Recommended October kids books, news & events

This month we’re blessed with gorgeous imaginative picture books, dragon-filled fantasy quests, sweet dancing dogs, retold fairy tales and climate science.

Find our October picks for YA books here.



All of the Factors of Why I Love Tractors by Davina Bell & Jenny Løvlie

When Frankie McGee insists on borrowing yet another library book about tractors, his mum begs him to read a book about anything else – cars, planes, cranes, trains! Frankie launches into all of the things that justify his love of tractors (levers, buttons, wheels) but will he be able to bring his mum around? With rhyming text that begs to be read out loud, and playful illustrations full of details to explore, this is a thoroughly charming picture book. For ages 3 and up.

Our reviewer Natalia describes this as a ‘treasure of a book that celebrates the love of reading, the joy of visiting bookish places like libraries and bookshops and the value of good community connection these places provide.’

You can read our full review here.



Just Because by Mac Barnett & Isabelle Arsenault

A girl is tucked up in bed with her little dog, and she has oodles of sleep-stalling questions about the world to ask her father. Why is the ocean blue? What is the rain? Why do the leaves change color? Her father answers patiently, and his creative responses have little to do with science and facts and more to do with imagination and wonder. Arsenault’s mixed media illustrations bring both the cosy bedtime scene and the father’s fantastical answers to life. For ages 3 and up.

Our reviewer Kim loved this perfect bedtime read: ‘This is an absolutely wonderful book to share at bedtime; it will be adored by dreamers of all ages.’

You can read our full review here.


Bold Tales for Brave-Hearted Boys by Susannah McFarlane

This is a fantastic hardcover collection of illustrated classic fairy tales, retold for the twenty-first century and featuring artwork from four leading Australian illustrators: Simon Howe, Matt Huynh, Louie Joyce and Brenton McKenna. Jack and the Beanstalk, Hansel and Gretel, The Emperor’s New Clothes, and Prince Leo and the Sleeping Princess all get a fresh new treatment in this companion collection to Fairytales for Feisty Girls.

Our reviewer Jeremy found this treasury to be essential reading, saying ‘these stories show a contemporary conception of what it means to be a man … the characters in these stories are sensitive, loyal, scared, caring, confused and, of course, brave – all at once.’

You can read our full review here.


The Glimme by Emily Rodda & Marc McBride

Finn’s life in the fishing village of Wichant is ordinary and dull, but he finds joy in spending every spare moment sketching dragons and monsters. When his grandparents happily sell Finn off to a severe housekeeper for a handful of gold, Finn is taken to a clifftop mansion and placed in front of seven extraordinary and fantastical paintings. Finn doesn’t know it yet, but soon he is going to slip through the veil between worlds and plunge into the wonders and perils of The Glimme.

Our reviewer Dani, a long-time Emily Rodda fan, loved this traditional fantasy quest, and adds, ‘in addition to the wonderful story, Marc McBride’s excellent, imaginative illustrations will have kids revisiting the book over and over again.’ For ages 7 and up.

You can read our full review here.


I, Cosmo by Carlie Sorosiak

Cosmo is a thirteen-year-old golden retriever whose main job in life is to protect his human charge, twelve-year-old Max. So when arguments break out in the house and Max’s dad starts sleeping on the coach, Cosmo knows he has to work hard to keep the family – Max, little sister Emmaline and mum and dad – together. When Max formulates a brilliant plan for he and Cosmo to win a dance contest and strengthen the family, Cosmo plays along, despite shyness, arthritis and fear of sheepdogs.

Our reviewer Claire adored this ‘sweet, sad novel, with moments of riotous mirth and hope.’

You can read our full review here.


We Are All Greta: Be Inspired to Save the World by Valentina Giannella

Climate change has been at the forefront of many young people’s minds this year and this is the perfect book to give them the science and information to debate and educate. There are short chapters on the problems with fossil fuels, plastics, and waste, interspersed with chapters on renewable energy, biodiversity and eating to help the planet. Quotes from Thunberg and other key figures in the climate movement, as well as statistics from the latest IPCC Report, are scattered through the text.

Our reviewer Angela recommends this well-pitched book that ‘encourages readers to make a difference through their own small actions, like Greta Thunberg does, that can make big differences to the planet.’ For ages 10 and up.

You can read our full review here.



Running with the Horses by Alison Lester

Originally published ten years ago as a long picture book, this exciting historical story has now been transformed into a beautiful illustrated hardback for junior readers. Nina lives with her father at the Royal Academy of Dancing Horses in Vienna, while the city is under siege during WWII. When they are forced to flee with the performing stallions, Nina convinces her father to also rescue her favourite old cab horse, Zelda, who has been abandoned. They embark on a dangerous and impossible journey over the mountains, and Zelda proves her worth.

Our reviewer Angela highly recommends this ‘elegant publication of a thrilling adventure story by one of Australia’s greatest children’s authors.’ For ages 7 and up.

You can read our full review here.


The Wilderness Society has announced the winners of their annual Environment Award for Children’s Literature. This award is presented annually to fiction and nonfiction books that ‘foster a love of wild places and wildlife in young Australians’ and ‘encourage a sense of responsibility for our natural world’.

Readings staff also recently shared some of their favourite books by Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander authors, including books for kids of all ages – from babies through to teens.

And if you have a young reader that likes when fiction makes them think deeply about the world, we recommend five books to give a thoughtful ten year old here.


Mr Chicken is back and he’s all over Australia! We’re celebrating with a very special event at 11am on Saturday 19 October at Readings Hawthorn where you can draw your very own Mr Chicken with the author and artist Leigh Hobbs. This event is free, but please book here.

It’s October so that means it’s also time for some spooky fun at Readings Kids. Dare to join us as we shiver at scary stories and play ghoulish games and activities. Prizes await those who come in costume! This event is also free, but please book here.

Spring is also the season for book launches! Here are some great newly released picture books to celebrate this month:

  • Sally and the Magical Sneeze is a new book from Simon Taylor and A.D Lester – Join us for the launch at 10.30am on Saturday 5 October at Readings Kids

  • Tilly is a new book from Jane Godwin and Anna Walker - Join us for the launch at 3.30pm on Saturday 5 October at Readings Hawthorn

  • The Magical Orange Balloon is a new book from Charise Katz - Join us for the launch at 11am on Sunday 6 October at Readings St Kilda

  • Molly, Mop and Moppet’s Adventures in Paris is a new book from A.G. Krishnan and Valery Vell - Join us the launch at 2pm on Sunday 6 October at Readings Hawthorn

  • An A–Z of Mythological Creatures is a new book from Karen Allen - Join us for the launch at 6.30pm on Thursday 10 October at Readings St Kilda

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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All of the Factors of Why I Love Tractors

All of the Factors of Why I Love Tractors

Davina Bell, Jenny Lovlie

$24.99Buy now

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