Our best recommendations for kids' books this month

School is back, summer is in its final month, and there are plenty of new books to read. This month, we celebrate the start of the AFL Women’s league, appreciate the beauty of birds, and ponder the merits of canine crime-fighters.

(Find our best recommendations for teen books this month here.)



I’ve been ingesting a lot of news recently, mostly through online sources, but how about the old sort of news, the sort that CRINKLES?

Readings is delighted to stock the paper version of the Crinkling News, a unique national newspaper written for ages seven to 14. The paper aims to keep Australian kids, tweens and teens up-to-date with news, sport, tech, entertainment, human interest, quizzes, puzzles and reviews.

You can pick up a copy of the Crinkling News on the counter at our Readings Kids shop today.

The prestigious American Library Association Youth Media Awards winners have been also announced this month, including the Caldecott, Newbery and Printz awards – for excellence in children’s literature, picture books and young adult literature respectively. Find more details about the winners here.



A neighbourhood is transformed by a mysterious midnight topiarist in The Night Gardener by Terry Fan and Eric Fan. Each day a new leafy animal masterpiece appears and the local community is moved to admire, discuss and theorise about who the gardener might be. The illustrations lend the perfect air of wonder and whimsy. For ages 3 and up.

Eddie Frogbert by Sue Degennaro is a sweet story about a frog overcoming his fear of the high diving board. Any kid or parent who is up against a big fear could learn well from Eddie, who challenges himself in small, manageable stages. For ages 3 and up.

Disappear inside of a tropical forest to discover exotic animals and birds with Deep in the Forest by Josef Anton and Lucie Brunelliere. This is a colourful, gorgeous and accessible search-and-find book for avid animal-spotters ages 3 and up (and especially the progeny of design-conscious parents).

Lucy Cousins is the creator of everyone’s favourite mouse, Maisy, and her bold illustrations paired with exuberant words have won her many young fans. Hooray for Birds is a joyful picture book that features every possible bird you could think of. The birds come appear with plenty of sounds that you can join in on, making this book great fun to read aloud with kids of ages 2 and up.

Here are some other picture books we’re loving right now (there’s oodles!):



Much-loved Rabbit and Bear return for their second story, Pest in the Nest. Poor Rabbit is having trouble tolerating the many loud noises in the woods, especially the work of an especially busy woodpecker. He gets shouty, angry and stubborn – but loving and patient friend Bear eventually helps him find peace among the noise. For ages 5 and up.

The ever-wonderful Squishy McFluff also returns this month for another fabulous (mis)adventure. This series from Pip Jones and illustrator Ella Okstad has many fans here at Readings. In The Big Country Fair, Ava has her fingers crossed that her mischievous cat, Squishy McFluff, will win the Prettiest Pet competition – but the Mayor seems to have a blindspot. (it could be that Squishy is invisible…) For ages 4 and up.

12-year-old Henrietta has to find deep reserves of strength and bravery, as well as new allies, in The Secret of Nightingale Wood by Lucy Strange. Henry’s family is in crisis after the Great War – her mother is bedridden, her dad is working overseas and the local doctor is trying to remove her baby sister. Our Doncaster Children’s Book Buyer Natalie found this book to be ‘a beautiful, immersive read with a spirited and courageous young heroine’. For ages 8 and up.

Another Henry conquers phobias in The Grand, Genius Summer of Henry Hoobler by Lisa Shanahan. Henry makes a new friend, Cassie, while on a summer beach holiday, and finds himself exposed to new levels of adventure. Our Malvern Children’s Book Buyer, Athian was impressed by this ‘fun-filled, heart-warming tale exploring themes of anxiety, courage and friendship’. For ages 7 and up.

Two dog detectives have to solve a movie industry murder-mystery in the hilarious graphic novel Good Dog Bad Dog by Dave Shelton. This book is packed with puns, visual gags and hardboiled mystery. For ages 9 and up. Our St Kilda Children’s Book Buyer Kim also says it’s fun reading for ‘reluctant readers in their teens and comics fans of all ages’.

And a brief postscript… Another crime-fighting graphic novel canine has been taking our shelves by storm recently. The delightfully warped Dog Man and Unleashed by Dav ‘Captain Underpants’ Pilkey has been hugely popular holiday reading for our young customers of ages 7 and up.



With the first AFL Women’s match playing to sell-out crowds, there’s no better time to peruse A Footy Girl’s Guide to the Stars of 2017. Eight players are interviewed about their footy careers, providing plenty of inspiration for fans of ages 8 and up.

Animal Journeys and Things That Grow are two matching illustrated books that pack an enormous amount of information into very attractive designs. Impressive migrations and wondrous life cycles will delight readers interested in the natural and animal worlds. Plus, as our Hawthorn Children’s Book Buyer Alexa writes, these nifty, field-guide sized books are exactly the right size for small hands. For ages 6 and up.



It sure makes a person feel old when a book published in 1991 can quite rightfully be considered a classic…

Jacqueline Wilson has been delighting young readers and parents for a long time now, with her relatable and readable novels about a diverse range of kids facing real-life situations. Hawthorn bookseller Kelsey revisited her childhood favourite, The Story of Tracey Beaker and found it to be ‘clever and hilarious’ as well as ‘a perfect introduction to alternative ideas of family and childhood’.

Read the full review here.



We’re excited that our regular story time is back for 2017. Readings is pleased to offer a free weekly half-hour children’s story time at our Kids, Doncaster, Malvern and St Kilda stores. Find all the details about the different sessions (including our special offer for attendees) here.

Join us at Readings Kids on Saturday 18 February for a fun celebration of Greek mythology. This free event is suitable for ages 10 and under.

You might also like to drop by our Kids shop on Sunday 5 March to meet Australian Children’s Laureate Leigh Hobbs as part of the Italian Auto Icons 2017 Display.

And come along to Readings Hawthorn on Friday 3 March to hear Australian comedian Peter Helliar talk about his first children’s book. This event is suitable for ages 6 to 11.

Leanne Hall is a children’s and YA specialist at Readings Kids. She is also the Grants Officer for the Readings Foundation.

A Footy Girl's Guide to the Stars of 2017

A Footy Girl’s Guide to the Stars of 2017

Alicia Sometimes, Nicole Hayes

$12.99Buy now

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