In my family, I am known as the Book Aunty. Whatever the occasion, the gift will be books. Fortunately for my extended family tribe, aged 2-14, I am also in a terrific position to find the perfect book for every kid.
As co-host (along with Megan Daley of Children’s Books Daily and fellow author Allison Rushby) of the fabulous Your Kids’ Next Read Facebook group, I get to see the books that are being recommended over and over by parents, teachers, booksellers, and other interested parties. The books and authors that are cementing their places in the hearts of readers worldwide.
Yes, I am more than a little bit excited that my two book series – The Mapmaker Chronicles and The Ateban Cipher – appear regularly in those recommendations, but I’m fairly certain that my nieces and nephews would NOT be excited about receiving an A.L. Tait book for every occasion (one copy of each of my six novels is apparently enough… who knew?).
So every year, I am tasked with trawling through the hundreds of fantastic books out there to choose just the right one for not just my tribe, but every kid I’ve ever met (seriously, my friends take terrible advantage…).
And now Maraya has asked me to do it for you.
So here, to help with your Christmas shopping, are my top nine book choices across a range of age groups and featuring an unashamed bias towards Australian authors.
Something to Read
My Sunbeam Baby by Emma Quay
See my bouncing baby,
jigging on my knee.
Then snuggling for a story,
just baby, book and me.
A gorgeous new picture book about how much we love our babies, from Emma Quay, creator of the bestselling and award-winning Rudie Nudie.
Puffling by Margaret Wild (ill Julie Vivas)
Puffling is a baby – small and white and very hungry. Every day he waits in the burrow while Big Stripy Beak and Long Black Feather hunt for food. Puffling dreams of the day when he will leave the burrow and fly away – but he isn’t ready yet, not until he is tall and brave enough to fend for himself. The scary gulls are waiting outside, waiting for the day the baby puffins take their first journey by themselves. Every day Puffling asks his parents, but every day they say he must wait until he has grown taller and stronger. Then he must walk along the cliff top and jump into the water before the gulls can catch him. Will he ever be brave enough?
Too Busy Sleeping by Zanni Louise (ill Anna Pignataro)
Eleanor longs to play with her baby brother, but newborn Reuben is always asleep. Will Eleanor wear out with waiting?
First-time author Zanni Louise has been paired with award-winning illustrator Anna Pignataro, whose watercolour and collage illustrations create a warm domestic backdrop for this sensitively told story of excitement and frustration.
Dreamers by Sally Morgan and Ezekiel Kwaymullina
We are the dream and the dreamers – so begins this beautifully written story that celebrates the imagination of children at play. Complemented by Sally Morgan’s rich and colourful illustrations, the book is full of movement. It lends itself to interactive reading aloud with play-acting or actions.
Kissed by the Moon by Alison Lester
May you, my baby, sleep softly at night, and when dawn lights the world, may you wake up to birdsong. Part poem, part lullaby, this gentle story celebrates a baby’s wonder at our beautiful world. From much-loved Australian Children’s Laureate Alison Lester comes a timeless book to share and to treasure.
Wide Big World by Maxine Beneba Clarke (ill Isobel Knowles)
Difference is everywhere, just look and see. This whole-wide-big-world is wondrous-unique.
A gorgeous picture book about our diverse and wonderful world from award-winning author Maxine Beneba Clarke and illustrator Isobel Knowles.
Yoga Babies by Fearne Cotton (ill Sheena Dempsey)
We’re the Yoga Babies, look what we can do!
The Yoga Babies love to have fun trying new poses. Sometimes life is busy and tricky, but not to worry! Yoga can help everyone chill out. Follow these babies big and small as they practise yoga at home, in the garden and before bedtime, then you can have a go at home, too!
Pig The Elf by Aaron Blabey
Santa was coming! ‘Twas bigger than big! No one loves Christmas more than Pig. And the world’s greediest pug will stay up all night to get his presents! When Pig yips at Santa and finds himself joining in on the flying sleigh ride, things quickly get out of hand in a way that is pure Pig pandemonium.
