Cryptosight by Nean McKenzie

cover image of Cryptosight

Badge stating Reviewed by Sandra, children's librarian

Raff and Zara are camping with their Dad in the Flinders Rangers. But something happens and their Dad disappears, leaving them a note. Then strange people try to kidnap them! They find out their Dad is part of a secret organisation who look for mythical creatures to prove their existence, like the Bunyip and Yowie. When I was a kid, my Dad used to tell me stories about the Bunyip so I was excited to read this. I loved reading about Raff and Zara’s adventures around rural Victoria, looking for their Dad and avoiding the kidnappers. Raff and Zara wanted to find the Bunyip too. They used their smarts and courage to solve problems and find their Dad. Do you think they will find the Bunyip? Can they save their Dad? Join Raff and Zara in their awesome adventure. You’ll learn about magical creatures and have lots of fun!

Find it on the catalogue here

The Letterbox Tree by Rebecca Lim and Kate Gordon

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A badge stating Reviewed by Fiona L, Children's Librarian

The Letterbox Tree gives us a glimpse into what life could be like in the future. Nyx and Bea have never met but they both share a strong connection to Hobart, Tasmania, where they’ve lived all their lives. Bea gets bullied at school for being different. Nyx lives with her dad who hasn’t been the same since her mum died. They both find solace in the giant pine tree near their homes. One day, Bea finds a note that Nyx has left in the hollow of the tree and they start a friendship through the letters they leave for each other. They can’t wait to meet in person but that’s impossible. Bea lives in 2023 and Nyx lives in 2093. In Nyx’s world, climate change, multiple pandemics and advanced technology have dramatically changed the way people live. Nyx finds herself in a desperate situation and reaches out to Bea, who can still change the future.

This book is truly a page turner. The story hinges on each letter and whether it is read in time. While the themes can feel overwhelming, it made me feel grateful for the incredible biodiversity of the world that we live in. The Letterbox Tree is a call for action and a reminder of the power in community.

A brilliantly written book for young readers interested in the environment or curious about the future. It’s co-authored by Australian, award-winning writers, Rebecca Lim and Kate Gordon. Recommended for 10+

Find it in the catalogue here

Asterix and Cleopatra

The Adventures of Asterix by Rene Goscinny and Albert Uderzo

Graphic Novel

Cover image of Asterix & Cleopatra

Badge with Reviewed by Caroline, children's librarian

Set in 50 B.C., these hysterical historical tales follow the adventures of Asterix and his pals in the days of the Roman Empire. In order to impress Julius Caesar, Queen Cleopatra promises to build the Roman Emperor a magnificent palace in just three months. And Julius Caesar does everything he can to thwart the queen. After receiving Cleopatra’s plea for help, Asterix, Obelix and Getafix the Druid, travel to Egypt to come to her aid. What follows is an hilarious adventure as they race against time and attempts at sabotage, to try and get the palace built on time.

Will Asterix help Cleopatra win her bet? Why is Edifis considered the best architect in Alexandria when his buildings are wobbly at best? What will Getafix see when he goes sightseeing? Will Obelix finally get a taste of magic potion? Will Dogmatix save the day in the pyramid? Just what did happen to the Sphinx’s nose? Will Julius Caesar cheat in order to win the bet? And will Cleopatra cover everyone in gold if they succeed?

Drawn in a bright comic book style, Asterix and Cleopatra contains lots of puns and jokes hidden in the text and drawings. This comic strip fiction is recommended for ages 7+ and will delight readers of all ages.

Many readers find themselves rereading Asterix titles over and over again, reliving these fantastic and fun adventures.

In fact, these graphic novels are so loved, they have inspired animated and live action film versions of many titles from the Asterix series.

Find this book in the library catalogue here

Asterix the Gaul series contains over 40 titles, so if you love this book, there are plenty more to read and enjoy. Other titles include:

Asterix and the Soothsayer

Asterix in Britain

Obelix and Co

Asterix and the griffin

The Amazing Maurice and his Educated Rodents by Terry Pratchett

cover image Amazing Maurice

Badge stating Reviewed by Gary, children's librarian

Have you ever met a talking cat? Well, meet Maurice. Once a normal cat, after eating at the town rubbish dump (which is behind the magician’s university), he can now talk. And so can his friends—a bunch of rats! Not only can they talk, but they can think, too, and they’ve come up with a plan. It involves going from town to town pretending to be a plague of rats; then, with the help of Keith, a boy who pretends to be like the pied piper, Keith gets paid to play his pipe and lead the rats away. Their scheme is going well until they go to a new town and discover something rather odd… there no rats there; someone in town is already running a scheme of their own...

