Looking for your next great read, the perfect book gift for a friend, or books for young readers? Our book recommendations are curated by Australian book industry experts tapped into the latest new releases, award-winning and popular bestsellers and the next as yet undiscovered gems by our local talent.
READING FOR THERAPEUTIC EFFECT
“It’s an old cliché that books ‘transport you’; but as any avid reader will tell you, there’s far more to them than that. Alongside comfort and retreat, books offer insight into ourselves and others; they tell us how the world is, was or might be; they are windows into other worlds, whose meanings resonate through the ages. It’s this multiplicity that is at the heart of bibliotherapy, the ancient practice of reading for therapeutic effect.”
Reading the Seasons by Germain Leece and Sonya Tsakalakis, published by Thames & Hudson Australia, 2021
In their gorgeous book Reading the Seasons bibliotherapists and Australia Reads Ambassadors Germain Leece and Sonya Tsakalakis exchange candid letters sharing their love of reading, of finding a book for every occasion and every emotion – both for themselves and for their clients – to confront life’s ups and downs. The authors they reach for range from Stephen King to Javier Marias, Helen Garner to Maggie O’Farrell, as they reflect upon loss, change, parenting, careers, simple pleasures, travel, successes, fears and uncertainty.
TOP 10 READS FOR YOUNG ADULTS, MIDDLE READERS, EARLY READERS AND PRE-SCHOOLERS
BOOKS FOR YOUNG ADULTS
1. Anything But Fine by Tobias Madden, published by Penguin Random House Australia, August 2021
When Luca breaks his foot, not only are his dreams of elite ballet dancing dashed, but he is forced to leave his school and friends and start anew. Enter the gorgeous school captain Jordan and things aren’t looking so bad after all. For Jordan, however, coming out is not so easy. A heart-warming teen romance set in regional Victoria.
2. The Social Queue by Kay Kerr, published by Text, October 2021
Zoe is ready to move on from her life in high school where her autism made her the subject of bullying. For her first assignment as an intern at an online media company, Zoe writes an article about dating for the first time. When the article goes viral, she finds herself being contacted by former classmates who claim to have had a crush on her. How could she have missed all the signs? A funny and eye-opening read about deciphering signals and finding love for the first time.
3. The Left-Handed Booksellers of London by Garth Nix, published by Allen & Unwin, September 2020
Susan’s quest to find her father leads her to a group of magical booksellers who are tasked with keeping the paranormal Old London from encroaching on the modern world. Hilariously funny and full of magic, sword fighting, monsters and adventure, this is a must read for fantasy fans.
BOOKS FOR MIDDLE READERS
4. We Are Wolves by Katrina Nannestad, published by HarperCollins Australia, October 2020
The heart-breaking story of a family of German children forced to flee their home at the end of WWII. Their journey will see them fending for themselves in the woods of Prussia, encountering danger and kindness and continuing the ongoing search for their mother. Perfect for fans of Morris Gleitzman’s Once series.
5. The Edge of Thirteen by Nova Weetman, published by University of Queensland Press, March 2021
After a summer apart, Clem can’t wait to see her friends at the beginning of year 8. However, things seemed to have changed. Her friends are kissing boys and wearing bras, while Clem still wants movie nights and roller skating. Can they still be friends when they seem to be growing apart? This book is like a warm hug from a big sister.
6. Devils in Danger by Samantha Wheeler, published by University of Queensland Press, August 2021
When Killarney discovers a Tasmanian Devil den under her house, she could not be more excited. Unfortunately, some people in the community see Devils as a threat, rather than a species to be protected. Can Killarney help the community to see that these creatures are to be saved rather than feared? Perfect for readers who love an animal story.
BOOKS FOR EARLY READERS
7. Monster School series by Sally Rippin, published by Hardie Grant Children’s Publishing, Various dates 2020-2021
The perfect beginner readers for children just starting the reading process. Bright and colourful illustrations pair with simple repetitive text designed to scaffold new readers and encourage a love of books. Children will love this pack of funny monsters.
