall away. short blurb of a few sentences that is written with our audience of parents and school community in

Edenglassie by Melissa Lucashenko

Two extraordinary Indigenous stories set five generations apart. When Mulanyin meets the beautiful Nita in Edenglassie, their saltwater people still outnumber the British. As colonial unrest peaks, Mulanyin dreams of taking his bride home to Yugambeh Country, but his plans for independence collide with white justice.

eBook on Kindle - No One Saw a Thing by Andrea Mara

Two children get on the train. Only one gets off. No one saw it happen. You stand on a crowded tube platform in London. Your two little girls jump on the train ahead of you. As you try to join them, the doors slide shut and the train moves away, leaving you behind.

eBook on Kindle - The Family Across the Street by Nicole Trope

Salt River Road by Molly Schmidt

A compelling coming-of-age novel about grief and healing set in a small town in the 1970s.

Stolen Focus by Johann Hari

We think our inability to focus is a personal failing – a flaw in each one of us. It is not. This has been done to all of us by powerful external forces. Our focus has been stolen. Johann discovered there are twelve deep cases of this crisis, all of which have robbed some of our attention.

Jellyfish Age Backwards by Nicklas Brendborg

From the centuries-old Greenland shark and backwards-aging jellyfish to the man who fasted for a year and the woman who successfully edited her own DNA, this book follows the thread of every experiment, story, and myth in the search for immortality.

Bright Shining: How grace changes everything by Julia Baird

Grace is both mysterious and hard to define. It can be found when we create ways to find meaning and dignity in connection with each other, building on our shared humanity, being kinder, bigger, better with each other. If, in its crudest interpretation, karma is getting what you deserve, then grace is the opposite: forgiving the unforgivable, favouring the undeserving, loving the unlovable.

Entangled Life by Merlin Sheldrake

The more we learn about fungi, the less makes sense without them. They can change our minds, heal our bodies and even help us avoid environmental disaster; they are metabolic masters, earth-makers and key players in most of nature's processes.

Is Maths Real? by Eugenia Cheng

From imaginary numbers to the perplexing order of operations we all had drilled into us, Eugenia Cheng - mathematician, writer and woman on a mission to rid the world of maths phobia - brings us maths as we've never seen it before, revealing how profound insights can emerge from seemingly unlikely sources.

Chemistry for Breakfast: The Amazing Science of Everyday Life by Mai Thi Nguyen-Kim, Claire Lenkova (Illustrator)

Filled with charming illustrations, laughter, and plenty of surprises, Chemistry for Breakfast is a perfect book for anyone who wants to deepen their understanding of chemistry without having prior knowledge of the science. With Mai as your guide, you'll find something fascinating everywhere around you.

Gathering Moss by Robin Wall Kimmerer

In these interwoven essays, Robin Wall Kimmerer leads general readers and scientists alike to an understanding of how mosses live and how their lives are intertwined with the lives of countless other beings. Kimmerer explains the biology of mosses clearly and artfully, while at the same time reflecting on what these fascinating organisms have to teach us.

Parents & Staff Reading Resources

Children's Books Daily

Children's Books Daily is a guide for parents and a resource for educators, curated by Teacher Librarian, Megan Daley. Join their free Facebook group for access to extensive book recommendations, reviews and discussions.

Your Kid’s Next Read

Allison Tait (A.L. Tait) is an internationally published bestselling author and also part of the Children’s Books Daily team. She has great recommendations specifically for boys.

Book recommendations for ages 10-12

Book recommendations for ages 13-14

Read This Twice Website

Book Recommendations made by public figures and celebrities based on their own favourite reads.

Raising Reads by Megan Daley

How can you tell if a book is age-appropriate? What can you do to keep your tween reading into their adolescent years? Award-winning teacher and librarian Megan Daley has the answers to all these questions and more. She unpacks her fifteen years of experience into this personable and accessible guide, enhanced with up-to-date research and first-hand accounts from well-known Australian children's authors.

Northern Beaches Libraries

Explore many new releases for free by dropping into your local library branch. You can view new items available for borrowing now through the Northern Beaches Libraries online catalogue.

Mosman Library

It is free to join your local library! Many of these local libraries run great summer reading programs. You can also access reading resources with a library card. Check out the services offered at Mosman Library here.

Good Reading Magazine

Access book reviews for recommended Young Adult fiction here.

Return to top