Paul O’Leary: Overseas Adventures

July 9, 2014 in Comprehension, Primary School, Work Books

Come with Paul on a trip to 5 countries, including Cuba and its Spanish history. In Paris he frets about missing his mother in the Louvre. In Ireland he finds the first of the two wells at Kildare and Glendalough and he has a dream about Druids. In Wales there’s another well, this time like a star and it has healing properties like Lourdes. In England he visits Sherwood Forest and has a dream about being Robin Hood who is chased by the Sheriff. He imagines what it would be like in King Arthur’s time at Glastonbury and he witnesses modern day Druids doing a ceremony at Stonehenge. Last but not least is London where he goes to the usual tourist places.  Historical fiction meets modern day travel seen through the eyes of a 13 year old boy.

Available now as a prepaid ebook (PDF)for $5. Email Michael for an invoice and EFT details.

On Kindle:  for US$2.95




Review by Larak Jhampa:

You may read this book in two ways: as a fictional story on travel and adventure, or as an informative travel guide. Whichever way you go, you are going to find it both entertaining and worth your money. I read it…as I was interested (in) Cuba,  France, United Kingdom…and I was not disappointed in the least. 

If you pay close attention, you will also get some little tidbits and insights about the culture and society of these countries, again something that is not readily available in most tour guides.

Eg. Paul flying around the Eiffel Tower like a bat then meeting up with Quasimodo at Notre Dame.

Review by MA:

If I had to write a travel book, it would not have been half as interesting as this, as he describes his travels to Havana and Europe – London, Paris. The moment I opened this book, I felt I was already in my favourite haunts, walking through those great museums, and fascinating places as I joined Michael on his travels. I felt I was re-reading the same tale as he did, taking me through The Tale of Two Cities. I felt the same pulsation and excitement as he felt in the middle of the night just thinking of those adventures. Alas! I have been able to revisit those places through this book and inhale the same air as though I were here in person.


Paul O’Leary: Trouble on the Farm

May 6, 2014 in Comprehension, Primary School

This is Paul’s story from when he arrived in Melbourne from Broome. No sooner are his family back at Glenroy, than his mother finds work in Sunbury, in the north-west. It’s too far to commute every day so Paul’s family is going to live on a sheep farm. The first troubleshot is Lassie chasing the sheep. Harry employs a dog whisperer to help them out. The second troubleshot is getting to school as there’s a busy road to cross. The third troubleshot is they only have one car so have to organise themselves for school, shopping and the Scouts. The fourth troubleshot and conflict of the story is Paul’s inability to read his Kindle. He’s too tired from doing all his chores like bringing in the wood. He keeps falling asleep every time he lays down. The fifth troubleshot is they only have an enclosed wood heater to heat the house. The sixth troubleshot is a a bushfire and how Paul helps out to save his grandparent’s house.

And there’s comprehension questions and answers.

Sample or purchase Paul O’Leary: trouble on the farm

on Kindle:

for US$2.99 or a pre-paid ebook/PDF for  $5. Contact Michael who can send you an invoice with the EFT details.


Review by Marion Lovato:

This next edition of Paul’s adventures…is another enjoyable book. I really like the way the author depicts the family working together, (and) not only in good times.

Training Lassie so Grandpa won’t get mad at her for chasing the sheep; keeping watch while fire threatens their homes; adjusting to life on a farm are all examples of this.

Paul still has his dreams which are very vivid and colorful. Many good examples of behavior and values are provided for boys around the age of 12. I also liked learning some of the history of the area where Paul and his family are living.


Review by MA:

This book is very dynamic. It shows Michael’s innate gift as a writer as he captures that dynamism taking the reader onboard as he himself moves. 

Every sentence in this book sets off a spark of readiness, as though we are on a perpetual caravan journey



The Journal of Paul O’Leary: from the city to the outback

November 29, 2013 in Comprehension, Lower Secondary, Primary School, Work Books

The Journal of Paul O’Leary: from the city to the outback is about a 10 year old boy who leaves Melbourne for Broome, in Western Australia, 4,000 km away. Reading Age: 10-12

This story has a conversational narrative recorded by a boy who was less articulate with language and study than with sport and boys’ games – his favourite pastime. He is a typical boy who had a close relationship with his mum and dad and friends. Not forgetting Lassie, his dog. And his desire to do well in all he tackled. The journal maintained a steady pace with credibility and engaged me.

Sandra Finger Lee, editor.