Room For A Little One by Martin Waddell (ill Jason Cockcroft)
This favorite Christmas picture book is now available in a reduced size padded board book perfect for little hands with bright red foil on the cover to share the holiday cheer! In the stable next to an inn, Kind Ox is just settling in for the night when Old Dog comes into the stable. Kind Ox makes room for Old Dog, who in turn makes room for Stray Cat, who then makes room for Small Mouse–and each time, the larger animal says to the small, “There’s always room for a little one here.” Finally, Tired Donkey comes by, carrying Joseph and Mary, who asks “Where will my child be born?” Kind Ox replies, “There is always room for a little one here.” And so, Jesus is born in the stable with the animals all around Him.
Beware The Deep Dark Forest by Sue Whiting (ill Annie White)
Beware the deep, dark forest! You should never, ever go in there… Rosie has always followed this rule until the day her pup Tinky goes missing in the woods. So Rosie decides to trek into this dangerous, muddy place. But there are many obstacles along the way – including a huge grey wolf, a ravine of lava and a ferocious troll! Can Rosie find the courage to overcome these dangers and save Tinky?
All The Ways To Be Smart by Davina Bell (ill Allison Colpoys)
Smart is not just ticks and crosses,
smart is building boats from boxes.
Painting patterns, wheeling wagons,
being mermaids, riding dragons…
From the award-winning creators of The Underwater Fancy-Dress Parade and Under the Love Umbrella comes this joyful ode to all the unique and wonderful qualities that make children who they are.
There’s a Baddie Running Through This Book by Shelly Unwin and Vivienne To
There’s a baddie running through this book,
Turn the pages; have a look.
There he goes, did you see?
Sound your siren, chase with me.
Kids, watch out! A baddie is on the loose and only you can catch him. But this baddie is very sneaky. He’s going to have you looking for him everywhere…up and down, and around and around…until the very last page!
Watch This by Jane Godwin
Can you make a circle with your arms? Or a triangle with your fingers? If we work together, we can make a rectangle or even a pyramid. We can make lots and lots of shapes – just watch this! A bold and playful celebration of movement, energy, pattern, colour, and shape!
Puddle Hunters by Kristy Murray
When the rain stops it’s time to go puddle hunting.
Ruby and Banjo and Mum go up the street, and into the park, over the bridge and down to the riverflats where the puddles lie waiting…
Splosh it, Ruby! Splosh it, Banjo! Splosh it, Mum!
A glorious celebration of splashing and squelching all the way home.
Another Book About Bears by Phil and Laura Bunting
Cheeky Monkey by Andrew Daddo
Back in print at last! ABC for Kids is delighted to announce the re-release of a range of best-selling, award-winning children’s picture books. Including Children’s Book Council winners and all-time favourites, no children’s bookshelf is complete without these classic favourites. Twenty-four titles will be republished from 2010-11. Ages 3-5.
My Dog Bigsy by Alison Lester
From Australia’s favourite picture-book creator, Alison Lester, comes this energetic story about a little dog who causes a big commotion. Now in a gorgeous board book edition.Meet my dog Bigsy. He’s only small, but everyone knows he’s the boss. Each morning he visits the animals on the farm. Squawk, neigh, quack, moo, baa, oink, cluck, purr, ruff ruff ruff! What a lot of noise! And all because of Bigsy!
Under the Southern Cross by Frané Lessac
This book explores Australia after dark. As with A is for Australia and A is for Australian Animals, each spread will contain high-interest facts accompanied by lush illustrations, and will include content such as New Year’s Eve fireworks in Sydney Harbour, Darwin night markets, turtle hatching in Qld and the Aurora Australis in Tasmania.
6 years +
Violet Mackerel (series) by Anna Brandford
Violet Mackerel thinks she would QUITE LIKE to own the blue china bird at the Saturday markets. This is not just a SILLY WISH. It is instead the start of a VERY IMPORTANT idea. But what she needs is a PLOT. A BRILLIANT plot.
Violet is a much-loved character for girls 5+, with her thoughtful, determined and positive can-do attitude, and her creative ways to find solutions to everyday problems.
Violet Mackerel’s Brilliant Plot was Honour Book in the 2011 Children’s Book Council of Australia (CBCA) Book of the Year Awards, Younger Readers category.
