Alexa Dretzke


Alexa Dretzke is a Children’s & YA Book Specialist at Readings Hawthorn.


Madame Badobedah by Sophie Dahl & Lauren O’Hara

Mabel lives at The Mermaid Hotel, which her parents manage. She is an imaginative ‘adventurer’ who often goes down to the nearby sea, the same sea Madame Badobedah travelled across when she was a you…

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You Might Find Yourself by Tai Snaith

Tai Snaith is a master of collage and mixed media and her new picture book has been eagerly awaited. It shines with brilliant art and gorgeous imaginings; it beckons you in and then sets you free to …

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As Happy As Here by Jane Godwin

Jane Godwin has been busy with wonderful picture books the last few years, so it is a treat to have her back writing fiction. Three early teens with different situations, temperaments and family back…

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Rumblestar by Abi Elphinstone

Rumblestar is an adventure-filled fantasy that features a timid, unlikely hero and a feisty, disagreeable girl and her tiny, totally adorable dragon. Casper is unwillingly transported from his weathe…

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Monty and the Poodles by Katie Harnett

Monty lives on the wrong side of the tracks, while Ginger and her pals luxuriate on the right side, at Poodle Mansions. So what does a homeless mutt have in common with a refined poodle? It seems tha…

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Kind by Alison Green and Axel Scheffler

Kindness can be as simple as smiling at someone or just listening carefully. Sometimes it is being humane to an animal, or welcoming newcomers and making them feel at home. This wonderful book, illus…

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A Quiet Girl by Peter Carnavas

I love this gorgeous little picture book. I love that it champions children who get forgotten because they are gentle and quiet. Mary treads lightly on this earth and notices the small miracles of li…

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Brilliant Ideas by Wonderful Women by Aitziber Lopez & Luciano Lozano

Men have long been credited as great innovators but thankfully publishers are now celebrating the contribution of ingenious women inventors in a flood of wonderful titles we can’t get enough of! This…

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Yahoo Creek by Tohby Riddle

Yahoo Creek is a haunting evocation of actual reports, mostly in the early 1900s, of an ape-like creature inhabiting bush areas that are connected with the massive breadth of the Great Dividing Range…

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Tuck Everlasting by Natalie Babbitt

I have reread Tuck Everlasting twice in the last three years and am always struck by the beauty and simplicity of Natalie Babbitt’s writing; why use many words when one perfect word conjures everythi…

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Hello Lighthouse by Sophie Blackall

Lighthouses have an iconic charm, but beyond the pristine whiteness fables of shipwrecks and smugglers swirl around them. And then, there is the reality of staffing and maintaining them which was a t…

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The Afterwards by A.F. Harrold & Emily Gravett

A.F. Harrold’s books always explore a parallel, often creepy world that looks at love, loyalty and loss. The Afterwards is no exception, portraying a tight friendship between Happiness (Ness) and Dec…

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The Tales of Mr Walker by Jess Black & Sara Acton

I fell in love with Mr Walker when he came to a booksellers’ function. He had the insouciant manner of a well bred dog; he was a golden boy.

Trained as a guide dog for the visually impaired, he is n…

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A House for Mouse by Gabby Dawnay & Alex Barrow

Mouse decides it’s time to move house and ‘with a flick of his whiskers and twinkling eyes, he packed up his stuff and said his goodbyes’. Leaving the only home he’s known and all his friends, Mouse …

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The Skylarks' War by Hilary McKay

For all the children who loved The War That Saved My Life and its sequel by Kimberly Brubaker Bradley, this beautiful story is an excellent addition to the genre.

Clarry and her brother live a drear…

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The Dress and the Girl by Andros Camille & Julie Morstad

Julie Morstad is a sensitive illustrator and she delicately brings to life this gentle story by Camille Amos about a girl and her favourite dress made by her mother. The girl (never named) lives on a…

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The Things That Will Not Stand by Michael Gerard Bauer

You meet a girl, oh the perfect girl, and then you meet the wrong girl and life gets really interesting!

The day starts simply for Sebastian and his best mate, Tolly. They are at an open day at uni…

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Hello, Universe by Erin Entrada Kelly

Winner of the prestigious Newbery Medal for 2018, Hello Universe explores some common and not-socommon themes with a charming and funny deftness. We are issued into the world of four middle-school ki…

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Hansel and Gretel by Bethan Woollvin

Now, we all know Hansel and Gretel were the poor children cast out of their home into the forest and treated rather badly by a witch – but is this so? What if we heard the story from the witch’s poin…

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Claris: The Chicest Mouse in Paris by Megan Hess

Look out Chanel, Claris is here! But how the little country mouse yearns for the Parisian life and couture fashion. Quelle surprise, one day she is whisked away to a new life in a grand house in Pari…

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Shine Mountain by Julie Hunt

It is always a good start when you open a book and there’s a map. Great, a questing journey; maybe a past mystery to solve, but always a future to save. Julie Hunt ushers her characters in with a def…

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Little Leaders: Bold Women in Black History by Vashti Harrison

When Good Night Stories for Rebel Girls hit the shops early in 2017, girls, parents, and educators were excited that an historical imbalance was being rectified; women had actually been doing notable…

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Go Go and the Silver Shoes by Jane Godwin & Anna Walker

Friendships can start in curious ways and for Go Go, meeting Ellie was not only the start of a friendship but a chance to reunite with a much-loved shoe. Go Go always gets hand-me-downs from her big …

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The Silver Sea by Alison Lester & Jane Godwin

When two of the best in Australian children’s literature get together, it’s time to rejoice. Having worked together with Indigenous children to make books, Jane Godwin and Alison Lester have had lots…

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My Sweet Orange Tree by José Mauro De Vasconcelos

Children’s literature is so much richer and more multi-cultural since Pushkin Press began publishing many gems that the English-speaking world had previously missed out on.

And, now, another comes …

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The Wild Robot by Peter Brown

After a fierce storm sinks a cargo ship and dislodges its contents, boxes of robots are destroyed on the rock of a wild and remote island and only one remains intact.

Cheeky otters explore this rob…

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M is for Mutiny by John Dixon

Next time you see a $20 note check out the sweet old lady on it; she was a convict! As an introduction to a host of historical figures & events, M is For Mutiny engages with its unsentimental and, at…

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Odd One Out by Danielle Chaperon & Iris

Clara and Annabelle are soulmates, complete in their friendship. Then along comes Juliette. Heartbroken, Clara watches Annabelle and Juliette’s friendship blossom as she tags along, feeling on the ou…

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Once Upon a Small Rhinoceros by Meg McKinlay & Leila Rudge

There are those who are happy with their place in the world and how they are in it, and there are others who yearn for more. Small rhinoceros pines for the beyond – unlike her fellow rhinos. Watching…

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In My Room by Jo Witek & Christine Roussey

In My Room is the fifth book in the highly successful series of novelty books that started with the phenomenally popular In My Heart. Our little protagonist is back and she’s got her creative hat on,…

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The best picture books of 2018

by Alexa Dretzke

Every year our staff vote for their favourite books, albums, films and TV shows of the past 12 months. Here are our top 10 picture books of the year, voted for by Readings' staff, and displayed in no particular order. (You can find all our best picks for books, CDs & DVDs of 2018 here.) Love Makes a Family by Sophie Beer

Love is anybody and everybody. It is families comprising all manner o…

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