This is a wonderful story about a boy named Paul, from Paul’s perspective. This would make it more enjoyable for children of this age to read. Being from the US I learnt some different words for things used in Australia. And the dreams Paul had were made quite vivid by the author.

Marion Lovato, reviewer.


…Impressions will change inevitably as he grows up…precious memorabilia from the future. Plus there’s an account of a most fascinating experience of the outback in Australia.

MA reviewer.


…A charming story tracing Paul’s journey. He has a great imagination, always wanting to explore. He finds friends and adventures everywhere and his father encourages him to keep a journal. Recommended if you want to relax with a detailed life of a 10 year old.

Robert Gillman, teacher, reviewer.


A story of the great outback of Australia and a growing up 10-year-old. A wonderful story about 10-year-old Paul, as he with his father finally joined his mother into the great outback of Broome.

The description of the outback of Australia is really great, since I have experienced a part of the great outback myself and learned to love it. Such wonderful colours, no other country has.

And Paul’s dreams? Well, you really have to get the book to find that out…

G. Sedlmayer reviewer



There are comprehension questions for each of the 20 chapters.


It is available now for $2.99 on Kindle

FREE at Kobo and Smashwords

and print on demand at CreateSpace for US$7.53 plus postage.

The A5 paperback is available for $20 plus $6 express post.

Also available as an eBook for $5 – 2017 special. Email Michael for the invoice.



5  My Last Days in Melbourne.

I was really tired by the time I arrived home and lay down before tea. Dad woke me about 6 pm with some of his spaghetti bolognaise. He let me work on his laptop afterwards but only for an hour. I used my notes and my workbook to do a timeline, and searched on the Internet for anything missing. I didn’t finish but there was always tomorrow.

There was also an email from an Andrew in the Scouts. This is a list of their activities:

Scouts in Broome is a unique outdoor and lifestyle focused adventure full of camping, campfires, hiking, orienteering, rope bridges, swimming, rafting, billy-cart racing, learning how to build really cool and amazing stuff (pizza ovens, floats, bows and arrows, snare traps, tee pees, and so on and so on …), also learning to stretch your imagination and learn and understand how ‘stuff works’ …. You get to make water rockets, plant your own veggie garden, learn about aboriginal culture and bush medicine, learn to handle snakes and reptiles (if your game), learn to survive in the bush with little or no food or gear …. Also engage your creative side by painting a sunset, making a sand castle, build your own 3d creation out of marshmallows and kebab sticks, sing songs and entertain with skits and plays and take part in our scouts got talent challenge.

 Yup just your normal raft up the Fitzroy with the croc’s and set up your tent in the reception of McDonalds …. or cruise around town in a double decker bus learning the history of our wonderful town. Taking part in the Anzac day parade in uniform, sitting down with the old war veterans and learning of their tales, hopping on board one of the navy ships for an under-deck privileged tour of the operating boat, or simply walking along Cable Beach and picking up rubbish from behind the sand dunes with the ranger.

Wow. It sounds really great and Dad was impressed as well. And  they meet on Tuesdays.


Dad has been busy packing up heaps of boxes and has lined them up outside under the verandah so they’ll stay dry. He has written on the outside of each box what’s inside and what is fragile. He hopes the removalists keep this in mind though he has wrapped up everything carefully. He’s used some doonas to wrap the crockery in. I think he’s done 50 so far which means we have an awful lot of stuff.

Dad has now packed his printers and the binder away so no more printing and binding of orders. He’s found a printer in Broome and has already put in an order as a school has ordered a book. He told them he won’t be up for another three weeks and they seemed okay with that.

We’re allowed six suitcases on the plane between us so I have to figure out what to take and what I want to wear before we leave. Most of my books I’ll leave behind or give to the op shop. That goes for my old clothes too, especially those I’ve outgrown.

I had a large garbage bag for the op shop. Each day I tried on some old clothes and if they didn’t fit, into the garbage bag they went. The same for my shoes. Dad said to take one good black leather pair, a  pair of sandals, and to wear my runners on the plane.  Being hot and wearing sandals all the time is my kind of heaven. I wonder if there are any snakes around and I’ve heard there are crocodiles in the mangroves so I’ll stay away from there.


Sustainability in the 21st century part 3 A-Z (year 7)

June 10, 2013 in Blackline Masters, Comprehension, Lower Secondary, Science, Sustainability, Work Books

Year 7 science: available 2014

Sustainability in the 21st century Part 3 A-Z gives students a look at various

ideas which they may start now or when they are older. An updated Story of Stuff is also included.