This book will have you chuckling at the language, the characters, and the silliness of its situations. So, if you like funny or talking animal stories, or just fancy something entertaining to read, this is a good one for you. It won the Carnegie Medal in 2001.

Find this book here.

Find the other books by Terry Pratchett here.

Website: Terry Pratchett’s books for you here.

The Secret Message (A Billie B Brown story) by Sally Rippin


Guest review

I love this book! I like how Billie apologised to princess Harriet that she accidentally broke their sandcastle when she was trying to do a handstand - she was being kind and sorry. I like the author because she writes interesting and adventurous stories…
This is so good!

Billie becomes jealous and sad that Jack is not here to help her build a sandcastle, but the Billie finds a friend to help her to make a giant and huge sandcastle.


Find this book here.

More stories from this author at our libraries here.

Sally Rippin’s website here.

The Graveyard Book (Graphic Novel) Volume 1, by Neil Gaiman. Adapted by P. Craig Russell.

Cover image of the graveyard book

A badge stating Reviewed by Emily, Children's Librarian

I first read The Graveyard Book a couple of years ago and was blown away by the dark but fascinating world. This story is loosely based on The Jungle Book, but set in a graveyard, where a human boy, Bod Owens, is raised and protected by the resident ghosts while a sinister force threatens him in the outside world. This adaptation tells the story in a compelling graphic novel format. This is the perfect book for older children who enjoy dark and fantastical tales but who may get overwhelmed at the prospect of reading pages and pages of words.

This adaptation is great for newcomers to the story, but I also recommend it to anyone who has read the original novel. I loved seeing my favourite characters in illustrated form. Bod’s guardian, Silas, is one of my favourite literary characters of all time, and his scenes are depicted beautifully.

Be aware that this book has depictions of violence (the story includes multiple murders), so I recommend it for older readers aged 10 and up.

You can request volume 1 and volume 2 of this book here!

You can also read other versions of this novel and watch related material here.

Evie and Rhino by Neridah McMullin

Cover of Evie and Rhino

Badge stating reviewed by Fiona, Children's Librarian

A storm rages, carrying a precious and surprising cargo to the Australian shore, but tragedy strikes and the ship capsizes. Little does Evie and her grandfather know what magic is abut to wash ashore! Evie and Rhino is a delightful book and sure to please anyone who likes animals, especially Rhinos, monkeys and birds!  It is based on historical information and is set in Australia. Who knew there were so many ship wrecks along the Australian coast! When first flicking over the pages I was surprised by the terrific images provided by illustrator Astred Hicks, I really feel that the couple of illustrations per chapter really add to the book. The story is of course centered around a girl called Evie and she lives with her grandfather who lives on an isolated farm. Evie is looked after by her grandfather and cannot talk due to a horrible incident involving her parents. Evie finds comfort in the things around her, the wild birds, the chickens and a Rhino that she finds on the beach! This is the start of an adventure for Evie and Rhino. Evie wants to keep Rhino forever but staff from the Melbourne Zoo are on there way to take him to the zoo! Can Evie show that Rhino is a gentle giant in time to save him?

This is a lovely book about the bond that can form between a child and a wild creature. I loved that it had a lot of funny moments, from pie stealing monkeys to the farting Rhino. It balanced feelings of fear and apprehension with simple joys. It also highlighted how people can grow, become braver and stand up for themselves. This book is ideal for middle year readers.

Find it in print or ebook here

12 Hacks to Worry Less

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Badge stating reviewed by Monica, children's librarian

Worries – we all have them and at times they may feel like they are taking over our thoughts and making it impossible to sleep.

Worries can be difficult to manage but they are a normal human emotion. Just like every emotion, they do pass. But sometimes we need to take action so that they don’t stop us from enjoying life.

“12 Hacks to Worry Less” is an easy-to-read toolkit to help you understand why we worry and how we can control our worries so they don’t get out of hand. The book is broken down into sections on common worries, such as going to school, dealing with social media, and anxiety over world issues.

