How To Spell Catastrophe

Can catastrophe expert Nell McPherson foil her mum’s awful plan to blend their family, keep her balance on the wobbly friendship tightrope, and successfully campaign for grade six to strike for climate action? What’s the worst thing that could happen?

‘How about you just let the idea grow on you,’ says Mum.
‘Like fungus? Like a wart? Like mould? Like a parasite? Like a MALIGNANT TUMOUR?’
She is stifling a smile, which makes me sizzle with anger.

Written with warmth, humour and gentle optimism, How to Spell Catastrophe investigates blended families, climate action, friendship dynamics, identity – in the liminal final year of primary school – and coping with the worries of the world from protagonist Nell McPherson’s grade six perspective.

Funny, smart and perfectly paced, I adore this book. Nova Weetman

This book sparkles with humour and heart. I absolutely LOVED it. Fiona Wood meets tweens and teens where they are. Her stories deserve a place on every tween bookshelf. Rebecca Sparrow


“Fiona Wood, three-time winner of the CBCA Book of the Year for Older Readers, moves into middle-grade fiction with the funny and charming How to Spell Catastrophe… Readers from 10 to 14 will appreciate the care shown for their emotional landscape, the humorous wordplay and the broader themes of climate change and anxiety.”

“Written beautifully and filled with emotion and themes of blended families, growing up, evolving friendships, environmental activism and doing good in the world, this is an ideal novel for those aged 10—14.”

How To Spell Catastrophe