This manual prepares them for their future in an unsustainable world and gives them some tangible ways of redressing this.

  • Year 7 Science
  • Science and understanding – organisms and food chains
  • Earth and space sciences – non-renewables and water
  • Science as a human endeavour:
  • Nature and development of science – connecting ideas:
  • Use and influence of science – human activity and occupations

The ideas in this manual were garnered from the Sustainable Living Festival in Melbourne in 2013.

Students are sometimes asked to search and type in websites to obtain the answers to questions.  Answers are given at the back of this manual.

Again, this is a stand-alone book though Part 1 looks at broader issues like past civilisations and why they collapsed, peak oil and our footprint.

Part 2 is Growing your own where students research what they wish to grow. Permaculture is looked at, as well as no-dig gardens.

Part 3 also looks at gardening and our footprint.

Blackline Masters and 62 pages.

Price: $10 for the prepaid eBook. Email Michael for an invoice. Emailed as a pdf. attachment.

 An example – A

Australian Ethical Investment and Super Funds




There are three main elements of our approach:

1. When you think of ethical investing, you most-likely think of what gets excluded – what we call a

negative screen. This is an important part of the story if you don’t want your money funding things like tobacco, uranium or coal mining, exploitation of people or old growth forest logging.

2. Also important, is the positive side. With Australian Ethical, your money can help build a new low-carbon economy, fund medical breakthroughs, technology breakthroughs, efficient transport and more. E.g. Cochlear for hearing.

3. The third element of our ethical approach is engagement. We use our influence to engage with the management of companies over ethical issues, with the goal of improving their ethical behaviour.


13. What type of companies do they invest in? _____________________






Australians have over $3 Trillion invested in superannuation.

A significant proportion of this pool is invested in companies that are involved in coal mining, CSG, tobacco, old growth forest logging, exploitation of workers or other harmful activities.

We avoid investments that cause unnecessary harm to people, animals, society and the environment.

We seek out positive investments that support people, quality and sustainability.


14. How can you invest? ______________________________________




Computer Walkabout (years 5-6)

April 3, 2013 in Blackline Masters, Comprehension, Primary School, Walkabout series


Computer Walkabout is a workbook to assist students with computer skills.

  • 20 weeks of lessons along with typing practice.
  • a dictionary of computer and Internet terminology.
  •  answers to the word searches (not on Kindle version) and questions.
  • suitable for years 5-6 and older
  • Available as a PDF book via email for $5. Email Michael for an invoice with prepayment details.
  • OR on Kindle at Amazon for US$2.99 without word searches.

Year 5 English curriculum: creating texts

4. Use a range of software including word processing programs with fluency to construct, edit and publish written text, and select, edit and place visual, print and audio elements (ACELY1707)

Year 6 English curriculum: creating texts

4. Use a range of software, including word processing programs, learning new functions as required to create texts (ACELY1717)

The eBook is $5 pre-paid by cheque or EFT and emailed as an attachment. Email Michael for an invoice which will have EFT details.

Manual begins with a dictionary of computer terms.


Review by Milando:

A very thorough textbook and dictionary for computer newbies.

If you have an obscure computer-related term that you don’t understand, you can look it up here , and the book won’t disappoint you. Even though it’s written keeping Windows XP crowd and kids in mind. all the things mentioned here (such as keyboard shortcuts, descriptions of computer-related terms, etc.)are very much valid even for users of newest Windows version and equally helpful to adult computer users as well!…


Sorry it’s been so long to get back to you. VERY detailed. Great lesson ideas, covering a huge amount of needed skills. The intro (what you know) might be too detailed eg. about the history etc. especially for primary schools, but otherwise THANK YOU!!!!!

Miss Karen Eakin

Sir Henry Parkes Memorial Public School



Review byBookReaderon August 29, 2015

It is more or less a computer textbook cum dictionary and quite an exhaustive one at that. Suffice it to say, if you have an obscure computer-related term that you don’t understand, you can look it up here, and the book won’t disappoint you. Even though it’s been written keeping Windows XP crowd and kids in mind, all the things mentioned here (such as keyboard shortcuts, descriptions of computer-related terms, etc.) are very much valid even for users of newest Windows version and equally helpful to adult computer users as well! In fact you get much more than a traditional computer dictionary here, because most of the definitions are more than one-sentence long. Take for example this one: it does not just tell you what computer hardware is, but also about the different varieties of computer hardware available along with the descriptions of each.