The Ice Monster by David Walliams
When Elsie, an orphan on the streets of Victorian London, hears about the mysterious Ice Monster – a woolly mammoth found at the North Pole – she’s determined to discover more… A chance encounter brings Elsie face to face with the creature, and sparks the adventure of a lifetime – from London to the heart of the Arctic!
Heroes come in all shapes and sizes in David Walliams’ biggest and most epic adventure yet!
Caution: May make you laugh your head off!
Gastronauts by James Foley
The brain-enhancing nanobots she is testing have been accidentally swallowed by her baby brother Joe. The only way to stop Joe turning into a superbaby and wreaking super havoc is to shrink herself and travel inside Joe’s body on a journey to tackle the problem head-on. What could possibly go wrong? As it turns out, this is only the beginning . . .
Stories for Kids Who Dare to Be Different by Ben Brooks
In our evermore hectic and overwhelming world, Stories for Kids Who Dare to be Different is refreshing proof that dreams do come true and that it is ok to be different. An inspiring read for any young person, particularly those struggling to find their place in the world.
Bjoerk, Dr Seuss, Whoopi Goldberg, Andy Warhol, Ellen MacArthur, Greta Gerwig, Andrea Bocelli, Hua Mulan … these are men and women who all dared to be different.
Boys will be boys and girls will be girls – or so the meaningless saying goes. Because what if you’re a girl and you like cage fighting? Or you’re a boy and you love ballet? And what if you’ve always dreamed of being a scientist but you can’t see anyone who looks or sounds like you, and who has left a legacy – in the form of microscopes and Bunsen burners – for you to follow?
This is the book for children who want to know about the lives of those heroes who have led the way, changing the world for the better as they go.
The Last Peach by Gus Gordan
One fine summer’s day two bugs discover the most beautiful peach of the season and are faced with a dilemma…
Who should eat it?
Monsters by Anna Fienberg
Tildy can see monsters that no one else can see and she sleeps with one eye open, until a new friend at school helps her overcome her fear – a delightful new picture book by the popular picture-book creators of Tashi.
Tildy knew there were monsters. They sailed in from outside and hid behind the curtains. Moonlight brought them in. Tildy hated moonlight. Mum and Dad said there were no such things. Her aunt and uncle couldn’t see them, and when Tildy wrote to her twenty-three cousins about monsters, only one wrote back saying she shouldn’t eat spicy food before bedtime.
Then a new boy came to school. Hendrik drew pages and pages of monsters when the class was writing numbers. He had a way of dealing with his monsters.
When Tildy dares to stay over at Hendrik’s house, she panics when the moon rises… but together they make the night safe, and Tildy can watch the moon sail through the starry sky.
Ginger Green Playdate Queen series by Kim Kane
Ginger is playing with Skye today. But what happens when Skye won’t let her dad leave? Ginger will have to work hard to solve this problem!
I Do Not Like Books Anymore by Daisy Hirst
Natalie and Alphonse really like books and stories … and now it’s time for Natalie to learn how to read all by herself!
In the second title featuring favourite monster siblings, Natalie and Alphonse, Natalie is learning to read. “Now I can read all the stories in the world,” she says. “And you can read them to me!” adds little brother Alphonse. But when Natalie tries to read all by herself for the first time, the letters look like squiggles, and she isn’t so sure anymore…
With her unique humour and bold, brilliant art, Daisy Hirst celebrates the joy of sharing stories, and perfectly evokes those feelings of frustration and pride that come with learning something new.
Sporty Kids (series) by Felice Arena
FWOOOOMP! It was a killer kick, straight through goals. Abby did a victory dance and skipped around Joe and Lizzie. Abby always wins at soccer. So why won’t Pete join her team?
9 years +
Lenny’s Book Of Everything by Karen Foxlee
I knew my brother. I knew when he talked too much about Timothy his imaginary pet eagle. He was scared.
‘Whatever you do,’ I said to Davey on the walk to school, ‘Do not tell people about your eagle. Do not tell Miss Schweitzer about your eagle.’
He looked crestfallen. His shoulders slumped. He looked to make sure Timothy hadn’t fallen off.
Lenny, small and sharp, has a younger brother Davey who won’t stop growing – and at seven is as tall as a man. Raised by their single mother, who works two jobs and is made almost entirely out of worries, they have food and a roof over their heads, but not much else.
