COMING SOON: Old School by Jeff Kinney (Diary of a Wimpy Kid: Book 10)

Fans of Jeff Kinney’s The Diary of a Wimpy Kid series: rejoice! Greg’s back and being his hilarious self in Old School, Book 10 of the series.

With a new book comes new obstacles for Greg: he starts a new school and faces a challenge he never could have imagined …

Pre-order your copy of Old School here

Old School

Jeff Kinney

Old SchoolThe Diary of the Wimpy Kid series of books, by best-selling author Jeff Kinney, charts the highs and lows of our middle school hero, Greg, as he stumbles and fumbles from childhood to teenhood via school-hood. Sometimes helped by his friends and family, often not helped by himself!

Life was better in the old days. Or was it?

That’s the question Greg Heffley is asking as his town voluntarily unplugs and goes electronics-free. But modern life has its conveniences, and Greg isn’t cut out for an old-fashioned world.

With tension building inside and outside the Heffley home, will Greg find a way to survive? Or is going ‘old school’ just too hard for a kid like Greg?

Pre-order your copy of Old School here

About the AuthorJeff Kinney

Jeff Kinney is an online game developer and designer, and a number 1 New York Times bestselling author. In 2009, Jeff was named one of Time magazine’s 100 Most Influential People in the World. He spent his childhood in the Washington, D.C., area and moved to New England in 1995. Jeff lives in southern Massachusetts with his wife and their two sons.

Ten Things You Didn’t Know about Jeff Kinney:

  1. He still doesn’t have to shave too often.
  2. His first decent drawing was of a turtle at the age of 3 (Jeff, not the turtle).
  3. He plays the piano “very, very poorly.”
  4. Jeff’s brother Scott has written one of the songs in the movie, Diary of A Wimpy Kid.
  5. He created the kids’ website
  6. His favourite computer games are the Mario Kart series.
  7. His favourite sandwich is peanut butter and jelly (eeeuw).
  8. His favourite song is ‘Brownville Girl’ by Bob Dylan.
  9. He has two brothers and a sister.
  10. At one stage he studied to become a federal law enforcement officer.

Visit Jeff Kinney’s Booktopia Author Page

Jeff Kinney - Hard Luck Jeff Kinney -The Long Haul Jeff Kinney - The third wheel

GUEST BLOG: Danny Katz on getting kids to read!

The brilliant Danny Katz writes about the difficulties of getting kids to read in this exclusive Kids Month piece

art-353-DK-300x0You can’t force a non-reading kid to read. You can’t occy-strap a book to their face and hold their eyelids open with alligator clips – they don’t like it, they say it hurts, kids today are so soft. If a non-reading kid ever attempts to read a book, they see it as work, not pleasure – give a preppie a copy of Miffy At The Seaside and they’ll give up after two pages, go online and illegally download the TV show on Pirate Bay (*SPOILER ALERT* Miffy said she wasn’t tired after her big day at the seaside, but she lied, because soon her eyes were shut tight! A shocking climactic twist that no one saw coming.)

At the age of seven years old, our daughter was a hardline, fully-committed non-reader. We tried everything to get her reading: we filled her bedroom with tons of books, all piled up in great teetering stacks, hoping that something there might interest her, or a huge stack might accidentally collapse on her face and she might read something unintentionally. But sadly, neither of those things happened.

We read to her every night to get her into a book-reading habit, but that didn’t work either: my reading voice is drab and monotonous and I can’t do accents. I was reading the first Harry Potter book, and she just looked confused; she’d seen the movie twice, she knew Harry was supposed to be English, so why did he sound like a Mexican who’d spent a bit of time in Tel Aviv?

little-lunch-the-off-limits-fenceOne day I sat down with her and said “Why don’t you like books?” and she said “Because they’re all boring” – she said she didn’t like girly books, she didn’t like boysy books, she didn’t like fantasy books, she didn’t like books about post-apocalyptic vampires named Whitney who win the netball grand final, which is shame because we’d bought the whole set.