Review byMA on November 14, 2015

4.0 out of 5 starsThis book is an easy step by step guidance and written with an end …

This is a practical handbook for those who want to increase their navigational skills through word processing and the internet. This book is an easy step by step guidance and written with an end to educate people in this area.


An example:  Lesson two

 Typing Exercise = copy and paste
Begin a new file by opening up Word and clicking on the envelope icon under File or click on File then New then Blank document.
Call it Nathan’s story. Type the following onto your computer
Nathan was awakened by the sun streaming into his bedroom. He listened intently but could hear no sounds coming from the rest of the house. He found his clothes from yesterday and, after putting on shorts, shirt and hat, made his way to the kitchen, which was separate from the house.      He was careful tiptoeing out the back wire door, but the wind caught it and pulled the catch out of his hand. It banged. His heart hammered and he held his breath, waiting for a shout or pounding footsteps. For the moment he wasn’t able to move.                      Nothing.
To save, <Ctrl> + S = Save.  You will be prompted where to save it so choose under your folder or to your floppy disk. Name the file Nathan’s story.
Highlight the first paragraph by dragging your MOUSE over the paragraph—click on “Nathan” and hold down your left mouse until you get to “house”. You are   going to copy and paste it to the end of the story. If you make a mistake, start again.
Use <Ctrl> + C to copy. Then place your cursor below the word Nothing.
 <Ctrl> + V  to paste it. It should be repeated at the end.
 <Ctrl> + Z will Undo Paste. Your text should now be as you first entered it.
Highlight the first paragraph again by dragging the MOUSE over the paragraph. You are going to copy and paste it to the end of the story again.
Now use your MOUSE and click on the Menu toolbar Edit.
Click on Copy to copy the text.                     Position the cursor with your MOUSE after the word  ‘Nothing’.
Click on Edit then Paste to see the paragraph repeated.           Click on Edit then Undo Paste to undo what you copied.

Continue the story into your file called Nathan’s story.

Slowly, he staggered up from the step, catching his breath.

“Phew, that was close,” he thought. “Where did that gust come from? Maybe there’s a storm brewing. Just my luck when I’ve been offered a chance to go fishing later on. It isn’t fair! First, my father, and now a storm, maybe like the one that took Father’s life.”

Suddenly he didn’t care if anyone had heard him.

He ran down to the beach and howled at the waves. He felt good

letting out his pain without having to act brave all the time.

He looked back up at the cliff and thought he saw movement.

“Hey!” he called out. “Stop!”

Maybe it was one of the local indigenous people. Mr. Ebden, his foster father, said to stay away from all the aborigines. Nathan didn’t want to get off on the wrong foot with his foster father, but he couldn’t understand why the Aborigines frightened Mr. Ebden so.

Save your new text by <Ctrl> + S = Save.

This time highlight from Suddenly through to “Stop!”

You are going to use the Alt key to copy and paste. The letters chosen are underlined e.g. E for Edit.

<Alt> + E = Edit from the Menu toolbar.

Then the letter C for Copy

Position the cursor at the end of the story.

<Alt> + E = Edit then P for Paste

<Alt> + E = Edit then U for Undo Paste.

Your text should be as you first typed it.

<Ctrl> + X will delete any changes you decide not to make.

Highlight the same section, then <Ctrl> + X. This will delete the paragraph.

You can then retrieve it by .<Ctrl> + Z.

Close your work (and Word) by clicking on the X button in the Title bar (the one at the top of the screen on the far right hand side)

* * *



Music Walkabout (years 5-8)

April 3, 2013 in Blackline Masters, Comprehension, Lower Secondary, Primary School, Walkabout series, Work Books

Second edition Nov.2012, checked 2013

Years 5-8 Follows the guidelines for the K-12 National Standards Yrs 5-8, Achievement Standard (4)c. identify and define standard notation symbols for pitch, rhythm, dynamics, tempo, articulation, and expression

Utilises the Internet for information and music.

Order via email to Michael . The eBook is $10 pre-paid by cheque or EFT and emailed as a pdf. attachment. Email for an invoice which will have EFT details.


An example: Lesson 2

1. word search.

2. Type this URL in your address window:


3. The shape of a musical note tells you its pitch (where is it is on the staff and how long it lasts. Read the first paragraph.   4. Copy the parts of a note here: 5. Scroll down to The Length of a Note.   6. Copy the most common note lengths here: 7. Read down to Exercise 1. 8. Do the exercises here and correct yourself. (Click on ‘Show Solution’). a. Ex.1 ———————————————————————- —————————————————————————– ————————————————————————–

9. – 10. deleted.

