A kids/YA reading list for Sydney Writers' Festival 2019

Dry

Dry

Neal Shusterman, Jarrod Shusterman

When the California drought escalates to catastrophic proportions, one teen is forced to make life and death decisions in this harrowing story of survival from New York Times bestselling author Neal Shusterman and Jarrod...

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The Explorer

The Explorer

Katherine Rundell, Hannah Horn

For use in schools and libraries only. Left stranded in the Amazon jungle when their plane crashes on their way back to England from Manaus, Brazil, four children struggle to survive for days until one of them finds a map that...

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Judy Moody and the Right Royal Tea Party

Judy Moody and the Right Royal Tea Party

Megan McDonald, Peter H. Reynolds

Another day. Another mood. Meet Judy Moody at her moodiest-best, in this laugh-a-minute fourteenth adventure in the international bestselling series. Bad moods, good moods, even right-royal-tea moods - Judy has them all in this...

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The Gentleman's Guide to Vice and Virtue

The Gentleman’s Guide to Vice and Virtue

Mackenzi Lee

A young bisexual British lord embarks on an unforgettable Grand Tour of Europe with his best friend/secret crush. An eighteenth century romantic adventure for the modern age.    

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 Read reviewOne Would Think the Deep

One Would Think the Deep

Claire Zorn

CBCA Book of the Year Award Winner (Older Readers) 2017Sam stared at the picture of the boy about to be tipped off the edge of the world: the crushing weight of water about to pummel him. Sam knew that...

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 Read reviewAfter the Lights Go Out

After the Lights Go Out

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?

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Leonard Doesn't Dance

Leonard Doesn’t Dance

Frances Watts, Judy Watson

A TOE-TAPPING STORY ABOUT FINDING YOUR OWN RHYTHM FROM THE AWARD-WINNING CREATORS OF GOODNIGHT, MICE! All the birds are excited about the Big Beaky Bird Ball - except Leonard. His warble-warble waltz with the magpies is more...

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Cowboy and Birdbrain

Cowboy and Birdbrain

Adam Wallace, James Hart

Join Cowboy and Birdbrain on their WACKY adventure, when their boss gives them the following job: URGENT DELIVERY! To: Ship in the Middle of the Ocean. WARNING: Do not get package wet!

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 Read reviewMelody Trumpet

Melody Trumpet

Gabrielle Tozer

As the daughter of global music superstars, Melody Trumpet was supposed to be extraordinary - a melodic genius to carry on the Trumpet legacy. But, as was discovered when Melody screamed her first out-of-tune note as a...

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Bear in the Woods: The Peski Kids Book 2

Bear in the Woods: The Peski Kids Book 2

R.A. Spratt

No one believes April saw an enormous bear in the woods. No one thinks Fin didn't break the Cat Lady's foot. No one wants to know why Loretta bought Dad new underwear. And no one listens to Joe, because he never has much to say....

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 Read reviewThe Wayward Witch and the Feelings Monster: Polly and Buster Book One

The Wayward Witch and the Feelings Monster: Polly and Buster Book One

Sally Rippin

From Australia's best-selling female author, Sally Rippin, comes Polly and Buster - a brand new junior fiction series about the magic of friendship.

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 Read reviewThe Mystery of the Magic Stones: Polly and Buster Book Two

The Mystery of the Magic Stones: Polly and Buster Book Two

Sally Rippin

What would you do if everyone thought your best friend was dangerous?Polly the witch and Buster the monster shouldn't be friends. And they definitely shouldn't be on the run from almost everyone in town.<br...

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Gary

Gary

Leila Rudge (Author/Illustrator)

Gary the pigeon can't fly. When his racing pigeon friends head off in their travel basket, Gary stays at home.

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 Read reviewThe Lady's Guide to Petticoats and Piracy

The Lady’s Guide to Petticoats and Piracy

Mackenzi Lee

Sequel to: The gentleman's guide to vice and virtue

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Shrieking Violet

Shrieking Violet

Emma Quay

You want to know who that is down there, making all the fuss? It's only Violet. Violet is the world's noisiest, messiest little sister. But her big sister is determined to be the star of the story! In her endearing, colourful...

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 Read reviewNatural Born Loser

Natural Born Loser

Oliver Phommavanh

Barryjong Primary School is a joke. The teachers have lost their will to teach, the buildings are old and tired with not even a whiff of airconditioning in any classroom, and prefects are the stuff of legends from when the school...

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A Walk in the Bush

A Walk in the Bush

Gwyn Perkins

Little Iggy doesn't want to leave the house, but Grandad insists - they always have fun together. What follows is a wonderful journey in the great Australian outdoors with singing birds, wallaby surprises, secret caterpillar...

