The Incredible Painting of Felix Clousseau by Jon Agee ($25, HB)
‘Outrageous!’ the judges cried. ‘Ridiculous!’ Who would dare enter a portrait of a duck in the Grand Contest of Art? But when Felix Clousseau’s painting quacks, he is hailed as a genius. Suddenly everyone wants a Clousseau masterpiece, and the unknown painter becomes an overnight sensation. That’s when the trouble begins. Art imitates life in this hilarious, absurdist picture book—one of Jon Agee’s most beloved titles, now back in print
Welcome, Child!by Sally Morgan ($13, BD)
A perfect gift for a newborn—Sally Morgan’s new board book is celebration of the love felt for a new child. Her colourful artwork depicts love using a bright colour palette of happy birds, dancing stars & hearts that shine and the gentle lilt of her text echoes the deep joy of new life.
I Am Not a Penguin: A Pangolin’s Lamen by Liz Wong ($30, HB)
Poor pangolin—he’s trying to explain who he is, but all the other animals keep getting confused. You have scales-like a snake? A long tongue-like a frog? A strong scent-like a skunk? You can roll in a ball-like an armadillo? And a name that sounds a lot like…penguin? We love penguins! ‘No, no, no! I am not a penguin! There are no penguins here!’ But then, just when it couldn’t get worse, a penguin arrives!! What’s a poor pangolin to in this funny (and informative) tale of mistaken identities?!
I Talk Like A River by Jordan Scott (ill) Sydney Smit
After a day of hiding at the back of the class, of being stared at when words tangle his tongue, a boy & his father go to the river for some quiet time. ‘It’s just a bad speech day,’ says Dad. But the boy can’t stop thinking about all the eyes watching his lips twisting & twirling. Then his father points to the river bubbling, churning, whirling & crashing—stuttering along just like him—‘I talk like a river!’ This is a moving and beautifully illustrated journey from silence to acceptance and speech. ($28, HB)
Stand Up! Speak Up! by Andrew Joyner ($33, HB)
After attending a climate march, a young activist is motivated to make an effort and do her part to help the planet… by organizing volunteers to work to make green changes in their community, from cleaning a lake, to planting trees, to making composting bins, to hosting a clothing swap and more! With illustrations reminiscent of 50s picture books married to simple declarative statements this will inspire kids and their parents.
Fiction – Under 8s
The Puffin Keeper by Michael Morpurgo ($30, HB)It was Benjamin Postlethwaite’s job all his long life to make sure the light shone brightly high up in the lighthouse on Puffin Island. Not once in all his years as the lighthouse keeper had he ever let his light go out. But sometimes even the brightest light on a lighthouse cannot save a ship. This is a story of a life-changing friendship, a lost puffin, and a lonely artist. It’s the story of an entire lifetime, and how one world-class illustrator, Benji Davies offer up a magical new story to enchant readers of all ages.
Little Gem by Anna Zobel ($15, PB)
When her spell at Witchcraft School goes wrong, Gem lands in an unfamiliar, empty cottage, outside a strange, colourful town. Everyone in Ellsworth Pining thinks Gem is their new village witch, even when Gem tries to correct them. And Gem’s new friends do need her. The Weather Worker is missing, and there are tales of a terrifying beast in the woods. Gem might know a spell that could help—if she can get it right.
School of Monsters Series by Sally Rippin ($9, PB each)
Illustrated by Chris Kennett. Sally Rippin’s new first-reader series is about the weird and wonderful students at the School of Monsters.
Pete’s Big Feet: Pete refuses to run because of his long legs and enormous feet, but when Jamie Lee gets stuck down the well, it will take a special someone to rescue her.
Mary Has the Best Pet: Mary LOVES her little pet! Surely it will be OK to sneak him inside her hat just for the morning…even if he hasn’t been fed yet.
Deb and Dot and the Mix-Up Plot: Everyone likes friendly Deb, but her twin Dot doesn’t play nicely with the other monsters! Will Teacher Ted plan save the day?