11.     Draw a staff/stave, place a treble clef at the beginning. Now add the following words to each note that you draw: (look back at your work on Length of a Note). breve=full note semibreve=half note crotchet=quarter note quaver=eighth note semiquaver=sixteenth note demisemiquaver=thirty-second note 12. – 13. deleted. 14. Search for The Simpsons characters 15. Choose any site that mentions characters. 16. Click on one of them. Make short notes on your favourites (choose 6): —————————————————————————————————— ————————————————————————————————— —————————————————————————————————— —————————————————————————————————— —————————————————————————————————— ——————————————————————————————————

17.     Search The Simpsons music

18.     Click on Simpson Crazy! The Simpsons song lyrics and mp3 downloads. (

19.     Scroll down then click on the quavers for The Simpsons main title theme (extended) 20. Click on Listen

21. Note the colours and swirls, etc.

22. Listen again and see if you can work out the duration – the rhythm and metre of the beat: is it even, mixed up, is it quick or slow? ——————————————————————————————-

23. Listen to Krusty the clown and comment as above. ——————————————————————————————

24. Choose two (2) more and comment as above (# 22). ——————————————————————————————— ———————————————————————————————


26. Design a poster that shows what you learnt regarding the length of notes and their names (see # 11).


27. Check your answers for the Duration lesson.

28. Display your poster.


Storyteller Walkabout Workbook

April 3, 2013 in Blackline Masters, Comprehension, Primary School, Walkabout series, Work Books


checked 2013.

The Storyteller Walkabout Workbook is now available at Amazon storyteller for US$2.91 (but no wordsearches).

Less Internet use, more of a workbook

A do-it-yourself practical kit for grade 6 and older students to learn about historical narrative,

Follows the Australian Curriculum on History:

year 6 – migration interview – e.g. at ACARA

Research a period of history (1946-1955) and then

· Write up the interview

· Including the writing of imaginative texts whereby students may describe the setting and the characters, develop a storyline and a conclusion.

· Conduct an interview with a migrant or someone who knew one from that era.

· 10 Blackline Master lesson with Answers

· utilises the Internet
Order via email to Michael .

The eBook is $5 pre-paid by cheque or EFT and emailed as a pdf. attachment. Word searches included plus the answers.

Email for an invoice which will have EFT details.


Review by Larak Jhampa:

Anyone who is interested in learning about the art of storytelling without any of the usual ‘talk down’ found in the books of ‘self-styled gurus’ should get this book. I have not seen a simpler writing style than this. The step-by-step methods are something a newbie can follow quite easily even if he has no previous knowledge with storytelling.

I believe one of the most important lessons in the book is lesson #2. It explains how to frame stories based on 1950’s people…

I was always in awe of historical fiction authors due to the way they could magically create authentic worlds based on time periods set centuries ago. Now I know their secret formula, thanks to Mr. Mardel’s book.

In short, you are going to learn everywhere from where to go to start your research, how to organise your research and turn them into stories, etc.


An example: Lesson 3: 1940s.

A word search.

LOG ON to the Internet.

2.          Search for 1945 in Australia.

3.          Click on the Wikipedia site.

4.          Answer these questions as you work through the years from 1945 to 1949.

[Hint: each successive year is at the top of each entry e.g.  1946 in Australia –   just click on it to open it.]

i.  Who signed the UN Charter in 1945?


ii.  Which political party led Federal parliament between 1945-1949?


iii.  Who was the Prime Minister from 1945-1949?


iv.  When was the Holden car launched?


v.  Which Australian was President of the United Nations General

Assembly in 1948?


vi.  Who was given the vote in Federal elections in 1949?


vii.  When was Australian citizenship established?


5.  Write the URL for 1949 in Australia.


page 18.

