Angela Crocombe

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Angela Crocombe is a children’s and YA specialist for Readings online and the buyer for Readings Kids. She is also the author of two books on sustainable living, A Lighter Footprint: A Practical Guide to Minimising your Impact on the Planet and Ethical Eating: How to Make Food Choices That Won’t Cost the Earth.

Reviews

When our Worlds Collided by Danielle Jawando

When Our Worlds Collided is a searing novel of racial injustice with a narrative so compelling that it is hard to put down or even draw breath. Set in Manchester, this book follows the paths of three…

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Family of Liars by E. Lockhart

We Were Liars, one of the most popular young adult books of recent years, is a thrilling read, and this prequel is just as enthralling. Set on the same private island owned by the wealthy Sinclair fa…

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Katerina Cruickshanks by Daniel Gray-Barnett

Author and illustrator Daniel Gray-Barnett’s debut picture book followed the marvellously eccentric eponymous Grandma Z, and his latest book, Katerina Cruickshanks, is similarly unconventional and de…

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Unlimited Futures: Speculative, Visionary Blak and Black Fiction edited by Rafeif Ismael & Ellen van Neerven

This collection of science fiction and speculative fiction is a conversation between local Blak and Black writing communities, as the editors state in their introduction, which itself takes the form …

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Sugar by Carly Nugent

I was very excited to read this debut YA novel by Carly Nugent, who won the Readings Children’s Book Prize in 2019 for her middle-grade novel The Peacock Detectives. Sugar is for a much older readers…

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Growing Up in Flames by Zach Jones

Kenna’s mother Ava died in a bushfire and she now lives with her uncle and aunt in her mum’s hometown, Kimba. She is trying to understand why her mum left 20 years before and never came back.

Noah’…

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The Revelry by Katherine Webber

This intriguing horror story is based around a sleepy rural town and a legendary party in the woods. Known as the Revelry, the festivities are shrouded in secrecy and only the graduating class of stu…

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Piano Fingers by Caroline Magerl

This beautiful picture book is the story of a musical family and two sisters: Isla, the elder, bossy and sure of herself and her talent; and Bea, the younger, trying to find her own perfect instrumen…

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I’ll Keep You Close by Jeska Verstegen

Based on a true story that occurred within the author’s immediate family, this is a story of how the experiences of the Holocaust affect the next generations, no matter how much the family tries to k…

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The Silver Brumby by Elyne Mitchell

The first of Elyne Mitchell’s many books about brumbies, The Silver Brumby is a classic of Australian nature writing with beautiful depictions of the trees and animals of the Kosciuszko area.

The s…

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At the End of Everything by Marieke Nijkamp

Written from the perspective of three different teenagers, this is the story of a group of delinquents that the world has forgotten when a plague takes over society. Grace, Logan and Emerson have all…

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Cat Problems by Jory John & Lane Smith (illus.)

This wonderful author–illustrator partnership has already given us two picture books featuring bad-tempered, cynical characters complaining about their lives: Penguin Problems and Giraffe Problems. T…

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Plume: World Explorer by Tania McCartney

While we may not be able to travel much ourselves, the utterly delightful penguin Plume can, and he makes for a wonderful guide on a journey around the world, exploring different climates, locations …

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Margot Mertz Takes It Down by Carrie McCrossen & Ian McWethy

After her uncle loses her entire college fund in a shonky business deal, Margot Mertz starts her own side hustle doing what she does best: removing embarrassing content from the internet.

Teachers, …

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Bad Girls Never Say Die by Jennifer Mathieu

Author of Moxie, Jennifer Mathieu, has written a compelling re-imagining of one of the greatest books about teen rebellion of all time: S.E. Hinton’s The Outsiders.

Set in 1964 Houston, it focuses …

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A Year in Fleurville by Felicita Sala

The previous children’s cookbook by author and illustrator Felicita Sala, Lunch at 10 Pomegranate Street, is extremely popular in my household, inspiring many of our favourite recipes, so I was excit…

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Wandi by Favel Parrett

This beautiful children’s novel by award-winning adult writer Favel Parrett is an animal rescue story told from the perspective of an alpine dingo. When the young dingo is swept away from its loving …

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Poison For Breakfast by Lemony Snicket

Mr Lemony Snicket, pseudonymous author of A Series of Unfortunate Events, has just eaten the same breakfast he prepares for himself every day when he discovers a piece of paper slid under his door. I…

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The Song of Lewis Carmichael by Sofie Laguna & Marc McBride

This utterly exquisite adventure story about travelling in a hot air balloon on the boreal winds to the Arctic north has all the hallmarks of a contemporary classic.