Some books about this topic can be very wordy and heavy. I like this book because it’s simple - with  colourful pictures exploring various scenarios. Another great thing about this book is that it offers lots of suggestions for managing worries, so if one thing doesn’t seem to work for you then there are many other ideas you can try.

“12 Hacks to Worry Less” is a good place to start if you’d like some help managing your worries. But if you are still finding things difficult, it’s important to reach out to a trusted adult for some extra support.

If you don’t feel comfortable speaking to someone you know call Kids Helpline on 1800 551 800 or visit

Find a copy in our library

The Complete Big Nate Vol. 1 Collection by Lincoln Peirce

cover image of the complete big nate vol 1

Meet Nate Wright, an eleven-and-a-half-year-old who thinks he’s brilliant at everything and whose sarcastic humour often gets him in trouble. His best friend Francis is kind of a wimp, his older sister is annoying, and his dad burns breakfast. Who burns waffles?!! Nate’s story is told in comic strips, some of which Nate writes himself as a self-confessed brilliant and witty future artist.

Big Nate is a light-hearted and funny take on what it’s like to be a boy in sixth grade. Homework sucks! Mrs. Godfrey, the social studies teacher, is a nightmare! Detention again?! All Nate wants to do is work on his bloodthirsty comic strip series the adventures of Dr Cesspool who performs hair-raising surgery using his trusty chainsaw.

What I really enjoy about this series is that Nate gets to say and do things that I could only wish I could have gotten away with when I was in sixth grade.

The Complete Big Nate Vol. 1 Collection is part of the Big Nate series available to read for free on Hoopla, BorrowBox or borrow from the library.

El Deafo by Cece Bell

Cover image of El Deafo

A badge stating Reviewed by Fiona L, Children's Librarian

Cece is a regular little kid, riding her bike, playing with caterpillars, hanging out with friends, and then she gets sick with Meningitis and everything changes. The world starts sounding muffled, she can’t hear her mum and she can’t even hear herself. She’s lost her hearing.

When Cece starts school, she has to wear a huge contraption around her neck, called a phonic ear. It’s paired with a mic that the teacher wears. Cece worries about what other kids will think and if she’ll make friends. She soon realises how powerful the phonic ear is. She can hear everything! Secret staffroom conversations, kids getting told off in the hallway, even the teacher sitting on the toilet. Gross. Like Batman with his fancy bat technology, Cece becomes El Deafo, a superhero with a super phonic ear.

But superheroes are still different. Cece doesn’t want to be alone so she fumbles her way through friendships with kids who don’t treat her well and she’s too embarrassed to tell people how she really feels or how they can best communicate with her. She imagines what her alter ego, El Deafo would do, which is usually hilariously inappropriate.  Over time she finds a way to be herself, with friends who understand her.

I love how the writer uses the graphic novel format to show what it’s like to have hearing loss. Words in speech bubbles fade, jumble and go blank or they blast in bold capitals when well-meaning people shout to communicate. All the characters are drawn as cute, anthropomorphic bunnies. Why? Because bunnies have massive ears and amazing hearing. If you’re a fellow El Deafo or if you have a hidden disability, Cece Bell nails the mix of emotions that come with interactions you’re sure to be familiar with. If not, El Deafo will give you a funny and light-hearted view into what that can be like.

Find it on our catalogue here

The book that no one wanted to read by Richard Ayoade

Cover image of the Book that no one wanted to read

A badge stating Reviewed by Lorrie, Children's Librarian

The book that no one wanted to read spoke to me in a hilarious voice. Each page had funny little drawings. If you like Andy Griffiths, Aaron Blabey and Anh Do you will enjoy this book filled with laughter and drawings.

Is it weird that a book can talk? No stranger than an animal talking and doing lots of other strange behaviour- “like tigers sitting at tables eating iced buns and not biting your head off’ . “Here’s a tip” he says, “if you see a tiger in your house, get out of your house.” The drawing of a shocked person discovering a tiger in their bathtub is followed by a sketch of that same person running for their life.  After flicking open the book to that section I was hooked.

This book with its funny little pictures made me laugh!