I said “So what kind of book do you want to read then?” and she said “A funny book about a kid like me, who has friends like I do, who goes go to a school like mine”. I said “Ahhh, so you want a book about yourself” and she said “Yeah. Buy that”. Unfortunately there was nothing in the bookstores about my daughter and her friends and her school, not even in the independents, which was surprising, they’re usually quite well stocked. Alright then, I thought, I’m going to have to write this book myself. So I did. It was called Little Lunch. My wife Mitch Vane drew the pictures. It got published, my daughter read it, she liked it, she asked for another. We wrote another, it became a whole series, and now it’s a TV show.

My daughter is about to turn 22. She’s a smart, unique and fascinating person who reads voraciously. We just wrote another Little Lunch book for her: it’s called The Off-Limits Fence.

We hope she likes it.

Check out Danny’s Little Lunch series here


Danny Katz is a columnist for The Age and The Sydney Morning Herald. He writes the Modern Guru column in the Good Weekend magazine. He is also the author of the books Spit the Dummy, Dork Geek Jew and the Little Lunch series for kids.



DONUTS! Now that we have your attention, we’d like to talk to you about One Hundred Days of Happiness. And Donuts.

We all love a great book, and we all love sweet pastries. So our friends at Pan Macmillan Australia decided to combine the two for Booktopians with the beautiful book One Hundred Days of Happiness.

Pre-order One Hundred Days of Happiness by July 31st and you could win a dozen donuts from Krispy Kreme delivered to your door!

What would you do if you knew you only had 100 days left to live? For Lucio Battistini, it’s a chance to spend the rest of his life the way he always should have—by making every moment count.

In 100 epigrammatic chapters, one for each of Lucio’s remaining days on earth, 100 Days of Happiness is as delicious as a hot doughnut and a morning cappuccino. Wistful, often hilarious, and always delectable, 100 Days of Happiness reminds us all to remember the preciousness of life and what matters most.


Pre-order your copy of 100 Days of Happiness here

one-hundred-days-of-happiness100 Days of Happiness

by Fausto Brizzi

“Funny, moving. . . I defy anyone to finish this story without tears in their eyes.”—Graeme Simsion, bestselling author of The Rosie Project

Womanizing, imperfect, but loveable, Lucio Battistini has been thrown out of the house by his wife and is sleeping in the stock room of his father-in-law’s bombolini bakery when he learns he has inoperable cancer.

So begins the last hundred days of Lucio’s life, as he attempts to care for his family, win back his wife (the love of his life and afterlife), and spend the next three months enjoying every moment with a zest he hasn’t felt in years.

From helping his hopelessly romantic, widowed father-in-law find love, discovering comfort in enduring friendships, and finding new ones, Lucio becomes, at last, the man he’s always meant to be.

About the Author

Fausto Brizzi is an Italian director, screenwriter, and film producer. The Night Before Exams, his debut work as a director, won him numerous awards, including the David di Donatello. 100 Days of Happiness is his first novel.

Pre-order your copy of 100 Days of Happiness here

NEWS: Terry Pratchett, Discworld series author, dies aged 66

Terry PratchettTerry Pratchett, the man who kept readers around the world laughing after the premature death of Douglas Adams, has died in his home surrounded by family eight years after being diagnosed with Alzheimer’s. Author of over 70 books, many of which make up his celebrated Discworld series, Pratchett redefined comic fantasy writing and made some of the biggest and most complex issues accessible to large audiences. His wit and satiric eye tore asunder the doublespeak of the modern world. His intelligence shone a light into places few dare to go. His recent documentary on assisted suicide was one of the most profound pieces of television to air this century.

From The Guardian: The announcement of his passing came in typically irreverent manner on the author’s Twitter feed, with a series of tweets beginning in the voice of his character, Death: “AT LAST, SIR TERRY, WE MUST WALK TOGETHER.”

