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SUMMER READING GUIDE 2019-2020 265 KING ST NEWTOWN NSW 2042 | 02 9557 8700 | KIDS@BETTERREAD.COM.AU


BETTER READ KIDS & CLUB READ

Better Read Kids Poet Laureate Ted Hughes once said, “A fine children’s book is as important and worthwhile as any kind of literature, and maybe more so. Read and love a great story or poem when you’re young and the chances are that you’ll become a reader for life, and maybe a writer or an artist.” This is the ethos from which Better Read Kids springs. We are passionate and committed to nurturing a child’s love of books, offering regular school holiday workshops, events with children’s authors, creative writing competitions and local school and community visits run by our dedicated team of children’s specialist booksellers. Stop by and say hello today.

Is Your School a Club Read Member? Did you know that our Club Read loyalty programme can work for schools as well as individuals and families?

Our School Community Reward Scheme allows for eligible schools to benefit from each purchase a school community member makes from Better Read Than Dead by rebating 10% of any school community sales to their school library account each month. This means your school will regularly receive store credit to spend on some lovely new books for the school library!

If you would like to sign your school up to Club Read, or check if your school is already registered, simply ask one of our booksellers in store or send us an email enquiry. And if you would like some promotional materials to advertise our Club Read program to your school, please contact the Better Read Kids team via email.

kids@betterread.com.au | 02 9557 8700 | 265 King St Newtown NSW 2042

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BOARD BOOKS

Swing Slow, Sloth & Roly Poly Panda Cloth Books | Surya Sajnani | $19.99 each | Allen & Unwin | Ages 0+ These Wee Gallery cloth books are my favourite recommendation for anyone looking for a gift for a new baby. They saw my nephew through his first 18 months! He loved the plush pages and the crinkly noise they make when you turn them, and my sister-in-law loved that they’re machine washable. These two new books in the range sweetly introduce us to Sloth, Panda and their animal friends. The bold lines and repeating patterns are specifically designed to stimulate visual development in young infants, and Sajnani’s graphic illustrations are so striking and charming, they make for a present that is at once gorgeous and practical. — Kate

Australian Baby Animals | Frané Lessac | $15.99 | Walker Books | Ages 2+ With one animal baby on each double-page spread, this colourful introduction to iconic Australian creatures groups them according to their baby names: joeys, hatchlings, fry, chicks, puggles, pups and platypups. The animals cover the full gamut of family groups, from marsupials to monotremes, reptiles to birds. Each baby animal is described by one line of text (in bold type). And there’s a special additional fact for extra interest!

Baby Bowie: A Book About Adjectives | Pintachan | $14.99 | Running Press Kids | Ages 3+ A book about adjectives may sound boring, but not when it’s paired with the iconic rock star that is David Bowie. Let’s dance! Glitter stars. Spiky hair. Full of vibrant colours and fun learning opportunities, this board book is simultaneously educational and makes you want to go dancing in the street. That, my friend, is a winning combination. — Olivia

— Kay

Animals | Chihiro Takeuchi | $19.99 | Simon & Schuster | Ages 1+ This striking board book by renowned Japanese cut-paper artist Chihiro Takeuchi is gorgeous! Turn each boldly coloured peek-through page to reveal a busy array of stylised animals from the different continents of the world. Can you find one lion in Africa? Three toucans in South America? Five cockatoos in Oceania? An absolute delight for young and old, I love this just as much as Takeuchi’s previous board book, Colours. — Mandy

The Very Hungry Caterpillar

Giant Plush Toy

$75

Very limited stock available!

Reserve your caterpillar by phoning 02 9557 8700.

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PICTURE BOOKS

Just Because | Mac Barnett & Isabelle Arsenault | $24.99 | Walker Books | Ages 3+ I was an anxious child and a bad sleeper. I tormented my parents for years! So I can strongly relate to the little girl in this story, being put to bed by her father and delaying his departure with relentless, increasingly random questions. Why is the ocean blue? What happened to the dinosaurs? Why do we have to sleep? Her dad’s answers aren’t exactly what you’d expect, but with the incredible Mac Barnett penning the tale we shouldn’t be surprised! The poeticism and whimsy of his responses are exquisitely—and I mean EXQUISITELY—depicted by Isabelle Arsenault’s illustrations. Just Because is a breathtaking, thought-provoking work of art that doubles as the perfect bedtime story. — Kate

Mr Chicken All Over Australia | Leigh Hobbs | $24.99 | Allen & Unwin | Ages 4+ Australia might be big, but have you met Mr Chicken? He’s HUGE! And after receiving letters from children all over Australia (make sure you have a good look at the endpapers!) Mr Chicken wants to see the entire country. With the help of a trusty marsupial friend to organise his itinerary, Mr Chicken is en route, and he is clucking excited to get here. Mr Chicken All Over Australia is a brilliant new book in the wonderfully funny Mr Chicken series by Australian Children’s Laureate and national treasure Leigh Hobbs. — Olivia

The Crayons’ Christmas | Drew Daywalt & Oliver Jeffers | $27.99 | HarperCollins | Ages 3+ The wait for the next Crayons book is over! And this may just be the perfect kids book for the festive season. Coming from Daywalt and Jeffers it is, of course, hilarious. It’s also super interactive–readers join in the fun as Duncan, the Crayons and their families celebrate the festive season. There are folded letters to pull from their envelopes and read, games, press-out ornaments, a poster, and even a pop-up Christmas tree! It’s the perfect gift for fans of The Day the Crayons Quit and The Day the Crayons Came Home. Like me, the Crayons know the best presents are the ones you give. Just be sure to give the gift of Crayons! — John

The Fate of Fausto | Oliver Jeffers | $29.99 | HarperCollins | Ages 4+ This is another Jeffers masterpiece. A modernday fable, this is a timely story about a man who sets out to own the world only to meet his comeuppance. The gorgeously retro, painterly style is both a product of Jeffers’ approach as well as the tools he sought out in the production of this book, including a 200-yearold lithography press in Paris. Combined with the smaller format, the unique printing process has produced a book more reminiscent of the classic storybooks from the 1920s and ‘30s. A must-read for kids and adults alike! — John

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All of the Factors of Why I Love Tractors | Davina Bell & Jenny Lovlie | $24.99 | Hardie Grant Egmont | Ages 3+

Love Around the World | Fleur Pierets & Fatinha Ramos | $29.99 | NewSouth Books | Ages 4+

All of the Factors of Why I Love Tractors is, if you can believe it, not just a detailed account of why young Frank loves tractors. It is also a gorgeous tribute to childhood (and potentially lifelong) obsessions. Frank and his mother take a trip to the library and Frank knows exactly which book he wants to take home—one on tractors that he already knows by heart. When his mum despairs, he reassures her, “I like books–that’s what matters. Not what they’re about.” Us booksellers agree! — Kate

