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

Unsung animals in picture books

by Leanne Hall

Cats, dogs, tigers and bears have always featured heavily in picture books, but what about lesser-known and equally worthy animals? Let’s take a moment to celebrate picture books that feature our favourite unsung animals and rare beasts, some in their natural environments, and some far from home. FORESTS & TREES

Sloth

The Sloth Who Came to Stay by Margaret Wild & Vivienne To – A visiti…

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YA books, events & news for May

by Leanne Hall

The young adult category proves its versatility this month. We have robot-driven sci-fi, contemporary realism, historical fiction, and fairytale adaptations on our bedside tables. Read on for our top recommendations. You can find some of our best kids reads of the month here. SIX YA BOOKS TO READ THIS MONTH Lifel1k3 (Lifelike) by Jay Kristoff

The much-anticipated new book by bestselling…

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Kids books, events & news for May

by Leanne Hall

This month we’re reading picture books for laughs and remembering Australian history. We’re also enjoying two unique and fantastical Australian middle grade adventures, and getting messy at the kitchen table with science experiments. You can find some of our best teen reads of the month here. SIX KIDS BOOKS TO READ THIS MONTH Square by Mac Barnett & Jon Klassen

Mac Barnett and Jon Klass…

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Fantastic picture book biographies

by Leanne Hall

There’s been an upswing in fantastic illustrated biographies for kids in the last few years. Here are some of our favourite visual biographies to inspire, educate and amaze young readers. You can also find further recommendations by browsing the collections at the bottom of the post. The Girl Who Ran by Frances Poletti and Kristina Yee

This joyous depiction of Bobbi Gibb’s groundbreaking r…

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Recommended Aussie books for beginner readers

by Leanne Hall

We love to see Australian junior fiction for kids embarking on their reading journey. Here are some recommended reads for beginner and newly independent readers. (And we’re always hungry for more!) From Nerd to Ninja (Ninja Kid Book 1) by Anh Do

Nerdy Nelson gets a big shock on his tenth birthday when he learns that he’s the last ninja on earth! Suddenly in possession of inherited coordinat…

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Disability in books for kids and teens

by Leanne Hall

We recommend five books written by authors who draw on their personal experiences of living with disability to create characters or tell their own life story. You can also find further recommendations by browsing the collection at the bottom of the post. El Deafo by Cece Bell

This funny and sweet graphic memoir details the author’s early experiences with hearing aids, weaving together quir…

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