Find it on the catalogue here

The Adventures of Tintin: King Ottokar’s Sceptre by Hergé

cover of King Ottokar's sceptre

Badge with Reviewed by Caroline, children's librarian

Graphic Novel

Recommended for ages 7+

Tintin, intrepid freelance reporter from Belgium and his ever-faithful companion, Snowy the dog, are off on another exciting adventure.

Tintin travels to the fictional country of Syldavia and uncovers a plot to dethrone King Muskar XII. But can he help the head of state before it's too late?

Is the professor who he claims to be?

How will Tintin stop the plot of a gang of spies from Borduria as they attempt to take over Syldavia? Why are detectives Thomson and Thompson constantly running into mishaps and into each other? Can Tintin solve the mystery of the lost golden sceptre? Will the king get to keep his crown?

Will Snowy be able to resist that tasty bone and save the day?

Follow the action in this clear line drawn style graphic novel, as Tintin escapes from a plane, rolls in a ravine, avoids an ambush in the woods and survives the operatic singing of the illustrious singer Bianca Castafiore.

Perfect for lovers of graphic novels, and those who like mysteries, spies, and historical adventures.

If you like this adventure story, there are a total of 24 books in The Adventures of Tintin. Find them all on our catalogue here.

Diary of a Minecraft Dork Steve by M. C. Steve

Cover image of Diary of a Dork Steve

A badge stating reviewed by Angela, children's librarian

Love all things Minecraft? Take a trip into Blockton where twelve-year-old Steve (aka. Dork Steve) is about to embark on a monster filled adventure down an abandoned mine. Giant spiders? Check. Scary skeletons? Check. Zombie hordes? Check. Yummy magical cake? Check. What I really like about this story is that at its heart, it’s about a boy who finds the strength to stand up to a gang of bullies. Steve isn’t perfect, he’s often scared and worries about making dumb decisions and looking stupid, but he perseveres and ends up saving the day. Dork Steve is part of an unofficial Minecraft adventure series available to read for free on Hoopla.

Find it on the catalogue here


A Bite in the Night by Julian Gough & Jim Field

Cover image of Rabbit and Bear: A bite in the night

Badge stating Reviewed by Gary, children's librarian

Where are all the trees going? South for the Winter? Do trees migrate? Bear doesn’t think so, but Rabbit shows her that something is certainly happening because the trees are definitely going missing! What could the answer be? Is there an enormous tree-eating monster on the loose? Aaaagh!!! Rabbit & Bear search for the answer to the mystery in this fun story.

If you like pictures with your stories, Jim Field’s illustrations are wonderfully entertaining and really help to tell this latest story with Rabbit and Bear and some of their closest woodland friends. With as many pictures as there is text, you’ll fly through this book quickly; but that doesn’t matter because so far there are another four books in the series, and Wyndham Library has them all. Hooray for Rabbit & Bear!!!

Find this book here.

Find the other books in the series here.

Interview with Julian Gough here.

What Zola did on Monday

Cover image what Zola did on Monday

Badge stating Reviewed by Sandra, children's librarian

This is a book in the Zola series, every day of the week she has a different adventure. Zola’s Nonna has a beautiful garden. She grows a lot of vegetables for them to eat, which Zola finds boring. She would rather yummy fruit. At school one day Zola’s class are talking about the old community garden. Years ago it was beautiful. No one looks after it anymore so it is full of weeds. Nonna helps fix up the community garden and slowly other families come help as well so it is full of beautiful plants again.

Find it on our catalogue here




Fairytales for Feisty Girls by Susannah McFarlane

Fairytales for Feisty Girls - Book cover

A badge stating Reviewed by Emily, Children's Librarian

This is a collection of four fairy tales retold for a modern audience. Inside are the stories of Rapunzel, Little Red Riding Hood, Cinderella and Thumbelina, four heroines who are given more agency and personality than the traditional fairy tales allow. These stories have been rewritten by Susannah McFarlane, author of the EJ 12 Girl Hero series, while each is illustrated by a different female illustrator.

My favourite of the stories was Cinderella – I enjoyed how Ella and the Prince bond over their love of animals and their mutual respect. I especially loved Sher Rill Ng’s cinematic illustrations for Thumbelina. I recommend reading these tales and comparing them to the originals, as I think they will provoke interesting discussions.

I recommend this book for ages 7+.

You can request a hard copy here!

