The Readings Children’s Book Prize


Karen Foxlee wins the 2017 Readings Children’s Book Prize

The winner of this year’s Readings Children’s Book Prize is A Most Magical Girl by Karen Foxlee! This book was chosen – and unanimously loved by – a panel of four experienced children’s book specialists from Readings along with guest judge, author and illustrator Elizabeth Honey.

A Most Magical Girl is an imaginative and charming tale set in Victorian London and perfect for readers aged 9-12. The prim but gutsy Annabel, and her somewhat wild companion Kitty, struggle against a malevolent villain in a quintessential battle of good and evil.

Honey says: ‘This is a great swirling sensual story. You can hear and smell the London of Dickens, the clanking, creaking, murky fog, within which is found the dusty old, slow covens of fading magic. There are unforgettable characters – Miss Henrietta Vine and Miss Estella, Kitty, the faeries, Hafwen, and the Finsbury Wizards – familiar old magic written with originality, and powerful scenes befitting an action movie. Nothing is easy. The instructions are not clear. Annabel must discover her powers, while the shadowlings, like a Dickensian Alien, await their chance. This is fine reading for young humanlings.’

Foxlee’s first book for children, Ophelia and the Marvellous Boy, was shortlisted for the Prize in 2015. As this year’s winner, she will receive prize money of $3000.

You can read the judges' report here.

Alongside A Most Magical Girl, the shortlist for this year’s Prize included Escape to Moon Islands by Mardi McConnochie, Squishy Taylor and the Bonus Sisters by Ailsa Wild, The Secrets We Keep by Nova Weetman, Elizabeth and Zenobia by Jessica Miller and Grover finds a Home by Claire Garth.

You can read more about this year’s shortlist here.

We’re pleased to offer the entire shortlist in a specially priced bundle for $79.95 (was $94.95).

About the Readings Children’s Book Prize

The Readings Children’s Book Prize was established in 2014 and recognises the best new Australian books written for children aged 5 to 12. The Prize celebrates books that families love reading together, and aims to raise the profile of debut and on-the-rise Australian authors that we believe could make an important contribution to the rich variety of Australian publishing. The Prize is awarded to the book which we believe children will love best.

Previous recipients include J.C. Jones for her middle grade novel Run, Pip, Run, Trace Balla for her graphic novel Rivertime and Julie Hunt for her fantasy adventure Song For A Scarlet Runner.

The Readings Children’s Book Prize in 2018

Each year, a shortlist of six titles is selected by a reviling panel of Readings booksellers. 2018 judges include Daniella Robertson (Malvern), Alexa Dretzke (Hawthorn), Dani Solomon (Carlton) and Kim Gruschow (St Kilda). A guest judge will join the panel to select a winner once the shortlist has been decided.

The 2018 shortlist will be announced in late February, with the winner to be decided by late April. The 2018 winner will receive prize money of $3,000.

Eligibility Guidelines for 2018

  • The Readings Children’s Book Prize is open to a work of published fiction, written for children aged 5–12 .
  • The author must be an Australian citizen or hold permanent residency at the time of entry.
  • To be eligible for the Prize, the author should have published no more than three children’s books in this category (Junior/Middle Fiction for ages 5-12). Picture books and YA novels are not eligible and will not be counted. A series published within a 12-month period is considered as one book.
  • Graphic novels, or illustrated narratives, are eligible for entry.
  • Books of co-authorship, including books written by an author and illustrator, will be eligible.
  • If the winning book has been written by an author and an illustrator it will be judged on a case by case basis as to whether they will jointly win the Prize and share the prize money.
  • Books published only in e-book form are not eligible to be entered.
  • Self-published works are not eligible to be entered.
  • Entries must be published in English.
  • Authors must be living at the date of publication.
  • To be eligible for the 2018 Prize, books must have been first published between 1 January 2017 and 31 December 2017.
  • Authors who are employed by Readings during the judging period for each year are not eligible for the Prize. For the 2017 Prize round, this period is from 1 January 2017, through to 30 April 2018.
  • Authors who win the Readings Children’s Book Prize will no longer be eligible for this Prize in future years.

Entry Guidelines for 2018

  • There is no process for entering the Prize. The judging panel will decide on eligible titles and invite respective publishers to submit no more than three reading copies of the nominated book for Prize consideration throughout the eligibility period. Further copies may be requested if the book is shortlisted.


Enquiries should be directed to the Prize Manager Bronte Coates at