My top 3 books of 2020

Hey cHEwy gum gums!

One blessing of 2020 has been the extra time to read, and I’ve been thankful that I’ve managed to read a ton of books, mostly to support my friends and for my book reviews on my YouTube Channel. So here are my picks 🙂

Bear in Space by Deb Abela and Marjorie Crosby-Fairall

This is a book for the dreamers, the ones who love to read to learn, and then they go off to play with facts and dreams in their head. Bear loves Space and is off on an adventure to whizz around the solar system. He doesn’t mind if nobody wants to join him in his rocket ship (come on, there are hot chocolates with marshmallows, what’s not to like?) Bear is just like me, except replace Space with Dinosaurs. I didn’t care if nobody wanted to have dinosaur adventures with me, I was content on my own. Marjorie dazzles with her soft, furry illustrations. The ending revolves around friendships, that like Bear’s rocket ship, will orbit around your head for awhile 🙂

Tricky Nick by Nicholas J Johnson

I’ve seen many magicians live on stage, and one of their major tricks is distraction. Sometimes it’s through their charm or comedian-like persona. Some magicians can do stand-up comedy because their tricks are just as sharp as their delivery of jokes. Enter Tricky Nick, an aspiring kid magician who meets an crazy magician or three. Even if you don’t like magic or magicians, you’ll be laughing your head off with all the off-cut jokes, zingers and wry observations I haven’t seen since Terry Pratchett rocked it with the Johnny Middle Grade stories. Take a leap of faith and give him a go.

The F team by Rawah Arja

Written by a teacher in the trenches of a Western Sydney High School, nothing is censored. Nothing. You get the good, bad and ugly side of a bunch of footy-mad boys from Punchbowl High who have to team up with some boys from Cronulla. Think of all of those jokes, thoughts and words you wish you could write/say out loud but wouldn’t have the guts to.

Arja goes there. She doesn’t hold back. She tells it like it is. As someone who is proud to be a westie, even I had a filter when I wrote Thai-riffic! because I didn’t want go too far. I have to admire Arja for her bravery and my goodness, it makes for a masterpiece.

Tariq Nader’s voice is un-cut and unrelenting, as he talks and fights his way through family, friendships, rival footy teams, racism and school life. From the little touches such as the cans of V, to the cameo of a NRL legend, this is as real as it gets. What I adore the most about this is the sense of place. It’s a love letter to Punchbowl.

When I harp on about new voices, especially those based in Western Sydney and from other cultural backgrounds, this is what I’m talking about. And I’m so glad that many more will discover why it’s so important to write stories like this.

So what are your favourite books of 2020? Let me know 🙂


About the author

I'm an author, stand-up comedian and teacher. My books include Thai-riffic!, Con-nerd, Punchlines and The Other Christy. I'm a massive Nintendo fan and love eating burgers. Follow me on Twitter or Instagram @oliverwinfree

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