The bright spot every week is the arrival of the latest issue of Burrell’s Build-It-at-Home Encyclopedia. Through the encyclopedia, Lenny and Davey experience the wonders of the world – beetles, birds, quasars, quartz – and dream about a life of freedom and adventure, visiting places like Saskatchewan and Yellowknife, and the gleaming lakes of the Northwest Territories. But as her brother’s health deteriorates, Lenny comes to accept the inevitable truth; Davey will never make it to Great Bear Lake.
The Mulberry Tree by Allison Rushby
Do naught wrong by the mulberry tree, or she’ll take your daughters … one, two, three.
Ten-year-old Immy and her family run away from their storm cloud of problems to a tiny village in Cambridgeshire, England. When they find an adorable thatched cottage to begin a perfect new life in, the only downside is the ancient, dark and fierce-looking mulberry tree in the back garden. And the legend that comes with it – the villagers say the tree steals away girls living in the cottage on the eve of their eleventh birthday. Of course, Immy thinks this is ridiculous. Then she starts to hear a strange song in her head…
Kensy and Max (series) by Jacqueline Harvey
Introducing Kensy and Max – an action-packed spy-adventure series for girls and boys from bestselling author Jacqueline Harvey!
What would you do if you woke up in a strange place? If your whole life changed in the blink of an eye and you had no idea what was going on?
Twins Kensy and Max Grey’s lives are turned upside down when they are whisked off to London, and discover their parents are missing. As the situation unfolds, so many things don’t add up: their strange new school, the bizarre grannies on their street, the coded messages they keep finding and the feeling that, all around them, adults are keeping secrets . . .
Things can never go back to the way they were, but the twins are determined to uncover the truth!
Nevermoor (series) by Jessica Townsend
Morrigan Crow is cursed. Born on an unlucky day, she is blamed for all local misfortunes, from hailstorms to heart attacks – and, worst of all, the curse means that Morrigan is doomed to die at midnight on Eventide.
But as Morrigan awaits her fate, a strange and remarkable man named Jupiter North appears. Chased by black-smoke hounds and shadowy hunters on horseback, he whisks her away into the safety of a secret, magical city called Nevermoor.
It’s there that Morrigan discovers Jupiter has chosen her to contend for a place in the city’s most prestigious organisation: the Wundrous Society. In order to join, she must compete in four difficult and dangerous trials against hundreds of other children, each boasting an extraordinary talent that sets them apart. Except for Morrigan, who doesn’t seem to have any special talent at all.
To stay in the safety of Nevermoor for good, Morrigan will need to find a way to pass the tests – or she’ll have to leave the city to confront her deadly fate.
The Slightly Alarming Tale Of the Whispering Wars by Jaclyn Moriarty
I was taken by Whisperers at 2pm, so I never pulled the lever for the laundry chute.
That’s what bothered me most.
This is way ahead in the story, though. A lot happened before that.
The town of Spindrift is frequented by pirates, Shadow Mages and charlatans. It’s also home to the Orphanage School, where Finlay lives with Glim, Taya and Eli. Just outside town is the painfully posh Brathelthwaite Boarding School, home to Honey Bee, Hamish and Victor, Duke of Ainsley. When the two schools compete at the Spindrift Tournament, stakes are high, tensions are higher, and some people are out to win at any cost. Before long, the orphans and the boarding school are in an all-out war.
And then Whispering Wars break out, and Spindrift is thrust onto the front lines. Children are being stolen, Witches, Sirens and a deadly magical flu invade the town, and all attempts to fight back are met with defeat.
Finlay, Honey Bee and their friends must join forces to outwit the encroaching forces of darkness, rescue the stolen children, and turn the tide of the war. But how can one bickering troupe outwit the insidious power of the Whisperers? And who are the two mysterious figures watching them from the shadows?
From the award-winning Jaclyn Moriarty comes a spellbinding tale of unlikely friendship, unexpected magic and competitive athletics.
The Boy and The Spy by Felice Arena
Life has never been easy for Antonio, but since the war began there are German soldiers on every corner, fearsome gangsters and the fascist police everywhere, and no one ever has enough to eat. But when Antonio decides to trust a man who has literally fallen from the sky, he leaps into an adventure that will change his life and maybe even the future of Sicily…
The Endsister by Penni Russon
‘I know what an endsister is,’ says Sibbi again.