When Fleur and Julian decide to get married, they set out to experience the marriage traditions of the relatively few countries around the world where same-sex marriage is legal. Based on a true story, this is the first of two picture books and here they visit 12 countires, including Australia. The stunning, colourful illustrations depicting cultural and gender diversity would make both a beautiful gift for adults and a wonderful starting point for discussions with curious youngsters. — Mandy


PICTURE BOOKS

The Return of Thelma the Unicorn | Aaron Blabey | $17.99 | Scholastic | Ages 3+ International superstar Thelma the Unicorn is back! Disillusioned with fame and stardom, Thelma shunned the spotlight for a quiet life in the fields with her best friend Otis. The world was plunged into sadness, and her adoring fans were left begging for her return. But it is Otis—her biggest fan—who persuades a reluctant Thelma to once more don her glitter and sparkle and hit the road, spreading love and happiness as only this fabulous pink, glittery unicorn can. “There’s nothing wrong with make-believe. You can be a star... as long as you remember what you love and who you are.”  — Mandy

Sofia Valdez, Future Prez | Andrea Beaty & David Roberts | $24.99 | Thames & Hudson | Ages 5+ I will never tire of the Questioneers series. As parents and teachers will know, our kids here are aware of the state of American politics (and I’ve overheard some very astute commentary!) so I believe they will happily follow Beaty and Roberts as they move from STEM topics to social studies with this new story about Sofia. Sofia, classmate to Iggy, Rosie and Ada, has an idea—she wants to turn the town landfill into a park, but adults quickly quash this ambition. Sofia must draw on her courage and determination to rally her community and make positive changes. This is another powerful story, told with the duo’s trademark gusto, which is sure to fuel the imaginations and ambitions of all readers. — Kate

The Inner Child | Henry Blackshaw | $14.99 | Thames & Hudson | Ages 5+ Grown-ups are a mystery, even to adults! We all started life as children and we all still carry that child with us everywhere we go. With his debut picture book The Inner Child, adapted from a zine, Melbourne author/illustrator Blackshaw explores the concept of the inner child with an open letter which encourages kids to look for the child inside every adult, and simulateneously urges adults to treasure and take care of their inner child. His charming line drawings have a similar energy to the work of Oliver Jeffers, and the eccentric, soulful story reminds me of Mac Barnett and Carson Ellis—and they are two of my all-time favourite picture book authors, so that is quite a compliment! — Kate

I See, I See | R. Henderson | $19.99 | Allen & Unwin | Ages 3+ It’s a question of perspective, like in all stories: what we see is not necessarily what someone else sees. Henderson is one of those great children’s authors who gets your kids engaged in the physical and mental activity of the reading of a book. This is an interactive and fun picture book, specially made to share with someone sitting directly across from you. I See, I See can also take you beyond the first throw of visual effect; it sparks thoughts about life. What we see—and what we think, and what we feel—is sometimes only one side of the coin. — Fabienne

Three | Stephen Michael King | $24.99 | Scholastic | Ages 3+ Well, this story of a three-legged stray dog finding a fur-ever home warmed my heart so much I cried in public. Three spends his days wandering the city streets, content to follow his nose wherever it leads him, meeting new and familiar creatures and humans. One, two, three, one, two, three, a hop and a skip and a hop and a skip, he roams. But the life of a wanderer can get lonely. When Three meets a little girl who takes a particular shine to him, he learns he could have a different life—he could have a family. King’s evocative illustrations bring this sweet story to life, making it a must-have for all animalloving families. — Kate

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2019 KIDS BOOKS OF THE MONTH

FEBRUARY BOOK OF THE MONTH Dippy’s Big Day Out | Jackie French & Bruce Whatley | $24.99 | HarperCollins | Ages 3+ All Dippy wants to do is sleep. And eat. Then sleep some more. This shouldn’t be too hard, but when dinosaurs are involved who knows what mischief will occur! Because Dippy isn’t just an ordinary wombat, he’s a diprotodon, the biggest, friendliest, sleepiest wombat who ever lived—100,000 years ago! This wonderful story about the largest, oldest wombat to walk ancient Australia is inventive, hilarious and full of mayhem. It will have you clutching your stomach in laughter. — Olivia

MARCH BOOK OF THE MONTH Let’s Go | Charlotte Dematons | $19.99 | Thames & Hudson | Ages 3+ Who knew going to the corner shop could be so exciting? Through deserts and forests, over rivers and oceans… Watch out for the sharks. And the sleeping giant! AND THE DRAGON! The boy in the book needs your help, reader. Quickly, or he might never make it! Dematons has crafted a gorgeous tale of exploration that lures the reader into its magical world with vivid imagery and an exciting tale. Let’s Go is engaging, quirky and offers a different perspective on storytelling. — Olivia

APRIL BOOKS OF THE MONTH One Tree | Christopher Cheng & Bruce Whatley | $24.99 | Penguin Random House | Ages 3+ Growing a small tree from a seedling found in the busy marketplace enriches one family and the whole neighbourhood as nature reasserts itself in the big city. Cheng’s beautiful story about love and the power of nature to heal lives, with Whatley’s charming lino-cut style illustrations, is one to share and enjoy. — Olivia Wilam: A Birrarung Story | Aunty Joy Murphy, Andrew Kelly & Lisa Kennedy | $24.99 | Walker Books | Ages 5+ A stunning picture book about the Birrarung, the river we now know as the Yarra. Full of beautiful illustrations and a story that incorporates a gentle history of the winding river, this perfectly weaves English and Woiwurrung, the traditional language of the Kluin Nation, into a book that everyone will love. — Olivia

MAY BOOKS OF THE MONTH Moonwalkers | Mark Greenwood & Terry Denton | $19.99 | Penguin Random House | Ages 5+ With the world glued to their screens during the moon-landing, three siblings on the other side of the world decide they want to travel to space too. Moonwalkers is a touching book about the power of imagination, friendship and dreaming big. — Olivia How It Feels to Float | Helena Fox | $17.99 | Pan Macmillan | Ages 14+ An extraordinary, searing tale about mental health, grief and growing up. Biz’s life is going just fine, just like a teenager’s should... until suddenly it’s not. Heartbreaking, delicate and brimming with hope, this novel is going to be hailed as an Australian YA favourite for years to come. — Olivia

JUNE BOOKS OF THE MONTH Leonard Doesn’t Dance | Frances Watts & Judy Watson | $24.99 | HarperCollins | Ages 3+ All the birds are excited about the Big Beaky Bird Ball, but not Leonard. You see, Leonard thinks he can’t dance, so he doesn’t try. This is a brilliant, hilarious picture book that will leave you tapping your toes and dancing away your woes! — Kate & Olivia Young Dark Emu: A Truer History | Bruce Pascoe | $24.99 | Magabala Books | Ages 8+ From the author of the award-winning Dark Emu comes this new edition which uses simpler language, clear explanations and gorgeous illustrations to uncover the truer history of Aboriginal Australia, and the bigotry that has underpinned European misconceptions of indigenous culture, making it essential reading for Australians of all ages. — Lucy H