8. Mina and the Whole Wide World by Sherryl Clark, published by University of Queensland Press, July 2021
Mina’s parents have promised that she can have her own room. It’s almost ready and Mina can’t wait to move in. But when her parents foster a child from Afghanistan and he moves into her room, Mina can’t help but feel angry and jealous. When Azzami faces bullying at school, can Mina put her feelings aside and offer him friendship? A beautiful verse novel that explores all those big, confusing feelings.
BOOKS FOR PRESCHOOLERS
9. The Spectacular Suit by Kat Patrick & Hayley Wells, published by Scribe, August 2021
A young girl is planning her birthday party. Her mum wants her to wear a dress, but none feel quite right. What she really wants is a suit, one that is just for her. A story about defying gender stereotypes and being yourself.
10. Don’t Forget by Jane Godwin & Anna Walker, published by Penguin Random House Australia, March 2021
In these difficult times, it is important to remember to take time to notice the little things – comfy socks, watching the trees and taking time to wonder. From an incomparable team, this beautiful book reminds all of us that there is much to enjoy in being forced to slow down.
Nicole Hayes & Adrian Beck
Perfect for fans of Tiny Timmy, Real Pigeons and Weirdo, Little Legends is the only official AFL junior fiction series. Little Legends follows Oz, Ellie and Sanjay Little, star players for the Fresca Bay Falcons, on a series of hilarious and action-packed adventures that celebrate the great game of Australian Rules. It’s packed with fun and will entertain footy-mad kids for hours.
Professor Lisa Harvey-Smith with illustrations by First Dog on the Moon
The perfect book for aspiring amateur astronomers and anyone just fascinated by our wonderful night sky. This brilliant step-by-step fun guide to exploring Australia’s night skies is full of mind-blowing facts about our cosmos designed for curious minds. Sprinkled throughout with First Dog on the Moon’s awesome drawings showing the best entertainment in town is found by looking up.
Ursula Dubosarsky with illustrations by Andrew Joyner
From the current Australian Children’s Laureate and the bestselling creators of The Terrible Plop.
Hercules Quick dreams of being a magnificent magician. He is saving up to buy a box of magic tricks. Luckily, he has plenty of neighbours who need his help. Whether it’s lending a hand to Professor Calamari or doing an out of season spring-clean for Queen Claude, no job is too odd for Hercules.
A new novella by acclaimed YA author of What I Like About Me and You Were Made For Me. When Rosie embarrasses herself at the school swimming carnival, she vows to never step in the pool again. Then Jake Owen, the best swimmer (and hottest boy) in her year says he’ll give her lessons. As they bond over failed freestyles and parental pressures, they discover more than either of them anticipated.
Adrian Beck is a part-time TV producer, part-time writer and full-time AFL fan. He writes funny, action-packed adventure stories that are fun to read – even for kids who struggle to get interested in books.
Ursula Dubosarsky is the current Australian Children’s Laureate. She is an award-winning, bestselling author of more than 60 books and has been nominated for both the Hans Christian Andersen Award and the Astrid Lindgren Memorial Prize.
First Dog on the Moon is an award-winning political cartoonist who has written and illustrated various books and performed live onstage in a number of shows.
Jenna Guillaume is an entertainment and lifestyle journalist (SMH, Junkee, BuzzFeed, Flicks, MTV, The Guardian, Girlfriend) and the author of Young Adult rom-coms What I Like About Me and You Were Made For Me. She has a passion for pop culture, body positivity, social media, and kissing books.
Professor Lisa Harvey-Smith is an award-winning astrophysicist, author, and the Australian Government Women in STEM Ambassador. She has a talent for making the secrets of the universe accessible to all and has appeared on ABC TV’s Stargazing Live and in her own stage show, When Galaxies Collide.
Nicole Hayes is an award-winning author, podcaster and footy fanatic. She is one-sixth of the award- winning all-female Australian football podcast and radio show, The Outer Sanctum (on the ABC).
Andrew Joyner is a highly acclaimed picture book creator. His books have been published in more than twenty-five countries.
Are you ready for Australian Reading Hour 2021?
Ok, take a deep breath, and repeat after us.
“I will read or listen to an Australian book, whether written or drawn or illustrated or spoken aloud, wherever I may be, in city or bush, in the bath, in bed or up a tree, for one hour on Tuesday 14 September 2021. I will read silently or aloud, I will read by myself or in a crowd. I will read a story that matters to me.”