Skip to content


September 20, 2017

Looking for a new series to recommend to your child or students? You have to check out Darkmouth, a monstrously funny debut from the new star of middle-grade adventure, Shane Hegarty. Shane Hegarty was the Arts Editor of the Irish Times, but left to be a full time writer after Darkmouth sold in a frenzied auction at Bologna Book Fair in 2013.

This new action-packed series is perfect for fans of Skulduggery Pleasant and House of Secrets.

“Shane Hegarty explodes into the fantasy universe with Darkmouth. An incredible debut. Hilarious and exciting. Terrifying and heart-stopping. Everything a great fantasy series should be. The next big thing is here.” Eoin Colfer, author of Artemis Fowl

What is Darkmouth about?

THEY’RE COMING! Legends (also known as terrifying, human-eating monsters) have invaded the town of Darkmouth and aim to conquer the world. But don’t panic! The last remaining Legend Hunter – Finn – will protect us. Finn: twelve-years-old, loves animals, not a natural fighter, but tries really, really hard, and we all know good intentions are the best weapons against a hungry Minotaur, right? On second thoughts, panic. PANIC NOW!

If you’re still not convinced Darkmouth Shane Hegarty has put together 10 reasons to visit Darkmouth:

DarkmouthDarkmouth 2

  1. It is a great place to visit, if you like the idea of mythical monsters from another realm rampaging through the town while you just try and pick up a few groceries. And if you like the idea of two 12-year-olds trying to stop the invasion getting out of control before one of the monsters squishes your bananas. Or you.
  1. Darkmouth is a real place. Sort of. The opening pages of the series describe a long drive down a dark, narrowing road lined with choking trees, that people think is a wrong turn – and in real life that same road leads to my home town in Ireland. Lots of the places in Darkmouth are based on local landmarks too, although the town itself doesn’t have any monsters. Not that we know of anyway.
  1. Darkmouth’s name is inspired by Greymouth in New Zealand, because I once stayed in a hostel room there that was covered in penguins. They were drawings of penguins. Not real penguins. Unfortunately.
  1. The heroes of Darkmouth – Finn and Emmie – go to a normal school, deal with embarrassing parents, and just happen to have to fight rampaging monsters from another realm. Finn would like to run away. Emmie would like to run towards them. I am with Finn’s camp on this. I would not just run away, but probably keep running until my legs fell off. And then I would start crawling as fast as possible.
  1. The Legends that keep trying to invade Darkmouth are based on myths from all around the world. Some, like the Minotaur, are familiar from Greek tales, but there are creatures from Celtic, European African, Asian and American myth here too. The Australian Yowie even gets a mention.
  1. Darkmouth is for you if you want to know what it would be like to a Legend of myth. Take the Orthrus, for instance, with a dog’s body and snake for a tail. What would it be like to be an intelligent snake stuck between the back legs of a windy, itchy dog all your life? Not as much fun as that sounds, you’ll find.
  1. Darkmouth is one of the only books in the world that has an ice-cream based on it. In my hometown, the local kiosk sells Mint Legends, which are covered in warm chocolate sauce, crunchy chocolate, chocolate-dipped cones – a lot of chocolate basically. People queue for it all year around, even when it rains. Even though it never rains in Ireland.
  1. If you visit Darkmouth you can also spend some time in The Infested Side. Sure, you’ll have to travel through an inter-dimensional gateway to get there, and it’s a stinking, dying world full of murderous creature where even the ground wants to eat you. But if you’re into that sort of holiday, it’s really great.
  1. There are plans for a big movie. The rights to bring Darkmouth to the big screen were bought before it was even published, and a fantastic animated film is planned.
  1. There are Cliffhangers. Lots and lots of cliffhangers. I want a book that just makes me want to turn to the next page to find out what happens next. As the Darkmouth series unfolds, every chapter ends with a cliffhanger because… well you have to read on to find out why.

WIN one of two special edition Dr Seuss Beanbags!

August 31, 2017

Dr Seuss Bean Bag

To Celebrate Reading Hour on Thursday September 14,
we are giving you the chance to
win one of two special edition Dr Seuss Beanbags &
“The more that you read”  decal perfect for that special reading corner . Read more…

Would you like Amba Brown to talk to your graduating students?