Our World in Numbers: an encyclopedia of fantastic facts

our world in numbers cover

Badge stating reviewed by Monica, children's librarian

Have you ever wondered how many earths would fit inside Jupiter, how far bees travel to make just one jar of honey, how small is the world’s smallest book, or how large is the world’s largest gold nugget? Our World in Numbers is a great resource to answer these questions and learn thousands of other fascinating facts about our world.

The book is divided into six sections – Space, Earth, Nature, People and Culture, History, and Science and Technology. Each double page spread then looks at a particular topic. This layout helps with learning interesting facts without leaving you feeling overwhelmed.

You can explore the book using the contents page as your guide however I prefer to just open to a random page each day. By doing this I have read pages that I probably wouldn’t have otherwise and come across some obscure information. For example, I now know that TV was banned from being broadcast on Thursdays in Iceland from 1966-1987.

What cool facts will you discover?

Find it on our catalogue here

Wilder by Penny Chrimes

Cover image of Wilder

Badge stating reviewed by Fiona, Children's Librarian

A battle is looming and the outcome will determine the fate of a river and all those that depend upon it. Wilder by Penny Chrimes almost sounded like a bit of a lonely read, but it is an uplifting read about a girl who is like no other. It doesn’t have many characters and is set in a bleak marsh land where children keep going missing, never to return. The girl, named Rhodd, has a falcon that soars high above her. But both the falcon and Rhodd are mysterious. No one knows where they have come from, she just walked out of the marsh one day as a young child and was adopted by a kind woman in the local village. The villagers fear the marsh, which seems to just keep on growing and growing, slowly strangling the river. This tale is part folk lore and part warning, and it has a strong environmental message. How has the marsh been allowed to swallow the river? The river keeps the villagers alive and is about to disappear. Rhodd is the only one who can find out what is happening. Can she save the river and the village? Perhaps with the help of her best friend Gar and her animal friends she can. Rhodd has a special bond with all living creatures and can literally see through their eyes. The villagers do not trust Rhodd or her mother, they think they are witches. Are they correct?

If you like the way Penny writes then check out her other books, The Dragon and her Boy and Tiger Heart. 

See all her books on our catalogue here

Rabbit, Soldier, Angel, Thief – Katrina Nannestad

Cover image of Rabbit Soldier Angel Thief

A badge stating Reviewed by Fiona L, Children's Librarian

This beautifully written book is set in a hospital in Berlin, just after World War II has ended. It’s inspired by the real-life story of a Russian child, who was adopted by the Red Army after his village was destroyed by the Nazis.

When we’re first introduced to young Sasha, he is mute and compulsively stealing what seems like random objects from the hospital ward and staff. The significance of these objects is slowly revealed as they bring back Sasha’s memories and help him to find his voice. He retells his story in flashbacks, with each chapter holding the memories to a collection of items.

Nannestad’s writing style immediately grabbed me when I picked this book off the shelf. The language that she uses is succinct and visceral, conveying the intensity of Sasha’s experiences without graphic detail of war or violence. The book touches on the dark realities of war but it is mainly a heart-warming story of survival, of finding hope and connection when everything is lost and how even the most vulnerable can create change through small actions.

This highly engaging historical fiction was voted by young readers as the winner of the 2022 CBCA Sun Project award. You can see their responses to the book here.

Find a print, eAudiobook or eBook copy on our catalogue here.


Nic Blake and the Remarkables: The Manifestor Prophecy by Angie Thomas

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A badge stating Reviewed by Dayle, Children's Librarian

If you’re looking for your new favourite fantasy series than look no further than the new Nic Blake and the Remarkables series. In the first book, The Manifestor Prophecy, we meet 12-year-old Nic Blake, a type of Remarkable called a Manifestor, living with her father in the Unremarkable world. As a Manifestor Nic is desperate to learn how to use her magic-like powers known as the “Gift”, that she possesses, but her father keeps refusing to teach her. Try as he might however, Nic’s father cannot keep her from being thrown into the Remarkable world after some shocking truths come out about her father, leaving Nic unsure what to believe and on the run having to find a powerful magical item to get some answers. Join Nic, Alex and JP as they set off on adventure to track down the magical item before it’s too late.

Author Angie Thomas creates a magical world with Nic Blake and the Remarkables, inspired by African American history and folklore. If you’re a fan of the Percy Jackson and the Olympians series than I recommend giving this a read.