FICTION 8 to 12
Tiger Daughter by Rebecca Lim ($17, PB) Wen Zhou is the daughter & only child of Chinese immigrants whose move to the lucky country has proven to be not so lucky. Wen & her friend, Henry Xiao—whose mum & dad are also struggling immigrants—both dream of escape from their unhappy circumstances, and form a plan to sit an entrance exam to a selective high school far from home. But when tragedy strikes, it will take all of Wen’s resilience and resourcefulness to get herself and Henry through the storm that follows.
The Valley of Lost Secrets by Lesley Parr ($15, PB)
September 1939. When Londoner Jimmy is evacuated to a small village in Wales—green, quiet and full of strangers—he instantly feels out of place. Then he finds a skull hidden in a tree, and suddenly the valley is more frightening than the war. Who can Jimmy trust? His brother is too little; his best friend has changed. Working with an ally he never expected, he uncovers the secrets that lie with the skull. What they discover will change Jimmy and the village forever.
Listen, Layla by Yassmin Abdel-Magied
Layla has ended the school year on a high and can’t wait to spend the holidays hanging out with her friends and designing a prize-winning Grand Designs Tourismo invention. But Layla’s plans are interrupted when her grandmother in Sudan falls ill and the family rush to be with her. The last time Layla went to Sudan she was only a young child. Now she feels torn between her Sudanese and Australian identities. As political tensions in Sudan erupt, so too do tensions between Layla and her family. Layla is determined not to lose her place in the invention team, but will she go against her parents’ wishes? What would a Kandaka do? ($17, PB)
When We Got Lost in Dreamland by Ross Welford ($17, PB)
When 12 year-old Malky and his younger brother Seb become the owners of a ‘Dreaminator’ nothing is out of their reach—when you can share a dream with someone else—from tree-top flights & Spanish galleons, to thrilling battles & sporting greatness. But impossible dreams come with incredible risks, and when Seb won’t wake up and is taken to hospital in a coma, Malky must leave reality behind to undertake a final, terrifying journey to the stone-age to wake his brother.
The Mysterious Disappearance of Aidan S. by David Levithan ($17, PB)
Aidan disappeared for six days—and just as suddenly reappeared. The story he tells is simply…impossible. Nobody but his brother believes him. When the kids in school hear Aidan’s story, they taunt him. Lucas is on Aidan’s side—but how can you believe in the impossible when everything and everybody is telling you not to?
The Golden Tower by Belinda Murrell
Transported to the land of Tuscia, Sophie accidentally saves the daughter of a wealthy family and is swept along on their journey to the Golden Tower. Now she is the only one standing between sisters Isabella and Bia and the terrible fate their stepmother has planned. Sophie doesn’t think she is brave enough, but with the help of a talking cat, a stableboy and some very tiny mischief-makers, she might be able to save the day. ($17, PB)
The Boy from the Mish by Gary Lonesborough
It’s a hot summer, and life’s going all right for Jackson & his family on the Mish. It’s almost Christmas, school’s out, and he’s hanging with his mates, teasing the visiting tourists, avoiding the racist boys in town. Just like every year, Jackson’s Aunty & annoying little cousins visit from the city—but this time a mysterious boy with a troubled past comes with them. As their friendship evolves, Jackson must confront the changing shapes of his relationships with his friends, family & community. And he must face his darkest secret—a secret he thought he’d locked away for good. ($20)
A Song of Wraiths and Ruin by Roseanne A. Brown
For Malik, the Solstasia festival is a chance to escape his war-stricken home & start a new life with his sisters in the prosperous desert city of Ziran. But when a vengeful spirit abducts his younger sister, Nadia, Malik strikes a fatal deal—kill Karina, Crown Princess of Ziran, for Nadia’s freedom. Karina’s mother, the Sultana, has been assassinated—her court threatening mutiny. The grief-stricken, Karina decides to resurrect her mother through ancient magic—which requires the beating heart of a king. By offering her hand in marriage to the victor of the Solstasia competition. When Malik rigs his way into the contest, they are set on a heart-pounding course to destroy each other. But as attraction flares between them and ancient evils stir, will they be able to see their tasks to the death. ($20, PB)
The Girls I’ve Been by Tess Sharpe ($18, PB) Meet Nora. Also known as Rebecca, Samantha, Haley, Katie & Ashley—the girls she’s been. As the daughter of a con artist who targeted criminals, Nora always had to play a part. But when her mother fell for one of the targets instead of conning him, Nora pulled the ultimate con herself: escape. For five years Nora’s been playing at normal—but things are far from it when she finds herself held at gunpoint in the middle of a bank heist, along with Wes (her ex-boyfriend) and Iris (her secret new girlfriend and mutual friend of Wes … awkward). Now it will take all of Nora’s con artistry skills to get them out alive.
