Kids book buyers' favourites of 2021

Book buyers at each of the stores of Readings come across thousands of books each year and have to make decisions about which ones to stock, which ones to feature and how many to order. It’s an enviable job and one of the highlights (and challenges!) is reflecting on some of our top picks of the year. But we’ve managed it! Below are the Children’s Buyers favourite reads of 2021 that come very highly recommend.


The Beatryce Prophecy by Kate DiCamillo

In a time of war, a mysterious child appears at the monastery of the Order of the Chronicles of Sorrowing. Gentle Brother Edik finds the girl, Beatryce, curled in a stall, wracked with fever and holding fast to the ear of Answelica the recalcitrant goat. As the monk nurses Beatryce to health, he uncovers her dangerous secret - one that imperils them all. And so it is that a girl with a head full of stories must venture into a dark wood in search of the castle of a king who wishes her dead.

This is an utter delight for readers aged 9 and up.


Little Gem by Anna Zobel

When her spell at Witchcraft School goes wrong, Gem lands in an unfamiliar, empty cottage, outside a strange, colourful town. Everyone in Ellsworth Pining thinks Gem is their new village witch. The Weather Worker is missing, and there are tales of a terrifying beast in the woods.Can Gem help them?

A gem of a book for readers aged 7 and up.


A Year in Fleurville by Felicita Sala

Meet the many people of Fleurville, delight in their produce, learn their recipes, and find comfort in the cycle of the seasons. A Year in Fleurville is a cookbook, a mini guide to gardening, and a picture book rolled into one, celebrating the joys of coming together and sharing the rich rewards of our gardens and kitchens.

Suitable for budding foodies aged 7 and up.


Exit Through the Gift Shop by Maryam Master

Ana is discovering that life is absurd. As if dying of cancer at the age of 12.5 isn’t bad enough, she still has to endure daily insults from her nemesis, Alyssa (Queen Mean) Anderson. Ana’s on a wild roller-coaster of life and death, kindness and cruelty, ordinary and extraordinary. And she’s got a few things to do before she exits…

A heartwarming story for readers aged 8 and up.


The Spectacular Suit by Kat Patrick & Hayley Wells

It’s almost Frankie’s birthday and everything is ready - except for something to wear. All of her party dresses feel wrong. Her family tries to help, but it’s no good. What Frankie longs for is a suit. A spectacular suit … Can Frankie find the outfit of her dreams?

An identity affirming story for children aged 3 and up.


The World’s Most Pointless Animals by Philip Bunting

A witty, quirky, illustrated book featuring some very silly animals. With a humorous, sardonic tone throughout, it contains funny labelled diagrams and some excellent made-up Latin names but, importantly, it conveys genuinely fascinating facts about these animals, who are perhaps not so pointless after all.

A humorous animal book for children aged 4 and up.


Pony by R.J. Palacio

When Silas Bird wakes in the dead of night, he watches powerlessly as three strangers take his father away. Silas is left shaken, scared and alone, except for the presence of his companion, Mittenwool … who happens to be a ghost. But then a mysterious pony shows up at his door, and Silas knows what he has to do. So begins a perilous journey to find his father - a journey that will connect him with his past, his future, and the unknowable world around him.

An unforgettable story for readers aged 9 and up.


The Gaps by Leanne Hall

When sixteen-year-old Yin Mitchell is abducted, the news reverberates through the whole Year Ten class at Balmoral Ladies College. Police suspect the abduction is the work of a serial offender, with none in the community safe from suspicion. Everyone is affected by Yin’s disappearance-even scholarship student Chloe. A tribute to friendship in all its guises, The Gaps is a moving examination of vulnerability and strength, safety and danger, and the particular uncertainty of being a young woman in the world.

A gripping story for ages 13 and up.


The Firekeeper’s Daughter by Angeline Boulley

Eighteen-year-old Daunis’s mixed heritage has always made her feel like an outsider, both in her hometown and on the nearby Ojibwe reservation. When she witnesses a shocking murder, she reluctantly agrees to be part of a covert FBI operation into a series of drug-related deaths. In secret, she pursues her own investigation using her knowledge of chemistry and Ojibwe traditional medicine to track down the criminals. However, the deceptions and deaths keep piling up and soon the threat strikes too close to home.

A fascinating read for aged 13 and up.


The Outlaws Scarlett and Browne by Jonathan Stroud

England has been radically changed by a series of catastrophes - large cities have disappeared and London has been replaced by a lagoon. The surviving population exists in fortified towns where they cling to traditional ways, while strangely evolved beasts prowl the wilderness beyond. Conformity is rigidly enforced and those who fall foul of the rules are persecuted: some are killed, others are driven out into the wilds. Only a few fight back - and two of these outlaws, Scarlett McCain and Albert Browne, display an audacity and talent that makes them legends.

Suitable for fantasy and adventure readers aged 12 and up.

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The Beatryce Prophecy

The Beatryce Prophecy

Kate DiCamillo, Sophie Blackall

$24.99Buy now

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