7.          Read: What kind of things did go on there?

Well, for a small child … I guess I would be bored now, but as a small child, a lot of interesting things went by…One of the more interesting things was the weekly visit from the corporation dray…  The dray with a big, old horse in front would come down our street and there would be in front of him two men with big brooms and they would sweep up the gutters and the rubbish from the gutters into little heaps and also other horse manure from other callers in the street, and they’d put them into little heaps, then …the old horse coming along would plod along. His driver would walk along side the horse and the horse would stop at each little heap and the driver would shovel the contents into the big dray and then the horse would start plodding again up the street. They did that week after week. The driver took a lot of pride in the horse from memory and a lot of brass giblets hanging down and, and they jingled as they went along, and I was very much attracted to those horses. Then of course the milkman came twice a day. In the mornings I missed him because he came early, but there was an afternoon delivery. The baker called with a horse cart and once a week the rabbito man came. He sold rabbits and he’d come down the street singing out, ‘Rabbito’, and his cart would be a little cart festooned with rabbits hanging …on the side, and if you bought a rabbit with three pence he would chop off the head and skin it. It’d be cleaned beforehand, and then we would have perhaps have rabbit stew that night, [with] perhaps a bit more over for the next day.

8.  Write these questions in your Storyteller journal for later use:

i.  I wonder if we could begin by you describing for me the         house in which you were born, or in which you spent your         early life.

ii.  And the street itself, what was that like? What kind of people lived       in that street?

iii..  Were you exceptionally poor or was everyone around you poor?

iv..  What did your parents hope for you? What was their expectation       of what would become of you and what sort of education you       would have and so on?

From Tape 1 of the Australian Biography, interviewer Robin Hughes on 18 Oct 2000 retrieved 1 April 2008 from

[No longer retrievable.]


9.     In the cities and towns of Australia Clydesdale horses were a common sight in the streets. The sound of their familiar “clip clop” indicated the arrival of a beer  delivery, the ‘milko’, the greengrocer, the baker, etc.

Carlton beer deliveries started about 1864 and finished when motorised trucks   took over just after the Second World War.


10.   Who else besides milkmen used horses to deliver their goods?



11.  i.  On an A4 size poster, divide your paper into four (4) parts.

ii.  List  four (4) people who made home deliveries by horse and     cart.

iii.  Illustrate each one in the four (4) sections.


12.  i.  Check your answers for Storyteller: Lesson 3.

ii.  Display your poster.

* * *

End of Lesson 3


Peddling Wares to the Goldfields (year 5)

April 3, 2013 in Blackline Masters, Colonial History, Comprehension, Primary School


This is an illustrated interactive story for Year 5 students to learn about the goldfields in Victoria and how people of the 1860s and thereabouts made their living supplying the miners.

The Year 5 curriculum calls for a study of colonial Australia in the 1800s.  What was life like for different groups of people in this period.

The idea for the story came from reading the diary of a great great grandfather who supplied the miners, one who was the manager of the mine at Creswick before the mining tragedy, and one who carted gold to S.A.

An examination is called for of significant events and people, political and economic developments, social structures, and settlement patterns.

Students may read the story all the way through or do their research at each point in the story. The Internet is a good place to start, as is the school library.  Thus students will be practised in doing research as well as comprehension.  At the end of the story there are answers and their references.

The eBook is $5 by cheque or EFT and prepaid. Email Michael for the invoice which will have the EFT details.

Now available on Kindle at Amazon for US$2.99


Review by Milando:

This book offers a very vivid and wonderful insight into the life and culture of people living around the time of (the) goldrush (19th century). As an Australian native, Michael Mardel has more than accomplished the job of a true patriot by bringing forth this sneak-peek about a rather forgotten time period. The dialogs as well as the general language and style…(are) a true reflection of the time (when) the story is set…and can be called absolutely realistic.


Review by MA

This book describes the life of diggers in Australia. Quite an imaginative feat, as this history unfolds through the eyes of a young boy when his father exposes him to the diggers. These accounts show not only the writer’s in-depth knowledge of history but his literary prowess as well. It is a befitting read for school children of all ages.



An example:

‘Father, you’re late! We’ve been saving tea for you and we’re really hungry.’

‘Sorry Patrick, I’ve been down at the Eastern Market in Bourke St. talking to wholesalers. I had to organise some supplies to be delivered on Monday so we can take it on our trip starting that day. Now you can eat and we’ll have peace and quiet while you chew with your mouth closed.’

[1.a.What hotel stood on the corner of Bourke and Exhibition St. where the Eastern Market was? __________________________________________

1.b .When did the Queen Victoria market begin? _____________________

1.c. Was there a Western Market and where was it?] _________________________________________________________





Australian Short Stories for Boys (& Girls) middle grade

April 3, 2013 in Comprehension, Lower Secondary, Primary School, Work Books

Book Cover 9 Final small

Order the e-book through Kindle at US$2.99 each.

FREE at Kobo and Smashwords.

