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Book Lists


Tales from the School Yard: Better Reading Kids Top 50

Apart from the family home, there is no place more familiar to children than school. Whether it’s navigating the politics of the playground, figuring out how best to go unnoticed by school bullies, or wondering what your teacher this year will be like – books set in schools have an eternal appeal. Setting books in […]

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The 10 Best Stories About Women You’ll Ever Read

Words || Meg Mason  Candy-pink covers, a silhouette of a woman in heels pushing a stroller and the cover line some variation of “She had the perfect life. Now, all she needed was the perfect man.” I suppose there really is such a thing as Chick Lit – and sometimes it’s the only thing you […]

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10 Kitchen Bibles

Ten of the Best Every kitchen has a holy cookbook, the all-time favourite that is spattered and worn, our best ally through a lifetime of cooking everything from family meals and classics, to dinner parties. Here are some of the great kitchen bibles that have made their mark: The Cook’s Companion by Stephanie Alexander  Turning […]

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The Aurelius Shortlist Has Been Announced!

The Aurealis Awards are presented annually by the Australia-based Chimaera Publications and WASFF to published works in order to “recognise the achievements of Australian science fiction, fantasy, horror writers”. There are many categories, including the two categories for younger readers below: CHILDREN’S BOOKS How to Bee, Bren MacDibble (Allen & Unwin) The Extremely Inconvenient Adventures of […]

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Haunted Families: Penni Russon’s Favourite Ghost Stories

WORDS||Penni Russon Why I wrote The Endsister Making this list makes me realise The Endsister shares many themes with these novels. The ghosts in The Endsister represent unresolved histories and the stories that loop through time and involve themselves with the living. The ghosts also represent the idea that being part of a family, especially […]

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Love Makes the World Go Round: Better Reading Top 100

Every year, as the votes come in from book lovers across the country, it’s fascinating to see what genres people are devouring. Crime, thrillers, classics – readers love them all. But one genre that really dominates the charts is romance, and who doesn’t love a good mushy read? Of course, McCullough’s The Thorn Birds and Outlander by Diana Gabaldon […]

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Congratulations to the Winners of the 2018 Newbery, Caldecott and Printz Medals!

The American Library Association (ALA) today announced the top books, video and audiobooks for children and young adults—including the Caldecott, Coretta Scott King, Newbery and Printz awards—at its Midwinter Meeting in Denver, Colorado. These book prizes are amongst the most prestigious awards in the international children’s literature world and some of Better Reading favourite children’s […]

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A Place of Wonder: 20 Picture Books that Celebrate the Magic of Libraries

“Libraries are about freedom. Freedom to read, freedom of ideas, freedom of communication. They are about education (which is not a process that finishes the day we leave school or university), about entertainment, about making safe spaces, and about access to information.” – Neil Gaiman At Better Reading, we love and value our libraries – […]

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A Place of Wonder: 20 Picture Books that Celebrate the Magic of Libraries

“Libraries are about freedom. Freedom to read, freedom of ideas, freedom of communication. They are about education (which is not a process that finishes the day we leave school or university), about entertainment, about making safe spaces, and about access to information.” – Neil Gaiman At Better Reading, we love and value our libraries – […]

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Different Perspectives: Autism and Aspergers in Middle Grade Fiction

Recently, The Conversation published an article entitled “Why there need to be more autistic characters in children’s books”. Counting By 7s – Holly Goldberg Sloan Willow Chance is a twelve-year-old genius, obsessed with nature and diagnosing medical conditions, who finds it comforting to count by 7s. It has never been easy for her to connect with anyone other […]

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February New Releases for Kids and Teenagers Alike!

February is a treasure trove of wonderful new books for kids and teenagers. From gorgeous picture books about friendship, to scientific adventures and cheeky hijinks this list will no doubt have something for every voracious reader!   PICTURE BOOKS Me Too – Erika Geraerts & Charl Laubscher A gentle exploration of the many reasons that […]

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Catherine Pelosi: My Favourite Curious Minds in Children’s Literature

To celebrate our Better Reading Kids’ Book of the Week, Quark’s Academy – a jam-packed, science adventure celebrating curious minds, invention and discovery – we had the author, Catherine Pelosi, compile a list of her favourite curious minds in children’s literature. Full of plucky and intelligent protagonists, this list is guaranteed to keep young readers engaged […]

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Princesses Who Rule: 12 Picture Books Featuring Awesome, Independent, Princesses

Plucky heroines are by no means new to picture books, but that doesn’t mean we don’t love a story featuring a princess who is independent, cunning and whip-smart! If you have a small person in your house who is requesting nothing but princesses here are some titles Better Reading loves, showing them that princesses are […]

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Classy Classics: Better Reading Top 100

There’s a reason these books are on nearly every “must read” book list in the world: the classics. Who doesn’t love a good classic? For some, these are what got them into reading in the first place. For others, they were discovered later in life, long after the tortured memories of reading them in school […]

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Tea Cooper’s Top 10 Fearless Women in Historical Fiction

