Jack Likes Jam

Jack Likes Jam: Jack is the new baby, but nothing seems to stop him crying. The family are at their wits end until his big sister, the narrator, finds out by accident one day that Jack likes jam. All is well at last. (698 words) Themes: Family, Problem solving (Zip Stage 4) (Flesch grade 1.3) (Lexile 220) This story is very simple in its basic premise, despite the impression that its readability measure suggests, and is more appropriate for younger children.

The Big Sister

The Big Sister: Morgan is really annoyed at the privileged status of the new baby, James. She wishes he had never come along at all! However, one night, when he takes ill, things change forever. She forgets her anger and realises that she wants him after all. (528 words) Themes: Love, Family feeling, Getting things in perspective (Zip Stage 7) (Flesch grade 3.8) (Lexile 530)

Danny's New Glasses

Danny’s New Glasses: A story about bullying, with a happy ending. Danny has new glasses, and he is getting a lot of teasing about it. However, there is a magical twist to the story, and with the help of a strange old woman, Danny’s problems are resolved and the bully vanquished. (825 words) Theme: Bullying (Zip Stage 4) (Flesch grade 2.5) (Lexile 140)

The Luckiest Catch

The Luckiest Catch: Another sibling rivalry story: Henry doesn’t want anything to do with his little sister, Molly, but he is forced to take her fishing with him. Henry starts out barely tolerating her clumsy actions. But things turn out differently and the story ends very much to his satisfaction. (905 words) Themes: Family is important, Be tolerant (Zip Stage 6) (Flesch grade 3.1) (Lexile 430)

Don't Mess With Jess

Don’t Mess With Jess: Jess and Lucy sit together in class, but they don’t get along. Everything that Jess does, Lucy copies. It’s driving Jess crazy. However, after messing up a class project on purpose they have to do detention together – and things change for the better. (820 words) Themes: Acceptance, Friendship (Zip Stage 7) (Flesch grade 3.6) (Lexile 560)

The New Girl

The New Girl: Jess has started at a new school while her Mum is recovering in hospital from an accident. However, she’s being bullied by a group of girls. Then one of the bullies, Kylie, is herself involved in an accident outside Jess’ house. Suddenly things change completely, and for the better. (991 words) Themes: Bullying, Understanding, Acceptance (Zip Stage 7) (Flesch grade 3.6) (Lexile 600)

Jamie's Secret

Jamie’s Secret: The secret is that Jamie can’t read, though he pretends to. He has got away with it for some time. But his new teacher, Miss Cherry, realises that something is wrong. She makes it her job to find out what his problem is, and help him to solve it. (983 words) Themes: Kindness, Understanding, Education (Zip Stage 7) (Flesch grade 4.2) (Lexile 530)

A Laugh A Day

A Laugh a Day: Another story about bullying. Tim doesn’t want to go to school because he is being teased. He doesn’t want to “dob” on his tormentors either. Then he finds a way to defuse the aggression of the children, using humour. After a few days, laughter has changed things completely. (838 words) Themes: Bullying, Self belief, Ingenuity (Zip Stage 5) (Flesch grade 2.1) (Lexile 320)


Crash: Amanda is often naughty on the school bus, and not above teasing the driver, grumpy Mr Crump. However, her actions one day lead to a crash, with quite serious consequences. She knows what she did, but will she own up to it? A sensitive tale about a girl who sees the error of her ways, and saves a vulnerable man’s self esteem. (1200 words) Themes: Honesty, Kindness, Self esteem (Zip Stage 6) (Flesch grade 3.4) (Lexile 490) This story is not challenging linguistically, but its key issues are quite profound, and it is more appropriate for older children.

Two Hours from Town

Two Hours from Town: Jay lives in the outback on a remote cattle station. One day her mother is taken ill and rushed off with the Flying Doctor. Jay is left on her own. She confronts a snake and copes well with her loneliness. This story has a surprising and warm ending. (791 words) Themes: Bravery, Family values (Zip Stage 8) (Flesch grade 4.0) (Lexile 690)

Meg's Mum Can't Fly

Meg’s Mum Can’t Fly: Meg is embarrassed because her Mum doesn’t seem to have any special talents, so she makes one up. That she can fly. This daring and somewhat foolish pronouncement looks like causing her even more trouble – but fortunately her Mum saves the day with an act of extraordinary daring. (1351 words) Themes: Acceptance, Love, Lies don’t solve problems (Zip Stage 8) (Flesch grade 3.3) (Lexile 790)