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Fashionista | Maxine Beneba Clarke | $19.99 | Hachette | Ages 4+ A cheerfully illustrated picture book on the joys and woes of fashion that will bring a smile to your face. So often clothing can be trivialised or scoffed at, but Clarke celebrates the opportunity to display individuality and personality through clothing. — Olivia Detention | Tristan Bancks | $16.99 | Penguin Random House | Ages 10+ Detention is a stunning book that explores what friendship, family and safety means during times of stress and displacement. This gripping novel will have you questioning what you would do if you were in a similar situation... — Olivia

AUGUST BOOKS OF THE MONTH The Pigeon HAS to Go to School! | Mo Willems | $16.99 | Walker Books | Ages 3+ Pigeon is back! It’s been FIVE years since we last saw Pigeon and it’s time for him to go to school, but Pigeon is NOT keen. He needs convincing. Willems is one of a kind and it’s a total joy to revisit this riotously hilarious series. — Kate It Sounded Better In My Head | Nina Kenwood | $19.99 | Text | Ages 14+ This book is a gorgeous, messy and very real depiction of what life verging on adulthood actually is like. Filled with moments of happiness, tears, love and friendship, this is one of those reads you won’t forget. — Ayesha

SEPTEMBER BOOKS OF THE MONTH Don’t Worry, Little Crab | Chris Haughton | $24.99 | Walker Books | Ages 3+

2019 KIDS BOOKS OF THE MONTH

JULY BOOKS OF THE MONTH

Haughton is one of those rare creators who gets it right every time. My son loves all of his books. When he was two he enjoyed the saturated and contrasting colours and now at four he enjoys reading the subtle, clever rhymes. The story sends a joyful message as crab encourages little crab to be brave. — Dean Welcome to Country | Marcia Langton | $29.99 | Hardie Grant | Ages 11+ This youth edition of the bestselling and award-winning Welcome to Country by highly respected Indigenous Elder Marcia Langton gives fascinating insights into Indigenous languages, customs, history, native title, art and dance, storytelling, cultural awareness and the future and rightful place in the nation of Indigenous Australians. — Kay

OCTOBER BOOKS OF THE MONTH Summer Time | Antonia Pesenti & Hilary Bell | $24.99 | NewSouth Books | Ages 2+ Thoughtful and charming with splashes of humour, the creators of Alphabetical Sydney reminisce on a child’s experience of the summer holidays—from wrinkly swimming fingers to mozzie bites, each captured moment is such a delight. The collages teeming with rhymes are exquisite and will capture the imagination of both children and adults. — Dean The Glimme | Emily Rodda & Marc McBride | $34.99 | Scholastic | Ages 10+ I am, and always will be, a diehard Emily Rodda fan (Deltora Quest was the go-to series for many years in my childhood) so I was particularly excited about The Glimme. The imagery is gorgeously intricate and, alongside the mysterious narrative, it transports you to other fantastic worlds. An ode to imagination in all of its forms. — Lucy H.

NOVEMBER BOOK OF THE MONTH Cooee Mittigar: A Story on Darug Songlines | Jasmine Seymour & Leanne Mulgo Watson | $24.99 | Magabala Books | Ages 3+ What an interesting and beautifully illustrated picture book, written in Darug language with English and an extensive glossary throughout. Children will be taken on a journey through culture, land and songlines. There’s lots for children to learn here in this gentle story about how Darug people read the seasons, know when it is time to hunt and when it’s time to rest. It is also an appeal to remember, offering new ways of seeing and reading the lands of the greater Sydney area. — Kay

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KIDS NON-FICTION

Unseen Worlds: Real-Life Microscopic Creatures Hiding All Around Us | Hélène Rajcak & Damien Laverdunt | $29.99 | Walker Books | Ages 5+ Be amazed by a hidden universe of microscopic monsters, revealed right before your eyes in this large format hardback. Each page unfolds to reveal stunningly detailed illustrations of locations both familiar and strange as you search for the smallest creatures on planet Earth. The beautifully illustrated pages are filled with jelly-like amoebae, predatory centipedes, ravenous mosquitoes and more mites than you could imagine. They live in the murky ocean depths, your kitchen cupboard and even inside your nose! You’ll never see the world the same way again! — Kay

Incredible Jobs You’ve (Probably) Never Heard Of | Natalie Labarre | $24.99 | Nosy Crow | Ages 5+ Do you know what you want to do when you grow up? Why not work as a babysitter... for sloths? Or become a masseuse... for cows? Incredible Jobs You’ve (Probably) Never Heard Of explores all different types of jobs—those that are literally way underground, and those that are glamorous or mysterious. This book pairs fabulous illustrations with easy to read and engaging information on the most out-there jobs in the world. The approach to these topics involves the reader, making this a great choice for children who love interesting and unusual facts. — Hester

Orchestra | Avalon Nuovo & David Doran | $29.99 | Flying Eye Books | Ages 7+ A fun and exciting musical journey that includes over 100 original drawings and photographs. Children can listen, learn, and enjoy as they are introduced to the most powerful works from the greatest composers throughout history and the things that inspired them to write their masterpieces. Each instrument of the orchestra, from the cello to the timpani, is covered as well as different musical styles from Baroque to Modern. Orchestra also features a poster and access to audio tracks from an exclusive website. This is a beautiful introduction to the magical world of classical music. — Kay

Fauna: Australia’s Most Curious Creatures | Tania McCartney | $24.99 | NewSouth Books | Ages 7+ We live in a country with an extraordinary range of fauna and Tania McCartney has gathered the most curious of these creatures here in this exciting and informative book. Snappy mini-blocks of information reveal the animals’ quirkiest of features, from breeding, feeding and habitat to the stand-out, unique characteristics which make that animal so special. This fabulous illustrated book really has it all—smarts, style and charisma—so prepare to be delighted while learning a bunch of facts about our crafty Australian fauna. — Dean

“THIS...REALLY HAS IT ALL—SMARTS, STYLE AND CHARISMA...”