Words || Tea Cooper I love a good heroine! I like them to be fearless and courageous, quirky and independent. And fictional or not, I want them to make sense of the world in which they live. So, in no particular order, here are my Top 10 Women in Historical novels. Violet Szarbo in Carve […]

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Sun, Sand, and Seagulls: 12 Aussie Picture Books About a Day at the Beach

Summer is a great time of year – especially if you’re a kid! School’s out, the sun is shining bright, it’s hot and it’s time for fun. The beach plays such a big part in stories of an Australian summer, something that has been reflected in our home-grown picture books for decades – and what better […]

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Adventure, Excitement, and a Journey into the Unknown: Author A.L Tait Recommends

Words || A.L. Tait As a kid, I loved adventure stories. There is nothing quite like the delicious feeling of embarking on an epic, dangerous journey while safely tucked up between clean sheets. I think that ‘closet adventurer’ feeling stayed with me my whole life, right up to the point where I started writing my […]

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Australian Through and Through: Better Reading Top 100

  One of the most exciting things about Better Reading’s Top 100 is the continued love for Aussie fiction. It’s not just the US or even Europe that dominates the charts: Australian authors, whether they’re still here or now living abroad, always seem to dominate the charts, showing us just how much you love homegrown […]

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The Top 10 Reasons Graphic Novels are Great for Kids

Article Source: MetroParent, written by Mali Anderson. See the original article here. When thinking of children learning to read, parents often imagine a kid curled up on the couch with a classic novel. But that’s not always how it works out. Some kids are drawn to books filled with images; the books might even have more […]

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The Books Children’s Authors Buy: Lian Tanner

Who best to recommend books for the kids in your life than some of Australia’s leading children’s authors and illustrators? Better Reading asked for their recommendations to make your hunt for the perfect book that much easier. We chatted to Lian Tanner the beloved author of the Keepers series and recently released (and vividly exciting) first book in new […]

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The Books Children’s Authors Buy: Gareth Ward

Who best to recommend books for the kids in your life than some of Australia’s leading children’s authors and illustrators? Better Reading asked for their recommendations to make your hunt for the perfect book that much easier. This list was put together by New Zealand author Gareth Ward, a.k.a. The Great Wardini. Gareth is a magician, hypnotist, storyteller, […]

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12 Young Adult Movie Adaptations We Cannot Wait to See This Year!

There is always a thrill (intermingled with a slight sense of trepidation) when we hear that one of our favourite novels is being adapted for television or film.  Knowing that a story you love is going to get wider exposure, and be introduced to an entirely new audience is wonderful and we hope that it’ll will […]

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Waiting for the Next Treehouse or Wimpy Kid? Keep Your Eyes Peeled for these 2018 Releases!

The sales charts in 2017 were once again dominated by the next instalment in Andy Griffiths & Terry Denton’s Treehouse series, and the Diary of a Wimpy Kid phenomenon continues to gain momentum. Both these series have had a real and noticeable impact in the reading enthusiasm of kids across Australia and we know how important it is to you all […]

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The Newbies: Better Reading Top 100

Every year, as the votes come in from book lovers across the country, we’re always curious to see which new releases have resonated with our community enough to make it into the Top 100. This year there we weren’t disappointed, with some of our favourite thrillers and love stories making their debut high on the list. […]

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My Home Library Essentials: Author Mary Van Reyk

  Mary Van Reyk has worked at second-hand bookstores, franchise bookstores, independent bookstores and Australian publishers as an expert in children’s literature. We asked Mary to select five books that she felt were essential reading for readers from a very young age, all the way through to high school. Here is her selection: Doodle Cat is […]

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The Books Children’s Authors Buy: Susannah MacFarlane and Kylie Westaway

Who best to recommend books for the kids in your life than some of Australia’s leading children’s authors and illustrators? Better Reading asked for their recommendations to make your hunt for the perfect book that much easier. We spoke with Susannah McFarlane – creator of EJ12, Boy vs Beast, Zac Power and D-Bot Squad, and Kylie Westaway – […]

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New Release Kids Books for January 2018

The year has already started with a bang! With plenty of exciting and engaging new picture books, junior fiction and young adult titles to get stuck into. We’ve picked the best of the best for you to browse right here: PICTURE BOOKS: The Pink Hat by Andrew Joyner This is Australia by Kevin Pettman The […]

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The Books Children’s Authors Buy: Carole Wilkinson & Frané Lessac

Who best to recommend books for the kids in your life than some of Australia’s leading children’s authors and illustrators! Better Reading has collected recommendations from a number of them to make your hunt for the perfect book that much easier. We recently spoke with both Carole Wilkinson – one of Australia’s most beloved authors of […]

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2018 Book to Screen Adaptations the Whole Family Can Enjoy!