Find it in print or eBook at your library


Judy Moody in a Monday Mood by Megan McDonald

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Badge with Reviewed by Caroline, children's librarian

Have you ever been in a Monday mood? Feeling moody and mopey? Not sure how you are going to get through the week? Judy Moody is feeling super moody, even her mood ring is moody! So, how can she turn the week around? What is it going to take to turn her frown upside down?

Will bubble wrap help? Ninja squirrels? Zucchinis? Judy gets all her friends involved to help make each day a special day. What other crazy ideas for celebrations will Judy come up with? The worry is that the weekend could be a letdown after all this fun.

This book is perfect for family reading and for solo readers up to 9 years of age.

If you like this book, you might like to read more in the Judy Moody series including Judy Moody declares Independence, Twice as Moody, Judy Moody mood Martian, and Judy Moody, girl detective. But is you would prefer, there’s always books about her brother Stink – who goes on a Midnight Zombie walk!

Find it in the catalogue here

The Beast and the Bethany by Jack Meggit-Phillips

Cover image of The Beast and the Bethany

Badge stating Reviewed by Gary, children's librarian

Ebenezer Tweezer is a young, vain, exceedingly rich man who is 500 years old.  How can he be? Well, he has a secret, and it’s kept in the upper most story of his mansion: a monster that grants him wishes. But those wishes come at a price: the monster must be fed! If not, Ebeneezer will pay the ultimate price… And what is the next tasty morsal it wants to eat? A nice, plump child, of course! Enter Bethany, an unpleasant, strong-willed girl who has her own view about the world and what she wants, and doesn’t realise she is next on the menu… Will she get eaten? Will Ebenezer be granted his next wish? If you like books by Roald Dahl or Lemony Snicket, you will certainly like this. It’s a very funny story about two people who want very different things and only one of them can win. Who will it be?

Find this book here

More details Jack Meggitt-Phillips here

Video Q&A with Jack Meggitt-Phillips here

What About Thao? By Oliver Phommavanh

Cover image of what about Thao

A star badge stating reviewed by Margaret, Children's Librarian


Imagine if you moved to a tiny town in the country, and had to go through the effort of being the “new kid” at school, making new friends, learning new “country kid” skills (in this scenario you are originally a city kid). And instead of it being difficult, you found that you love it! Excellent! Things are going well! But then, a new-new kid arrives! And they’ve taken your spotlight! But unlike you, they don’t enjoy it. And to make matters worse, you’ve been assigned as the buddy of this new-new kid! What are you going to do?!

This is the story of What About Thao?, a funny and friendly book about fitting in, sticking out, milkshakes, poetry, felafel, rice paper rolls, and an abandoned biscuit factory. It made me laugh, and it made me cry. And it made me crave a milkshake.

I would recommend this book for kids aged 9+

Get a copy from the library, in print, eaudio or ebook.

The Sleeper and the Spindle by Neil Gaiman, illustrated by Chris Riddell

Sleeper and the Spindle Cover

A badge stating Reviewed by Emily, Children's Librarian

In this mesmerising tale, Neil Gaiman uses his masterful storytelling skills to combine the tales of Snow White and Sleeping Beauty and rework them for a modern audience. This story carries an important message about female agency and having the power to choose your own path.

The plot follows a young queen and her three dwarf companions who embark on a quest to save the kingdom from a mysterious sleeping sickness, which is spreading through the realm. The illustrations by Chris Riddell are absolutely captivating and will have you staring at them for hours. It is no surprise that this book won the CILIP Kate Greenaway Medal in 2016, which recognises distinguished illustration in a book for children.

This is an enchanting book that fantasy readers both young and old will adore. I recommend this for ages 10+.

