Leanne Hall

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Twitter: lilymandarin

Leanne Hall is a children’s and YA specialist at Readings Kids and for Readings online. She also writes books for children and young adults.

Reviews

Meet Me at the Intersection by Rebecca Lim & Ambelin Kwaymullina

Reviewed by Leanne Hall

Masterminded by authors Rebecca Lim and Ambelin Kwaymullina, Meet Me at the Intersection is a highly successful and much-needed anthology of Australian Own Voices writing – stories about marginalised…

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The Relic of the Blue Dragon by Rebecca Lim

Reviewed by Leanne Hall

Harley Spark isn’t sure why he’s drawn to the dusty vase sitting outside the local antique warehouse. Harley’s mum, Delia, has always counselled him to be honest, not least because his dad Ray’s crim…

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Real Pigeons Fight Crime by Andrew McDonald & Ben Wood

Reviewed by Leanne Hall

The Real Pigeons are a crimefighting squad of city birds, each with a unique Pigeon Power. Grandpouter is the patriarch in charge of super-strong Frillback, extra-bendy Tumbler, navigational expert H…

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Big Bones by Laura Dockrill

Reviewed by Leanne Hall

I first came across Laura Dockrill’s unique voice with her wildly poetic mermaid duology, Lorali and Aurabel, and Big Bones is another addition to her marvellous body of work about young people who g…

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Norse Myths by Kevin Crossley-Holland

Reviewed by Leanne Hall

I’m a known collector of fancy editions of timeless tales, and a sucker for all things mythological, so I was very excited to pick up Kevin Crossley-Holland’s illustrated Norse Myths: Tales of Odin,

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Moxie by Jennifer Mathieu

Reviewed by Leanne Hall

Vivian is one of the ‘nice girls’ at East Rockport High. She has a small group of friends, and her main mission is to fly under the radar and not draw too much attention to herself. Her grandparents …

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The Goldfish Boy by Lisa Thompson

Reviewed by Leanne Hall

Matthew hasn’t left the house for quite some time. Instead he sits in his bedroom (very clean and disinfected) or the study (within the acceptable limits of cleanliness, if he’s careful about what he…

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The Fighting Stingrays by Simon Mitchell

Reviewed by Leanne Hall

Adventure, Australian history and the power of friendship come together in this extremely engaging novel about a trio of boys living on Thursday Island during World War II. Charlie, Alf and Masa spen…

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Marsh and Me by Martine Murray

Reviewed by Leanne Hall

Joey M. Green is a boy with ‘sensitivities’, who rarely has the right words at the right time. He’s a deep thinker, part of a loving family; he wonders about his place in the world. He plays his guit…

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Living on Hope Street by Demet Divaroren

Reviewed by Leanne Hall

Living on Hope Street is the impressive debut novel of Turkish–Australian writer and co-editor of the acclaimed Coming of Age: Growing Up Muslim in Australia anthology, Demet Divaroren.

Brothers Ka…

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Do Not Lick This Book by Idan Ben-Barak & Julian Frost

Reviewed by Leanne Hall

Do not lick this book doubles as a fun interactive picture book, and a fascinating science lesson about microbes. Readers are introduced to Min, a cartoon microbe, and encouraged to press the page wi…

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Strange the Dreamer by Laini Taylor

Reviewed by Leanne Hall

Somewhere in the world (or perhaps another world), a mythical and wondrous city closed its borders to outsiders, had its name stolen, and is now only known as Weep. Weep is the obsession of choice of…

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Valentine by Jodi McAlister

Reviewed by Leanne Hall

Traditional fairy lore is transplanted into a small-town Australian location in Jodi McAlister’s debut novel, Valentine, and given a thoroughly contemporary spin.