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KIDS NON-FICTION

Wild Girl: How to Have Incredible Outdoor Adventures | Helen Skelton & Liz Kay | $24.99 | Walker Books | Ages 9+ Calling wild girls everywhere! This inspirational guide to getting outdoors and having incredible adventures is for you. From kayaking the length of the Amazon to cycling to the South Pole and running an ultra-marathon across the Namib desert, big adventures definitely are for girls. With six stories from TV presenter Helen Skelton of her daring adventures across some of the world’s most extreme wildernesses, this book is all about embracing your fears and finding the positives in the toughest situations. Alongside these inspirational tales are ideas for where readers can find their own wild adventures closer to home. — Kay

Australian Sea Life | Matt Chun | $29.99 | Hardie Grant Egmont | Ages 3+ This beautifully illustrated book will spark young readers’ imaginations and evoke wonderment in all animal-lovers. Matt Chun takes us on an exploration of Australia’s oceans, showcasing our most fascinating sea creatures, from the great white shark to the tiny soldier crab. Chun’s unique portrayal of our natural world is carefully curated to inform and entrance readers of all ages, engaging them in Australia’s unique marine wildlife and creating lifelong nature enthusiasts. — Hester

“SPARK YOUNG READERS’ IMAGINATIONS AND EVOKE WONDERMENT IN ALL ANIMAL-LOVERS.”

Most of the Better Natural Things in the World | Dave Eggers & Angel Chang | $34.99 | Chronicle Books | Ages 3+

Can You Hear the Trees Talking? Discovering the Hidden Life of the Forest | Peter Wohlleben | $29.99 | NewSouth Books | Ages 9+

Most of the Better Natural Things in the World is a curious investigation of some of the world’s most beautiful places by the bestselling author Dave Eggers. Containing only twenty-six words—with just one word per page—and beautiful, lush landscapes by illustrator Angel Chang, this book introduces young readers to different geographic elements: an archipelago, a dune, an isthmus, a lagoon. Each page also features a tiger with a chair strapped to her back, travelling left to right with each turn of the page. Readers follow her journey through various natural landmarks to a rewarding conclusion.

Do trees hurt? Do they drink through the night? Who are their close friends? And who controls the Forest Internet? Peter Wohlleben’s Can You Hear the Trees Talking?—a new edition of his bestselling The Hidden Lives of Trees for young readers—answers these questions and many more, with explanations that put you right at the centre of the forest amongst the trees and their siblings, parents, grandparents and close friends. The hidden lives of trees are revealed with exciting insights into science and biology, as readers are taken on a delightful, humorous walk through the magical real-life forest.

— Kay

— Sanjo

Dr Karl’s Random Road Trip Though Science | Dr Karl Kruszelnicki | $35 | HarperCollins | Ages 8+ If you thought Dr Karl would have run out of ideas by the time he got to write his 45th book, think again! He has stepped it up to a whole new level in this random road trip through science. There are plenty of mindbending and thought-provoking facts unearthed in this fantastic book, including how humanity nearly got wiped out by a huge asteroid on Halloween 2015. Best of all, though, is the augmented reality videos that you can call up using an app downloaded to your device. Point your phone to specific hotspots throughout the book and up pops Dr Karl in a video to explain the concepts on that page in more detail. It’s geektopia! — John

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KIDS GIFT IDEAS A Flamboyance of Flamingos | Jennifer Cossins | $9.99 | Hachette | Ages 2+ A mini gift hardcover edition of awardwinning Tasmanian artist Cossins’ colourful 101 Collective Nouns, which became an international sensation in 2018. Come along on a beautifully illustrated journey through the animal kingdom and meet a wisdom of wombats, a loveliness of ladybirds and of course a flamboyance of flamingos. This book will delight children and adults alike. — Kay

Heads and Tails: Underwater — MatchIt Cards | John Canty | $16.99 | Simon & Schuster | Ages 3+

My First Pop-Up Dinosaurs | Owen Davey | $19.99 | Walker Books | Ages 5+ As a dinosaur-obsessed child, I would have given anything to have my very own pop-up book packed with all of my favourite scaly beasts. Full of pop-up limbs, wings and fins, and dynamic images, Owen Davey has created a board book that is perfect for curious kids who want to learn the names of dinosaurs and what they look like. And did I mention it was a pop-up? No? Well, it’s popup. And it’s awesome. — Olivia

Toddlers can practice their memory skills by matching each tail to each corresponding body in this fun interactive game from award-winning author and illustrator John Canty. Using vibrant watercolour illustrations, the images encourage youngsters to go on a journey of discovery by guessing animals based on visual clues. The boxed set includes 30 stunningly illustrated cards and an instruction sheet. — Kay

Embers of Memory: A Throne of Glass Game | Sarah J. Maas & Kuro | $39.99 | Bloomsbury | Ages 14+ A lavishly illustrated two-player co-operative card game for older teens set during the events of Kingdom of Ash, the epic climax to Sarah J. Maas’ Throne of Glass series. Working together over the course of multiple games, players must delve into the memories of the young queen and help her face her inner demons before she is overwhelmed. Be warned, each challenge you face is more complex than the last, testing the bond between you and your partner to its limit. The game includes 97 oversized cards and a rule book. — Kay

Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire: Illustrated Edition | J.K. Rowling & Jim Kay | $65 | Bloomsbury | Ages 9+ Even though I have read the Harry Potter books more times than I can count, there is still an enormous and indescribable sense of wonder that I get when I read each new illustrated Harry Potter novel. The world of magic seems to open up and become more meaningful with Jim Kay’s wonderful illustrations that bring life to these classic stories. An incredible book for those reading Harry Potter, whether it be for the first time or the fiftieth! — Lucy V.

Jon Klassen’s Hat Box | Jon Klassen | $64.99 | Walker Books | Ages 4+ When my nephew was born, I wanted to give him something special to keep forever. And of course that something special had to be bookish! So I gifted him Jon Klassen’s inimitable Hat Trilogy—I Want My Hat Back, This is Not My Hat, and We Found A Hat— in hardcover. I love how Klassen’s work—his deadpan humour, concise narratives, and striking minimalist illustrations—gives readers of all ages the opportunity, and the space, to take what they can from it. The Hat Trilogy is wickedly funny, clever and endearing. It may not suit everyone’s taste (wonders never cease) but if you’re looking for a unique gift for a child that will continue to be cherished into adulthood, then this lovely slipcase set should do the trick! — Kate

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Most Wondrous Creativity Card Game Ever | Raj Haldar | $19.99 | NewSouth Books | Ages 6+

I was so enthralled by this fastpaced intuitive game that I didn’t notice it was non-competitive. Tullet has proven many times before that he can get your children to be creative. This time around, he gets everyone involved playing with endless combinations of what to draw and how to draw it. I wouldn’t be surprised to see some parents sneaking in a few rounds after the kids go to bed. — Fabienne

You may remember Haldar from his quirky bestselling book P is for Pterodactyl. He’s now created a bonkers game which can be played by 1 person, 2 people, or the whole family! 100 prompt cards and a custom 6-sided die spur players on to draw, act out and make up stories that even the most creative minds would struggle to come up with on their own. A most wondrous gift! — Kate

Greek Myths and Mazes | Jan Bajtlik | $29.99 | Walker Books | Ages 5+ As you work your way through this huge and wonderfully illustrated book you’ll find a legendary labyrinth of Ancient Greece on each page. Solve the puzzles, but as you go learn about the myths and stories that have captured readers for thousands of years. From an Ancient Greek theatre to the Trojan horse and the Minotaur, this beautiful book is packed full of history and mythology and will astound readers of all ages. An intricate new collection from the creators of Maps, this will keep you busy for ages.

