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  • Published: 2 June 2020
  • ISBN: 9781760895150
  • Imprint: Puffin
  • Format: Paperback
  • Pages: 96
  • RRP: $15.99

What Zola Did on Monday

From the author of Looking for Alibrandi comes this gorgeous series to engage and entertain newly independent young readers.

Zola loves living on Boomerang Street with her mum and her nonna. Every day of the week is an adventure. But Zola has a problem. No matter how much she tries, she can't keep out of trouble!Seven stories in the series – one for every day of the week.

  • Published: 2 June 2020
  • ISBN: 9781760895150
  • Imprint: Puffin
  • Format: Paperback
  • Pages: 96
  • RRP: $15.99

About the authors

Melina Marchetta

Melina Marchetta is an internationally bestselling and award-winning author in more than twenty countries and eighteen languages. Her thirteen books range from beloved young adult fiction and fantasy through to contemporary and crime fiction, and works for younger readers. Her much-loved Australian classic Looking for Alibrandi swept the pool of literary awards when it was published, and was also released as a film, adapted by Marchetta, winning an AFI Award and an Independent Film Award for best screenplay, as well as the New South Wales Premier’s Literary Award and the Film Critics Circle of Australia Award. In 2009 Marchetta won the prestigious Michael L. Printz Award from the American Library Association. Her most recent novel is The Place on Dalhousie. She lives in Sydney.

Deb Hudson

Deb Hudson is passionate about drawing bright, happy and colourful images that evoke emotion and thought in the viewer – the dreamy, joy- and wonder-filled moments of the everyday. She has been drawing and creating since she was a little girl and lives in the fabulous city of Melbourne with her husband, three kids, energetic border collie and a bright yellow canary.

Praise for What Zola Did on Monday

Marchetta weaves a simple but engaging story that encompasses multigenerational families and a close-knit community working together. The black and white drawings by debut illustrator Deb Hudson are absolutely gorgeous and add a great deal of charm to an already delightful story. What Zola Did on Monday is a great book for a child who is in the early stages of their reading journey. Early readers aged 5–7 are very fortunate to now have a Melina Marchetta story just for them.

Angela Crocombe, Books + Publishing

This is certainly a departure from Looking for Alibrandi and Melina’s other novels for YA but what an absolute joy it is! From start to finish it ticks every box I love! Zola lives with her mum and Nonna Rosa in a little house in the suburbs, with her cousin and bestie, Alessandro, living directly behind. Before the two lost their Nonno Nino, he cut a gate into the back fence so they could spend as much time together as possible – whenever Alessandro is not at his dad’s place. Everyone in the neighbourhood loves their beautiful front garden filled with flowers and Nonna Rosa loves the backyard with its vegetable garden even more. But although Zola loves flowers she certainly does not like gardening! At school her Year 2 class are temporarily housed across the road from the school, which is being renovated, within the grounds of the much-neglected community garden. Zola’s teacher Ms Divis is keen on gardens, community and sustainability – the perfect combination to inspire her little charges to take on the project of rejuvenating the community garden as well as investigating their neighbourhood’s local history. Zola does have a knack for finding herself in sticky situations like leaving the back-fence gate open so that Alessandro’s naughty dog causes destruction in the backyard and even worse, ruining the newly planted special seeds Nonna Rosa had saved, given to her by Nonno Nino. But luckily she is also a smart little cookie who can come up with a solution to her various little problems. This is about so much more than the very important theme of growing our own food (itself so timely at present) and being attuned with nature, it’s about re-connecting with community and sharing care, compassion and concern. There is a rich diversity in families with single parents, same-sex parents, multi-generational families and different cultures. Thankfully it’s the first in a series – one for each day of the week – so there is more joy to come. Perfect for newly independent readers or for class or home read-alouds, I highly recommend this for little humans from around 6 years upwards.

Sue Warren, https://losangzopa.wordpress.com/2020/05/23/what-zola-did-on-monday-melina-marchetta-illustrated-by-deb-hudson/

A charming series that will enchant all who read it.