Mellybean and the Giant Monster by Mike White
Melly loves to play games. But all her feline friends want to do is take naps. So when she doesn’t leave them alone, the cats trick her into burying a shoe in the backyard. But this small prank turns into a big problem when Melly falls down the hole—and lands smack-dab in the middle of a scuffle between a group of knights and a huge monster. ($23, PB)
The Sad Ghost Club V1 by Lize Meddings ($23, PB)
Even a day so bad you can barely get out of bed, when it’s a struggle to leave the house can surprise you. When one sad ghost, alone at a crowded party, spies another sad ghost across the room, they decide to leave together. What happens next changes everything. Because that night they start the The Sad Ghost Club—a secret society for the anxious and alone, a club for people who think they don’t belong.
The Magic Fish by Trung Le Nguyen ($30, PB)
Real life isn’t a fairytale. But Tiên still enjoys reading his favourite stories with his parents from the books he borrows from the local library. It’s hard enough trying to communicate with your parents as a kid, but for Tiên, he doesn’t have the right words because his parents struggle with their English. Is there a Vietnamese word for what he’s going through? Is there a way to tell them he’s gay?
Kid Reporter: The secret to breaking news by Saffron Howden & Dhana Quinn ($28, PB)
Start your career as a young reporter right now! Learn how to: research, investigate & interview; write, produce, photograph & record; fact-check & edit; start a school newspaper, create a TV-style news show, or a current affairs website or podcast. Kid Reporter will also help you navigate the daily deluge of media, information & ‘fake news’ & grasp the tools to become a responsible creator. Packed with inspiring stories from young people who’ve already started their reporting careers, and tips from some of Australia’s & the world’s leading journalism experts.
Charles Darwin’s On the Origin of Species by Anna Brett (ill) Nick Hayes ($35, HB)
This book lets the young reader (7+) discover how Darwin changed our understanding of the human race—and our place within the animal kingdom—with his ground-breaking work, On the Origin of Species. Short comprehensive chapters, show kids the ideas—as well as their consequences—of one of the most influential scientists in the world. This outsize book includes a glossary of key terms & concepts making it an invaluable companion for the understanding of Darwin’s theory—and perfect for a grown-up brush-up while introducing it to the kids
With a Little Kelp from Our Friends by Mathew Bate (ill) Liz Rowland ($30, HB)
Did you know that feeding seaweed to cows can reduce the methane in their burps and farts by more than half? Or that a forest of kelp absorbs more carbon than a tropical rainforest of the same size? We can even make edible bioplastics from seaweed! From ancient history and mythology to modern uses in food, health and medicine, complete with a guide to common seaweeds and foraging guidelines, this charmingly illustrated picture book both educates and inspires respect for the natural world..
Weave It! 15 Fun Weaving Projects for Kids by Maria Sigma ($56, HB)
With 15 projects using natural & recycled materials and clear step-by-step instructions, supported by colourful photography Maria Sigma’s book introduces the junior crafter to one of the oldest worldwide craft traditions.
There are Fish Everywhere by Katie Haworth (ill) Britta Teckentrup
Some of them live in fresh water, some of them live under ice, and some even live in the desert. The are indeed fish everywhere. This is the first in a series of non-fiction books from staff favourite, illustrator Britta Teckentrup, about all sorts of animals along with a whole pile of weird and wonderful facts about them. ($17, PB)