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

The Surprising Power of a Good Dumpling by Wai Chaim

Anna Chiu and her younger siblings Lily and Michael are very familiar with the ups and downs in their mother’s mental health, but that doesn’t make their family life any easier. Year Eleven student A…

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Wombat, Mudlark and Other Stories by Helen Milroy

Wombat helps Mother Earth recover the eternal flame in her belly. Mudlark discovers the reason for Sun’s burning anger and soothes him. Clever Penguin stops Whale from stealing from Sky, and finds hi…

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Lizard’s Tale by Weng Wai Chan

Lizard is a street-smart twelve-year-old who lives in tiny quarters above a tailor’s shop in Singapore’s Chinatown, and ekes out a bare living with legitimate odd jobs, and a few slightly shady ones …

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We Are Okay by Nina LaCour

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…

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Meet Me at the Intersection by Rebecca Lim & Ambelin Kwaymullina

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Resilience in fiction for teens

by Leanne Hall

The ‘darkness’ of contemporary young adult fiction is often commented upon, without acknowledging that many teens actually do have difficult lives. It’s also worth noting that realistic optimism is a hallmark of YA fiction, exploring the strength and resilience of young people (without necessarily delivering Hollywood endings.)

Here are some of our favourite gritty reads for teens, all of which…

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Books to read on International Day of the Girl Child

by Leanne Hall

International Day of the Girl Child aims to highlight and address the needs and challenges girls face, while promoting girls' empowerment and the fulfillment of their human rights. In honour of the 2019 theme ‘GirlForce: Unscripted and Unstoppable’ we recommend our favourite books that celebrate girls who dream, achieve, break boundaries, overcome barriers, innovate and initiate. Sisters: Ve

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Recommended October YA books & events

by Leanne Hall

This month we have blockbuster fantasy, a sophisticated look at modern gaming, an homage to 1950s horror movies, a gritty Australian contemporary read and satisfying horror. Find our October picks for kids books here. YA BOOK OF THE MONTH Angel Mage by Garth Nix

Liliath, a powerful angel mage that has been dead for 140 years is back to revive her destructive plans – and she will need fo…

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Recommended October kids books, news & events

by Leanne Hall

This month we’re blessed with gorgeous imaginative picture books, dragon-filled fantasy quests, sweet dancing dogs, retold fairy tales and climate science. Find our October picks for YA books here. KIDS BOOK OF THE MONTH All of the Factors of Why I Love Tractors by Davina Bell & Jenny Løvlie

When Frankie McGee insists on borrowing yet another library book about tractors, his mum begs hi…

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Five books to give a thoughtful ten-year-old

by Leanne Hall

Books for older primary readers can be enormously thoughtful, covering a range of topics and experiences that reflects the insatiable curiosity and open minds of kids at that age. Here are five recently published books that will get keen young readers thinking. Check Mates by Stewart Foster

Eleven-year-old Felix struggles at school. His ADHD makes it hard to concentrate and no one seems to…

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Recommended September kids books, news & events

by Leanne Hall

This month we’ve got an amazing array of middle grade fiction that takes readers from film locations to Peru to magical cities, a new Real Pigeons book, and a modern classic about to get the big screen treatment. Find our September picks for YA books here. KIDS BOOK OF THE MONTH

How to Make a Movie in Twelve Days by Fiona Hardy

Hayley Whelan has spent her whole life dreaming of writing…

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