November Kids' and YA Books Round-Up

There are two empowering non-fiction picture books out this month. In Fighting For Freedom, Cassy Liberman’s second foray into stories about women who’ve made a powerful but little-known impact on the world, children discover the story of Australian spy Nancy Wake who risked her life numerous times during WW2. The illustrations are really striking. And there are many more impressive women to learn about in Amazing Babes, which introduces with brief notes and portraits an international cast including Miles Franklin and Malala Yousafzai.

New fiction treats for the 8-12s include another installment from the hugely popular and approachable Tom Gates by Liz Pichon called Extra Special Treats, and a book that comes with maps and puzzles that are interactive with the story, The Journey by Coral Tulloch, the artist who collaborated with Alison Lester on One Small Island which won the Children’s Book Council of Australia award last year for non-fiction.

As the year draws to a close and the children’s specialists at Readings put their heads together to create Best Of lists (coming soon), the two young adult novels that won my heart completely both have the word “wild” in the title. The most recent of those is Wild Awake by a formerly anonymous publishing industry blogger called The Intern. She’s not anonymous any more - she is Hilary T. Smith and based on her debut she is really one to watch. The other “wild” title is Wildlife by Melbourne author Fiona Wood. Fiona is one of the Australian YA authors who kindly took part in our “Recommendations” blog post, which you can read here.

Other participants include multi-award-winner in 2013 Margo Lanagan ( Sea Hearts ) and the prolific but quiet-of-late John Marsden, who has a great new book out next month for 9-12s called The Year My Life Broke.

There are further recommendations in YA from my colleagues. Man Made Boy by Jon Skovron, was described by Athina Clarke at the Malvern shop as ‘one of the best books I’ve read all year, hilariously funny and incredibly inventive.’ And there’s a new novel by Australian-born Lucy Christopher, who made a huge impact with her debut, Stolen, a few years ago - The Killing Woods. Katherine Dretzke from the Hawthorn shop calls the book ‘a brilliant thriller for 15+’.

Emily Gale is a Children’s & YA Specialist at Readings Carlton, and a Children’s & YA writer the rest of the time.