Leanne Hall

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Twitter: lilymandarin

Leanne Hall is the Grants Officer for the Readings Foundation and also works as a children’s bookseller at Readings Hawthorn.

Leanne is also a writer of young adult fiction. Her novel This Is Shyness won the Text Prize for Children’s and Young Adult Writing, and her latest, The Queen of the Night, was released in 2012.

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

Recommended reads to get your book club reading YA

by Leanne Hall

If you suspect your book club has fallen into a reading rut, you should consider picking a YA book one month! Contemporary YA fiction is plot- and character-driven, responsive to the current political and social climate, has an eye on inclusion and representation, and tends to cross-pollinate genres in a very satisfying way. Here are some top recent YA picks for your book club. Far From the

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Kids & YA books to read during Mental Health Week

by Leanne Hall

In recognition of Mental Health Week (7-13 October) and World Mental Health Day (10 October), we recommend six books for kids and teens that explore aspects of mental health. We’ve also gathered together a broad range of books exploring mental health in our collections below this post. Mr Huff by Anna Walker

Bill is having a bad day, the kind where everything seems to go wrong, and somethi…

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October kids books, events & news

by Leanne Hall

This month we’re happy to see a really broad range of kids books including a magical adventure set within the pages of beloved kids classics, a surreal masterpiece by the amazing Shaun Tan, and a moving graphic novel about the Syrian refugee crisis. Find our October picks for YA books here. KIDS BOOK OF THE MONTH Everything I’ve Never Said by Samantha Wheeler

Eleven-year-old Ava has Ret…

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October YA books, events & news

by Leanne Hall

This month in YA we have dark and thrilling fantasy, an eighteenth century adventure, a sensitive depiction of chronic illness and a climate change dystopia. Find our October picks for kids books here. YA BOOK OF THE MONTH A Curse of Ash and Embers by Jo Spurrier

Strong-willed Elodie is sent to work as a servant at Black Oak Cottage, and finds herself helping the witch Aleida cope with …

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Kids books to read on International Peace Day

by Leanne Hall

Each year the International Day of Peace is observed around the world on 21 September, and this year the focus is on the 70th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. Here are some books you can share with children to explore ideas around rights, freedom, activism and small ways to be peaceful in everyday life. You can find even more recommendations of books to read on Internati

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YA books to make you laugh

by Leanne Hall

Sometimes what’s needed in life is a book that’s light, entertaining and full of characters and situations that make you laugh. We’ve put together some of our favourite funny YA books for your perusing pleasure. Chloe Snow’s Diary: Confessions of a High School Disaster by Emma Chastain

Actress Emma Chastain’s debut book is so funny that Readings staff members messaged each other lists of th…

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