Kids books, events & news for November

Two exciting Australian middle grade titles are out this month from beloved authors Jaclyn Moriarty and Karen Foxlee, as well as sensitive explorations of WWI, an unusual inside look at storybook villains, a gorgeous illustrated books about ecosystems and a sci-fi modern classic soon to hit our screens.

Find our November picks for YA books here.



Lenny’s Book of Everything by Karen Foxlee

Lenny and Davey Spinks are raised by their single mother Cynthia, who juggles working at a retirement home and a fruit shop. Davey is seven, won’t stop growing, and Cynthia is too scared and overwhelmed to find out why. Lenny and Davey’s days are dominated by the gradual arrival of instalments of Burrell’s Build-It-at-Home Encyclopedia, which help fuel dreams of running away to Great Bear Lake and imaginary eagles.

Our reviewer Dani raved about this extraordinary book that combines childish wonder and adult realities: ‘ Lenny’s Book of Everything is a wonderful read for kids 10+, but it’s not just for kids; this is a book I know I will see being read by teary-eyed, sniffling adults on the bus to work.’

You can read Dani’s full review here.



Noni the Pony Rescues a Joey by Alison Lester

The third Noni the Pony adventure is a delight. While out and about in the hills near Waratah Bay, Noni, along with Coco the cat and Dave the dog, meet a lost baby wallaby. Determined to re-unite little joey and family, the trio meets many Australian critters along the way. With easy rhyming text that’s perfect for reading out loud to little ones, and Lester’s trademark bright and cute illustrations, this picture book is guaranteed to be adored.

Our reviewer Kim predicts that ‘children will be delighted by all the featured animals and everyone will have fun joining the ladies (cows) next door in a celebratory dance when all ends well!’ For ages 1 and up.

You can read Kim’s full review here.


Captain Rosalie by Timothee de Fombelle & Isabelle Arsenault

Five-year-old Rosalie is on a secret mission to learn to read. Her mother reads her father’s letters to her, sent from far away, from the front lines of WWI. During the day her mother goes to work in a weapons factory, while young Rosalie sits in the back of the classroom with a pencil and paper, considered too young to join in. As she gradually learns to read, she understands more of her father’s true situation, and realises she will need to be braver and stronger than ever.

According to our reviewer Natalie, this moving novel for young readers is ‘beautifully told and sensitively brought to life through the illustrations’. For ages 8 and up.

You can read Natalie’s full review here.


Inside the Villains by Clotilde Perrin

Take a fun and whimsical peek inside literature’s greatest villains. This large-format interactive picture book takes readers literally inside the secret worlds of giants, witches and wolves. Look under skirts, inside stomachs and view the contents of heads by lifting flaps and pulling levers; learn interesting facts about favourite foods, strengths and weaknesses, hobbies, and possessions; and read a story featuring the villain.

Our reviewer Natalie described the unique and entertaining Inside the Villains as ‘a magnificent example of children’s book design at its most creative and innovative’. For ages 8 and up.

You can read Natalie’s full review here.


The Slightly Alarming Tale of the Whispering Wars by Jaclyn Moriarty

The harbour town of Spindrift is home to a hotch-potch of witches, gnomes and sirens, and two schools: the Orphanage School, where Finlay lives, and the posh Brathelthwaite Boarding School, home to shy Honey Bee. The two schools are caught in a fierce rivalry, but when the town is invaded, a deadly magical flu threatens everyone and children are kidnapped – everyone must overcome their enmity and work together.

The Slightly Alarming Tale of the Whispering Wars is set in the same world as The Extremely Inconvenient Adventures of Bronte Mettlestone (fifteen years prior) but operates as a stand-alone tale. Our reviewer Athina loved this ‘wickedly adventurous story brimming with quirky characters, bravado and irreverent humour’. For ages 10 and up.

You can read Athina’s full review here.


The Wondrous Workings of Planet Earth by Rachel Ignotofsky

Rachel Ignotofsky adds to her growing collection of beautifully illustrated and informative non-fiction books by turning her hand to different ecosystems across the seven continents. Using colourful maps, infographics, illustrations, a glossary and an index, readers can explore specific ecosystems such as the Great Barrier Reef, the Arctic Circle and the Tropical Andes; learn about the carbon, nitrogen and water cycles; and contemplate human impact on the environments around us.

Our reviewer Angela rates The Wondrous Workings of Planet Earth highly, saying: ‘This highly informative yet uniquely beautiful book on ecosystems will be a delightful reference for anyone interested in learning more about our natural environment.’ For ages 8 and up.

You can read Angela’s full review here.



Mortal Engines by Philip Reeve

A modern classic, Philip Reeve’s Mortal Engines is about to get a big lease of life due to Peter Jackson’s upcoming film adaptation, making this the perfect time to read or re-read. In this amazing sci-fi novel, the world has been mostly destroyed by the Sixty Minute War and cities roam the planet, conquering and subsuming smaller cities in a process referred to as ‘Municipal Darwinism’. Mortal Engines is the first of four books that follow the fates of a group of young people.

Our reviewer, Angela says that ‘the futuristic world Reeve creates in the Mortal Engines quartet is thrillingly believable while his characters and storytelling are full of warmth and humanity.’ For ages 11 and up.

You can read Angela’s full review here.



The shortlists for the prestigious Prime Minister’s Literary Awards have been announced. Congratulations to the shortlistees in the children’s literature category:

Feathers by Phil Cummings & Phil Lesnie
Figgy Takes the City by Tamsin Janu
Hark, It’s Me, Ruby Lee! by Lisa Shanahan & Binny Talib
Pea Pod Lullaby by Glenda Millard & Stephen Michael King
Storm Whale by Sarah Brennan & Jane Tanner

During the recent Mental Health Awareness Week we delved into some kids and YA books that examine mental health. We also recently tackled the importance of teaching resilience to young people and shared some of our best book recommendations on this topic for newborns through to almost-teens.



Join picture book legends Mem Fox and Judy Horacek at our Kids shop for as they read from their new book, Bonnie and Ben Rhyme Again. This free story time will begin at 10.30am on Saturday 10 November. Please book here.

Also this month, award-winning author Karen Foxlee will discuss her latest children’s novel, Lenny’s Book of Everything, with Readings’ own Mike Shuttleworth. Come along to our Hawthorn shop at 6.30pm on Thursday 15 November to hear more about this very special and unique book. The event is free, but please book here.

And over at our St Kilda shop, we’re hosting the launch of Alison Binks’s new picture book at 2pm on Sunday 18 November. Night Walk is a captivating story about a little boy’s adventurous night out while camping. This event is also free and there’s no need to book.

Leanne Hall is a children’s and YA specialist at Readings Kids. She also writes books for children and young adults.

 Read review
Lenny's Book of Everything

Lenny’s Book of Everything

Karen Foxlee

$19.99Buy now

Finding stock availability...