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Carly Mills, Pioneer Girl: Superstar by Jane Smith

Title: Carly Mills, Pioneer Girl: Superstar

Author: Jane Smith

Genre: Historical Fiction, Time slip

Publisher: Big Sky Publishing

Published: 8th February 2021

Format: Paperback

Pages: 140

Price: $12.50

Synopsis: When Carly Mills goes to Melbourne with the school choir, she gets more than she bargained for: a trip back in time and a chance meeting with a mischievous little girl who might just grow up to be the world-famous opera singer, Dame Nellie Melba. If Carly is to help the little girl achieve her dream, she will have to endure Nellie’s practical jokes, an angry headmaster, and her father’s belief that opera is not a fit career for a lady. Not to mention Simone’s bad moods and Dora’s terrible singing.


In this empowering new series feisty tween and time-traveller Carly Mills discovers how the female pioneers paved the way to help change the world. Through gutsy determination, integrity and courage, trailblazing women such as Caroline Chisholm, Dr Lilian Cooper, Dame Nellie Melba, Florence Nightingale, Amelia Earhart, Marie Curie and Miles Franklin achieved remarkable things. In each adventure, Carly and her friends learn about the past and discover how to apply their examples of dignity, kindness and courage to modern life.

Book 4 – The lady with the lamp – Florence Nightingale –June 2021
Thrust back into London of over a hundred years ago, when girls
were not allowed to have real careers, Carly meets one woman who is
about to change it all: Florence Nightingale.

Book 5 – Taking flight – Amelia Earhart – September 2021
Carly and her friends find themselves back in the past, fighting for
equality alongside one of history’s most charming rebels: Amelia


Carly is in Melbourne with the school choir when her shawl thrusts her back in time with her friends, Dora and Simone. In 1867, 1886 and 1902, they meet Dame Nellie Melba at various stages of her life, as she works towards becoming Australia’s best-loved opera singer. But their initial meetings sound as though Nellie will never become who the world knows her to be! So it is up to Carly and her friends to help – and make sure that Nellie becomes the star they all know about!

The third in this series explores Australian history and is focused on the role women play in history, and what it means for women throughout history, and is a book that will perfectly suit the 2021 CBCA Book Week theme – Old Worlds, New Worlds, Other Worlds. This is one of those books that is educational and inspirational as well as entertaining for younger readers and offers a good introduction to key women in history and gives girls an empowering message that they can be whoever, and whatever, they want to be. We also see female trailblazers celebrated and acknowledged – and ensure that their names are known by generations to come.

Courage, bravery and friendship are key to these stories, and will be fabulous texts to use alongside an Australian history curriculum as well and will work in history and English classes on many levels. These books, whilst simple, are great for a range of ages, from those taking the next step on their reading journey with chapter books to older reluctant readers, or for older students, as an example of said historical figure, time period or attitudes in longer assignments alongside others they may find.

This is one of those exciting, action and character driven series, where the plot is thrust forward all the time, and the characters face many conflicts that drive the narrative. The history is rich and evocative, and truly draws readers into the world of the characters. I believe these sorts of books are awesome to introduce kids to history, moments in history and historical events that have informed who we are and the people who have a place in history. Yet it also shows that some of the old stereotypes and assumptions surrounding what women could, and should do still exist, and are still recognisable as challenges we need to overcome. It celebrates women and highlights them and their contributions to society and shows that these contributions should not be ignored.

An excellent book that is informative and entertaining. The next books look to be just as exciting!

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