A frightening black horse appears a…

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My First Lesson by Alice Pung

Reviewed by Leanne Hall

Teenagers are often written at by adults, but My First Lesson is a rare opportunity for twenty-five teenagers to tell their own stories in their own inimitable ways. Keen young writers were invited t…

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The Book of Pearl by Timothee De Fombelle

Reviewed by Leanne Hall

A fourteen-year-old boy runs through the forest – bleeding, heartbroken and confused – before stumbling across a welcoming hut belonging to an elderly saviour, Joshua Pearl. So begins a mystery that …

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Max by Sarah Cohen-Scali

Reviewed by Leanne Hall

Prepare to be taken uncomfortably deep into the Third Reich. Our narrator, Konrad, begins his story in utero – immediately demonstrating an ambitious nature and unswerving devotion to the Führer. Kon…

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Momo by Michael Ende

Reviewed by Leanne Hall

German author Michael Ende might be better known for his novel The Neverending Story, but it is the sweet and magical Momo that holds first place in my heart. Momo is a surreal (and at times creepy) …

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Five Star Billionaire by Tash Aw

Reviewed by Leanne Hall

In Five Star Billionaire a large cast of migrants battle to find security and happiness in a New China that is hurtling into the future. Malaysian author Tash Aw skilfully juggles the perspectives of…

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Alif the Unseen by G. Willow Wilson

Reviewed by Leanne Hall

Alif is an Arab-Indian hacker-for-hire in an unnamed Middle Eastern emirate with a digital policing system so effective it’s referred to as the Hand of God. In an already rightfully paranoid communit…

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The New Jumper by Oliver Jeffers

Reviewed by Leanne Hall, Readings Carlton

A new Oliver Jeffers picture book is always a cause for celebration, and The New Jumper is a gem. The Hueys are a large group of egg-shaped creatures who look, think and act identically. When one of …

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News

Books about activism for teens

by Leanne Hall

In a world where teens walk out of schools to protest climate change and lead the call for gun reform, it’s not surprising that there’s a thread of activism running through many recent fiction and non-fiction titles for teens. Here are some of our favourite books for politically engaged teens. Watch Us Rise by Renee Watson & Ellen Hagan

Best friends Jasmine and Chelsea attend a progressive …

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Picture books about love

by Leanne Hall

What do you love most? Is it your family and friends? Or is it your new shoes? Or a sport, or a stranger who needs your help, or books or yourself! We recommend our favourite picture books about that big emotion: LOVE. Under the Love Umbrella by Davina Bell & Allison Colpoys

We all need a love umbrella sometimes. When life doesn’t turn out the way we want it to (when you’re left out of a ga…

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YA books, events & news for February

by Leanne Hall

February is shaping up to be a fantastic month for YA, with much-anticipated second books from Angie Thomas, Karen McManus and Alison Evans all hitting our shelves, as well as some intriguing new fantasy titles. Find our February picks for kids books here. YA BOOK OF THE MONTH On the Come Up by Angie Thomas

Brianna is 16 and an aspiring rapper, hoping to follow in the footsteps of her fam…

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Kids books, events & news for February

by Leanne Hall

This month we have a wonderfully wide range of great reads for kids – a beautifully designed paper-cut board book, a coterie of award winners and kids fiction that puts climate change and the environment front and centre. Find our February picks for YA books here. KIDS BOOK OF THE MONTH Hello Lighthouse by Sophie Blackall

Follow the daily and seasonal ebb and flow of activity around a lig…

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The most anticipated children’s books of 2019

by Leanne Hall

There’s nothing more exciting than looking forward to a year of cramming more kids books on our shelves! Here’s what we’re keen to get our hands on in 2019.

Picture books

There are some very enticing picture books being published this year, by beloved and familiar creators, all the way through to fresh newcomers.

Australian author Jane Godwin (Go Go and the Silver Shoes) has a unique ey…

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Books to help with starting school

by Leanne Hall

Starting school is a big life event – as is starting at a new kinder, creche, childcare or being in a new class with a new teacher. Here are some bookish suggestions around routines, anxiety, friendships and social skills to ease any bumps in the road. STARTING PREP/FOUNDATION Starting School by Jane Godwin & Anna Walker

Five children approach their first day of school in this delightful…

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