Athina Clarke

Athina Clarke works as a Children’s & YA Book Specialist at Readings Malvern.

Reviews

Gus and the Starlight by Victoria Carliss

Eleven-year-old Gus has learned over the years not to get too attached to her home, friends or community as her family, for various reasons, is always on the move. But when they finally settle into a…

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Maku (Our Stories) by Meyne Wyatt and Randa Abdel-Fattah

The first day at yet another new school is hard for the inherently shy Maku, but this brave young boy never stops trying to make new friends. A teacher encourages him to explore his passion for filmm…

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When the War Came Home by Lesley Parr

This beautifully crafted historical adventure is set in the 1920s, amid the small, tight-knit community of a Welsh village.This is where our plucky protagonist, Natty, struggles with challenges on mu…

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The Chameleon Thief by Mat Larkin

Once you meet the wildly quirky and endearing Attica Stone, you’re unlikely to forget her. She’s surrounded by a loving family of Aunts and supported by devoted and unusually gifted friends. So, when…

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The Unexpected Tale of Bastien Bonlivre by Clare Povey

After the mysterious death of his beloved parents, Bastien Bonlivre is sent to an orphanage in Paris, a cold, decrepit establishment run by a mirthless, shadowy director intent on punishing its resid…

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Locked Out Lily by Nick Lake & Emily Gravett (illus.)

Lily has a lot to contend with. Not only does she feel powerless in her battle with a chronic illness, she fears losing her parents to a new addition to her family. As her Mum and Dad dote over their…

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Frindleswylde by Natalia O’Hara & Lauren O’Hara (illus.)

In this compelling adventure, Frindleswylde is the mysterious shapeshifter who Cora must outwit in order to escape an icy prison. But first, Cora must solve three seemingly impossible tasks set by he…

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Aliens and Other Worlds by Lisa Harvey-Smith

Aliens and Other Worlds is a voyage of discovery, exploring the mystery of life on Earth and beyond. It’s a wonderful guide to scientific inquiry and the importance of creative thinking, the asking o…

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Pony by R.J. Palacio

Dear reader, I was compelled to devour this extraordinary adventure in one sitting and am desperate to read it again; such was its power over me. So, this is not so much a review as a love letter to …

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Julia and the Shark by Kiran Millwood Hargrave

Like the ocean it explores, Julia and the Shark is deep, rich and mysterious. Julia lives on a remote island where her scientist mother obsesses over tracking the elusive Greenland shark. As Julia di…

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Barkly Mansion and the Weirdest Guest by Melissa Keil

Barkly Mansion is home to four idiosyncratic, excitable dogs: Lady Delilah (who likes things ‘just so’), Kyle (who’s a bit of a snob and loves all things fancy), and the adventurous Cookie and Fizzie…

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News Hounds: The Puppy Problem by Laura James & Charlie Alder

News Hounds: The Puppy Problem is a gorgeous chapter book and heralds the beginning of a charming new series. Its hilarious doggy shenanigans, coupled with colourful, cheeky illustrations are guarant…

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Harklights by Tim Tilley

Harklights is a terrible, Dickensian prison of acute privation and suffering; an orphanage and match factory run by the cruel and despicable Ma Bogey. But despite the relentless dehumanising work, ou…

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News Hounds: The Puppy Problem by Laura James

News Hounds: The Puppy Problem is a gorgeous chapter book and heralds the beginning of a charming new series. Its hilarious doggy shenanigans, coupled with colourful, cheeky illustrations are guarant…

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Are You There, Buddha? by Pip Harry

The path from childhood to young adulthood is neither easy nor straightforward, even for those with supportive family and friends. But for tenacious, thoughtful Bee (who’s mindful of looming environm…

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Welcome to Camp Croak! by Taylor Dolan

Feisty young Lexie Wilde is not looking forward to attending a joyful, fun-time camp for boys and girls. Fortuitously, she winds up at the spooky Camp Croak run entirely by witches! The energetic fem…

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The Great Barrier Reef by Helen Scales & Lisk Feng

The Great Barrier Reef is as beautiful as it is informative, taking the reader on a journey through the world’s largest coral reef system, which covers an area of Australia’s coast the size of 70 mil…

