Emily Gale

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Website: http://emilygale.co.uk

Twitter: EmilyGale

Emily Gale is the Online Children’s Specialist, and a writer of fiction for children and young adults.

Reviews

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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Quincy Jordan by Jen Storer

Reviewed by Emily Gale

One of the things I recall about being an avid pre-teen reader was my love of Francine Pascal’s Sweet Valley High books, that widely criticised series – soap opera in book form – that nobody approved…

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Nine Open Arms by Benny Lindelauf

Reviewed by Emily Gale

We see many successful adult novels translated to English from the Dutch (a notable release of late being Herman Koch’s The Dinner). Nine Open Arms is welcome proof that young adult publishers recogn…

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The Year My Life Broke by John Marsden

Reviewed by Emily Gale

Lately I’ve read some excellent real-life Australian novels for 9–12 year olds that I’ve little doubt had a female-only readership. So I was excited to see a book about ordinary events and relationsh…

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The Kensington Reptilarium by Nikki Gemmell

Reviewed by Emily Gale

I was drawn to this book by the sweet figures on the cover, which I recognised as being the work of talented Australian illustrator Allison Colpoys. Her artwork perfectly suits this slightly dotty, t…

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Alex, the Dog and the Unopenable Door by Ross Montgomery

Reviewed by Emily Gale

In the tradition of Roald Dahl’s child-led adventures that feature a range of stupid and/or horrible adults comes this story about a very likeable boy and how he battles through a range of wacky adve…

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Jane, The Fox & Me by Fanny Britt and Isabelle Arsenault

Reviewed by Emily Gale

I hardly know where to begin with this exceptional graphic novel about bullying, which is set in Quebec and has been translated from the original French. I’d like to frame its cover and put it on my …

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Every Breath by Ellie Marney

Reviewed by Emily Gale

Contemporary re-imaginings of Arthur Conan Doyle’s Sherlock Holmes have proved successful of late. This debut Australian novel offers another worthwhile interpretation, with a uniquely YA approach.

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Welcome to My Country by Laklak Burarrwanga & family

Reviewed by Emily Gale

The Yolngu people of Bawaka – a beautiful, remote beach in the East Arnhem Land region – are said to be the most culturally intact Indigenous group in Australia. This book, a collaboration by six Ind…

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The Sky So Heavy by Claire Zorn

Reviewed by Emily Gale

Certain books we read as adolescents stay with us. For Claire Zorn, Louise Lawrence’s Children of the Dust planted the seed in her mind that would eventually become her debut novel about a nuclear wi…

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Chasing the Valley by Skye Melki-Wegner

Reviewed by Emily Gale

From young Australian author Skye Melki-Wegner comes another addition to the dystopian-fantasy genre. Yet there’s more alchemy than brutality to Chasing the Valley, and I’d recommend this one to a ra…

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The Girl Who Brought Mischief by Katrina Nannestad

Reviewed by Emily Gale

This is a little heartbreaker of a story. Think Pollyanna meets Anne of Green Gables with a dash of Heidi. It’s set in Denmark in 1911, so younger readers may need a bit of context to start with, mai…

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The River Charm by Belinda Murrell

Reviewed by Emily Gale

I can’t resist a time-slip novel and Belinda Murrell has already established herself as a contender in this genre with The Ivory Rose and The Forgotten Pearl. Her stories are a wonderful way to acces…

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News

The books our kids loved in 2014

by Emily Gale

With booksellers for parents, our kids have an endless supply of reading material and are always willing to roadtest for us. Ranging from age 5 to age 16, they told us the books they discovered in 2014 that hooked them the most, including several new releases and some old favourites. Teens Charlie, age 16, loved:

The Rookie Yearbooks edited by Tavi Gevinson (Books 1-3). Perfect for fans of f…

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Five young adult books that I couldn’t put down this year

by Emily Gale

Children’s book specialist Emily Gale selects the young adult books that she read in one sitting this year.

The Boy’s Own Manual To Being A Proper Jew by Eli Glasman

With remarkable wit and warmth, Eli Glasman invites his readers into the Orthodox Jewish community that provides the setting for his debut novel. Once I was in, I stayed put. It’s a slim, punchy story, no words wasted, which I…

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Great new Christmas books for children

by Emily Gale

If you’re looking for Christmas books that feature new Australian stories: Please note, Tea and Sugar Christmas is now out of stock at Readings and more stock cannot be supplied in time for Christmas.

Christmas books can get a bit samey, so when an original idea pops up you take notice. I can remember the moment I heard about Tea and Sugar Christmas.

I was at a children’s literature conf…

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Wonderful books for children to give grandparents

by Emily Gale

We’ve loved some of the recent picture books that celebrate grandparents, and what better Christmas gift from a child than one that says, ‘Let’s sit down together and read this’? To help you get the right fit for your family, here are nine new favourites from the last 12 months and one oldie we just couldn’t leave out… The Butterfly House by Sarah Smith

Jack and Lizzy’s granny is rathe…

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Christmas Gift Guide: What To Buy For Kids and Teens

by Emily Gale

TREASURIES

If you’re looking for a collection of nursery rhymes, Over the Hills and Faraway ($29.95) is the most stunning we’ve seen in years. The rhymes have been drawn from all over the world so you’ll find all the familiar ones, as well as some you didn’t know. The list of illustrators truly is a Hall of Fame. Representing Australia are Ann James, Gus Gordon (pictured left) and Shaun Tan…

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What are some books to keep early readers reading?

by Emily Gale

Fill your house with stacks of books, in all the crannies and all the nooks. – Dr. Seuss For lots of parents, there’s a stage when their children are learning to read that requires gritted teeth and plenty of enthusiasm, when we try our hardest not to say things like: ‘But we sounded out this word fifteen seconds ago!’ Once that stage is over, which varies hugely from child to child, you need a …

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