The novel is for kids aged 8 to 12. When read as a family, it provides a giggly bonding experience, heart-felt memories and opportunities for reflection. You and your kids will fall in love with the characters, the enchanted places and the exotic Australian wildlife.
Connecting kids with nature
Come on a journey into Australia's Dandenong Ranges – the home of the tallest flowering tree in the world and wildlife, including the superb lyrebird, crimson rosellas, pudgy wombats, kangaroos and laughing kookaburras.
Join Archie, Pippa, Ollie, and Kimba the dog on exciting and wondrous adventures in nature. You'll experience picking wild food, hopping across a trickling stream, crawling through a tree fern forest — plus plenty of mischief along the way!
After a crazy rolling race down a steep mountain road, the hills kids embark on an adventure in their foresty neighbourhood to solve a diabolical problem. The novel spans four seasons, where the rhythms of nature intersect with the children’s lives and escapades.
Fostering a love of novels
The story spans 260 pages of action and side-splitting entertainment. Season breaks feature a large illustration to delight and refresh young readers. Chapter-heading drawings add to the fun, enhancing engagement and curiosity. It's a thrilling page-turner that leaves kids thirsting for more books!
Stimulating the creative imagination
After reading The Hills Kids, your child may venture outside to draw, explore, and wonder. And if they listen hard enough in their imagination, they may hear a currawong calling as it flies past: clee-a clee-a clee-o, clee-a clee-a clee-o.
About the author
By two-time British Academy-Award winning film sound designer, dad and health educator Gareth Vanderhope. The Hills Kids is inspired by his experiences growing up in the wilds of Australia. He also explores environmental influences on children's behaviour and wellbeing.
What do they discover in the forest?
“Shhh, this way,” whispers Archie. The friends continue in a slow crawl, pressing their hands and knees gently on the forest floor to avoid stick cracks that will scare the creature away. Pippa pauses behind a fern and parts two fronds, revealing a scratched-earth clearing and a dirt mound. Everyone freezes in excitement and awe . . .
Loved by people of all ages
“I love the description of the forest, the birds, the references to familiar places ... Kids these days need opportunities to be creative and to be inspired and to play outside. I just loved it ... I couldn’t put the book down.” — Order of Australia Medal recipient, Bev McAlister
available as a 260-page paperback or hardback sent to your door
“We loved reading The Hills Kids as a family and looked forward to reading it each night. We fell in love with the characters and their adventures.”
"You should be so proud of that story. We seriously loved it. If only you knew how difficult it is to get my boy to even begin a fiction book, you would know that his compliment is probably worth more than any you will hear in your life!"
“The Hills Kids is such a hilarious and exciting extravaganza. I couldn’t take my eyes off it until the very last page! It's on my favourites list.”
“It was the most amazing book I’ve ever read. I loved how funny Ollie was and I loved Broos’s accent. When is the next book coming out?”
“The Hills Kids in three words: funny, funny and hilarious. I really loved this book because of the great characters and because it’s set before most technology was developed and is very different to my every day life.”
"Finn, who is 9, says 'it's probably one of the best books I've ever read'. You put all the right ingredients in there; bikes, climbing, adventures, fishing, independence, good friendships, awesome morals and a fabulous setting."
“The book inspires me to go on adventures and it turns on the creative part of my brain. I also find that I love drawing the things that happen.”
“The Hills Kids was a really funny story with great illustrations. When I started reading it, I couldn’t put it down until I reached the end.”
“The Hills Kids is a joyful, uplifting, evocative book . . . It’s a pleasure to read to my 10 year old daughter every night as we giggle at the group’s antics.”
"Every kid wants to go on adventures like in The Hills Kids. It's the sort of book I want to read over and over."
“I loved this book. I found myself transported back to my youth where every day revealed a new adventure. The loveable gang have a bond that only true friends can share.”