My DIY Afternoon: Recycling | MarieLaure Pham-Bourwens & Steffie Brocoli | $19.99 | Thames & Hudson | Ages 5+

KIDS ACTIVITY

Ready, Set, Draw! A Game of Creativity and Imagination | Hervé Tullet | $27.99 | Chronicle Books | Ages 3+

Eddie Woo’s Magical Maths | Eddie Woo | $19.99 | Pan Macmillan | Ages 7+ We’ve all had that terrible maths teacher, the one that makes us hate everything about mathematics. But sometimes someone comes along who truly loves maths, and sees the mystery hidden within the numbers. Eddie Woo is one of these maths teachers and he not only bestows his love of maths to the kids in his high school classes but to his YouTube audience of almost 700,000 viewers. And now his new book for children, Eddie Woo’s Magical Maths, promises to capture the curiosity in even the most maths-resistant kids. There’s maths everywhere… You just have to know where to look! — Ayesha

Be inspired and get crafty! Here’s a fun book that’s jam-packed with eight unique creative activities. Make beautiful objects from recycled everyday materials, each requiring just three simple steps and including variations that offer ideas for additional future projects. Young eco-warriors will love taking recycling to the next level. What better—and more sustainable—way to spend an afternoon! — Kay

— Kay

Let’s Get Gardening: Australian Eco-Gardening Projects for Kids | Dorling Kindersley | $24.99 | Penguin Random House | Ages 5+ This is the trifecta—a book that gets kids engaged with nature while teaching them about conservation, recycling and sustainability and all the ways in which they can help the environment, WHILE keeping them happy and entertained. And it contains only Australian content. Dream come true! Its three chapters focus on kitchen gardening, wildlife gardening and recycled gardening, and there are activities suitable for all spaces, from sprawling gardens to city windowsills. I’m so looking forward to when my niece and nephew are old enough to learn how to care for plants and respect our natural environment, and I’m thrilled that books like this are being published to help us teach them! — Kate

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BEGINNER FICTION

Running with the Horses | Alison Lester | $16.99 | Penguin Random House | Ages 7+ It’s 1945 and 10-year-old Nina lives in a small apartment above the stables at the Royal Academy of Dancing Horses in Vienna, where her father Viktor is stable master. Nina loves watching the stallions dance as the orchestra plays, and dreams of becoming an Academy rider. But their peaceful life is shattered when war rages towards the city and they must rescue the remaining four stallions, fleeing across the alps to the safety of Nina’s grandparents’ remote cottage. Inspired by historical events, this warm-hearted adventure was first published 10 years ago as a long-form picture book, and is reprinted now as a lovely demi hardcover chapter book with Lester’s gorgeous illustrations throughout. The story is layered but not too complex, perfect for kids aged 7-9. — Mandy

Madame Badobedah | Sophie Dahl & Lauren O’Hara | $26.99 | Walker Books | Ages 5+ Having been enamoured with Roald Dahl’s books as a child, I was especially excited to see his granddaughter Sophie Dahl’s first offering for children, Madame Badobedah. This large format hardcover for children starting to read independently was everything that I wanted it to be, and more. It is an imaginative and charming story about a curious girl that lives with her parents in a hotel by the sea, and what happens when a new mysterious guest, Madame Badobedah comes to stay. Tender and sweet while also incredibly uplifting, Sophie Dahl’s story and Lauren O’Hara’s evocative watercolour illustrations, which adorn almost every page, will take you on an adventure as magical as the hotel itself. — Lucy H.

Wild Honey from the Moon | Kenneth Kraegel | $24.99 | Walker Books | Ages 6+ Poor little Hugo, his feet were hot, his head was cold and he just slept and slept. When Mother Shrew learns that the only cure is a teaspoon of wild honey from the moon, she kisses Hugo goodbye, locks the door and sets off on a perilous journey. After tricking her mortal enemy the Great Horned Owl into flying her to the moon, she calms a raging stampede of Night Mares and, stumbling wearily into a vale of beautiful butterflies, is revived by their sweet nectar and carried across the sea to the Garden of the Queen Bee. They drink tea and chat about the joys and woes of motherhood, and the Queen sends her gliding back to earth on a moonbeam, clutching a precious pot of honey for her beloved Hugo. This beautifully illustrated story of a mother’s love and determination is an absolute charmer for children aged 6-8. — Mandy

Hi, Jack! | Mac Barnett & Greg Pizzoli | $15.99 | Penguin Random House | Ages 5+ Mac Barnett knows how much we all love and miss Elephant and Piggie, so he’s gone and created another cheeky series which is sure to be a hit for kids just starting to move from picture books to chapter books. Jack is a mischievous rabbit who loves snacks and has a bad petty theft and graffiti habit. He loves his friends, but they might beg to differ. The gleefully naughty Jack will absolutely delight older fans of Blabey’s Pig the Pug series, and any adults who read along will struggle to contain their own laughter. — Kate

Douglas | Randy Cecil | $24.99 | Walker Books | Ages 5+ Borrowing her sister’s blue jumper, Iris sets off down the street to the Majestic Cinema where she settles into her usual seat, but what is unusual about this Saturday afternoon is that a little mouse snuggles into Iris’ pocket for a snooze. Back home, a delighted Iris names the mouse Douglas, after her favourite actor. When Iris’ sister reclaims her jumper, Douglas’ daring adventure begins! Fittingly, this dramatic tale is told in four acts. Adorable detailed illustrations and simple but nuanced text make this a super cute story for young readers entering the world of chapter books. — Mandy

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What a wonderful way to read. Graphic novels are a terrifically exciting format to introduce challenging topics and a great way to encourage a reluctant reader. Telgemeier is the best of the best graphic novelists for primary-aged readers. Her true-to-life stories, which reveal so much of herself, are treated with equal parts humour and insight. In Guts, Raina is having stomach-aches and her worries about school, food and friendships might play a part in this. A coming-of-age story about anxiety and facing your fears which is clever, playful and brave. — Dean

“A GREAT WAY TO ENCOURAGE A RELUCTANT READER.”

White Bird | R.J. Palacio | $39.99 | Penguin Random House | Ages 9+ White Bird tells the story of a young Jewish girl named Sara living in a Nazioccupied French village, and takes the reader on a riveting adventure as we follow the extreme measures that she and those around her must take to keep her safe. Sara is the grandmother of Julian from R.J. Palacio’s novel Wonder and shares her story with us as she is telling it to her grandson. This is a beautiful and impactful story on the power of kindness and unrelenting courage in a time of war, that deepens our connection to the universe of Wonder but also stands alone as un unforgettable and captivating story.

