Our favourite self-published children’s and young adult books
Writers from Beatrix Potter to Matthew Reilly first found success by self-publishing, and whereas it’s not easy to do well without the support of a big team, here is a list celebrating some self-published children and young adult books that have found a home at Readings in the last couple of years.
Ru Dreaming and Breaking Jumps by Amy Han
Melbourne writer Amy Han really charmed me with her book for 10s and over, Ru Dreaming. This is a sweet, thoughtful novel that fans of Cathy Cassidy or Jacqueline Wilson would enjoy. It’s a very slim book (no bad thing) but that’s just a mark of the production qualities of many self-published books – the content of Ru Dreaming more than makes up for it.
Han’s latest novel, Breaking Jumps, is for older readers and was inspired by her love of parkour, which she’s been training in for the last four years.
Ink Inc. by Jack Heath
We were excited to host young adult author Jack Heath’s latest book launch earlier this year. Jack went about things in an intriguing reverse-order by self-publishing Ink Inc. even though he has a literary agent and a string of successful books with major publishers. Jack had his reasons, and encouraged fans to be part of the Ink Inc. storyline by posting feedback on his chapters, as well as contributing to the production on Pozible.
Blake Collider by June Laurie
High school teacher June Laurie wanted to write something for Year 8 students who struggle with their reading. Her thriller Blake Collider is the result. It’s about an Australian high school student who visits Italy as part of an exchange program. On the plane he meets a young woman who is a researcher on the Hadron Collider project, and gets caught up in a tense drama involving the ethics of scientific research.
Pizzica Pizzica by Hayley Egan
This beautiful picture book was funded by Pozible last August. It’s a bilingual (Italian-English) story based on an ancient music and dance tradition, and was a collaboration between Melbourne artist Hayley Egan and her Italian husband, a musician and ethnomusicologist. I fell in love with the artwork straight away. It’s a lovely production but for one minor omission – the spine is blank. So if you come looking for it, look for a plain red spine in our children’s languages section.
Nelly’s Amazing Pet Bitsof by John G Wizz and Elizabeth Nicholls
Here’s a picture book that doesn’t quite have the polished production values but is nevertheless delightful and a story I think lots of children would enjoy. The main character, Nelly, begins telling her kindergarten mates all about her amazing pet (who is ‘bitsof this and bitsof that’) but as Nelly’s description gets more outrageous the kids lose faith in her. Until a lovely surprise at the end…
How To Be Happy Now… Even If Things Aren’t Going Your Way by Sara Weston
This book on mindfulness is kept in our ‘Teen Issues’ section but it’s not just for teenagers. It’s filled with the sort of free advice you could find on the internet but this is just the point – that we should switch off devices and create a bit of mental space and peace for ourselves. What I like about this book is that it’s not overloaded with information. It has an easily accessible start in learning how to practice meditation, reminding us that it’s really important to allow ourselves to be happy in the moment.