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Saturday, March 31, 2018

A To Z Challenge 2018! A is for Felice Arena

First in the theme: Aussie Children's and YA writers!

Felice Arena is a Melbourne-based writer for middle-grade children. Before starting his career as a bestselling children’s author, he was an actor, both on stage and on the TV series Neighbours. He was brought up in the Victorian country town of Kyabram.

With his childhood friend, footballer Garry Lyon, he is best-known for his series of football-themed novels whose hero, Specky Magee, is a young boy who is passionate about Australian Rules football, which is strange, because nobody else in his family is interested in watching, let alone playing the game. He believes that his late father was a famous football player  for his favourite team and spends much of the first novel trying to find out. The Specky Magee books are funny and gentle and even this non-fan of football enjoyed them!

The series is very popular with our students, especially the reluctant readers. Actually, it's very popular in general in this country where football is a religion! One of his books was launched at a football ground, and the place was packed. 

We used it as an option for Literature Circles when we were doing that at my school, for students who enjoyed football.  There is plenty of meat for discussion in this book. I bought all the novels in the series for my library. Felice Arena very kindly did an interview on this blog with some of my students, one of whom printed it out and carried it around for weeks! 

Felice has also done a number of other series, plus some stand-alones. I have just downloaded one of them, The Boy And The Spy, a middle grade novel set in wartime Sicily, and I see it has already been turned into a stage play and performed by Year 11 drama students in Geneva. It should be interesting to read, as his usual style is gentle humour. I’ll let you know when I’ve read it!

Here's where you can find out more and buy it!  And here is a link to the author's web site.


Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

Hi Sue - interesting to learn about Felice Arena ... sounds like a good alternative - cheers Hilary

Random Musings said...

I haven't heard of him before. I thought I'd know him from Neighbours, but a quick Google and I don't, then again, I haven't watched it since the early 90s lol

Sue Bursztynski said...

Thanks, Hilary! It's a theme I know a lot about. I'm still trying to work out how the new A to Z system works, not as simple as last year - and for some reason, I can't seem to manage clickable links any more, it's not accepting, so I might just have to stick in unclickable links for people to paste.

Sue Bursztynski said...

Hi, RM! Never mind, he’s much better known these days as a children’s writer.

Calensariel said...

Oh my gosh! You must know of a lot of authors! I've read a few Aussie books. Cloudstreet by Tim Winton has been my favorite. :)

Sue Bursztynski said...

Hi Calansariel! Yes, I know a fair few, some personally. I’m a librarian, you see. Tim Winton wrote some children’s books as well as adult ones. There’s a series called Lockie Leonard, about a boy who lives in Western Australia on the coast and is passionate about surfing. I may slip in a short post about him later, when I get to W, along with Gabrielle Wang.