Good Rosie! | Kate DiCamillo & Harry Bliss | $16.99 | Walker Books | Ages 3+

GRAPHIC NOVELS

Guts | Raina Telgemeier | $16.99 | Scholastic | Ages 9+

Super cute from the very first page, the quirky words and lovely illustrations evoke the life of the good dog Rosie who sometimes feels a little bit lonely. Rosie is timid when she’s first taken to the dog park and meets all the other dogs. Children will relate to the process of how making friends can be hard but can end very well for everyone with perseverance. This is a graphic novel for the younger reader that’s clearly set out and easy to follow. A very enjoyable read. — Kay

— Hester

2019 School Holiday Workshops We’d like to say a big THANK YOU to all the brilliant kids who have joined us this year for our School Holiday Workshops! We’ve journeyed under the sea and around the world, celebrated the 50th anniversary of the moon landing with Christopher Nielsen, decided how we would spend a million dollars with Nat Amoore, and were introduced to short story writing by Davina Bell. It has been a blast, and we’re so looking forward to what the 2020 school holidays will bring... Follow us on social media @betterreadkids and keep an eye on www. betterreadevents.com/kids-events for the latest on our all of our kids events!

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PRIMARY FICTION

Funny Bones | Eds. Jol & Kate Temple & Oliver Phommavanh | $24.99 | Allen & Unwin | Ages 7+

Nevertell | Katharine Orton | $16.99 | Walker Books | Ages 9+

Inside this treasure trove you will find over 100 stories from some of Australia’s most loved authors; Andy Griffiths, Zoe Foster-Blake, Matt Cosgrove and Davina Bell to name but a few! It’s packed with so many jokes and funny stories, your stomach will hurt after reading it. Funny Bones is a must-have book for kids who like to laugh. And while it will make you chuckle, giggle and guffaw, seriously all royalties go to the international aid charity, War Child Australia.

This is a magical tale of icy climes, growth and freedom, with an unusual twist that I loved–it’s set in Siberia in a Soviet prison camp. That’s where 12-year-old Lina was born and she’s desperate to escape. When the opportunity comes, she and her best friend Bogey take it and together they battle a dark sorceress and shadow wolves–and quite a bit of snow–as they search for Lina’s grandmother. Along the way Lina discovers some powerful, magical, green-fingered talents of her own.

— Olivia

— Sylvia

I, Cosmo | Carlie Sorosiak | $14.99 | Nosy Crow | Ages 7+ I am a total sucker for kids books about dogs. First Grover McBane, Rescue Dog stole my heart and now Grover and Cosmo are playing tug-of-war with it! I, Cosmo is one of those realistic fiction books for kids that genuinely makes you feel good, that makes you feel whole. And yes, I did just call a book narrated by a 13-year-old golden retriever “realistic.” Cosmo and his human siblings are trying to deal with their parents possible separation, and Cosmo is trying his hardest to keep the family happily together. How? A dance competiton, of course! Cosmo is a real charmer, full of humour and heart and loyalty, and this is a moving, funny story which a lot of kids and families will relate to. — Kate

LumberJanes: Unicorn Power & The Moon is Up | Mariko Tamaki & Brooklyn Allen | $13.99 | Thames & Hudson | Ages 8+ One of my favourite graphic novels has become a fiction series for kids and the successful adaptation feels authentically LumberJanes to me. This series is a fun adventure for hardcore lady-types with the excellent addition of a non-binary character! In the first book, five scouts embark on a supernatural adventure where they find cloud people and a unicorn along the way. With slower pacing at the start, the story really amps up in the second half of the book and is well worth the read. Cheeky, adventurous fun for readers looking for diverse action-adventure! Plus the second book in the series, LumberJanes: The Moon is Up is being released at the same time, so you don’t have to wait for the next instalment! — Dean

The Golden Butterfly | Sharon Gosling | $14.99 | Affirm | Ages 9+

A Tale of Magic... | Chris Colfer | $26.99 | Hachette | Ages 7+

Thisisatrulyoriginaltakeonthe‘magical’ theme. Luciana, granddaughter of the Magnificent Marko, the greatest magician of his time, goes in search of the secret to his grandest trick: The Golden Butterfly. Luciana uses her wits, and the magic tricks her Grandpa taught her, to solve the numerous puzzles leading to the heart of this secret–and many others to do with her life. In doing so she discovers friendship, family and purpose. Different, clever, empowering, beautiful–and fun!

It’s time to get excited about an all new series from Chris Colfer, the bestselling author of the Land of Stories series for children aged 7-10. A Tale of Magic... is set in the same magic-filled universe and it’s packed with adventure, imagination and wonderfully memorable characters, both familiar and new. Starring Brystal Evergreen, a young girl destined for greatness who has to fight against oppression and save the world from a sinister plot, this will delight fans of the original series as well as new readers. — Kay

— Sylvia

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When William James was just 19-years-old, his ruthless uber-rich parents died in a car accident and foul play was suspected. He set about filling the gaping hole he felt inside, stopping at nothing until he owned the Holy Grail and the most powerful of all, Lucifer’s Ring. Now known as the Soul Collector, he controls the Northern Kingdom with his private army of KG officers, acquiring anything that is unusual, beautiful or unique. Kelly Swift is discovering she’s no ordinary teenager; she can run like the wind, hear people’s thoughts and has just sprouted a horn in the middle of her forehead, meaning the Soul Collector has her firmly in his sights. This action-packed new series from the talented Anh Do also has dynamic black and white illustrations throughout. — Mandy

Invisible In a Bright Light | Sally Gardner | $16.99 | HarperCollins | Ages 10+

The Fowl Twins | Eoin Colfer | $19.99 | HarperCollins | Ages 7+

Mystery, fairytale and old-time sailor’s superstitions are all rolled into one in this enchanting tale of two sisters who must outsmart “the man in the emerald green suit” to save everyone they love. When Celeste wakes up in a costume basket from what she hopes is just a bad dream, she must navigate the world of the Royal Theatre to win the game of The Reckoning—with help from her sister and the friends she meets along the way, of course! A richly imaginative and enthralling read, this novel is perfect for advanced young readers. — Lucy H.