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Caravan Fran

Caravan Fran

Cheryl Orsini

Three friends are setting off on a beach holiday - but when things go wrong, some quick thinking helps save the day.

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Elizabella Meets Her Match (Elizabella, Book One)

Elizabella Meets Her Match (Elizabella, Book One)

Zoe Norton Lodge, Georgia Norton Lodge

It's hard to be good when your head is practically exploding with schemes! The hilarious Elizabella series is middle-grade at its finest.

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Our Little Inventor

Our Little Inventor

Sher Rill Ng

A gorgeous and inspiring picture book about a young girl, Nell, who invents a machine to fix the pollution that is choking the city.

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Fart Monster and Me: The Class Excursion (Book 4)

Fart Monster and Me: The Class Excursion (Book 4)

Tim Miller, Matt Stanton

'THESE BOOKS REALLY GO OFF!' - Mac Park, Boy Vs Beast The chapter books your reluctant reader will actually want to read! That's what Uranus looks like? It's not shaped like a butt! Ben's class is off to the...

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Real Pigeons Eat Danger

Real Pigeons Eat Danger

Andrew McDonald, Ben Wood

Ever wonder why pigeons always act so weird? It's because they're out there chasing the bad guys and saving your butts! The REAL PIGEONS aren't just an awesome squad of crime fighters who protect the city. They're also REAL...

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Fairytales for Feisty Girls

Fairytales for Feisty Girls

Beth Norling, Sher Rill Ng, Claire Robertson, Lucinda Gifford, Susannah McFarlane

Renowned girl hero and feisty author Susannah McFarlane presents an illustrated collection of 'tilted' fairytales featuring girls with smarts.

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Feathers

Feathers

Phil Cummings, Phil Lesnie

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 Read reviewJane Doe and the Cradle of All Worlds

Jane Doe and the Cradle of All Worlds

Jeremy Lachlan

Step inside. Don't look back. Forward is the only way. His Dark Materials meets Mad Max in this unforgettable blockbuster adventure about the world between worlds.

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Vital Science

Vital Science

Dr Karl Kruszelnicki

In Vital Science, Dr Karl, Australia's most popular scientist, illuminates the world around us in his idiosyncratic, totally engrossing way.

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 Read reviewThe Sidekicks

The Sidekicks

Will Kostakis

The relationship between three very different teen boys changes as they mourn the death of their mutual best friend, in this heart-wrenching story from an award-winning Australian author about grief, self-discovery and the...

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 Read reviewMeet Me at the Intersection

Meet Me at the Intersection

Rebecca Lim, Ambelin Kwaymullina

Meet Me at the Intersection is an anthology of short fiction, memoir and poetry by authors who are First Nations, People of Colour, LGBTIQA+ or living with disability. The focus of the anthology is on Australian life as...

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 Read reviewWhat I Like About Me

What I Like About Me

Jenna Guillaume

Maisie Martin is a clever, shy, funny, confused 16-year-old. She's ready for the summer of her life. Until everything starts going wrong...

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 Read reviewAmelia Westlake

Amelia Westlake

Erin Gough

Winner of the Readings Young Adult Book Prize 2018From Ampersand Prize-winning author Erin Gough comes this ferociously funny romp through an elite private school, and a brilliant feminist hoax that...

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 Read reviewHelp Around the House

Help Around the House

Morris Gleitzman

Ludo helps other people. It's how he was brought up. When Dad is elected to Federal Parliament, Ludo grabs the chance to make Australia an even better place. But he soon discovers it's not the homeless of the national...

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The Secret of the Youngest Rebel (The Secret Histories, Book 5)

The Secret of the Youngest Rebel (The Secret Histories, Book 5)

Jackie French

Based on eyewitness accounts, this fifth title in The Secret Histories series uncovers the secrets that the colonial government hid for over 200 years.

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If I Was Prime Minister

If I Was Prime Minister

Beck Feiner, Robin Feiner

WHAT WOULD YOU DO IF YOU WERE PRIME MINISTER? The Prime Minister's job is to make our country as good as it can be. But every Prime Minister Australia has ever had has been a grown-up! What if the grown-ups...

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 Read reviewHighway Bodies

Highway Bodies

Alison Evans

Highway Bodies is a unique zombie apocalypse story featuring a range of queer and gender non-conforming teens who have lost their families and friends and can only rely upon each other.

