Athina Clarke

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

Reviews

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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The Line Tender by Kate Allen

Lucy and Fred are very best friends and collaborating on a summer project. Already a passionate biologist at 13, Fred asks Lucy (a talented artist in the throes of self-discovery) to illustrate a fie…

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The List of Things that Will Not Change by Rebecca Stead

Twelve-year-old Bea reflects on life since her parent’s divorce and the many challenges periodically conspiring to overwhelm her: family adjustments, school frustrations, struggles with spelling and …

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The Ghost of Howlers Beach by Jackie French

This remarkable adventure is set in the early 1930s when much of Sydney’s population was homeless, jobless, starving and living in squalor and abject poverty. But lovable twelve-year-old Butter lives…

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Meet Zoe and Zac at the Zoo by Belinda Murrell & David Hardy

Not only are Zac and Zoe great friends who live at the zoo, they’re also spending a whole day helping Zoe’s mum with feeding lions, giraffes and meerkats; only sweeping up enormous amounts of stinky …

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Take Off! (Evie and Pog, Book 1) by Tania McCartney

Best friends Evie (a girl) and Pog (a dog) live in an expansive treehouse in Granny’s big backyard. They’re a lovable duo with unusual quirks: accident-prone Evie loves rolling on grass and drinking …

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Nevertell by Katharine Orton

This compelling debut novel is full of surprises; it starts like a historical fiction set during Stalin’s reign of terror but quickly morphs into a breathless life and death struggle with a powerful …

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The Curious Case of Cora Bell (Jinxed!, Book 1) by Rebecca McRitchie and Sharon O'Connor (illus.)

Cora is a foundling. She has no memory prior to her life with Dot and Scratch the cat in the city of Urt. Their survival is dependent on scavenging and trading amidst fierce competition. Life takes a…

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The Last Balfour by Cait Duggan

I do love a good witch story: there’s something exhilarating about a young woman drawing on an unknown mystical force and discovering her potential. This story surges at a breathless pace and is unre…

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Dear Grandpa by Kate Simpson and Ronojoy Ghosh (illus.)

This delightful picture book celebrates the powerful bond between a child and their grandparent, as chronicled through the long-distance exchange of letters between the imaginative young Henry and hi…

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Zanzibar by Catharina Valckx and Antony Shugaar (trans.)

When renowned journalist (and lizard) Achille LeBlab goes looking for exceptional characters to feature in his newspaper, it inspires a wonderful crow, Zanzibar, to attempt a feat so remarkable that …

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Pog by Pádraig Kenny

There’s so much to enjoy in this clever story with its overlay of enchantment. But at its heart, it’s a story of a family struggling to overcome its grief at their mum’s sudden death.

When he moves…

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Charlotte’s Web by E. B. White

I was probably eight when I was first captured by Charlotte’s Web. Our teacher read a few chapters aloud every afternoon and each day we longed for more, our excitement growing as story time neared. …

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Winston and the Wondrous Wooba Gymnastics Club by Tamsin Janu

Winston and his mum live in the country town of Wooba, home of Big Bread, a towering monument to local wheat farming, currently listed as one of Australia’s Twenty Ugliest Statues. Winston is proud o…

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Asha & the Spirit Bird by Jasbinder Bilan

One of the great gifts of fiction for children is that it offers them the challenge and adventure of other worlds within the safety and comfort of a book. Asha and the Spirit Bird is a mystical and m…

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Alex and the Alpacas Save the World by Kathryn Lefroy

There’s much to enjoy in this exciting adventure with its magical twist! There’s an ancient spirit imprisoned in a forest for a thousand years awakened and determined to destroy the world, a prophecy…

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Swimming Against the Storm by Jess Butterworth

Set in a tiny fishing village of Southern Louisiana, Swimming Against the Storm effortlessly captures the slow, humid atmosphere of the bayou, the tidal rhythms of life built on shrimp fishing and th…

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Charles Darwin’s On the Origin of Species by Sabina Radeva

I’m excited by beautiful, informative books that inspire young minds to wonder and ask questions. Sabina Radeva’s inspired retelling of Charles Darwin’s seminal work On the Origin of Species is just …

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Hotel Flamingo by Alex Milway

The Hotel Flamingo, once the sunniest hotel on the boulevard but sadly past its heyday, is uninhabited, save for its concierge (a lemur named Lemmy) and the doorman (a bear named T-Bear).

But when …

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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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