Recommended kids' books, news & events for May

We have a great array of kids books this month – a great illustrated book about the moon landing, some fantastically quirky fantasy, a gorgeous body positivity guide and a funny and sweet story about a mum with a social media addiction.

Find our April picks for YA books here.



Moonwalkers by Mark Greenwood & Terry Denton

20th July 2019 marks the 50th anniversary of the moon landing, so prepare to be hit by a veritable onslaught of moon-related kids books!

Australians Billy, Micky and Buzz follow the Apollo 11 mission through crafts, role-play and good old-fashioned daydreaming. Weaving fascinating facts and people into the narrative, this illustrated book introduces Australia’s involvement in the Apollo missions via the famous radio telescope at Parkes in NSW.

Our reviewer Pilgrim enjoyed the way Moonwalkers ‘subtly reinforces the message that creativity and cooperation can bring us all together, whether it’s around a historic moment or around a home-made Saturn V rocket.’

You can read our full review here.


Malamander by Thomas Taylor

Twelve-year-old Herbert Lemon is employed as a Lost-and-Founder at the Grand Nautilus Hotel, which is located in the creepy, misty coast town of Eerie-on-Sea (reputed home of the legendary fish-man creature, the Malamander). Normally Herbert is charged with finding objects, but when Violet Parma engages him to help her find her parents – who have been missing for twelve years – the two kids are dragged into a strange and extraordinary mystery.

Our reviewer Natalia describes Malamander as a ‘rollicking, suspense-driven adventure that will thrill, frighten and delight.’ For ages 9 and up.

You can read our full review here.


Don’t Follow Vee by Oliver Phommavanh

Vee wakes up every morning to her mum snapping a picture to put on her Instagram account The Chronicles of Vee – an account her mum started when she was a baby. Her mum’s social media obsession used to be fun, but since the account reached 100,000 followers, Vee starts to think her boundaries aren’t being respected. Vee plots to get her mum an interesting life and take the pressure off herself.

Our reviewer Dani recommends this ‘excellent middle-grade book about the internet, friendship, and family for readers 10+.’

You can read our full review here.


Alex and the Alpacas Save the World by Kathryn Lefroy

When Alex’s mum takes her on a holiday to her grandfather’s farm in Tasmania, Alex anticipates a boring summer, but instead discovers she’s a descendant of a powerful tribe destined to save the world! An ancient spirit imprisoned in the forest has awoken, hell-bent on destruction, and it’s up to Alex and her four weird-but-lovable talking alpaca guides to swing into action.

Our reviewer Athina highly recommends this Australian fantasy adventure, praising the way it ‘skilfully draws from literature and myth – the duality of nature’s power, creation and destruction – to weave a story that is fresh and compelling.’ For ages 9 and up.

You can read our full review here.


Love Your Body by Jessica Sanders

Young Melbourne author and social worker Jessica Sanders has written Love Your Body to help prevent negative body image issues in young women. Presented in a stylish hardcover with gorgeous illustrations by Brazilian artist Carol Rossetti, the reader is invited to consider all the amazing things bodies can do, and given self care suggestions for those times when they aren’t feeling great. Reaching out and getting support is encouraged, from friends and community, and other services.

Our reviewer Kim is certain that ‘this wonderful book will be an invaluable presence in libraries, classrooms and homes.’ For ages 8 and up. You can read our full review here.

Please also join us for Jessica Sanders in conversation with Kim Gruschow on Thursday 16th May 2019, 6:00pm at Readings Kids. This event is suitable for ages 8 to 18! The event is free, but please book here.



Charmed Life by Diana Wynne Jones

When Cat Chant is taken to Chrestomanci Castle to live with the greatest enchanter in all the worlds, he expects it to be very, very dull. Cat has no talent for magic at all, while his sister Gwendolyn is a powerful witch. But life at the Castle turns out to extremely exciting, and Cat discovers that he may be more unique than he realised…

Our bookseller Julia is a massive Dianne Wynne Jones fan, saying: ‘I first received a copy of Charmed Life in 2001 when I was nine years old and it changed my life.’ For ages 8 and up.

This is the first in the Chrestomanci sequence of novels, and a good place to start if you’ve never read the beloved and prolific Wynne Jones before. You can read our full review here.



We’re thrilled to reveal that the winner of this year’s Readings Children’s Book Prize is The Peacock Detectives by Carly Nugent!

Carly Nugent’s quirky mystery about family and friendship is a fitting winner. This heartfelt depiction of family relationships and sophisticated exploration of mental health never talks down to its audience and is perfectly suited to curious, thoughtful readers and budding writers aged 9+. If you are interested in children’s writing and publishing, Carly did a fantastic interview with us about writing her debut novel and her career.

The Readings Children’s Book Prize celebrates on-the-rise Australian authors and is awarded to the book that children will love best. You can find out more about the Prize here.


Mother’s Day is fast approaching, so of course we have recommendations for you! We’ve put together some books to read with your mum (from ages 4 to teens), recommended picture books for Mother’s Day, and a truly epic collection of gift ideas for Mother’s Day.

We were recently thrilled to have Readings Kids specialist and all-around children’s literature rockstar Kathy Kozlowski named as the recipient of the Pixie O’Harris Award for her contribution to Australian children’s literature. Congratulations Kathy!

If you’re in need of some further reading recommendations for the month, we took a look at six fantastic new picture books that can be appreciated by young and old, and fantastic Australian middle fiction that brings history to life.


We’re delighted to have Love Your Body author Jessica Sanders in conversation with Kim Gruschow on Thursday 16th May 2019, 6:00pm at Readings Kids. Love Your Body encourages young girls to admire and celebrate their bodies for all the amazing things they can do. This event is suitable for ages 8 to 18! The event is free, but please book here.

On Thursday 23rd May 2019, 4:30pm at Readings Kids, we are hosting an awesome skeleton-drawing workshop with author/illustrator Renee Treml. Treml’s latest book, Sherlock Bones and the Natural History Mystery is a hilarious action-packed mystery, starring an intrepid museum resident turned detective, Sherlock Bones. Tickets are $15 per child and include a copy of the book. This event is suitable for children aged 5 to 8 years old. Please note that places are limited and bookings are essential. Please book here.

In book launches this month, author Katrina McKelvey will celebrate the launch of No Baths Week alongside illustrator Cheri Hughes on Saturday 11th May 2019, 11:00am at Readings Kids. This humorous story is a perfect balance of fun and chaos. Free, no booking required.

For the launch of her first middle-grade novel, Songbird, Ingrid Laguna will be in conversation with Chris Miles, author of Spurt on Thursday 23 May 2019, 6:30pm at Readings Kids. Songbird is a tender story about belonging, friendship and asking for help. For booking information please click here.

Looking ahead, here’s a big date to put in your diaries! On Tuesday 23rd July 2019, Andy Griffiths and Terry Denton are back with their latest amazing Treehouse adventure, The 117-Storey Treehouse! Join us at another utterly madcap event as Andy and Terry show us what happens when you get higher and higher in the sky. This event is being held at Deakin Edge at Federation Square. Entry is $25 per adult and $20 per child. One ticket is required per person so adults and children each need a ticket. Limited seats are available, so bookings are essential and can be made here.

Leanne Hall is a children’s and YA specialist at Readings Kids. She also writes books for children and young adults.

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Love Your Body

Love Your Body

Jessica Sanders

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