Recommended children’s books and news for September

This month in kids books we travel to the Arctic Circle on a hot air balloon, go on a research trip to study rare sharks, reach the final story in a much loved series, and explore a magical forest as well as the tiny, magical creatures that just might live in our own backyards.

You can find our September picks for YA books here.



The Song of Lewis Carmichael by Sofie Laguna, illustrated by Marc McBride

Matthew has dreamed and read and thought about the North Pole for as long as he can remember. And he has done it secretly. It is a place that cannot be tarnished by the world in which he lives - a world in which he struggles to find answers and make friends, while everything seems to come easily to other children.

But one day, a crow called Lewis Carmichael lands at Matthew’s window - a crow who believes in Matthew in the most simple and ordinary ways. Soon, the unexpected voyage of a lifetime begins, and it will change everything…

In my review I described it as ‘an utter delight for readers ages 9+ and a magical read-aloud for younger audiences’. You can read the full review here.

For ages 9 and up.



Always by Morris Gleitzman

The much-anticipated final journey in the story of Felix, hero of Morris Gleitzman’s multi-award-winning Once, Then, Now, After, Soon and Maybe.

It’s fifteen years since readers were first introduced to Felix in Once and across six celebrated books, our brave young hero has survived many unforgettable and emotional journeys. Now comes the seventh and final part of Felix’s story, bringing to a powerful climax a series that countless young readers around the world will remember - Always.

For ages 10 and up.


Barkly Mansion and the Weirdest Guest by Melissa Keil, illustrated by Adele K Thomas

In this sweet, goofy new series four loveable friends will learn to get along with the strangest creature they’ve ever met, and discover that sometimes you can get what you want without barking like crazy.

Packed full of mischief, mayhem and wordplay, every book features three fish-out-of-water episodes about this loveable canine crew - and their new friend, Edmund.

Our staff reviewer adored it. Read her review here.

For ages 6 and up.


Dulcinea in the Forbidden Forest by Ole Koennecke, illustrated by Shelley Tanaka

Dulcinea has known since she was small not to enter the dangerous magic forest where the witch has her castle. But her father hasn’t come home from collecting blueberries for her birthday pancakes. Did the witch cast a spell on him? Dulcinea must brave the dark forest and sneak into the witch’s castle to steal the spell book and free him. Her father would hardly have named her after the brave Dulcinea if she couldn’t break a witch’s spell!

You can read our staff review for this funny fairy tale here.

For ages 6 and up.


Pax: Journey Home by Sara Pennypacker, illustrations by Jon Klassen

It’s been a year since Peter and his pet fox, Pax, have seen each other. Once inseparable, they now lead very different lives. Pax must protect his litter of kits in a dangerous world. Meanwhile Peter, orphaned after the war, has left his adopted home and joined the Water Warriors, a group determined to heal the land from the scars of the war.

Now both boy and fox find themselves on journeys toward home, healing - and each other.

Our reviewer, Natalie, says it ‘adds deeper layers of complexity and richness to the much-loved characters’. You can read her full review here and if you haven’t yet experienced the first book (it is brilliant) you can find it here.

For ages 10 and up.


Julia and the Shark by Kiran Millwood Hargrave and illustrated by Tom de Freston

Julia has followed her mum and dad to live on a remote island for the summer - her dad, for work; her mother, on a determined mission to find the elusive Greenland shark. But when her mother’s obsession threatens to submerge them all, Julia finds herself on an adventure with dark depths and a lighthouse full of hope…

A beautiful, lyrical, uplifting story about a mother, a daughter, and love - with timely themes of the importance of science and the environment. Our reviewer loved this lyrical story and called it ‘a moving and poignant tale of love and family’. You can read her full review here.

For ages 9 and up.


The Tiny Explorers by Kat Macleod

Australian artist Kat Macleod was inspired by watching her children play in their home garden, discovering new flowers, unusual insects and an odd assortment of tiny ‘treasures’ to write this book.

‘After such a strange 2020, with so many months spent in lockdown and our children limited to playing in our small backyard, it shows that if you use your imagination, you can still have big fun in a tiny space,’ Kat says.

You can read our review here.

For ages 3 and up.


  • This month we were saddened to hear of the passing of author, Jill Murphy, who wrote the classic chapter book The Worst Witch. She also wrote charming picture books that were greatly loved in many households. You can read more about her stories here.

  • The Children’s Book Council of Australia (CBCA) announced the winners of their Book of the Year Award in an online ceremony during Book Week on August 20. You can read all about the winning books here.

  • We celebrated Indigenous Literacy Day by showcasing five new and recent books by First Nations artists and authors, some of them still only teenagers! You can read about the books here.

  • For dog lovers, find stories about all kinds of pooches in these recent picture books.

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The Song of Lewis Carmichael

The Song of Lewis Carmichael

Sofie Laguna, Marc McBride

$16.99Buy now

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