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Summer reads for children and young people

Picture books

The Best Cat, the Est Cat by Libby Hathorn, illustrated by Rosie Handley

The Best Cat, the Est Cat

by Libby Hathorn, illustrated by Rosie Handley

We might be biased, but The Best Cat, the Est Cat gets our vote for book of the year! Written by award-winning author Libby Hathorn, this enchanting rhyming story follows the mischievous cat Trim as he shows off the wonders of the State Library. Children will be captivated by the gorgeous collage illustrations by Rosie Handley, which feature some of our favourite items from the Library collections. This book is the perfect introduction to the Library for young people — and the young at heart of course! Find out all about this delightful picture book.

Somebody’s Land by Adam Goodes and Ellie Laing, illustrated by David Hardy

Somebody’s Land

by Adam Goodes and Ellie Laing, illustrated by David Hardy

An accessible picture book for young children that introduces First Nations history and the term ‘terra nullius’ to a general audience, from Australian of the Year, community leader and anti-racism advocate Adam Goodes and political adviser and former journalist Ellie Laing, with artwork by Barkindji illustrator David Hardy. (Publisher’s description)

Wonderful Shoes by Emma Bowd and Tania McCartney

Wonderful Shoes

by Emma Bowd and Tania McCartney

Which shoes go click clack? Which shoes will tip tap? See what happens when little feet find big shoes! This charming picture book celebrates the joy and wonder that young people see in the world around them as they turn everyday items into toys to play with. We loved listening to this story in Tania McCartney’s Storytime online session earlier this year, and we had lots of fun tip-tapping and flip-flopping along too!


The First Scientists by Corey Tutt

The First Scientists

by Corey Tutt

Have you ever wondered what the stars can tell us? Did you know the seasons can be predicted just by looking at subtle changes in nature? Maybe you have wondered about the origins of glue or if forensic science is possible without a crime scene investigation. Australia’s First peoples have the longest continuing culture on Earth and their innovation will amaze you as you leaf through the pages of this book, learning fascinating facts and discovering the answers to life's questions. (Publisher’s description)

Superpower by Philip Bunting


by Philip Bunting

Author of this year’s Russell Prize for Humour Writing for Young People Philip Bunting brings his characteristic humour to the subject of renewable energy. Learn all about how humans use and abuse different kinds of energy, discover how you can reduce your energy consumption, and have a chuckle at the cartoons on every page. If you’re interested in laughing while you learn, this is the perfect book for you!

Junior Fiction

The Astonishing Chronicles of Oscar from Elsewhere by Jaclyn Moriarty

The Astonishing Chronicles of Oscar from Elsewhere

by Jaclyn Moriarty

If you’re not up to date with the Kingdoms and Empires series, this summer holiday is the perfect time to catch up! The fourth instalment follows a non-magical boy named Oscar who accidentally finds himself on a magical quest instead of going to school. Jaclyn Moriarty spoke about creating the series in a special guest author talk for our Young Writers Club — and like our members, I’m sure you will adore the magic and whimsy of this fantasy world.

Dragon Skin by Karen Foxlee

Dragon Skin

by Karen Foxlee

Pip never wants to go home. She likes to sit at the waterhole at dusk and remember Mika, her best friend. At home her mother’s not the same since her boyfriend moved in. They don't laugh anymore, and Pip has to go to bed early, turn off her light and pretend she doesn’t exist. When she finds a half-dead creature at the waterhole, everything changes. She knows she has to save this small dragon and return it to where it comes from. But how? (Publisher’s description)

Bindi by Kirli Saunders


by Kirli Saunders

Meet 11-year-old Bindi. She’s not really into maths but LOVES art class and playing hockey. Her absolute FAVOURITE thing is adventuring outside with friends or her horse, Nell. A new year starts like normal — school, family, hockey, dancing. But this year hasn’t gone to plan! There’s a big art assignment, a drought, a broken wrist AND the biggest bushfires her town has ever seen! Bindi is a verse novel for mid-upper primary students. Written ‘for those who plant trees’, Bindi explores climate, bushfires, and healing. Written from the point of view of 11-year-old, Bindi and her friends on Gundungurra Country. (Publisher’s description)

Young Adult

Anything But Fine by Tobias Madden

Anything But Fine

by Tobias Madden

Anything But Fine has been one of the biggest hits of the year from debut YA author Tobais Madden. This emotional coming-of-age story follows Luca Mason, a Ballarat teenager whose greatest dream in life is to join the Australian Ballet School. After one missed step, Luca’s dreams are shattered, and his life is turned inside out. In the midst of his grief, Luca meets rowing star Jordan, who everyone says is straight ... but Luca isn’t so sure.

Step Up, Shine On by Angela May George

Step Up, Shine On

by Angela May George

We were lucky enough to host Angela May George’s online author talk during Book Week, when she shared some of her strategies for writing characters readers will care about, including Step Up, Shine On’s lovable protagonist Kat. For many readers, Kat is a very relatable character — living in the shadow of her seemingly perfect brother, she floats through high school without ever achieving her true potential. But when old friendships end and new relationships begin, Kat is forced to re-evaluate everything, and discovers that it’s time for her to finally step up and shine.