The hilarious first book in a blockbusting new series introduces readers to the younger twin brothers of Artemis Fowl. The Fowl Twins will have you laughing as we return to the world of fairies, magic and criminal masterminds, and some of the much-loved characters of the original series. It seems criminal genius runs in the family so get ready to be delighted by the usual witty, action-packed ride you have come to expect of the Fowl world. A treat for fans and a total delight to read. — Kay

The Daydreamer | Ian McEwan & Anthony Browne | $27.99 | Penguin Random House | Ages 10+

The Cloud Horse Chronicles: Guardians of Magic | Chris Riddell | $24.99 | Pan Macmillan | Ages 7+

In this 25th anniversary edition, McEwan tells a series of strange and wonderful stories. They are beautifully written daydreams from the mind of Peter, a gifted 10-year-old who is often thought to be difficult by adults because he is so quiet. This is loosely based on McEwan’s own childhood, and originally written as bedtime stories for his own children. Stunningly illustrated by Anthony Browne, this is a classic to treasure. It would make a beautiful and inspiring gift for that special child, or adult, who loves to daydream. — Kay

Lovers of magical adventure series–here is your next great read. The first in the new Cloud Horse Chronicles series, The Guardians of Magic tells the adventures of Zam, Phoebe and Bathsheba as they not only realise that fairytales and magic are real, but they have to fight the enemies who are trying to destroy it all. Packed with splendid illustrations by Chris Riddell and full of all the elements of a fantastic magic story, this new series is going to be one primary readers will not be able to put down. — Lucy H.

PRIMARY FICTION

Rise of the Mythix: Golden Unicorn | Anh Do | $14.99 | Allen & Unwin | Ages 10+

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SUPPORTING YOUNG WRITERS

Writing Competitions & Anthologies Have you been keeping up with our creative writing competitions for kids? Heroes & Villains: An Anthology of Writing by Better Read Kids | Better Read Kids | $10 | Better Read Publishing | Ages 6+ We had the pleasure of launching the Heroes & Villains: An Anthology of Writing by Better Read Kids on June 16 2019 to much fanfare and the swishes of many superhero capes! We were thrilled to announce Arlo Temple as the winner of our writing competition for his short story ‘The Parade,’ and Jason Chen as the runner-up for his short story ‘Timeblast and Doomwrecker.’ Featuring over 30 stories from children aged 8-14 from all over Australia, we think this anthology is a brilliant, diverse and inspiring read for any young, developing writer.

HEROES & VILLAINS

AN ANTHOLOGY OF WRITING

BY BETTER READ KIDS

After each competition, we donate a copy of the anthology to each published entrant’s school library—an initiative we hope will inspire more children to try their hand at writing!

Following on from the success of our Heroes & Villains writing competition, we launched our second competition of 2019 by asking children aged 6-11 to take the theme ‘Changes’ as their inspiration, and to write a short story no longer than 1000 words. We encouraged them to be as creative as they liked—to write about seasonal change, climate change, changes in time, changes they might be going through— any changes at all! All of the entries will be published in Changes: A Better Read Kids Anthology of Writing in late 2019, with the winning entrant receiving a $100 Better Read Than Dead store voucher, and $50 store vouchers for the two runners-up. Copies of the anthology can be purchased exclusively from Better Read Than Dead.

This spring we also asked writers aged 12-17 to use the theme ‘Twist of Fate’ as inspiration, and write a creative piece of fiction with a maximum of 1000 words. The top entries, determined by our peer judge Ayesha Salier, will be collated into an anthology to be sold at Better Read Than Dead bookshop. The winning entry will receive a $150 Better Read Than Dead store voucher, with $75 for the two runners-up. We will be launching Twist of Fate: A Better Read Anthology of Writing in late 2019, and copies can be purchased exclusively from Better Read Than Dead.

We’ll be back with new competitions and new themes in 2020! Visit www.betterreadevents.com/writing-competitions to stay up to date.

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Frank Li is torn between his Korean heritage and his Californian environment, between his parents’ racist ideals and his white girlfriend Brit and African-American best friend– whom his parents have essentially forbidden him to see. And he knows their threats are serious. When his friend Joy is in a similar situation, they realise the best way to ensure that they can date outside their race without fear is to pretend to date each other. With beautiful twists and harsh realities it’s no wonder this gorgeous book is soon to be turned into a film. — Ayesha

Reverie | Ryan La Sala | $17.99 | NewSouth Books | Ages 14+ In a small town in Connecticut, fantasies have become so powerful they are escaping the dreamer’s mind and taking over everything and everyone in their path. Only “The Others” have the power to unravel these reveries, and Kane is their leader. It’s just that he doesn’t quite remember this, as a mysterious car accident has left him with amnesia. What does he remember? That he’s friendless, the only gay kid in his school, desperate to find the place he belongs. With a drag queen sorceress villain and queer heroes and heroines, Reverie is a flamboyant and refreshing take on the fantasy genre. — Kate

YOUNG ADULT

Frankly In Love | David Yoon | $17.99 | Penguin Random House | Ages 14+

SLAY | Brittney Morris | $17.99 | Hachette | Ages 15+ 17-year-old Kiera is one of the few black students at her high school. She constantly fends off questions from her white friends about black culture. At home, she retreats into a world of her own creation: the multi-player game SLAY, inspired by black culture for players of colour. There she doesn’t have to explain herself to anyone. But then she is accused of racism… This is an absolute knockout of a book, with a strong political element and powerful female protagonist. And I loved Kiera’s online world. Unputdownable! — Sylvia

Beverly, Right Here | Kate DiCamillo | $19.99 | Walker Books | Ages 14+

Monstrous Affections | Eds. Kelly Link & Gavin J. Grant | $16.99 | Walker Books | Ages 12+

I love DiCamillo’s work—she’s just such a great writer. This is a touching, funny and fearless conclusion to the sequence of novels for older teens about the beloved Three Rancheros. Beverly has run away from home plenty of times, but that was when she was just a kid. Determined to make it on her own, she leaves and finds a job and a place to live and tries to forget about her past. This is a standalone novel so it’s not necessary to have read the other two titles (Louisiana’s Way Home and Raymie Nightingale) although I expect you’ll want to.

Once we reach the age of 13 we are too old to believe in monsters. The shadow in the corner in the room is just a chair and the whisper in the walls is probably a possum. But it’s at this point that we also discover monsters. Tell me, what do you define as a monster? Do you think there are real monsters out there? Have you ever felt close to being a monster yourself? Some of the most wellknown YA authors delve into the ins and outs of all the demons there are and take us along for the journey, one story at a time.