With more than 75m copies sold around the world, Pratchett became one of the UK’s most-loved writers after the publication of his first Discworld novel, The Colour of Magic, in 1983. The 40th, Raising Steam, was released last year, with the writer completing recent work using voice-recognition software …

Click here to read the full article

Discworld Series
Terry Pratchett in quotes: 15 of the best

David Mackintosh, author of Lucky, answers Ten Terrifying Questions

The Booktopia Book Guru asks

David Mackintosh

author of Lucky, Marshall Armstrong is New to Our School and more

Ten Terrifying Questions

1. To begin with why don’t you tell us a little bit about yourself – where were you born? Raised? Schooled?

I was born in Belfast NI, but left there before I was one year old. I grew up in Brisbane, and went to Griffith University to do a bachelor of visual arts. I didn’t return to Belfast until I was 25.

2. What did you want to be when you were twelve, eighteen and thirty? And why?

Twelve: I wanted to be a porter in a big hotel, carrying people’s suitcases to their room. I liked the idea of being useful, and I like hotels because they are self-contained worlds where people act differently.

Eighteen: I still wanted to be a porter in a big hotel. But I decided I’d also like to be an engineer, so I went to night school and got a job in a drawing office during the day.
Thirty: I wanted to continue illustrating and designing so I could do some more travelling.

3. What strongly held belief did you have at eighteen that you do not have now?

That I’d always have beautiful long hair.

Author David Mackintosh

4. What were three works of art – book or painting or piece of music, etc – you can now say, had a great effect on you and influenced your own development as a writer?

Grimble by Clement Freud / A Boy Named Sue written by Shel Silverstein / Danse Macabre by Camille Saint-Saens.

It’s hard to isolate all the things that one is influenced by, but I do like these three. A common thread is the determined individual. Grimble was the funniest book ever and I wish I was him. I loved the mood of the boy named Sue forever searching for the man who gave him that awful name, and the Devil getting up to no good at nightfall when everyone else is being righteous always made me feel good.

5. Considering the innumerable artistic avenues open to you, why did you choose to write a novel?

I don’t think there were many artistic avenues open to me because I can’t paint, play an instrument well or act. I can draw well enough to tell a story in pictures and that’s good for me. Growing up I looked at a lot of illustrated texts: comics, comic strip annuals, newspaper editorial illustrations, New Yorker magazine panel cartoons, Popular Mechanics magazines and much more. I have always been hooked on words and pictures, and I’m naturally drawn to them. My favourite was American MAD Magazines which I collected for years before they began publishing a local version which was just awful. I may not have understood the humour so well as a little kid, but the editorial tone was evident and the relationship between the pictures and words always fascinated me. I wanted to become a cartoonist and sit at a desk in an office building drawing and inking cartoons. Writing books was a natural progression.


6. Please tell us about your latest novel…

Lucky is a picture book about a boy who misinterprets something his mother says and has his unrealistic expectations dashed as a result. In the process, he finds that he has other reasons to feel lucky. It’s seen from the perspective of the boy and his little brother Leo, who is the eternal optimist and the one who plants the seeds of his downfall, be it accidentally. The cover has a pineapple on the front cover which is a symbol of good fortune in China apparently. However, I didn’t know that when I did my book and the pineapple is included for a plot reason. So I see this as extra lucky.

Grab a copy of Lucky here

7. What do you hope people take away with them after reading your work?

I don’t expect anything from the reader other than the time it may take them to read the book and look at the pictures. That’s enough for me. What they make of it is for them to decide, but I suppose I hope they can appreciate someone’s point of view, and enjoy the humour.

where-the-sidewalk-ends8. Whom do you most admire in the realm of writing and why?

Here are just some: Joseph Mitchell, Bob Dylan, Shel Silverstein, Peter Carey, Lauren Child, and Mark Hellinger. After reading/listening to them they make me want to have a go at writing something too.

9. Many artists set themselves very ambitious goals. What are yours?

To do one picture book per year for as long as I am able.

10. What advice do you give aspiring writers?

Just sit down and write something and don’t be afraid to make mistakes and to put them right again.

David, thank you for playing.