The Book Muse

A beautiful big family, cousins living in the house behind you, a hole in the fence for you to climb through and play. A beautiful street, a community of people you love… a neglected garden that everyone has forgotten. . . . . . a beautiful junior novel about family and community. . . It truly does warm your heart as you read it . . . This is a junior fiction series to pay attention to. It’s absolutely stunning!


Hooray for a new quality series of chapter books for newly independent readers . . . (5-7 years) about the high-spirited Zola, who lives with her mum and Nonna Rosa. Her cousin Alessandro lives in the house behind. Marchetta shows us a diverse family unit – three generations of females living together, highlighting the reality that all families are different. I love how Zola and Alessandro communicate by signalling through their bedroom windows with solar lanterns, prompting a beautiful image of lights flickering across the dark, connecting Zola with her young cousin. The strength of this story is in its sensitive handling of grief and loss. The almost tangible presence of Nonno Nino weaves throughout the story – he is gone, but his presence lives on through the memories of him that his family carry. This is also a story about the power of gardening to heal and bring community together. Zola initially doesn’t enjoy gardening in the same way her Nonna does as Nonna Rosa has "soooo many rules” about gardening. Then one day Nonna Rosa asks Zola and Alessandro to help her plant some ‘special seeds.’ But what unexpected mishap will occur to make Nonna Rosa sad? And how will Zola fix things and make her Nonna smile again? This is a story bursting with warmth, family love, troublesome dogs, and growing things. Young readers are gently introduced to the concept of the way in which our loved ones can live on through memories and the things they leave behind, which keeps them alive in our hearts. Young readers will also develop an awareness of the cycle of life: the community garden at school has been neglected, but with care and attention is able to flourish again. The final two pages provide instructions on how to grow tomatoes just like Zola did, by saving tomato seeds. Hopefully this book will instigate in its audience an interest in growing organic food and preserving water from showering - and other household activities - to water our plants with. It is never too early to highlight these concepts to our children if we want to raise a generation who are aware of the need to protect our environment and its resources. This story also demonstrates how communal gardens have the power to join community together through a shared goal and space. This book is perfect for beginning readers who are ready to try reading chapter books on their own or aloud to an adult. Alternatively, the book is also perfect for a caregiver to read aloud to a child who is not quite ready to read independently but still enjoys a story with a little more heart and solid storyline. There is definitely a gap in the market for quality series aimed at this particular age group. Even slightly older readers would enjoy these books because Zola is such a delightful, thoughtful, and slightly mischievous character. The text is broken up with Deb Hudson’s charming black and white illustrations, which add warmth to the story and depict a diversity of characters. I look forward to seeing what Zola does on the other days of the week when these books are released!

Sandy Bigna, https://sbigna.wixsite.com/mysite/post/what-zola-did-on-monday-by-melina-marchetta

Highly recommended. A series of stories for the newly capable reader [that] will captivate its audience as they read of a girl just like them: one who gets into trouble without trying to, who seemingly does the wrong thing without meaning to, but is loved and cherished despite her shortcomings . . . Well supported with charming, family friendly illustrations, this lovely rounded story is told with a sensitivity for the generations that have preceded us. The tale will delight younger readers, eager to find out how Zola resolves the situation she has made.

Fran Knight, readplus.com.au

There is a story for every day of the week in Melina Marchetta’s new series for newly independent readers – not that each bright little chapter book is confined to one day: we don’t find out what Zola and her cousin Alessandro do on Mondays until the end of a book in which a lot of things happen and a modern neighbourhood is unobtrusively set up. . . The book is in eight spacious large-print chapters with Deb Hudson’s very expressive illustrations in shades of grey and black on almost every page. . . Young readers – particularly girls? – are encouraged with tick lists and pretty name-plates to collect the whole series and embark on an entertaining and instructive pathway to reading competence.

Katharine England, Magpies

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