Alexa Dretzke

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

Reviews

The Seamstress of Sardinia by Bianca Pitzorno

I think the beauty of The Seamstress of Sardinia is that it doesn’t pretend to be something it’s not. Bianca Pitzorno’s unadorned storytelling brings an honest and sympathetic clarity to the story of…

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How to Tackle Your Dreams by Fiona Hardy

The joy of How to Tackle Your Dreams is the meeting of AFL with fashion design, well, a sort of fashion design. All from a young boy trying to navigate life since his parents’ amicable separation and…

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Whisper on the Wind by Claire Saxby

Dreams and breezes and moonbeams introduce us to a sleeping child, Ren, safe in her lighthouse home. As she sleeps, a whisper from her dream is carried by the wind across an aquatic dreamscape filled…

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The Bookseller at the End of the World by Ruth Shaw

I knew nothing about Ruth Shaw or her Two Wee Bookshops in beautiful tiny Manapouri on New Zealand’s South Island. An author photo in her memoir shows a smiling older woman and I assumed I was going …

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When You’re Older by Sofie Laguna

As Richard Branson once said, ‘imagination is one of humanity’s greatest qualities’.

Books such as When You’re Older fuel the imagination, encouraging children to dream and wonder. As a young boy i…

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In an Artist’s Garden by Claire Orrell

‘Have you ever wondered where magic is found? Why it’s in the garden, of course.’

So begins this gorgeous, fun seek-and-find book which introduces young readers to the gardens of famous artists (an…

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Chronicles of a Cairo Bookseller by Nadia Wassef

Let me tell you where I have been this week – Cairo! Jealous? Of course, but the good news is you can go too. I loved the visit: it was hot, culturally interesting, and I browsed a wonderful bookshop…

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The Beatryce Prophecy by Kate DiCamillo

In a medieval land, where monks produce illuminated manuscripts, Brother Edik adds a prophecy to the book of the Order of the Chronicles of Sorrowing. Edik lives in a violent time of war and treacher…

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The Tiny Explorers by Kat Macleod

Sometimes a lovely picture book comes along and inspires the imagination. The Tiny Explorers is such a book with its mixed-media illustrations and sumptuous palette. A group of miniature young people…

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It’s Not You, It’s Me by Gabrielle Williams

Who would have thought a 1970s Brother typewriter would be the inspiration for this fabulous time-slip young adult story?

Forty-year-old Holly is returning from her birthday lunch in Melbourne 2020 …

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Aven Green Sleuthing Machine by Dusti Bowling

In this funny and quirky story, the wonderful author Dusti Bowling introduces younger readers to Aven Green – the main character from Bowling’s Insignificant Events in the Life of a Cactus and its se…

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Mim and the Baffling Bully by Katrina Nannestad

All bookshops are magical places but the Travelling Bookshop takes magical to another level. Wherever it goes, enchantment follows, and usually it’s for a good reason: a problem to resolve or a situa…

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Kafka and the Doll by Larissa Theule & Rebecca Green

What a charming story this is! Kafka and the Doll is based on a factual event in Franz Kafka’s life, when he and his love, Dora Diamant, encountered a crying girl in a Berlin Park. In this fictionali…

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Swallows and Amazons by Arthur Ransome

Before there was Enid Blyton’s Famous Five adventures there was Arthur Ransome’s 1930 classic Swallows and Amazons.

