Recommended children’s books & news for May

We’ve got a hilarious picture book from a master storyteller, a sporty time-slip adventure, a heartfelt tale of immigration and strange and wonderful fantasy stories.

Find our May picks for YA books here.



Elsewhere Girls by Emily Gale & Nova Weetman

Cat has recently started at a new school on a sports scholarship, and she’s feeling a lot of pressure. Fanny loves to swim, but family chores and low expectations for girls make it very hard for her to fit in even the occasional training session. Cat and Fanny live in the same Sydney suburb, but in different times - Cat in current-day Sydney, and Fanny in 1908. But one day, time slips and they swap places. As each girl lives the other’s life, with all the challenges and confusion it presents, she comes to appreciate and understand herself and the role of swimming in her own life.

Our reviewer Athina loved this wonderful time-slip adventure co-written by beloved Melbourne authors Emily Gale and Nova Weetman, admiring how they ‘intertwine their unique voices to weave this heartfelt, insightful and humorous tale.’

You can read her full review here.

For ages 9 and up.



The Rock from the Sky by Jon Klassen

Turtle really likes standing in his favourite spot. He likes it so much that he asks his friend Armadillo to come over and stand in it, too. But now that Armadillo is standing in that spot, he has a bad feeling about it…At ninety pages long, and featuring an extremely worrying rock falling in slow motion from the sky, this is a hilarious meditation on the workings of friendship, fate, shared futuristic visions, and that funny feeling you get that there’s something off somewhere, but you just can’t put your finger on it.

Our reviewer Morgana predicts The Rock from the Sky will become a new family favourite, and described it as ‘full of deadpan dialogue, potentially plausible situations and the spot-on comic timing we have come to love from Klassen.’

You can read her full review here.

For ages 4 and up.

We’re hosting a very special online event with Jon Klassen on Saturday 8 May 2021 at 9am! You can find all the details here.


Arno and His Horse by Jane Godwin & Felicita Sala

Arno had a horse, it was brown and it was black and it had been carved for him by his grandpa. He took it with him everywhere, but did he bring it back? When Arno loses his precious toy horse, all the kids in town help him to look for it. They look everywhere, but will Arno ever see his horse again? That night Arno dreams of his grandpa, young and full of energy as he rides his own horse, and he finally remembers where his wooden horse is hiding.

Our reviewer Angela praised the ‘delightful rhyme scheme and Felicita Sala’s beautiful watercolour illustrations of the landscape’ in this poignant tale.

You can read her full review here.

For ages 3 and up.


News Hounds: The Puppy Problem by Laura James & Charlie Alder

Gizmo is a city dog, so when he moves to the village of Puddle with his journalist human he doesn’t know what to expect. Luckily he’s got Jilly, the wolfhound next door, to show him around. But Jilly has a problem. Her puppies are going to be given to new owners far away. She’ll never see them again! Gizmo might not know the difference between a cow and a tractor but he comes up with a great idea to help Jilly. It turns out running a newspaper isn’t just for humans…

This sweet pet caper story by The Adventures of Pug author James uses bright illustrations and captivating fonts to entice junior readers.

For ages 7 and up.


Eliza Vanda’s Button Box by Emily Rodda

Life hasn’t been much fun for Milly Dynes lately. There seem to be problems everywhere she looks; she’s not looking forward to high school or giving up her bedroom to her new baby sister. She’s always loved her home in Tidgy Bay, but at the moment she wishes she was somewhere - anywhere - else. Then Eliza Vanda, an eccentric seamstress, comes to live at Milly’s father’s seaside cabin, and magic comes with her …

Our reviewer Dani adored this sparkling new fantasy adventure from multi-award-winning author Emily Rodda, and found it to be ‘the kind of story that feeds your imagination a feast and leaves you hungry for more.’

You can read her full review here.

For ages 7 and up.


A Glasshouse of Stars by Shirley Marr

Meixing Lim and her family have moved to a new house in a new country, inherited from First Uncle who died tragically and unexpectedly while picking oranges in the backyard. Everything is vast and unknown to Meixing, and she has trouble understanding the language at school, and making new friends. Her solace is a glasshouse in the garden that inexplicably holds the sun and the moon and all the secrets of her memory and imagination. Meixing’s fragile universe is rocked when tragedy strikes her family, and she must summon all the resilience and inner belief she can to turn their world around.

Our reviewer Alexa highly recommends A Glasshouse of Stars, and said that it ‘illuminates the hardships of immigrants, the loss of a way of life, and the importance of family and friendships.’

You can read her full review here.

For ages 9 and up.


Oddity by Eli Brown

When her physician father is murdered, thirteen-year-old Clover Elkin embarks on a perilous mission through warring frontier territories to protect the one secret Oddity he left behind. Oddities are rare items of wonder and magic that can run the gamut of harmless to dangerous, and they are highly sought-after and collected. As she uncovers the truth about her parents and her past, Clover herself emerges as a powerful agent of history.

This rich and startling fantasy adventure is set in an alternate nineteenth century in which the United States is at war with Napoleon’s France. Our reviewer Claire recommended it as a ‘wonderful historical romp that is at times funny, but also heart-wrenching.’

You can read her full review here.

For ages 10 and up.



The Happy Lion by Roger Duvoisin & Louise Fatio

The lion at the little French zoo is a favourite of all the townspeople. Every day they stop by to feed him titbits and say, ‘Bonjour, Happy Lion.’ Naturally, when the lion finds his door open, he decides it would only be proper to visit all his friendly neighbours in return. But, wait - sacre bleu! Why is everyone fleeing in terror? Even if the townspeople are too frightened to cope, the Happy Lion’s friend Francois saves the day and leads the Happy Lion home.

Our reviewer Mike revisited this joyous picture book and pointed out that ‘the book’s themes of empathy and the power of friendship are as fresh as when The Happy Lion first appeared, nearly 70 years ago.’

You can read his full review here.

For ages 3 and up.


We were thrilled to recently announce that the winner of the Readings Children’s Book Prize is As Fast As I Can by Penny Tangey. The book follows ten-year-old Vivian as she tries to bring her Olympic dreams to life, and is both funny and very touching.

Read all the details about Tangey’s win and read the judge’s report here.


Get your paper and pencils ready! We are delighted to host a special online event with the much loved (and much awarded) author-illustrator, Jon Klassen, on Saturday 8 May 2021 at 9am.

Klassen will read aloud from his hilarious new book The Rock from the Sky before treating viewers to an exclusive drawing class. This event is online and ticket entry is $5 per person, which is redeemable off purchase of the book when purchasing in store or online from the Readings website. You can find all the details here.


There’s nothing more delicious than a good mystery novel, with plenty of clues and red herrings and excellent sleuthing done by precocious child detectives! If you agree, check out our recommended recent mystery novels for kids.

We put together a reading list for the Easter school holidays, but you know what? Cold, indoor winter days are fast approaching, so these eight kids books could be just the thing you need.

Words and Nerds podcast interviews a wide range of authors, including regular chats with children’s authors. Some recent guests include Emily Gale and Nova Weetman, R.A. Spratt and Jackie French. We highly recommend you have a listen!

Leanne Hall is the children’s specialist for Readings online. She also writes books for children and young adults.

 Read review
Elsewhere Girls

Elsewhere Girls

Emily Gale, Nova Weetman

$16.99Buy now

Finding stock availability...