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Midnight at the Library

Midnight at the Library

Ursula Dubosarsky, Ron Brooks

In Midnight at the Library, critically-acclaimed author, Ursula Dubosarsky, and award-winning illustrator, Ron Brooks, traverse space and time, telling the story of a book throughout history. Dubosarsky and Brooks piece together...

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Mad Magpie

Mad Magpie

Gregg Dreise

Mad Magpie is the third book in this successful series of morality tales from Gregg Dreise.Inspired by wise sayings and the knowledge of his Elders, Mad Magpie tells the story of Guluu, an angry magpie who is being...

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Kookoo Kookaburra

Kookoo Kookaburra

Gregg Dreise

Kindness is like a boomerang - if you throw it often, it comes back often.

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Wide Big World

Wide Big World

Maxine Beneba Clarke, Isobel Knowles

A beautiful children's picture book about diversity from award-winning author Maxine Beneba Clarke and illustrator Isobel Knowles.

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One Tree

One Tree

Christopher Cheng, Bruce Whatley

One tall tree on the mountain once marked Grandfather's farm. Now there is a busy city and Grandfather lives with us in our apartment.    Once he told stories but now he stays silent. Until one day, in the...

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Australian Birds

Australian Birds

Matt Chun

It took millions of years of isolation and a diverse range of habitats for Australian birds to evolve the way they did. The result is many of the world's most striking and beautiful birds, including some that are stranger than...

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Violet & Nothing

Violet & Nothing

Fiona Burrows

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Kindred: 12 Queer #LoveOzYA Stories

Kindred: 12 Queer #LoveOzYA Stories

Michael Earp, Jax Jacki Brown, Claire G. Coleman, Benjamin Law, Christos Tsiolkas

A ground-breaking collection of YA short stories by 12 of Australia's finest writers from the LGBTQIA+ community. What does it mean to be queer? 

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 Read reviewThe Bad Guys: Episode 1

The Bad Guys: Episode 1

Aaron Blabey

They sound like the Bad Guys, they look like the Bad Guys ... and they even smell like the Bad Guys. But Mr Wolf, Mr Piranha, Mr Snake and Mr Shark are about to change all of that! Mr Wolf has a daring plan for the Bad Guys' first...

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Thelma the Unicorn with Unicorn Horn

Thelma the Unicorn with Unicorn Horn

Aaron Blabey

Thelma is an ordinary pony who longs to be more. One day, she spots a carrot on the ground and comes up with a brilliant idea! She ties it to her head, just before a skidding truck spills pink paint and glitter all over her!...

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 Read reviewThe Tales of Mr Walker

The Tales of Mr Walker

Jess Black, Sara Acton

The Tales of Mr Walker contains four delightful stories inspired by the real-life Mr Walker, a Guide Dog Ambassador who now calls Park Hyatt Melbourne home. 

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Lemonade Jones: Lemonade Jones 1

Lemonade Jones: Lemonade Jones 1

Karen Blair, Davina Bell

Lemonade Jones likes to ask lots of questions and does not like rules - warm, funny stories for the beginning reader about a girl who likes to ask 'why?'There are a lot of rules that don't interest Lemonade Jones.<br...

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 Read reviewAll the Ways to be Smart

All the Ways to be Smart

Allison Colpoys, Davina Bell

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.    

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A Lot of Stuff Happens

A Lot of Stuff Happens

Adrian Beck, Andrew Daddo, Oliver Phommavanh, Will Kostakis

A collection of four awesome Stuff Happens books in one, from some of Australia's favourite children's authors and edited by Susannah McFarlane, the concept creator behind Zac Power and Go Girl!    When stuff...

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The Stupendously Spectacular Spelling Bee

The Stupendously Spectacular Spelling Bee

Deborah Abela

Originally published in 2016 in Australia by Penguin Random House Australia Pty Ltd, an imprint of Penguin Random House.

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The Most Marvellous Spelling Bee Mystery

The Most Marvellous Spelling Bee Mystery

Deborah Abela

Just when India Wimple's life is returning to normal after competing in the Stupendously Spectacular Spelling Bee, she's invited to London for an international spelling showdown. But how can she go without her family? The...

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Does My Head Look Big in This?

Does My Head Look Big in This?

Randa Abdel-Fattah

I heard a gentle, kind voice: What is your confession, my child? I was stuffed. The Priest would declare me a heretic; my parents would call me a traitor, and Mrs Piogarni would give me detention. I am Muslim, I whispered. It's...

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 Read reviewWhen Michael Met Mina

When Michael Met Mina

Randa Abdel-Fattah

Michael has always believed that everything in life is black and white. But that was before he met Mina.

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