Leanne Hall

Leanne_bigthumb

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

We Are Okay by Nina LaCour

Reviewed by Leanne Hall

This moving novel creates the claustrophobia and snowy hush of seventeen-year-old student Marin’s winter break, which she’s chosen to spend in the empty dorms of her upstate New York college. This de…

Read more ›

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…

Read more ›

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…

Read more ›

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…

Read more ›

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…

Read more ›

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,

Read more ›

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 …

Read more ›

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…

Read more ›

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…

Read more ›

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…

Read more ›

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…

Read more ›

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…

Read more ›

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…

Read more ›

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…

Read more ›

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…

Read more ›

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 …

Read more ›

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…

Read more ›

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) …

Read more ›

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…

Read more ›

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…

Read more ›

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 …

Read more ›

News

Fantastic Australian middle fiction that brings history to life

by Leanne Hall

There has been a wealth of fantastic middle grade novels by Australian authors recently that focus on time periods from prehistory, all the way through to recent history. While wars often feature as a backdrop, these recent books prove historical fiction for kids aged 8-12 years is incredibly diverse, depicting young characters amid events such as cataclysmic fires, space race milestones and anc…

Read more ›

Six fantastic new picture books

by Leanne Hall

There has been a wave of gorgeously-illustrated and skilfully-written picture books this month. Picture books are often viewed as solely for young audiences, but many are objects of art that can be enjoyed by all ages. Here are six new picture books that can be appreciated by young and old. Our Little Inventor by Sher Rill Ng

Enter a fantastical steampunk world in Australian author-illustr…

Read more ›

Fostering empathy in kids and teens

by Leanne Hall

We need empathy more than ever in our current world, and we think books are one of the best tools for understanding another person’s perspective. We highly recommend you read our original deep dive into children’s books that teach empathy for detailed recommendations based on age groups, but we’ve also taken a fresh look at some recent and favourite books that encourage empathy in babies, kids a…

Read more ›

Travel the world through kids graphic novels

by Leanne Hall

Graphic novels are more popular than ever with young readers, and the growing selection of titles includes translated works and stories set in far-flung places. Take a trip around the globe by reading some of our favourite graphic novels for kids. A Different Pond by Bao Phi & Thi Bui

A father and child go on an early morning Minneapolis fishing trip in this simple and affecting story by ac…

Read more ›

YA books, events & news for March

by Leanne Hall

There’s a fantastic array of YA fiction available this month, from contemporary Aussie rom-coms to murderous fantasy adventures to free verse and jazz. Find our March picks for kids books here. YA BOOK OF THE MONTH What I Like About Me by Jenna Guillaume

Written as a diary, this witty debut novel from former Buzzfeed journalist and editor Jenna Guillaume takes place over one transformat…

Read more ›

Kids books, events & news for March

by Leanne Hall

This month we have a gorgeous line-up, including a picture book about managing fear, a thoughtful middle grade story about encouraging empathy and talking about difference, a family-focused story set in 1970s Australia, and more. Find our March picks for YA books here. KIDS BOOK OF THE MONTH Lottie and Walter by Anna Walker

Lottie is reluctant to go in the pool at her swimming lessons b…

Read more ›