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

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

Gender, children & bookselling

by Leanne Hall

It’s common in our shops to be asked: is this a ‘girls’ book or a ‘boys’ book? We invited our children’s books specialists to share their experiences and ideas about the role of gender in recommending books to kids.

‘One of the greatest pleasures in children’s bookselling is the chance to give personalised recommendations to young readers (or their adults). Discussing reading preferences direc…

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Six kids books we love this month

by Leanne Hall

This month’s round of children’s books is abundant with ghosts, islands, animals and brave socially-aware youngsters. Room On Our Rock by Kate Temple and Terri Rose Baynton

Three seals (and an occasional crab) occupy a large rock in this unconventional and high-impact picture book that can be read both forwards and backwards. When two more seals show up – in great peril from a wild ocean – …

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Six teen books we love this month

by Leanne Hall

Fantasy, futurism, gritty realism and dark fantasy sit side-by-side in our YA recommendations for this month. Scythe by Neal Shusterman

Two teenagers find themselves inducted into the ways and mysteries of a secretive order in the new novel from beloved sci-fi author Neal Shusterman. Scythe takes place on a future AI-governed Earth where immortality has become the norm, and overpopulation i…

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Picture books about making & keeping friends

by Leanne Hall

Making friends and then being happy with your friends is hard work, and not just for kids! We’ve picked out some of our favourite picture books that explore friendship and all its attendant wonders, challenges, disruptions and pleasures. Bird, Balloon, Bear by Il Sung Na

Bird would love to make a friend in his new forest home, but unfortunately he’s very shy. He’s mustering the bravery to a…

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What to read if you loved Wonder

by Leanne Hall

Published to acclaim in 2012 and boosted by a recent movie adaptation, R.J. Palacio’s middle fiction novel, Wonder, has been much-loved by readers for several years now.

I’ve lost count of the numbers of parents or kids who’ve told me they love Palacio’s multi-perspective story of Auggie March’s first year at a mainstream school. Born with a crano-facial difference, Auggie is stoic and good-hum…

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More children’s classics paired with their modern counterparts

by Leanne Hall

Some children’s books never get old, and there’s a lot of joy in giving a modern kid a tried and tested read from your own youth. Once more, we’ve paired some of our favourite children’s classics with newer books that share the same spirit. Read the classic! Read the new! Or best of all, read both! You can read our original post about children’s classics and modern counterparts here. If you …

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