Emily Gale

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Website: http://emilygale.co.uk

Twitter: EmilyGale

Emily Gale has worked in children’s book publishing in a number of roles: editor, reader for a literary agent, and book buyer. In 2014 she was the prize manager for the inaugural Readings Children’s Book Prize. Her writing includes books for pre-schoolers, the junior series Eliza Boom’s Diary, and two young adult novels (Girl, Aloud in 2009, and Steal My Sunshine in 2013). Her new novel, set in London and Melbourne, comes out next year with Penguin Random House.

Reviews

Fuzzy Mud by Louis Sachar

Reviewed by Emily Gale

Similar to Sachar’s superb novel Holes (1998), Fuzzy Mud has one foot in reality and the other in a world of greater narrative possibilities – in this case, a biochemical leak that creates a revoltin…

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Leo da Vinci vs The Ice-Cream Domination League by Michael Pryor

Reviewed by Emily Gale

Writing for a younger age group for the first time, here’s much-loved Australian author Michael Pryor with a new series that centres on an inventor – 10-year-old Leo Da Vinci – who is bright and adv…

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Molly and Pim and the Millions of Stars by Martine Murray

Reviewed by Emily Gale

It has been a few years since we last had the pleasure of a novel for 9-12 year olds by Melbourne author Martine Murray, and this story was well worth the wait. Sensitive and wonderfully eccentric, M

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The Worm Who Knew Karate by Jill Lever and Terry Denton

Reviewed by Emily Gale

Debut author meets Australia’s bestselling illustrator in this comical story with a great message about resilience.

Brian is a happy-go-lucky worm who suddenly spirals into panic when he learns of t…

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Mr Huff by Anna Walker

Reviewed by Emily Gale

Beloved Melbourne illustrator Anna Walker melted our hearts with Peggy, the tale of a resourceful hen who has an adventure in the city but is ultimately relieved to return to the peace and quiet of h…

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The Bad Guys: Episode 1 by Aaron Blabey

Reviewed by Emily Gale

Aaron Blabey has made a name for himself with his highly original picture books. His bold humour and eye-popping, mischievous artwork are a perfect foil for unexpectedly tender moments and off-the-wa…

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Frankie and Joely by Nova Weetman

Reviewed by Emily Gale

This is a novel that, in the current market, might be called ‘quiet’. For me it was as much of a page-turner as anything you’ll find on the YA shelves because it’s a generous, intense study of that m…

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The Unlikely Adventures of Mabel Jones byWill Mabbitt

Reviewed by Emily Gale

Fond memories of reading Andy Stanton’s inventive and hysterically daft Mr Gum series as a family were brought to mind from the very beginning of this pirate adventure, which hurtles along at breakne…

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Son of Death by Andrew McDonald

Reviewed by Emily Gale

This novel for tweens and up strikes me as clever in several ways. First of all, it openly tells us what it’s about – death – because as all good children’s authors know there’s no pulling the wool o…

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Dory Fantasmagory by Abby Hanlon

Reviewed by Emily Gale

Reality and imagination blend seamlessly on every page of this story as a little girl (aged six and the youngest of three) copes with being constantly elbowed out of her siblings' games. Dory’s broth…

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The Super Amazing Adventures of Me, Pig by Emer Stamp

Reviewed by Emily Gale

This is the second outing for dear Pig and his friend Duck. Although I’d highly recommend starting with their first story, The Unbelievable Top Secret Diary of Pig, the follow-up stands alone and wea…

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Letters To Leo by Amy Hest & Julie Denos

Reviewed by Emily Gale

The hero of Letters to Leo, Annie, is an upbeat girl in Grade 4 who is quietly confident without being precocious, but as children of that age can often start to become she’s a little hard on herself…

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Violet Ink by Rebecca Westcott

Reviewed by Emily Gale

I came to read Violet Ink with high expectations because it was recommended to me by my 10-year-old. It wasn’t long before I understood exactly why she loved it so much.

With a story told from the …

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Cooper Bartholomew is Dead by Rebecca James

Reviewed by Emily Gale

Australian author Rebecca James writes with the sort of sharp, unpretentious style that makes her books seem straightforward when actually this is a difficult story to pull off. In her third novel – …

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Nona & Me by Clare Atkins

Reviewed by Emily Gale

The ‘me’ of the title is Rosie, a Year 10 girl who lives in the Northern Territory and is going through some familiar trials: separated parents, a confusing friendship group, and a crush on her frien…

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The Jewel by Amy Ewing

Reviewed by Emily Gale

This book took me by surprise. My instinct is usually to pass on anything with an elaborate dress on the front cover, but this was thoroughly entertaining melodrama. The premise has a hint of The Han

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Use Your Imagination by Nicola O'Byrne

Reviewed by Emily Gale

I love the mixture of fairy-tale peril and playful humour in Use Your Imagination. Rabbit falls into the familiar trap of not being careful what he wishes for during a moment of boredom, and soon it …

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Gaston by Kelly DiPucchio and Christian Robinson

Reviewed by Emily Gale

Mrs Poodle adores her four children. Fi-Fi, Foo-Foo, Ooh-La-La are dainty creatures no bigger than teacups. Gaston, however, is tea-pot sized. With his different build and rough voice, Gaston puts in…

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Vanilla Ice Cream by Bob Graham

Reviewed by Emily Gale

By cleverly imagining the chain of events that might lead to a small child accidentally having their first ever taste of vanilla ice-cream, this new picture book by Bob Graham will have wide appeal. …

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The Boy’s Own Manual to Being a Proper Jew by Eli Glasman

Reviewed by Emily Gale

Here’s a fine response to the call for more diverse YA books: the story of a gay teenager growing up in the Orthodox Jewish community of Melbourne.