We are endsisters, Else thinks, Sibbi and I.
Bookends, oldest and youngest, with the three boys sandwiched in between.
Meet the Outhwaite children. There’s teenage Else, the violinist who abandons her violin. There’s nature-loving Clancy. There’s the inseparable twins, Oscar-and-Finn, Finn-and-Oscar. And then there is Sibbi, the baby of the family. They all live contentedly squabbling in a cottage surrounded by trees and possums…until a letter arrives to say they have inherited the old family home in London.
Outhwaite House is full of old shadows and new possibilities. The boys quickly find their feet in London, and Else is hoping to reinvent herself. But Sibbi is misbehaving, growing thinner and paler by the day, and she won’t stop talking about the mysterious endsister. Meanwhile Almost Annie and Hardly Alice, the resident ghosts, are tied to the house for reasons they have long forgotten, watching the world around them change, but never leaving.
The one thing they all agree on – the living and the dead – is never, ever to open the attic door…
A Ghost in my Suitcase by Gabrielle Wang
The flute music stops, and my breath catches in my throat. Silence falls like a veil. Then I hear something – no, I feel it in my chest. ‘Steady yourself,’ Por Por whispers. ‘It’s here . . . ‘
When Celeste travels to China to visit her grandmother, she uncovers an incredible family secret. And with this secret comes danger and adventure.
If Celeste is to save her family and friends, she must learn to harness her rare and powerful gift as a ghost-hunter. . .
Louisiana’s Way Home by Kate DiCamillo
When Louisiana Elefante’s granny wakes her up in the middle of the night to tell her that the day of reckoning has arrived and they have to leave home immediately, Louisiana isn’t overly worried. After all, Granny has many middle-of-the-night ideas. But this time, things are different. This time, Granny intends for them never to return. Separated from her best friends, Raymie and Beverly, Louisiana struggles to oppose the winds of fate (and Granny) and find a way home. But as Louisiana’s life becomes entwined with the lives of the people of a small Georgia town — including a surly motel owner, a walrus-like minister, and a mysterious boy with a crow on his shoulder — she starts to worry that she is destined only for good-byes. (Which could be due to the curse on Louisiana’s and Granny’s heads. But that is a story for another time.)
12 years +
For the millions who log in every day, Warcross isn’t just a game – it’s a way of life. Struggling to make ends meet, teenage hacker Emika Chen works as a bounty hunter, tracking down players who bet on the game illegally.
When Emika hacks into Warcross, she is shocked when she gets a call from the game’s creator with an irresistible offer. He needs a spy on the inside of this year’s tournament in order to uncover a security problem . . . and he wants Emika for the job.
In this sci-fi thriller, #1 New York Times bestselling author Marie Lu conjures an immersive, exhilarating world where choosing who to trust may be the biggest gamble of all.
Arkanae (The Medoran Chronicles series) by Lynette Noni
With just one step, sixteen-year-old Alexandra Jennings’s world changes – literally.
Dreading her first day at a new school, Alex is stunned when she walks through a doorway and finds herself stranded in Medora, a fantasy world full of impossibilities.
Desperate to return home, she learns that only a man named Professor Marselle can help her… but he’s missing.
While waiting for him to reappear, Alex attends Akarnae Academy, Medora’s boarding school for teenagers with extraordinary gifts. She soon starts to enjoy her bizarre new world and the friends who embrace her as one of their own, but strange things are happening at Akarnae, and Alex can’t ignore her fear that something unexpected… something sinister… is looming.
An unwilling pawn in a deadly game, Alex’s shoulders bear the crushing weight of an entire race’s survival. Only she can save the Medorans, but what if doing so prevents her from ever returning home?
Will Alex risk her entire world – and maybe even her life – to save Medora?
Liars by Jack Heath
THE TRUTH APP is the latest craze in the town of Kelton. It listens to everyone around you and tells you if they’re lying.
When the app goes viral, its teenage creator, Jarli, becomes famous overnight. But being a celebrity can be dangerous. Especially when you’ve just exposed everyone’s deepest, darkest secrets.
