What Zola did on Wednesday by Melina Marchetta

A review by Nalini Haynes

The What Zola did series is an adorable series about a primary school aged Italian Australian girl going about her daily life. In one book she meets her Muslim neighbors and becomes friends with the family. In another book, her Nonna has trouble knitting so starts a group for company and help. Marchetta focuses on a diverse community, a fairly realistic life, and building relationships.

What Zola did on Wednesday is discover that a friend’s hundred-year-old turtle has gone missing. She meets a police dog and thinks it’d be great if her dog could find the turtle. Not everything goes according to plan. However, the police officer decides it’s time to start a dog school to help the neighborhood.

The verdict

The What Zola did novels are excellent for early but not beginning readers, or for parents to read to young children. Diversity increases children’s opportunities to see themselves and to relate to the characters. A focus on building community and overcoming problems can inspire and encourage readers who are forming their sense of self.

Emma reviewed What Zola did on Monday here. I interviewed Melina a few years ago; that podcast is available here and on all good podcasting platforms.

Book details

Rating: 4 out of 5 stars
ISBN: 9781760895174
Imprint: Puffin (Penguin)
Published: 2020
Format: Paperback, 96 pages
Category: children, multiculturalism

What zola did on wednesday: zola and her dog are playing with a turtle