— Kay

— Ayesha

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OUR FAVOURITE BOOKS OF 2019

Pie In the Sky | Remy Lai | $18.99 | Walker Books | Primary Fiction | Ages 9+ Recently moved to Australia, 11-year-old Jingwen feels like an alien! Unlike his precocious kid brother, Yanghao, he’s struggling to learn English, make friends, and deal with his grief. It was his father’s dream to open a bakery in this new country but he died suddenly in an accident, and Jingwen’s mum decided to go ahead with the move anyway, make a fresh start. While she’s at work during the afternoons, Jingwen breaks her most important rule and fires up the oven to bake all twelve of the fancy cakes on his dad’s menu. Nothing can possibly go wrong, right? Some big issues are explored with warmth and lots of humour, and the cute blue-line drawings and graphic novel-style breakouts are really appealing. This debut novel has a big heart. It is both unexpectedly moving and uplifting, and is a refreshing alternative to the fantasy-adventure genre. — Mandy

The Good Thieves | Katherine Rundell | $14.99 | Bloomsbury | Primary Fiction | Ages 8+ Katherine Rundell’s fifth novel The Good Thieves is, at its heart, a heist story. A group of children led by Vita Marlowe, a young girl whose grandfather has been cheated out of his home and possessions, will do anything to right a wrong. As ever the writing is beautiful, and the plot is fast-paced and thrilling, brimful of tension and excitement. This is adventure storytelling at its best, and an enjoyable read for all ages. Fans will not be disappointed and new readers will want to read everything she’s written. — Kay

Ella and the Ocean | Lian Tanner | $24.99 | Allen & Unwin | Australian Picture Book | Ages 3+ Ella and the Ocean is a stunning picture book that captures the heart of an Australian family living through a drought. The pictures are bright, beautiful and depict the dry Australian countryside so vividly I thought I was in the outback. Paired with a moving story of a family’s dreams and hopes, the journey to the ocean that Lian Tanner takes us on is a touching celebration of first experiences, dreaming big and hoping rain will come.  — Olivia

Young Dark Emu: A Truer History | Bruce Pascoe | $24.99 | Magabala Books | Children’s Non-Fiction | Ages 10+ Like so many others, I adored Bruce Pascoe’s Dark Emu and wish I’d been taught the truth about First Nations people sooner. I wish what I learnt in school wasn’t based on justifying colonial—and present day—atrocities and ignorance. Like so many others, I hoped the book would become part of the national curriculum and that parents, teachers and leaders in education would encourage young people to read it. But guess what?! Bruce Pascoe has done one better! He’s created a book especially for young readers–and there’s no children’s book I love more. Young Dark Emu: A Truer History is beautiful, insightful, compelling and retains all the charm that’s made Bruce Pascoe an absolute legend of Australian literature. Suitable for upper primary onwards, it offers a different, truer way of seeing the country. — Emma Co.

The Pigeon HAS to Go to School! | Mo Willems | $16.99 | Walker Books | Picture Books | Ages 3+ Our house gets really excited when a new Mo Willems book comes out. His background writing for Sesame Street means that reading aloud is a hilarious adventure. My 5-year-old thinks the pigeon is “just soooooo funny!” and this humour has encouraged his joy of reading. In the latest Pigeon book, Pigeon is scared of going to school and this was just too perfectly timed as my son is about to embark on the same adventure. The conclusion returns full circle to Willems’ original book with Pigeon catching the bus, making it a brilliant finale for one of my all-time favourite kids’ book series. I love everything Willems does—his humour, energy, cheeky illustrations—and this book is a perfect tool for our family. Thanks to Pigeon, my kid is really looking forward to “going to big school.” — Dean

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Dahl’s children’s debut was one of my most anticipated books of the year, and it proved to be my favourite. Mabel lives in a hotel by the sea and is a self-proclaimed adventurer. When a mysterious old lady moves into the hotel, Mabel simply must know her story. We follow the pair through three seperate stories as they meet, wonder and learn about one another, and slowly but surely become close friends. Its picture book format with enrapturing illustrations on almost every one of its 56 pages make this substantial story ideal for reading aloud to one another and for emerging readers to enjoy on their own—kind of like Roald Dahl’s picture books, but that’s the only family comparison I’ll make because here, Sophie Dahl has proved she’s a masterful children’s writer with a wit and style all her own. — Kate

The Wall: A Timeless Tale | Giancarlo Macri & Carolina Zanotti | $24.99 | Simon & Schuster | Picture Book | Ages 3+ The Wall is a wonderfully simple but ingenious book about what happens when you embrace diversity and appreciate in others the qualities that make them different, instead of shutting them out with, quite literally, a pop-up wall in the middle of the book. Using bright and colourful imagery and minimal text to illustrate the beauty of a multicultural community, this book even has ‘conversation starter’ questions at the back for parents to discuss its themes. A gorgeous and educational book for ages 3+. — Lucy H.

The Lost Tide Warriors | Catherine Doyle | $14.99 | Bloomsbury | Primary Fiction | Ages 8+

OUR FAVOURITE BOOKS OF 2019

Madame Badobedah | Sophie Dahl & Lauren O’Hara | $26.99 | Walker Books | Beginner Fiction | Ages 5+

This is the fantastic sequel to the equally excellent The Storm Keeper’s Island, where we first met Fionn Boyle, inheritor of his grandfather’s magic and the new Storm Keeper of Arranmore island. Fionn has inadvertently disturbed the dark sorceress Morrigan, who is keen to rise and destroy all–starting with Fionn. He’s now desperate to control his own magic, which is proving somewhat elusive. At the same time, his grandfather’s magic is waning and Fionn must learn to let go of someone very dear to him. I loved this book–it has adventure, magic, friendship, zombies, humour and lots of love. Fabulous. — Sylvia

Making Friends with Alice Dyson | Poppy Nwosu | $24.95 | Wakefield Press | Australian Young Adult Fiction | Ages 13+ Alice Dyson does everything right. She’s the perfect student, the perfect daughter, and the perfect friend. And then she danced with Teddy Taualai. Making Friends with Alice Dyson tackles how hard navigating family issues, true friendship struggles, and first love really is as a young adult. Funny, sweet, and so very true this book will capture your heart and have you thinking about it for weeks and months afterwards. — Ayesha

Kids Summer Giveaway What was YOUR favourite kids book of the year?

This summer we’re giving away a $50 store voucher to a lucky reader who shares with us their favourite book of 2019! To enter, simply post a photo to Instagram of your favourite kids book of the year, along with a review, and make sure you tag @betterreadkids and #brkbookoftheyear! Entries close January 31st. Don’t have Instagram? Send your photo and review to lucy@betterread.com.au and you’ll be in the running to win. Good luck!​

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Want even more recommendations and reviews? Follow @betterreadkids on Facebook and Instagram for a daily hit of fresh kids book news! Featuring our weekly top 5 bestsellers, book reviews of all the latest new releases with age recommendations, updates on our kids event programmes including storytime, school holiday workshops, and writing competitions, there’s everything to help parents and educators stoke a child’s passion for reading.

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The books featured in the Better Read Kids Summer Reading Guide have all been hand-selected and reviewed by our Better Read Than Dead and Better Read Kids booksellers. Prices, publication information, event dates and event details are correct at time of print. Cover illustration by Sally Ann Conwell. Reading Guide designed by Kate Adams. Printed by Trojan Print.

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Better Read Kids Summer Reading Guide 2019-2020