Matthew is a quiet, reserved b…

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Sugar Town Queens by Malla Nunn

Set in the shanty towns of Durban, South Africa, and featuring a biracial protagonist, Malla Nunn’s second novel explores identity and belonging with a loving eye.

Fifteen-year-old Amandla has been…

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The Spectacular Suit by Kat Patrick

Frankie is having a party, a special garden party, and everything is sorted, except for what she’s going to wear. She doesn’t want to wear any of the dresses her mum has picked out for her. What she …

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Girl, Unframed by Deb Caletti

American YA author Deb Caletti writes powerful stories about young women in challenging circumstances and Girl, Unframed is no exception. Sydney Reilly must leave her friends in Seattle to live with …

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When Days Tilt by Karen Ginnane

This fantasy novel is set in two cities; an alternate 1858 Victorian London and a shadow city called Donlen, ruled over by the Green Witch. Time is sometimes malleable in this world and the Green Wit…

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Story Doctors by Boori Monty Pryor & Rita Sinclair

The legendary Boori Monty Pryor has written an evocative poem about healing humanity through restoring our relationship with the earth. Drawing on thousands of years of First Nations knowledge, this …

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We Were Wolves by Jason Cockcroft

This unusual illustrated novel is about the relationship between a boy and his father, as well as the mythic animal energies that surround them.

The boy’s father has come back from war tormented by…

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Welcome to Consent by Yumi Stynes & Dr. Melissa Kang

Thanks to Yumi Stynes and Dr Melissa Kang we finally have the book that can help every young person navigate consent in a healthy way. With Welcome to Consent, tweens and teens can learn how to under…

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The Ones We’re Meant to Find by Joan He

This beautiful story set in a fascinating future is narrated in alternating chapters by 16-year-old Kasey Mizuhara and her older sister Celia. These very different young women have become physically …

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Arno and His Horse by Jane Godwin & Felicita Sala

Most kids have a special toy that they love to carry everywhere. Arno’s most precious item is a little wooden horse that his grandpa carved for him. After a day’s adventuring with friends, Arno reali…

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The Outlaws Scarlett and Browne by Jonathan Stroud

As a first-time reader of Jonathan Stroud, I am seriously impressed with his style. This is a great Bonnie & Clyde-style outlaw adventure set in a post-apocalyptic England that has become brutal and …

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House of Hollow by Krystal Sutherland

The third novel from Australian Krystal Sutherland is a gothic horror story about a trio of sisters that is delightfully scary to read. The Hollow sisters – Grey, Vivi and Iris – are survivors of a m…

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News

Q&A with Alison Lester

by Angela Crocombe

Alison Lester is a legend of Australian children’s literature and her books have been loved by millions of children and adults over many years. A play of her beloved classic Magic Beach is being performed at Melbourne Arts Centre from May 19-22 and we caught up with Alison on the cusp of this production. Magic Beach was published over 30 years ago, but it is still one of your most popular book…

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Bestselling books from Clunes Booktown

by Angela Crocombe

After predictions of dire storms and a torrential downpour on the Friday night, we weren’t sure what to expect for our first post-Covid Booktown. But the sun shone brightly all weekend as thousands of book lovers descended upon the picturesque town of Clunes to hear authors speak and fossick through the many pop-up bookshops and local stores. Visiting authors came to the Readings marquee to sign …

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Support challenged and banned books for young people

by Angela Crocombe

The recent controversy in the United States around year eight students reading Maus caused such a flurry of interest publishers ran out of stock for several months (it’s finally back in stock now).

It has gotten us thinking about other titles that have been challenged for one reason or another. Here we present a collection of some of our children’s and young adult favourites that have a histor…

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Contemporary YA based on classic novels

by Angela Crocombe

There are some classic stories that we can never forget reading when we were young. Authors too become inspired (or even obsessed!) by their favourite books, to the extent that they sometimes write homages to them, which may have some elements of the classic but have also been radically re-imagined. Here are some of our favourite contemporary YA stories and the classic teen novels that inspired t…

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Clunes Booktown Festival is back!

by Angela Crocombe

We are excited to be returning to Clunes this year for the Booktown Festival on the weekend of 30 April – 1 May.

The festival celebrates books and authors, taking over the historic buildings and wide streets of this tiny town in the Goldfields, just under two hours from Melbourne.

We’ll be on hand with a large marquee featuring books from the authors appearing at the festival and hosting aut…

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Books by comedians for kids

by Angela Crocombe

In Melbourne, it’s time for the annual Comedy Festival. We all need a laugh more than ever, and who doesn’t love to hear the sound of kids laughing? Our Aussie comedians are a prolific bunch, so it’s time to celebrate books written by Australian comedians…

Rockstar Detectives by Adam Hills

When a priceless painting goes missing, Charley - a 12-year-old viral singing sensation - and her best…

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