Yossi is a devoted, intelligent member of the clos…

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Razorhurst by Justine Larbalestier

Reviewed by Emily Gale

Razorhurst is set in a place and time that may be unfamiliar to readers when they begin – Surry Hills, Sydney, in the 1930s – but a strong opening chapter places our feet firmly in the grotty backstr…

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The Minnow by Diana Sweeney

Reviewed by Emily Gale

I like the way that YA fiction tackles the overwhelming events that scar each passing year, offering young readers a way in through a character they may identify with. The Minnow, which won the Text …

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Figgy in the World by Tamsin Janu

Reviewed by Emily Gale

Figgy has the most fantastic outlook on life. She really only has one complaint, and that’s her unusual name. The rest of her considerable energy is spent pondering the big wide world, until one day …

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Bleakboy and Hunter Stand Out in the Rain by Steven Herrick

Reviewed by Emily Gale

This school-based novel is a story of many contrasts: from the excellently bold cover and the whimsical title, to the two main characters – thoughtful Bleakboy and school bully Hunter – who share the…

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The Bushranger’s Boys by Alison Lloyd

Reviewed by Emily Gale

The Do You Dare? series is the new companion to the highly successful Our Australian Girl books. Judging by the first story, it’s going to be every bit as popular. These books are sure to attract boy…

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Stay Well Soon by Penny Tangey

Reviewed by Emily Gale

The cover of Stay Well Soon hints at only one side of this wonderful contemporary story about an Australian girl who has just begun Year 5, because although there is certainly sadness and loss for St…

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The Bloodhound Boys: The Great Blood Bank Robbery by Andrew Cranna

Reviewed by Emily Gale

The little monsters of Skull River City have scary names and odd looks but they also behave like normal kids, and it’s this great balance of behaviour young readers can identify with and an exciting,…

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The Strange and Beautiful Sorrows of Ava Lavender by Leslye Walton

Reviewed by Emily Gale

Take a pinch of Margo Lanagan and a dash of Jaclyn Moriarty to form an idea of what this debut author has to offer. Her generational saga, spanning 1904 to 1960, gives a sense of time and place but m…

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The Firebird Mystery by Darrell Pitt

Reviewed by Emily Gale

In his steam punk Sherlock Holmes mashup, Melbourne-based writer Darrell Pitt playfully manipulates reality and history to create a fast-paced mystery.

Teenage orphan Jack Mason keenly misses his ci…

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A Very Good Idea by Meredith Badger

Reviewed by Emily Gale

Fresh material for those growing in confidence with their reading is always welcome, and I think this new series will be popular with parents as well as children.

The Tinkler children (one boy, two …

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News

August round-up of children’s and young adult books

by Emily Gale

This month is a treasure trove for all ages.

You’ve probably heard about the new Dr Seuss book, What Pet Should I Get?, which Children’s Book Buyer Angela Crocombe wrote about in this blog post. The publisher’s notes at the back of the story are a very worthwhile addition as they cover the author’s life as well as the process of creating this book posthumously. Do I think it’s up there with The

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On maps in children’s books (and how much we love them)

by Emily Gale

What it is about maps in children’s books that we love so much?

For me it’s the very immediate suggestion that this author has created an entire, detailed world for the reader. They’ve thought of everything, from the twists and turns of a river, to the shape of mountains. How far we are from seas or rival lands, how we might get to Rabbit’s house, or the way to walk from the nice white cottage w…

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Fictional bookshops in children’s books that we’d love to visit in real life

by Emily Gale

To celebrate National Bookshop Day on Saturday 8 August, here are some fictional bookshops for children to visit in their imagination. Flourish and Blott’s in Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone by J.K. Rowling

They bought Harry’s school books in a shop called Flourish and Blotts where the shelves were stacked to the ceiling with books as large as paving stones bound in leather; books

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The best showcase of Australian children’s book authors and illustrators

by Emily Gale

Introducing one of the most exciting Australian children’s books of the year – The Hush Treasure Book – which showcases our finest children’s book illustrators and authors.

Readings is thrilled to be hosting an event to celebrate the Hush Music Foundation’s latest creative endeavour – a treasury of funny and moving illustrated stories by some of Australia’s finest children’s book authors and a…

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Australian YA: the quiet achiever

by Emily Gale

Professionally, you’d have to be a little short of Earth logic to give your heart away to young adult (YA) fiction in this country. The challenges come from all sides.

You’re up against industry snobbery, for a start, despite the fact that children’ and YA books as a category is that rare beast: a print publishing and bookselling growth area. Martin Amis skimmed us a casual slur in 2011, summing…

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Highlights in children’s and YA books for July

by Emily Gale

With everything from excellent illustrated stories for encouraging new readers, to bold debuts for teens, it’s just as well it’s much too cold to do anything but snuggle inside with one of these superb new books.

Both of my picture book recommendations for the month take the reader on an important journey of self-discovery, but in markedly different ways.

In Mr Huff, Anna Walker’s subtle…

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