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

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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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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News

April Round-up of Kids' & YA Books

by Emily Gale

This month I’ll begin in the middle, for a change, with a crop of great new books to feed your eager 9+ year olds.

For kids who like something out of the ordinary – think magical realism meets different periods in history meets a mysterious quest – plus the challenge of multiple storylines, Echo by Pam Munoz Ryan looks really promising and is recommended for (roughly) grades 5-9.

And I’m cert…

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Children’s books to tackle childhood worries

by Emily Gale

As adults with complex worries of our own we can forget what scared us as children, how large those things loomed when a single day seemed so long. Here are some picture books, a short story collection and a junior novel that our children’s specialists love for the special attention they pay to childhood anxieties and the messages of hope they bring in funny, observant and beautiful packages. …

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Kids' and young adult highlights for March

by Emily Gale

Recently there has been a more open dialogue about what it’s like to live with anxiety, which has made me think about the worries we experience as children and how, as parents or caregivers, we react to those worries. Our response to a child who is uncomfortable about a particular situation, or struggling to find their place in the world, is a great responsibility. This month there are some beaut…

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February 2015 Children’s & YA Highlights

by Emily Gale

There’s a stunning young adult anthology out this month. Eat the Sky, Drink the Ocean is a collaboration between editors Kirsty Murray (The Year It All Ended), Anita Roy and Payal Dhar, featuring speculative fiction (including six graphic stories) from Australian and Indian authors. From the Australian contingent we’ve got Isobelle Carmody (Obernewtyn), Penni Russon (Only Ever Always), Justine La…

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Love at third sight (a Harry Potter tribute)

by Emily Gale

As a species we’re impressed by the idea that loving someone the minute you clap your eyes on them is a sign of purity. Some sort of mystical superiority. This extends to art in the sense that we’re eager to declare ‘I’m your biggest fan’ or to insist that we loved an author long before the rest of the world caught on. I know I’m not immune to this, but one author I didn’t get straight away (one …

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January Children’s & Young Adult Highlights

by Emily Gale

It’s great to see an author-illustrator partnership taking off and I think that’s the case with Clare Freedman and Kate Hindley. Their first book, The Great Snortle Hunt, was really good fun and several customers told me it was their pre-schooler’s favourite. The latest, Oliver and Patch, is a heart-breaker (probably more so for the adult reading it) but nicely uplifting. Warm and lively illustra…

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