Now everyone is out to get Jarli. Kids at school. Teachers. The police. Even his own family. And the secret network of criminals based in Kelton have just added Jarli to their hit list.
The TRUTH doesn’t always set you free…
And The Ocean Was Our Sky by Patrick Ness
“Call me Bathsheba.”
The whales of Bathsheba’s pod live for the hunt. Led by the formidable Captain Alexandra, they fight a never-ending war against men. Then the whales attack a man ship, and instead of easy prey they find the trail of a myth, a monster, perhaps the devil himself… With their relentless Captain leading the chase, they embark on the final hunt, one that will forever change the worlds of whales and men.
From the multi-award-winning author of A Monster Calls comes a haunting tale of power and obsession that turns the story of Moby Dick upside down.
How to Hang a witch by Adriana Mather
The trials of high school start to feel like a modern-day witch hunt for a teen with all the wrong connections to Salem’s past in this thrilling, creepy and romantic New York Times bestseller.
After Sam’s father is hospitalised, she has to move from New York to Salem with her stepmother, Vivian. Unfortunately, Sam is related to Cotton Mather, one of the men responsible for the Salem Witch Trials, and to say she feels unwelcome in Salem is an understatement…
She is particularly unnerved by The Descendants, a mysterious and tight-knit group of girls related to those persecuted in the Trials. At the same time, she must deal with Elijah, the handsome but angry ghost who has appeared in her house, and her new neighbour Jaxon only complicates things further. When a centuries-old curse is rekindled, Sam finds herself at the centre of it. Can she stop history repeating itself?
Ghost by Jason Reynolds
Ghost wants to be the fastest sprinter on his elite middle school track team, but his past is slowing him down in this first electrifying novel of a brand-new series from Coretta Scott King/John Steptoe Award–winning author Jason Reynolds.
Ghost. Lu. Patina. Sunny. Four kids from wildly different backgrounds with personalities that are explosive when they clash. But they are also four kids chosen for an elite middle school track team—a team that could qualify them for the Junior Olympics if they can get their acts together. They all have a lot to lose, but they also have a lot to prove, not only to each other, but to themselves.
Running. That’s all Ghost (real name Castle Cranshaw) has ever known. But Ghost has been running for the wrong reasons—it all started with running away from his father, who, when Ghost was a very little boy, chased him and his mother through their apartment, then down the street, with a loaded gun, aiming to kill. Since then, Ghost has been the one causing problems—and running away from them—until he meets Coach, an ex-Olympic Medalist who sees something in Ghost: crazy natural talent. If Ghost can stay on track, literally and figuratively, he could be the best sprinter in the city. Can Ghost harness his raw talent for speed, or will his past finally catch up to him?
Unrequited by Emma Grey
‘It’s the literary equivalent of eating Tim Tams in your PJs on a Sunday afternoon. I loved this book’ – Rebecca Sparrow Seventeen-year-old Kat Hartland loathes Unrequited, the world’s biggest boy band. And she must be the only girl ever who can’t be bothered with perfect-looking Angus Marsden. Give her 5 Seconds of Summer. Now. Or maybe the seriously hot med student who rescued her on a train – and who could be Douglas Booth’s twin! Perfect formal partner, right? But when Kat comes face to face with Angus Marsden himself, things start to get complicated. As in very complicated. Throw in a deranged female singer, final exams, a part in the musical, and a mum who just doesn’t get it. And btw, where is Kat’s best friend? When did life get so crazy … especially since Kat’s just an ordinary schoolgirl … isn’t she?
Woo’s Wonderful World of Maths by Eddie Woo
Why is a rainbow curved? Why aren’t left-handers extinct? How is a sunflower like a synchronised swimmer? Why is ‘e’ a magic number?
The answer to these questions is contained within one simple word: MATHS. Because maths is all about patterns, and our universe is extraordinarily patterned.
With enthusiasm, humour and heart, Eddie Woo shows how card tricks, conspiracy theories, teacups, killer butterflies, music, lightning and so much more illuminate the spellbinding world of maths that surrounds us.
The Wonder of Us by Kim Culbertson
Riya and Abby are: Best friends. Complete opposites. Living on different continents. About to embark on an epic adventure around Europe.