Order paperback copy with this cover through Amazon at US$5.99 each plus postage.

  • Sail the high seas
  • Ride a horse
  • Tow a caravan
  • Travel overseas
  • Be a ball boy
  • Meet a mermaid
  • Go gold digging
  • Meet a refugee
  • Sell some rabbits
  • Lose your father

…Mr Mardel sure brings Australia’s rich culture and heritage alive with this collection of short stories. ..I feel an overwhelming feeling to visit the country. 

The language is lucid …with no over-the-top dramatic moments. My favourite story is “Flames and wells and sacred sites” because it was enlightening to read what a monastic life could be like. And there’s an unexpected ending. Another story that I liked was “The white shirt” which has humour and an example of a weird superstition about not washing the white shirt. 

The bibliography is extensive. A book for kids and adults.

Unknown reviewer.

This book takes you from the fanciful to the silly, to some very serious issues in today’s world. “A long way to freedom” is most liked. It is about a refugee family of Shi’ite Muslims from Afghanistan. After a long struggle they finally arrive in Australia (via Nauru) but are only given 3 years to prove they can live without government assistance. They are a good family and if they were to (return) to Afghanistan it would mean bad things for the family for reasons the mother mentions in the story. We are all people and we all deserve peace and freedom.

Anastasia reviewer.

…This is a collection of adventurous historical fiction stories. Each story has its own life and rhythm. …My favourite is “Dogalogue”…This story gives a voice to a spunky Jack Russell terrier named Trixie. She is writing to her owner from doggie heaven (explaining) why she did many of the things that normally puzzle (we) humans.

I liked “Game, set match” …The message is not to give up on your dreams. ..While his classmates ridiculed him, Raphael continued to practice to be a ball boy at the Monte Carlo Country Club.

Later venue is set at the Australian Open.

The story that touched my heart the most is “A long road to freedom”. (see previous review). Michael Mardel has done an excellent job on all ten stories. You really feel like you know each character personally by the time you are done reading. I hope you enjoy this book as much as I have.

Unknown reviewer.


You may do all these things in this collection of Australian short stories for boys (& girls)

Email Michael for the pre-paid $5 eBook which will then be emailed to you as a pdf. attachment.  Email Michael for an invoice with EFT details.

OR order via email an A5 paperback copy for $15 and $6 express postage

Sample story: The Brumby.

John was short for his age but that didn’t stop him from trying out for the football team. Ever since he could walk he was kicking a football. His Dad encouraged him at first but then his mother died and everything changed.

He hurried home to prepare the home for the evening meal. It wasn’t much of a place, a bark hut that let in the draughts and nearly made the open fire go out. At least they had an oven on which to cook their meals.

Tonight there was rabbit to be baked plus a few vegies from their garden which he had peeled. Soon, both fires were going nicely so he got out his homework, sums and writing. It was all rather boring and he couldn’t see the point of it if he was going to be a woodchopper like his Dad.

But he couldn’t concentrate. Thoughts of his Dad and the school bully

cluttered his mind. He wished he had his mother back as she used to listen to him, offering a cuddle which swept away all the day’s bad things. He wanted to tell her how he hated having to rush home to prepare the evening meal. How he was bowled over numerous times at footy practice.

His Dad didn’t understand his need to be held, if only for a short hug. At least he had his horse to ride to and from school. He was sure this horse had a story to tell of life in the high country. His Dad had roped him one day whilst both were hiding in a thicket. It was the sun shining on the white flash on his forehead that gave him away. Then followed weeks of trying to break him in though he never took to the saddle. John was the only one who could ride him so the horse became his school transport and a certain amount of freedom.

One day a new boy came to his school who was an Aborigine. He was old enough to be in John’s class but he needed to do Bub’s or first year’s work

because he’d always lived in the high country and been walkabout so he’d had no schooling. His name was Leroy or something like it; it’s what Mr Jones called him. Fortunately they were all in the same room so he didn’t stand out too much, except he was black and he did Bub’s work. Apparently Leroy had been brought in by the police and was living with a white family in town who had plenty of room. He even had his own bedroom, not like John’s corner in his draughty hut.

Once the class got used to Leroy’s strangeness, Mr Jones had a brainwave and asked Leroy to tell them a story about where he had been before coming to school. It was like drawing nails because he didn’t like standing out the front of the classroom. The rest of the class was expecting a reprieve from their work. No chance. Mr Jones had the big kids write down Leroy’s story as part of dictation and the most accurate and neatest would get a prize. John was sure he wouldn’t get the prize as his work was always messy. At least they weren’t staring at Leroy the whole time. Here’s what John remembered of Leroy’s story, with a lot of help from Mr Jones.

