Recommended kids books for March

We’ve got gentle and courageous heroes galore in this month’s new releases, from fantasy classics to school stories, ship-bound mysteries to Bronze Age adventures.

Find our recommended March YA books for March here.


The Edge of Thirteen by Nova Weetman

Clem Timmins can’t wait to see her best friends after summer holidays. But when they get back together, things have changed. Bridge is boy-crazy and acting like a different person. Ellie is wearing a bra and having a real-life romance. Clem feels left behind. When she makes friends with Tom, suddenly everyone’s gossiping about whether they’re going to be a couple. Clem’s got no interest in having a boyfriend. Or does she? At school camp, Bridge crosses the line and Clem has to ask herself - can she keep growing up with her friends when they’re growing apart?

Our reviewer Angela can’t recommend this evocative story highly enough: ‘Weetman effortlessly depicts the world of young women – their confusing emotions, conflicts, burgeoning feelings about sexuality or conversely, the feeling that they are still a child when their friends are all growing up.’

You can read her full review here.

For ages 11+.


Blue Flower by Sonya Hartnett & Gabriel Evans

This gentle new picture book from Sonya Hartnett introduces readers to a sweet little character – and their fluffy cat Piccolo – lamenting that they do not want to go to school. The child describes her qualms about going to school and how hard she finds asking the teacher for help, how she feels shy about making friends, not being funny or a fast runner. But through her love of art, a conversation with her mother and her observations about nature she comes to see that being different might not be a bad thing after all.

Our reviewer Tye raved about this thoughtful and lyrical picture book, describing it as ‘a gift to those children who feel different: the quiet, thoughtful children who yearn to understand themselves and the world around them.’

You can read her full review here.

For ages 4+.

Ruffles and the Red, Red Coat by David Melling

Ruff! Ruff! Hello, Ruffles! Ruffles is a typical dog who loves scratching, digging and chewing, but he does NOT like wearing his coat on rainy days. No, no, no, no, NO! But when Ruffles wants to splash in puddles with his best friend, Ruby, he soon learns that some things are definitely worth wearing your coat for!

Our reviewer Alexa loved this adorable picture book from a much-loved author: ‘As with his bestselling book Hugless Douglas, David Melling’s combination of charming illustrations and simple story once again proves to be a winner.’

You can read her full review here.

For ages 1+.

School of Monsters series by Sally Rippin & Chris Kennett

The four chapter books in Sally Rippin’s new junior fiction series are a wonderful place for kids to start in their reading journey, and to meet the weird and wonderful students that attend the School of Monsters! Short, easy sentences; bold, brightly coloured words; playful rhyme; and energetic, cartoon-like illustrations are guaranteed to motivate any beginner reader. Mary’s pet with the voracious appetite visits the school; Hairy Sam figures out a popular (but unusual) way to clean up his bread and jam mess; Pete’s extraordinarily big feet save the day; and Deb and Dot’s ingenious plot wins friends for both of them.

Our reviewer Athina highly recommends this new series where ‘delightful madcap monsters engage in riotous school adventures that explore themes of diversity, friendship and sharing.’

You can read her full review here.

For ages 5+.

The Detective’s Guide to Ocean Travel by Nicki Greenberg

Pepper’s father is the captain of the RMS Aquitania, a huge luxury liner transporting people across the Atlantic Ocean. After years of begging, Pepper finally gets to join him on his journey. Pepper promises her accompanying governess she will be a perfectly well-behaved young lady and she has every intention of doing that. But then she meets Sol, a young American stowaway with dreams of being a famous pastry chef; Toby, a mysterious boy who helps his blind dad play cards; and Norah, a Irish girl from 3rd class with an amazing voice. The four kids find themselves desperately trying to solve an intriguing mystery involving the theft of a rare diamond, haughty Broadway stars, circus performers, swindlers, leopards, and more.

Our reviewer Dani recommends this book to all keen young mystery readers, describing it as ‘funny and charming.’

You can read her full review here.

For ages 8+.

Cuckoo’s Flight by Wendy Orr

When a raiders’ ship appears off the coast, the goddess requires the sacrifice of a maiden to save the town - and Clio’s grandmother creates a sacred statue to save Clio’s life. But Clio is torn between the demands of guarding the statue and caring for her beloved horses. Disabled in an accident, she must try to put aside her own grief at no longer being able to ride - and in the process, save a friend’s life and stop a war.

Wendy Orr’s two prior Bronze Age novels written in prose and free verse, Dragonfly Song and Swallow’s Dance, have won multiple awards and high praise. This brilliant companion novel follows a brave young heroine as she battles the political power of the palace and her own feelings of inadequacy.

For age 8+.

Wow in the World: The How and Wow of the Human Body by Guy Raz & Mindy Thomas

WHY in the world do I have a belly button? And WHAT in the world does it do? WHEN in the world will my nose stop growing? And HOW in the world does my pee keep flowing? Authors Mindy Thomas and Guy Raz are the hosts of the popular NPR family podcast Wow in the World, where they share news and facts about science and technology. In Wow in the World: The How and Wow of the Human Body they take kids on a funny, fact-filled adventure all over the human body with hilarious cartoons, jokes, photos, quizzes, experiments and plenty of gross bits.

Our reviewer Kim appreciated the entertaining format of this guide, finding it to be ‘genuinely a very funny and eye-opening read.’

You can read her full review here.

For age 8+.


Rowan of Rin by Emily Rodda

Emily Rodda’s enormously popular Rowan of Rin fantasy series (five books in total - collected here in a special hardback edition) was published in the early Nineties and forms part of her wider Deltora universe. The series follows a shy and quiet village boy, Rowan. Our reviewer Dani revisited this childhood fave, which she describes as the perfect introduction to fantasy, for kids who aren’t quite ready for Harry Potter yet.

In Dani’s very excellent words: ‘I first stumbled across Rowan when I was 10 years old and I have loved him ever since. A quiet, shy, ‘skinny rabbit’ of a boy, he’s one of my favourite fictional characters of all time and was the first character to show me that you can’t be brave if you’re not scared first.’

You can read her full review here.


We were delighted to recently announce the shortlist for The Readings Children’s Book Prize 2021! The Readings Children’s Book Prize celebrates exciting new voices in Australian children’s literature. This year’s six shortlisted titles are:

You can learn all about the Prize, and read the judge’s comments here.


We’re over the moon to host

an online event on Sunday 21st March

with the current Australian Children’s Laureate Ursula Dubosarsky and much loved, much awarded author Alison Lester. Alison will be reading the beloved

The Quicksand Pony

and discussing the joy of illustrating and writing. This event is online and ticket entry is $5 per person, which is redeemable off purchase of

The Quicksand Pony

when purchasing in store or online from the Readings website. Find all the event details


, and be sure to book your tickets




Other recent awards announcements include the much-anticipated Children’s Book Council of Australian notable books lists, and, over in the UK, the Carnegie and Greenaway Medals longlists.

Know a keen young reader? Readings is hosting two monthly online book clubs for young people this year, for children aged 8-12, and for young adults aged 14+. Find all the details here.

If you’re keen to read for First Nations Australian authors this year, we compiled a list of First Nations writers to read in 2021, which includes plenty of kids titles.

Do you have a baby or toddler to read to? One of our booksellers wrote about the joys of sharing board books with her little one.

The tween years can be a tricky time for reading - with readers falling in the gap between middle fiction and young adult. We recommended some books that we think are perfect reads for the tween years.

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

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Cover image for The Edge of Thirteen

The Edge of Thirteen

Nova Weetman

In stock at 6 shops, ships in 3-4 daysIn stock at 6 shops