August 15, 2017
Finding Your Path

Finding Your Path is a handbook for the transition from school to adulthood. 

“One of the greatest advantages of this day and age is the range of opportunities at your fingertips. But this also means an overload of information and choice! Not to mention the different pressures from either school or parents. The daunting question “What will you do next?” can be extremely stressful when you’re wracked with indecision and lacking direction.” (Book excerpt – Amba Brown) 

Australian author, Amba Brown holds a Psychology Degree (Honours) in Positive Psychology, is currently a member of the ‘International Positive Psych Association’ & is passionate about alleviating youth anxieties.

Amba will talk to students about and the different pathways they can explore when considering their future. Amba will touch upon exploring the world, planning for their career and finding your own way.

Amba delves into the importance of goal setting, the importance of traveling, and why you should always be working on your own personal project. If you’re feeling stuck at a career crossroads and not sure which way to go, or are about to leave school and feeling lost, then this is an opportunity your students won’t want to miss.


  • The different options and pathways to explore after finishing school
  • Why thinking about smiling could be crucial to a career path after school
  • The importance of momentum once you have graduated
  • Why a personal project could set one up for career success
  • Inspirational ideas to get students thinking about life after school
  • Why you should maybe think about setting off to see the world

Amba will be in Sydney between the 11 & 22 September 2017, if you are interested in Amba giving a FREE talk to your graduating students please email me

FINDING YOUR PATH: A GUIDE TO LIFE & HAPPINESS AFTER SCHOOL by Amba Brown is available in all good bookstores from 21st August 2017.

The Magic Book Project: What Next?

August 8, 2017



Please scan hardcopy reviews and email

All electronic reviews to be emailed to


■ Send your videos in the following formats: mp4 or m4a (usually this is the format from a smart phone, iPad or computer camera).

■ Clearly label your videos in the following format: firstnamelastnamevideo1, firstnamelastnamevideo2 etc. eg: joebloggsvideo1

■ Send via transfer only using the following website. Do not email directly as it won’t be received.

  1. Go to
  2. On the left-hand side of the screen, add your files
    (together if possible as a bundle)
  3. Email to:
  4. Add your email address
  5. In the message box simply put the name of your school.


Please return this with your documents. We can’t use anything you send us without this gem!


Thank you for making this project a really special one for us!

Jacqui Barton, Education Manager

Reviews: The Shop at Hoopers Bend by Emily Rodda

August 2, 2017

The Shop at Hoopers Bend is a story with a distinctively Australian flavour, infused with eucalyptus smells, cicada sounds, and nostalgia for simpler times. Written by Emily Rodda, one of Australia’s premier storytellers, having authored or co-authored over ninety books for children, this atmospheric tale centres around a forgotten country shop and the serendipitous events which bring it back to life.  Read more…

Recap: Reading Matters Conference 2017

August 2, 2017

Header CYLThe Centre for Youth Literature is a national leader in the sphere of youth literature programming, this year they held their 12th Reading Matters Conference. Read more…

Bestselling New Zealand author Stacy Gregg visits Australia with new novel

July 21, 2017

Sydney 18 and 19 September
Melbourne 20 and 21 September

HarperCollins Childrens Book’s are offering schools a FREE author visit opportunity  Read more…

School Holiday Reading Recommendations

June 29, 2017


The more that you read, the more things you will know.
The more that you learn, the more places you’ll go.
— Dr. Seuss

With the school holidays ahead, we thought we’d take the time to remind you why reading a book can be one of the best boredom-eliminating activities for children (and a welcome school-holiday sound-reducer for parents!). Read more…

9 Powerful Stories to Read During Refugee Week

June 21, 2017

It’s Refugee Week this week, from Sunday 18 June to Saturday 24 June, a week dedicated to raising awareness across Australia about the issues affecting refugees. Read more…

Creative Writing Workshop: A Journey into the World of Fiction

June 19, 2017

HarperCollinsPublishers welcomes registrations from Secondary Schools to attend the 2017 Creative Writing Day.  Read more…