‘ My name is horse.

I live in the high country, in the mountains where there are many of my kind. I can remember being a foal and travelling for many days amidst  the trees and bushes. I remember being hungry but had to wait until   it was dark before I could graze. I remember many things and some   things that others of my kind do not remember.

I am special because no man has ever ridden me. I am special be  cause I have a white mark on my forehead and the other horses show   me great respect.

I am many hands high and I love to gallop. I love the chill of the winter   snow and the heat of summer. I love to run and dodge the trees and   the holes in the ground. I love the smell of dew-laden grass and the   taste is exquisite.’

Here Mr Jones stopped Leroy and they all sighed with relief. What a lot of writing. This was going to take weeks for Leroy’s story to unfold and John had writer’s cramp.

John wondered if the story was true but he wasn’t going to be the one   to ask him; he’d leave that for Mr Jones.

The next day Leroy came up to John as he arrived on his horse and   patted it. He murmured ‘Brumby’ and John knew that his horse story was   true. Leroy offered to take John out to the cave where the horse and he first   met.  John told him next Saturday would be good so they arranged to meet at first light.




That night John told his Dad that he was getting up early on Saturday to go and look at a cave with Leroy. Jim wanted to know all about Leroy and was none too pleased to find out he was an Aborigine.

‘Nothing good comes from being with that lot’, Jim said. ‘Don’t believe everything he tells you and make sure he doesn’t pinch anything either. Where are you meeting?’

‘At school, first thing,’ John said.

‘OK, but remember what I told you and make sure you’re home before dark. I don’t want to be traipsing around the countryside looking for you. Got that?’

‘Yes, Dad,’ John said softly.

John had woken early and sneaked out of bed, taking a crust for breakfast. He didn’t want to talk to his father who would only remind him to be home before dark.

He walked the horse to the road before galloping off down the track. Soon he was near the school and sure enough, there was Leroy. The horse nuzzled him as he held out a carrot. John reached down and helped Leroy up behind him.

They walked the horse slowly so Leroy could remember his journey from the cave to the town. Soon they found the cave where Leroy had hidden from the government man and where the horse didn’t want to go. They then walked to other places where Leroy had stayed and he showed John which berries were safe to eat.

When the sun was at its zenith, Leroy caught a small mammal which they roasted over a warming fire. It was still the wet season so a fire was safe in the mountains.

While they ate, Leroy told how he was captured by the government man, how he was then taken into the village

‘I was untied and led into their house and into a room where a boy found some old clothes for me to try on. They weren’t as warm as my possum cloak but I was told not to wear it again until it had been cleaned.

‘And of course, I had to be cleaned as well. And they left me alone to do that, after miming washing with soap and drying with towels.’

‘At least you had running water and a warm place to do it in,’ John said. ‘I’ve got to fetch water and heat it so I only wash once a week.’

After making sure the fire was well and truly out and buried, they rode back to town. But near their first cave, the heavens opened and they sought refuge, even the horse.

John had matches so they made another fire and used some lighted sticks to check out the back of the cave. There were no drawings, only fire-blackened walls, with a few handprints.

The storm seemed to rage forever and John was worried about his Dad’s reaction to him returning after dark. It couldn’t be helped as they wouldn’t be able to find their way, not even Leroy or the horse.

When it was dark and the rain had ceased, they could hear voices and see lanterns in the distance. They yelled ‘coo-ee’ and soon their rescuers found them, though they were nearly home. Jim was amongst them and only scowled at his son. He didn’t say anything until they got home.

‘What’s the thing you like the most?’ Jim asked.

John bowed his head. ‘My horse.’

‘Then you will forfeit it for a fortnight’, he said.

John’s lip trembled but he forced himself not to cry.

‘Now dry yourself off and go to bed!’

‘But I’m hungry.’

‘Too bad. I’m off to the pub to thank your rescuers. And I’ll know if you pinch any food, not that there’s much here.’

Jim left and after hanging up his wet clothes in front of the fire, John climbed into bed. As he drifted off to sleep, warm and snug, he relived his day. He was glad to be home and dry and he felt sad that he couldn’t make it home by dark. He’d miss his horse and he tried not to cry about it. Best of all, he had a new friend who could show him lots of interesting things.


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