2018 is going to be a memorable year for movie and television adaptations of beloved books. Some will continue stories we’ve already fallen in love with, such as Mary Poppins Returns and the second series of A Series of Unfortunate Events, but the year will also bless us with plenty of exciting films based on classic picture books (Peter […]

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Reader First, Writer Second: Tess Woods

I consider myself reader first and writer second. I could survive if I couldn’t write any more but life wouldn’t be worth living without books to read. When Better Reading asked me to recommend my favourite reads for 2018 I jumped at the chance, there’s nothing I love to talk about more than books glorious […]

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Is Your Lunch Box Packed?: 12 Books that Explore the First Day of School

Starting school is an exciting and nerve-wracking time for many children with many of them occupied with thoughts of new routines, new people, new surroundings and worries about making friends and fitting in.  Luckily there are many wonderful books that can help guide conversations about what is in store. Whether a child is heading back to […]

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Author Mick Elliott’s Top 5 School Holiday Reads for Adventurous Kids

Words || Mick Elliot Summer Holidays! It’s all about Christmas, right? Except that’s all over in no time. Then New Year comes and goes and suddenly it’s the start of January and mum and dad have gone back to work and all the big popcorn movies have all been seen and it’s a sweltering desert outdoors and […]

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The Books Children’s Authors Buy: Kate O’Donnell and Nova Weetman

Who best to recommend books for the kids in your life than some of Australia’s leading children’s authors and illustrators? Better Reading asked for their recommendations to make your hunt for the perfect book that much easier. We recently spoke with two of Australia’s most exciting young authors to see what makes the top of their book shopping […]

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Classic Fantasy Series for Independent Readers: Better Reading Kids Top 50

Nothing gets the imagination of young readers going more than stories of magic and mystery. Unfamiliar settings and complex world-building allow them to stretch their comprehension abilities in a fun and engaging way. One of the most obvious benefits of reading fantasy for young people, is that it allows them to experiment with different ways of […]

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5 Books to Make You Laugh Out Loud: Better Reading Kids Top 50

Children love funny books. It’s a fact. Nothing is more guaranteed to have a young reader glued to a novel that a guaranteed chuckle on every page. Humour is instantly relatable to children, it is a large part of how they form connections and communicate with one another and so when an author somehow manages […]

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Ready, Set, Read! 12 Great Sports Books for Kids

Books that reflect the day-to-day interests of young readers are a wonderful way to get them engaged and enthusiastic about books. In the last few years there has been a huge growth in the number of sports-themed books coming out for all ages, and when the weather keeps active kids inside – what better way […]

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Celebrities Turned Children’s Authors

It seems like these days, they are more and more celebrities who add ‘author’ to their list of accomplishments. Some write autobiographies, some become essayists, some write fiction and some decide to have a crack at writing a children’s book. Here we take a look at some of the top books for kids written by […]

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New Release Fiction in January 2018

It’s prime reading time! And with the heatwaves rolling in, it’s time to hide inside or hit the beach with a new novel friend. Here’s some of our recommendations to keep you company over the summer holiday: Anatomy of a Scandal by Sarah Vaughan It’s a riveting psychological drama that hits close to home. Anatomy of […]

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5 Children’s Classics to Read Together: Better Reading Kids Top 50

For many children, being read to by a family member is a cherished ritual, but it can also be much more than that. Reading aloud to children can expand their worldview, love of reading and their literacy skills. Continuing to read out loud to children as they develop their own reading independence has a myriad […]

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#LoveOzYA: Danielle Binks’ Best Australian YA of 2017

In 2015, the Australian Library and Information Association (ALIA) surveyed public libraries to find out the list of Top Ten most borrowed books. It was disappointing to find only two Australian titles featured in the young adult category, which was overwhelmed by American books, many bolstered by blockbuster adaptations. The Australian young adult literature community’s […]

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My Favourite Crime Novels: A book list chosen by Aoife Clifford

Aoife Clifford, crime writer and purveyor of immaculate reading taste, has adorned Better Reading with a list of her favourite crime novels. Her first book All These Perfect Strangers was an immediate success. Fellow Aussie thriller writer Jane Harper claimed the book left ‘the reader constantly guessing what’s around the corner, and her cleverly woven plot shines a […]

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Caroline Overington’s Holiday Reading Recommendations

Words || Caroline Overington  After I was asked to put together a summer reading list I thought: okay, what do people like to read over summer? Page-turners. They want books they can pick up and put down by the pool. Books they can read on the plane. Books they can devour in one or two […]

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Christmas Means Reading by Ailsa Piper

Words || Ailsa Piper For me, Christmas means reading. Every year of our marriage, my husband and I would give each other a Christmas book. After our ritual breakfast and a bit of time with the wider family, there would come a moment when we would retreat to curl up on comfy chairs or a […]

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The Most Exciting Books of 2018

We’ve been reading more than breathing in 2018, so we decided to put together a list of what we’ve read so far, and also what we’re excited to read next. Not all of them have been published yet, so keep your eyes peeled for the next round of exciting fiction in your local bookstore:  The Chalk […]

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Gifts for Kids of All Ages

At Better Reading, we definitely believe that children’s books are not set by ages. What can be enjoyable to a child of one age can still be loved by a child who is older or younger. There is also the joy of having a book read to you, and then being able to read it […]

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The 12 Books of Christmas for Kids

It’s definitely that time of year – the trees are up, the shops are full of decorations and carols are playing – it’s beginning to feel a lot like Christmas! Thought it’s nice to give books at any time of year, it’s particularly nice at Christmas, and books remain a popular gift for kids of […]

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