Wild Cat Island has been invaded by the holidaying Swallows (the four Walker sibl…

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A Glasshouse of Stars by Shirley Marr

Meixing and her family have arrived in a new country to pursue a life with more opportunities and yet, their overwhelming feeling is they don’t belong, particularly as they don’t speak the language. …

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Don’t Forget by Jane Godwin & Anna Walker

There are all the ordinary things that children are reminded not to forget, such as brushing your teeth and doing your homework. But what about the more intangible things, the building blocks that ar…

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Ruffles and the Red, Red Coat by David Melling

Ruffles is an adorable dog who loves doing all the familiar doggy things like playing, chewing and fetching, but there is one thing he does not care for and that is his new red coat – ugh! How will h…

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My Spaghetti ABC by Deborah Niland

Spaghetti as an art medium wouldn’t be every parent’s choice – but oh, what fun in the hands of a young child, with their baby sibling and even Nana joining in! In Deborah Niland’s new picture book, …

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Catvinkle and the Missing Tulips by Elliot Perlman & Laura Stitzel

Here comes the delightful feline Catvinkle and her dalmatian friend Ula for a new adventure, one in which they have to defend their new sheep friends who have been accused of eating the tulips of Ams…

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What We’ll Build by Oliver Jeffers

A companion to Here We Are, that gorgeous, wise book that introduced our world and beyond to a young boy, What We’ll Build is a more collaborative exploration of building a life together between an a…

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How To Write the Soundtrack To Your Life by Fiona Hardy

Fiona Hardy you have done it again! The dreaded second novel that often stalls writing careers is nowhere to be seen here. A deft and very capable writer’s hand has gifted young readers with a myster…

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The Bird Within Me by Sara Lundberg

The Bird Within Me is a compact gem of a book that is based on the life of Swedish Artist Berta Hansson. Raised in a small farming community, she is expected to help, leaving little time for the art …

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Loner by Georgina Young

Loner won the Text Prize in 2019. It is the universal story of becoming an adult and all the uncertainty, drifting and questioning that entails. Some lucky young people know who they are and what the…

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Paolo, Emperor of Rome by Mac Barnett & Claire Keane

Paolo, a dachshund, lives in a hairdressing salon but he is desperate to escape and experience Rome in all its historic glory. One day he manages to slip out and the city he long imagined comes alive…

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I’ll Always Be Older than You by Jane Godwin & Sara Acton

Being an older sibling can be challenging; patience is required, as the little girl in the book learns.

A little planning doesn’t go astray and so she hops into her little brother’s cot and outline…

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The Dictionary of Lost Words by Pip Williams

To write this review, obviously, I had to have completed reading the book and that is the sadness for me because I did not want it to end. This absorbing story that incorporates lexicography, diction…

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ANZAC Girl: The War Diaries of Alice Ross-King by Kate Simpson & Jess Racklyeft

World War I seemed a noble, almost thrilling, prospect for many who went to fight or assist, but the horror was more than anyone could imagine and surviving proved an almost impossible feat. As a nur…

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Anisa’s Alphabet by Mike Dumbleton & Hannah Sommerville

Anisa’s Alphabet is a moving depiction of how a young girl’s life is desolated by war. Told alphabetically in rhyming text, we follow Anisa’s perilous journey from a free person to a stateless refuge…

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Izzy and Frank by Katrina Lehman & Sophie Beer

Izzy and Frank are best buddies and they love exploring the beach on their island home. One sad day Izzy has to move from her beloved home to the city.There she misses the freedom of the natural envi…

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The Secrets of Magnolia Moon by Edwina Wyatt & Katherine Quinn

Magnolia Moon can keep secrets. She makes very interesting comparisons that give a unique perspective on life. She likes to ask questions and is inspired by Greek myths. She’s an irrepressible nine y…

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News

Meet the bookseller with Alexa Dretzke

by Alexa Dretzke

In our latest Meet the Bookseller column, we chat with Alexa Dretzke, the Assistant Manager & Children’s Book Buyer for our Hawthon shop. Alexa fell into the book industry by accident and first came on board at Readings more than 17 years ago! Here, she talks about the reward of selecting the right book for a customer, and shares what’s on her TBR pile. Why did you decide to work in books?

It…

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The best picture books of 2019

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, music & DVDs of 2019 here.) All of the Factors of Why I Love Tractors by Davina Bell & Jenny Løvlie

Frankie can’t be deterred from…

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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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