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Elsewhere Girls by Emily Gale & Nova Weetman

Separated by more than a hundred years, Fanny and Cat seem strikingly different; Fanny is a passionate swimmer in 1908 who dreams of a future when women can compete in the Olympics, whereas modern-da…

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Fossils from Lost Worlds by Hélène Rajcak & Damien Laverdunt

I admit to a penchant for interesting and informative books that inspire curiosity in young people. Fossils from Lost Worlds is such a book. At first glance it looks like a Tintin-style adventure (ju…

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Paws by Kate Foster

The transition from primary school to year seven is a challenge most 11-year-olds must face but for Alex, adapting to a new experience is simply terrifying. Interactions most children wouldn’t think …

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School of Monsters series by Sally Rippin & Chris Kennett

The four chapter books in Sally Rippin’s new School of Monsters series are a marvellous treat for children just starting their reading journey. Each is composed of short, easy sentences with bold, br…

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Plantastic! by Catherine Clowes & Rachel Gyan

Plantastic! is a beautifully illustrated introduction to 26 of Australia’s unique native plants and its friendly, chatty style delivers fascinating information in a way that is accessible (and fun). …

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The Jolly Christmas Postman by Janet & Allan Ahlberg

The Jolly Christmas Postman has delighted children for almost 30 years and over that time has lost none of its magic; it’s as wonderful now as it’s always been. Written in a cheerful rhyme that, when…

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Glassheart by Katharine Orton

Right from the beginning, Glassheart is a heart-stopping encounter in the foreboding quiet of the night, and a compelling mystery to be solved by both our protagonist, Nona, and the reader.

Nona an…

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How to be a Real Ballerina by Davina Bell & Jenny Lovlie

What does it take to be a ‘real ballerina’? Do you have to conform to a particular size and shape? Do you have to execute all the steps in perfect order to qualify? Is there only one way? How to Be a

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Skunk and Badger by Amy Timberlake & Jon Klassen

Funny yet wise, irresistibly playful and infused with an offbeat charm, Skunk and Badger is a beautifully crafted, whimsical adventure that charmed me from the outset, recalling authors I’ve loved si…

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The Secret Life of Stars by Lisa Harvey-Smith & Eirian Chapman

I usually prefer fiction and was delighted by how much I loved Lisa Harvey-Smith’s Under the Stars: Astrophysics for Bedtime and looked forward to her next book, The Secret Life of Stars: Astrophysic…

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The Heartsong of Wonder Quinn by Kate Gordon

The Heartsong of Wonder Quinn is an enchanting and layered fairytale with a touch of the gothic. The author paints evocative landscapes of emotion and place: dreams and a profound longing for friends…

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Annie Lumsden, The Girl from the Sea by David Almond

This is a beautifully tender coming-of-age story of unconditional love and acceptance, difference and belonging, of finding our place in the world, our connection with all living things and ultimatel…

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The End of the World Is Bigger than Love by Davina Bell

The End of the World Is Bigger than Love is set in a time when Earth has suffered an environmental catastrophe of unimaginable and epic proportions: Antarctica has lost the last of its ice, the blue …

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News

The best junior fiction books of 2019

by Athina Clarke

Every year our staff vote for their favourite books, albums, films and TV shows of the past 12 months. Here are our top 10 junior fiction 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.) Zanzibar by Catharina Valckx

When renowned lizard journalist Achille arrives seeking amazing ch…

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Meet the bookseller with Athina Clarke

by Athina Clarke

Athina Clarke is one of our brilliant children’s and young adult book specialists, and has worked at Readings since 2002 – first at the Port Melbourne shop, before moving onto Readings Malvern where she’s been the buyer for more than seven years. She has been involved in a number of initiatives around children’s books over the years and was named the recipient of the ABA Elizabeth Riley Fellowshi…

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The best junior fiction books of 2018

by Athina Clarke

Every year our staff vote for their favourite books, albums, films and TV shows of the past 12 months. Here are our top 10 junior fiction 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.) Real Pigeons Fight Crime (Book 1) by Andrew McDonald & Ben Wood

This little gem is three stories,…

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