Since Riya moved away with her family to Berlin, she and Abby have struggled to be there for one another, and they haven’t spoken in weeks.
But Riya is pretty sure she knows the perfect way to make things better – a grand tour of European cities. Two weeks, six countries, unimaginable fun. Can the lush countrysides and dazzling cities of Europe fix their friendship, or does growing up mean growing apart?
Perfect for fans of Stephanie Perkins, Maggie Harcourt and David Levithan, this witty and vivid story is the ideal holiday read.
Young Adult (YA)
I am out with Lanterns by Emily Gale
A beautiful novel about friendship, first love and the power of art to change lives.
One of us is in the dark.
One of us is a bully.
One of us wants to be understood.
One of us loves a girl who loves another.
One of us remembers the past as if it just happened.
One of us believes they’ve drawn the future.
But we’re all on the same map, looking for the same thing.
Year Ten begins with a jolt for best friends and neighbours Wren and Milo. Along with Hari, Juliet, Ben and Adie, they tell a story of friendship, family, wild crushes, bitter feuds, and the power of a portrait.
As their lives intertwine, images could bring them together, and tear them apart.
Begin, End Begin: A #LoveOzYA anthology (edited by Danielle Binks)
Bestsellers. Award-winners. Superstars.
This anthology has them all.
With brilliantly entertaining short stories from beloved young adult authors Amie Kaufman, Melissa Keil, Will Kostakis, Ellie Marney, Jaclyn Moriarty, Michael Pryor, Alice Pung, Gabrielle Tozer, Lili Wilkinson and Danielle Binks, this all-new collection will show the world exactly how much there is to love about Aussie YA.
Growing Up Aboriginal in Australia (edited by Anita Heiss)
What is it like to grow up Aboriginal in Australia? This anthology, compiled by award-winning author Anita Heiss, attempts to showcase as many diverse voices, experiences and stories as possible in order to answer that question. Each account reveals, to some degree, the impacts of invasion and colonisation – on language, on country, on ways of life, and on how people are treated daily in the community, the education system, the workplace and friendship groups.
Accounts from well-known authors and high-profile identities sit alongside newly discovered voices of all ages, with experiences spanning coastal and desert regions, cities and remote communities. All of them speak to the heart – sometimes calling for empathy, oftentimes challenging stereotypes, always demanding respect.
This groundbreaking anthology aims to enlighten, inspire and educate about the lives of Aboriginal people in Australia today.
Contributors include: Tony Birch, Deborah Cheetham, Adam Goodes, Terri Janke, Patrick Johnson, Ambelin Kwaymullina, Jack Latimore, Celeste Liddle, Amy McQuire, Kerry Reed-Gilbert, Miranda Tapsell, Jared Thomas, Aileen Walsh, Alexis West, Tara June Winch, and many, many more.
A song only I can hear by Barry Jonsberg
Rob has a huge crush on the new girl at school. But Rob is painfully shy and suffers severe panic attacks. How is her heart to be won? Another wonderful and heart-warming comedy drama from the award-winning author of My Life as an Alphabet.
Good evening, Rob. Your first challenge follows.
These challenges have nothing to do with impressing Destry Camberwick. They are all to do with Rob Fitzgerald impressing Rob Fitzgerald. Bear that in mind at all times.
Challenge 1. You will enter the Milltown’s Got Talent competition. This gives you over a fortnight to polish your act and work out strategies to overcome panic attacks. I would wish you luck but the point of this challenge is that you don’t need it.
Introducing Rob Fitzgerald: thirteen years old and determined to impress the new girl at school, but it’s a difficult task for a super-shy kid who is prone to panic attacks that include vomit, and genuine terror that can last all day. An anonymous texter is sending Rob challenges and they might just help. Or not.
Beautifully moving and full of heart and humour, A Song Only I Can Hear is a delightful novel about dreaming big, being brave and marching to the beat of your own drum.
After The Lights Go Out by Lili Wilkinson
What happens when the lights go off after what might truly be an end-of-the-world event? How do you stay alive? Who do you trust? How much do you have to sacrifice?
Seventeen-year-old Pru Palmer lives with her twin sisters, Grace and Blythe, and their father, Rick, on the outskirts of an isolated mining community. The Palmers are doomsday preppers. They have a bunker filled with non-perishable food and a year’s worth of water.
