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Wendy Orr
Grade 3-6
Victoria

Mornington Peninsula only.

Wendy Orr grew up in France, Canada and the USA, going to eleven schools between pre-school and Year 12. Although she first learned to read and write in French, it was learning to read in her home language of English that made her decide to be a writer. She started immediately: the story that became a first draft of Nim’s Island was written when she was eight. 

On finishing school, however, Wendy studied occupational therapy in England, married an Australian farmer and moved to Australia. They had a son and daughter and now live on five acres of bush in Red Hill – close to the sea but surrounded by trees.

Wendy’s first book, Amanda’s Dinosaur, was published in 1988. Since then, she has written over 40 books for children, teenagers and adults, been published in 29 languages, and garnered a string of awards and accolades, within Australia and internationally, including the CBCA Book of the Year, the Prime Minister’s Award and Adelaide Festival Award for Children’s Literature. Her books include Nim’s Island, the first Australian children’s book to become a Hollywood feature film, the much-loved YA novel Peeling the Onion, and the highly awarded hybrid-verse novel Dragonfly Song. Books + Publishing called her latest book, Honey and the Valley of Horses, a ‘magical story that reads like a classic in all the best ways.’

Wendy believes that every child deserves to find their own spark of creativity to tell the stories they need to tell.

Books by Wendy Orr

Honey and the Valley of Horses

In the mountains there was a valley, and in the valley were the horses.

When Honey was four and her brother Rumi was a tiny baby, her family loaded up their converted ice-cream-van-camper and drove away from all they knew, as an illness swept the sad wide world. High in the mountains, they crossed a bridge to follow a mysterious herd of enchanted horses into a sheltered valley. The bridge and the track disappeared behind them – and now they are trapped in paradise.

In the valley of horses, Honey’s family becomes self-sufficient, fishing, growing vegetables and using solar power. But no messages from the outside world are ever received. When her father falls desperately ill, Honey is sure there must still be people in the big wide world who can help. She is determined to draw on her resourcefulness, self-belief and courage, but will this be enough to find a way out of the valley?

A rich and enchanting adventure full of wonder, resilience and hope.

Nim’s Island

Nim lives on an island in the middle of the wide blue sea with her father, Jack, a marine iguana called Fred, a sea lion called Selkie, a turtle called Chica and a satellite dish for her email. No one else in the world lives quite like Nim, and she wouldn’t swap places with anyone.

But when Jack disappears in his sailing boat, and disaster threatens her home, Nim must be braver than she’s ever been before. And she needs help from her friends, old and new.

Come aboard Nim’s next adventure, Nim at Sea – a dangerous rescue mission to save Selkie and bring back her friend Alex Rover.

Rescue on Nim’s Island

Nim lives on an island with her father, Jack, a marine iguana called Fred, a sea lion called Selkie, and their friend Alex Rover, the adventure writer. Nim’s island is the most beautiful place in the world, and she wouldn’t swap live anywhere else.

When Jack invites a group of scientists to visit, they bring their children as well. But two of the scientists have plans other than studying algae. By the time Nim discovers what they really want, and what they will do to get it, the children are in grave danger. And so is the island! Nim must choose between saving a natural treasure and saving someone’s life.

Nim at Sea

Nim lives on an island in the middle of the wide blue sea with her father Jack, a marine iguana called Fred, a sea lion called Selkie, and their new friend Alex Rover. Nim is as free as a bird, and she wouldn’t swap places with anyone.

But when Alex flies away in the seaplane, without saying goodbye, and Selkie is captured by villains from a cruise ship, Nim must risk everything to bring them back. Her dangerous rescue mission takes her far across the ocean, to New York City. It’s a good thing she has Fred and two new friends by her side.

Dragonfly Song

Abandoned by the priestess of the island at birth, Aissa is an outcast, surviving by her wits – until she joins the acrobatic bull dancers who are sent away to compete on the island of the Bull King.

Swallow’s Dance

I wonder if the first day of Learning is always like this – do the girls on the hill always feel the ground tremble under their feet?

Leira is about to start her initiation as a priestess when her world is turned upside down. A violent earthquake leaves her home – and her family – in pieces. And the goddess hasn’t finished with the island yet.

With her family, Leira flees across the sea to Crete, expecting sanctuary. But a volcanic eruption throws the entire world into darkness. After the resulting tsunami, society descends into chaos; the status and privilege of being noble-born reduced to nothing. With her injured mother and elderly nurse, Leira has only the strength and resourcefulness within herself to find safety.

Cuckoo’s Flight

If she had stayed to load the kiln as she should have, she’d never have seen the ship. Mama said the ship still would have been there, so everything had to happen the way it did. But that’s not true. Clio saw it, and the world changed.

When a raiders’ ship appears off the coast, the goddess demands an unthinkable price to save the town – and Clio’s grandmother creates a sacred statue to save Clio’s life.

But Clio is torn between the demands of guarding the statue and caring for her beloved horses. Disabled in an accident, she must try to put aside her own grief at no longer being able to ride – and in the process, save a friend’s life and stop a war.

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