Grab a copy of Lucky here

Lincoln Peirce, author of the Big Nate series, answers Ten Terrifying Questions

The Booktopia Book Guru asks

Lincoln Peirce

author of Big Nate in the Zone, the Big Nate series and more

Ten Terrifying Questions

1. To begin with why don’t you tell us a little bit about yourself – where were you born? Raised? Schooled?

I was born in Ames, Iowa, but by the time I was six months old my family had moved to Durham, New Hampshire. So I consider Durham my hometown – that’s where I lived until I went off to college at age 17. I attended Colby College in Waterville, Maine, where I studied art and art history. Then I moved to New York City, and I earned a Master of Fine Arts degree in Drawing & Painting from Brooklyn College.

2. What did you want to be when you were twelve, eighteen and thirty? And why?

I decided in third grade that I wanted to be a cartoonist like my hero, Charles Schulz of “Peanuts” fame. I loved all types of comics, but newspaper comic strips were my favourite. I’d read a quote from Schulz that went something like this: to be a cartoonist, yeu need to be a good writer, not a great writer, and a good artist, not a great artist. I thought that sounded like me, and I spent a lot of time creating my own comics as I grew up. So at 12 and 18, my goal was exactly the same: to create my own nationally syndicated comic strip. By age 26, I’d reached my goal.

3. What strongly held belief did you have at eighteen that you do not have now?

It’s not easy to remember just how I looked at the world when I was eighteen; that was 32 years ago. But I’m sure I was like a lot of young people who have some growing up to do: I thought the very small part of the world I inhabited was


Author Lincoln Pierce

the most important part, and I believed my own life was more significant than it really was.

4. What were three works of art – book or painting or piece of music, etc – you can now say, had a great effect on you and influenced your own development as a writer?

There’s no doubt the single biggest influence on me as a writer and a cartoonist has been Charles Schulz’s “Peanuts.” I read it obsessively as a child, and I absorbed the rhythm of writing dialogue to fit neatly into four little panels. I loved many other comic strips as well, especially great ones from the past like “Krazy Kat,” “Polly And Her Pals,” “Thimble Theater starring Popeye,” “Li’l Abner,” and “Pogo,” to name a few. But “Peanuts” was my Rosetta Stone.

I would also point to Charlotte’s Web, written by E.B. White and illustrated by Garth Williams, as a hugely inspiring work of art. I think it is the most perfect marriage of text and artwork in all of children’s literature. It also felt personally significant to me because it painted a picture of a world I recognized. It’s a farm story, and I come from a farm family. My mother grew up on a dairy farm in upstate New York, and during my teenage years, I worked on a farm after school and on weekends.

Last but not least is a book I first read as a sixth or seventh grader, and have read many times since: Banner In The Sky, by James Ramsey Ullman. It’s a mountain climbing story, and a quite old-fashioned one. I’m not sure how many children nowadays would be interested in it. But I was fascinated. The book, which takes place in Switzerland in the 1860’s, tells the story of Rudi Matt, a young man who dreams of being the first climber to reach the summit of the Citadel, the mountain on which his father was killed. He fails to make it to the top himself, but Rudi’s selflessness and courage save the life of a rival climber and enable his friends to summit the mountain. The message of the book – that a mountain guide must put the safety of his colleagues ahead of his own aspirations – was one that made a major impression on me.

5. Considering the innumerable artistic avenues open to you, why did you choose to write a novel?

I didn’t really choose to write a novel. I’d been writing and drawing my comic strip, “Big Nate,” for about 18 years. It appeared in a couple hundred newspapers and, although I certainly wasn’t getting rich, I was managing to eke out a living as a professional cartoonist. Then along came the opportunity to write “hybrid” books – novels featuring Big Nate that are a combination of text and comics.

I’d never written a book before, but I’d spent nearly two decades creating jokes and storylines for Nate and the other characters from the comic strip. So I was reasonably confident that if I could write a good story that lasted four panels, I could also write one that lasted a couple hundred pages. And as things turned out, I’ve really enjoyed it. There are things you can do in a novel that you’d never be able to do in a four-panel comic strip. The possibilities are nearly endless.

6. Please tell us about your latest novel…

Big Nate In The Zone is the sixth book in the series, and it focuses on Nate’s shifting fortunes. He has a string of incredibly bad luck (including an embarrassing moment involving his band, Enslave The Mollusk), followed by an improbable run of GOOD luck.

