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Aussie Kid Heroes
Dianne Bates
Illustrated by Marjory Gardner

This book, in Guinness Book of Records style, tells the remarkable true stories of some of Australia’s youngest heroes.

At different times and in different ways, these brave, clever, adventurous, creative, athletic, caring or enterprising young Australians have done something amazing.

The stories are accompanied by quirky cartoon illustrations that will amuse children.

The book includes a range of incredible stories from the 18th Century to the present day.




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ISBN 9781921479144Junior NF, PB 128pp

US $15

GB £11 €13
ISBN 9781921479779 eBk AU

Heroes inspire others in many different ways—through their bravery, creativity, resourcefulness or skill. However, as Dianne Bates shows in her new book Aussie Kid Heroes, you don’t have to be Superman or even an adult to be a hero.

Aussie Kid Heroes, Bates’ 101st book, delves into the achievements of Australian children throughout history. There is something for everyone. The book is divided into 12 sections of interest, canvassing different areas of excellence. These include Brave Kids, Artists, Caring Kids, Clever Kids and Ambassadors.

And there’s no doubt about it, these kids are amazing. Two examples of the hundreds in the book are 13-year-old Arthur Shepherd who, responsible for raising his nine siblings, supported them, and eventually half of his town, by mining for gold in an abandoned shaft; or Allison McGuirk who began the ‘Just Say No’ drug campaign.

Reluctant readers should find the layout of Aussie Kid Heroes attractive. Bates writes in a clear and uncomplicated manner. The short, easy to read snippets are punctuated by Marjory Gardner’s humorous black-and-white illustrations. A bibliography at the end of the book provides a reference for further reading.

Aussie Kid Heroes celebrates children. It highlights that children can make a difference in the world whether it be by utilising their gifts or acting in a time of crisis. Children of all ages (and adults) will be fascinated by the stories told within Aussie Kid Heroes. Some may be inspired to harness their abilities and follow their dreams.

– Vicki Stanton, Buzz Words

Dianne Bates has compiled a well-researched and excellent mix of entries for her excellent Aussie Kid Heroes. As the name suggests, the book is all about true, amazing and astonishing feats of heroism, courage, strength, abilities and other admirable traits, of children. They come under twelve different headings with a rich bibliography for anyone interested in further reading or research.

It opens with an heroic story from Brave Kids, about sixteen-year-old Grace Bussell and Aboriginal stockman Sam Isaacs who in 1876, saved 40 people that were shipwrecked on the West Australian coast.

Inventors and Designers includes, along with lots of other true tales, the story of a 14 year-old flag designer who was joint winner in a competition in 1901, in which over 30,000 people entered. An 11 year-old invented a Pool Alarm System, and a 12 year-old devised an electronically operated watering system to protect trees from frost bite. To make cooking easier for disabled people, a nine-year-old created a three-geared, Super Turbo Mixer – an automatic pot stirrer that stirs cooking pots of liquid.

Included are the modern success stories of Kylie Minogue, Jason Donovan, Kate Richie and Claudia Karvan. There is the tale of a one-handed pianist, sport stories, and tales of enterprising kids that made great wealth from ideas they’d thought up. There is the moving and inspirational story of disabled champion athlete, Anne Curie, born without legs and a deformed right hand, who till four years-old was a State ward in a children’s home.

Then there are Caring Kids, a series of moving entries about heroic children who became the caregivers either to large families, and/or sick or disabled parents or siblings.

This is a rich, informative collection of modern and older stories that will interest, inspire and move readers deeply about children, known and unknown, who left their mark in some extraordinary and individual way on the world. Full of interesting facts, not a word is wasted within the 118 pages. This is a priceless addition to any bookshelf.

– Anastasia Gonis, The Reading Stack



Dianne Bates

Wollongong author, Di Bates has written over 90 books for the trade and educational markets. Her most recent children’s books are The Hold-Up Heroes (Museum of Australia), Big Bad Bruce (Koala Books) and Crossing the Line (Ford Street Publishing).

Some of Di’s books have won national and state awards, and have sold overseas in translation. She has also been awarded grants and fellowships from the Literature Board of the Australia Council.

Di has worked as an editor for children’s magazines and for a provincial newspaper. She currently works as a freelance writer and compiler of Buzz Words. She is married to award-winning children’s author, Bill Condon.



Marjory Gardner

Marjory Gardner is a freelance children’s book illustrator whose work has appeared in a wide range of trade and educational books and magazines published in Australia and internationally.




16-year-old Grace Bussell and young Aboriginal stockman Sam Isaacs saved 40 out of 48 people in 1876 after the Georgette was shipwrecked off the Western Australia coast...

At the age of 14, Melinda Tubolec won a trip to the United States to spend five days in an astronaut-training program at the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA). During the program Melinda won awards for her innovative space station designs and simulated space shuttle missions...

On his first try to scale Mount Everest (the world’s highest mountain), Christopher Harris became the youngest person to climb above 7,000 metres. Christopher started mountaineering with his dad Richard at just eight years of age. Since then, Christopher has won the Australian Geographic’s Young Adventurer of the Year award...

Justin Kroh has been blind since he was five years old. However, he entered and won the 1993 UNICEF Art Award when he was 11. Justin’s collage, titled How the Crocodile Got to Like Fish, was judged the best overall entry from a total of 4,890 entries from 254 schools.



[Read more on GoogleBooks]

eNews 39: Di Bates about Aussie Kid Heroes

Check out Marjory Gardner's website.