One day while Rick is at the mine, the power goes out. At the Palmers’ house, and in the town. All communication is cut. No one knows why.
It doesn’t take long for everything to unravel. In town, supplies run out and people get desperate. The sisters decide to keep their bunker a secret. The world is different; the rules are different. Survival is everything, and family comes first.
Small Spaces by Sarah Epstein
“We don’t pick and choose what to be afraid of. Our fears pick us.”
Tash Carmody has been traumatised since childhood, when she witnessed her gruesome imaginary friend Sparrow lure young Mallory Fisher away from a carnival. At the time nobody believed Tash, and she has since come to accept that Sparrow wasn’t real. Now fifteen and mute, Mallory’s never spoken about the week she went missing. As disturbing memories resurface, Tash starts to see Sparrow again. And she realises Mallory is the key to unlocking the truth about a dark secret connecting them. Does Sparrow exist after all? Or is Tash more dangerous to others than she thinks?
The Illuminae Files (series) by Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff
Kady and Ezra thought their break-up was messy until they witnessed their entire world literally falling apart. Now they’re piecing together what’s left of their lives, and their romance, and trying to survive an intergalactic war. An innovatively designed story that’s best described as Battlestar Galactica meets 10 Things I Hate About You.
The year is 2575, and two rival mega-corporations are at war over a planet that’s little more than an ice-covered speck at the edge of the universe. Too bad nobody thought to warn the people living on it. With enemy fire raining down on them, exes Kady and Ezra – who are barely even talking to each other – are forced to fight their way onto the evacuating fleet, with an enemy warship in hot pursuit.
But the warship is the least of their problems. A deadly plague has broken out and is mutating, with terrifying results. The fleet’s AI, which should be protecting them, may actually be their enemy; and nobody in charge will say what the hell is going on. As Kady hacks into a tangled web of data to find the truth, it’s clear only one person can help her bring it all to light: the ex-boyfriend she swore she’d never speak to again.
Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo
Game of Thrones meets Ocean’s Eleven in this fantasy epic from the number 1 NEW YORK TIMES bestselling author of SHADOW AND BONE, SIEGE AND STORM and RUIN AND RISING, Leigh Bardugo.
As gripping, sweeping and memorable as the Grisha trilogy, Six of Crows will be perfect for fans of George R. R. Martin, Laini Taylor and Kristin Cashore, and will take Leigh’s fans back into the world they know and love.
Criminal prodigy Kaz Brekker is offered a chance at a deadly heist that could make him rich beyond his wildest dreams – but he can’t pull it off alone.
A convict with a thirst for revenge. A sharpshooter who can’t walk away from a wager. A runaway with a privileged past. A spy known as the Wraith. A Heartrender using her magic to survive the slums. A thief with a gift for unlikely escapes. Six dangerous outcasts. One impossible heist.
Kaz’s crew is the only thing that might stand between the world and destruction – if they don’t kill each other first.
The Bogan Mondrian by Steven Herrick
‘There are worse things than school.’
Luke sleepwalks through his days wagging school, swimming at the reservoir and eating takeaway pizza.
That is until Charlotte shows up.
Rumour is she got expelled from her city school and her family moved to the Blue Mountains for a fresh start.
But when Luke’s invited to her house, he discovers there’s a lot more going on than meets the eye.
The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas
Read the book that inspired the movie! Sixteen-year-old Starr lives in two worlds: the poor neighbourhood where she was born and raised and her posh high school in the suburbs. The uneasy balance between them is shattered when Starr is the only witness to the fatal shooting of her unarmed best friend, Khalil, by a police officer.
Now what Starr says could destroy her community. It could also get her killed. Inspired by the Black Lives Matter movement, this is a powerful and gripping novel about one girl’s struggle for justice.
Allison Tait (aka A.L. Tait) is the author of two epic middle-grade adventure series. The Mapmaker Chronicles (books 1-4) is a story about a race to map the world, and a boy who really doesn’t want to go. The Ateban Cipher (The Book Of Secrets, The Book Of Answers) takes a boy, four girls, and a mysterious medieval manuscript and weaves an exciting tale of good vs evil (and the grey areas in between).