A few supporting characters play major roles: Artur, Nate’s friendly rival; Chad, his sidekick whose crush on a classmate could lead to heartache; and Marcus, an alpha male with whom Nate makes a potentially costly wager.

Grab a copy of Big Nate in the Zone here

7. What do you hope people take away with them after reading your work?

My goal is always the same: to create books that children will think are fun to read.

8. Whom do you most admire in the realm of writing and why?

Some of my favourite writers are cartoonists and/or graphic novelists. Ben Katchor, in his long-form comic strip “Julius Knipl, Real Estate Photographer,” has created a world that is simultaneously familiar and bizarre. Chris Ware writes and draws about the inner lives of lonely, often desperate people, and his innovations in the world of sequential narrative have been ground-breaking. His most recent project, “Building Stories,” is a masterpiece.

I also love reading non-fiction, particularly American history. Some of my favourites over the years have been Robert Caro’s The Power Broker, Isabel Wilkerson’s The Warmth of Other Suns, and David Finkel’s The Good Soldiers and Thank You For Your Service. There are also two writers whose work I always admire in newspapers and magazines: Elizabeth Kolbert and James Carroll.

9. Many artists set themselves very ambitious goals. What are yours?


Click here to grab a copy

I’m fortunate enough to have achieved my childhood dream of seeing my comic strip syndicated. Beyond that, the only goals I have concern the health and happiness of my family and friends.

10. What advice do you give aspiring writers?

It’s usually aspiring cartoonists, rather than aspiring writers, who seek me out for advice. Young cartoonists are often over-focused on the importance of artwork in comics. My own opinion is that being a good writer is a far more important skill than being able to draw well. A great-looking comic book with beautiful illustrations will fall flat if the story isn’t engaging. But if a story has memorable characters and crisp dialogue, even stick-figure drawings might suffice. So I always advise people to make sure they write every single day. Writing is really no different than playing a musical instrument: you improve with practice.

Lincoln, thank you for playing.

Grab a copy of Big Nate in the Zone here

Caroline Baum Reviews… When Mr Dog Bites by Brian Conaghan

Click for more details...Caroline Baum: I’m going to say what everyone else is going to say: When Mr Dog Bites does for Tourette’s what Mark Haddon’s The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night Time did for Asperger’s.

Dylan Mint (great name) is a wonderfully realised creation, a boy with a wonderfully fruity turn of phrase and a great attitude.

Of course he gets the wrong end of the stick about a lot of adult things, and these misunderstandings provide playful, funny, bittersweet plot twists and turns but it’s his pre-teen personality with its hormonally surges and involuntary outbursts of obscenities that makes this such an entertaining read.

Publisher’s Blurb: Dylan Mint has Tourette’s. His life is a constant battle to keep the bad stuff in – the swearing, the tics, the howling dog that seems to escape whenever he gets stressed… But a routine visit to the hospital changes everything. Overhearing a hushed conversation between the doctor and his mother, Dylan discovers that he’s going to die next March.

So he decides to grant himself three parting wishes, or ‘Cool Things To Do Before I Cack It’. Number one on the list is to have ‘real’ intercourse with his stunning and aloof classmate Michelle Malloy. Secondly, Dylan pledges to ‘fight heaven and earth, tooth and nail, dungeons and dragons’ so that his best friend Amir can find a new ‘best bud’. And finally he has to get his dad back from the war so that mum can stop crying so much.

It’s not a long list, but it’s ambitious, and he doesn’t have much time. But as Dylan sets out to make his wishes come true, he discovers that nothing – and no-one – is quite as he had previously supposed.

Grab a copy of When Mr Dog Bites here

About the Author

Brian Conaghan is the author of the acclaimed The Boy Who Made It Rain (Sparkling Books, 2011). He is a forty-year-old Scot, living and working as a teacher in Dublin, and has an MLitt in Creative Writing from the University of Glasgow. When Mr Dog Bites is his second book.

When Mr Dog Bites comes in this cool YA edition as well…

Book comes in this cool YA edition as well


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