You can request a hard copy or download the eBook version here

Two Wolves by Tristan Banks

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Badge stating reviewed by Fiona, Children's Librarian

Two Wolves by Tristan Banks is a believable drama set in Australia. Right from the start it’s made clear that the story will be told from the point of view of the main character, Ben, a thoughtful 13 year old. He is unsure about his family and the world around him, and he often feels hopeless and anxious. This is not helped by the fact that early in the book the police suddenly arrive at Ben's front door. Soon after this his parents come home and he and his sister, Olive, are bundled into a car and driven away. He is told they are all off on holiday, but is it a holiday or are they on the run? Ben has always been into detecting and problem solving but this time he must solve his own mystery, a family one. This story is part adventure and part thriller, with Ben’s sister, Olive, providing some humour to a serious situation. Olive is very stubborn! A difficult journey is ahead for both brother and sister, both physically and mentally and they have some difficult truths to find out and some difficult choices to make. Ben doesn’t always make the best decisions; he is often unsure of what is going on, but that just makes the story all the more believable. Increasing tension between Ben and his dad is well written and ensures the book keeps its fast pace. Ben’s dad is a little scary and unpredictable and is a great contract to Ben, who is always thinking. Ben and his siter form a closer bond as the story goes on but it is clear that all the characters in this story are very different from one another and each must learn to live with their choices.

Borrow the Audio Book

Other books by this author

Authors Website

The Little Match Girl Strikes Back, by Emma Carroll

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Badge stating reviewed by Monica, children's librarian

You may have heard of “The Little Match Girl”, written by Hans Christian Anderson in the mid-1800s. In this story, to keep warm, an unnamed poor girl lights the matches she can’t sell. In the flames she sees visions of the life she would like to lead. Wanting to keep these visions alive, she burns through all her matches and dies from the cold. It is only then that passersby notice and take pity on her.

Emma Carroll, the author of “The Little Match Girl Strikes Back”, felt dissatisfied at how powerless the match girl was in the original story. To give the match girl a far happier ending, she has written the story of Bridie and her family.

Bridie sees visions in her match flames too. But rather than getting swept away, Bridie chooses to use these visions to drive her and the other match factory workers into meaningful action to seek better work conditions and pay.

This is an uplifting story about how people working together can change what appears to be their destiny. I liked how strong the female characters were and how the story is based on true events. It is also beautifully illustrated by Lauren Child.

I would recommend this book for those aged 10+ who like inspirational stories.

Find a print or eaudiobook copy on our catalogue here.


Wildwood by Colin Meloy

Cover image of Wildwood

A badge stating Reviewed by Fiona L, Children's Librarian

Prue McKeel is at the park, keeping half an eye on her baby brother when a murder of crows swoops down, picks him up and carries him off into the Impassable Wilderness. Not knowing how to share this news with her parents, she leaves a decoy in her brother’s cot and steals off into the woods to find him. Meanwhile, Curtis (a nerdy kid from school) has been watching from afar and decides to follow. The pair discover a fascinating society, with talking animals, warring factions and dark magic. They soon become enmeshed in a civil war and need to decide where their loyalties lie.

The book feels slow to start but I think it’s well worth the commitment if you’re up for a lengthier read that will stretch your vocabulary. By the second half, I was completely immersed in the complex fantasy world that the writer has built. I particularly enjoyed the character of the exiled Dowager Governess, mad with grief and unapologetically bloodthirsty.

Wildwood is the first book in a trilogy written by Colin Meloy from indie rock band, The Decemberists, with beautiful, intricate illustrations by artist, Carson Ellis.

Laika studios are currently working on an animated film adaptation of Wildwood. Start reading before the film is released!

Suited to readers aged 10+

Find the eBook here.

When Life Gives You Mangoes by Kareen Getten

Cover image of When Life Gives You Mangoes

A badge stating Reviewed by Dayle, Children's Librarian

Set in a small town on the coast of Jamaica, When Life Gives You Mangoes gives us a glimpse into the summer life of 12 year old Clara and her community. Clara spends her days hanging out with her best friend Gaynah, and wondering why she can’t remember anything from last summer. Clara knows that she loves to surf and to swim but she has no idea why she can no longer enter the water due to fear; Gaynah’s not being supportive of Clara’s memory problem either and hasn’t been acting like a best friend. So when a new girl arrives in town this summer starts to look a bit more hopeful for Clara.

This book explores friendship and the dynamics of small communities, as well as the mystery of why Clara can’t remember what everyone else in the community seems to be aware of. A real page turner that had me hooked getting to know Clara and her community, as well as unwrapping the mystery of the previous summer. I definitely recommend for those who enjoy stories of friendship and mysteries.

Friday Barnes Girl Detective by R. A. Spratt

Friday Barnes Girl Detective Book cover

Badge with Reviewed by Caroline, children's librarian

Friday Barnes has an extraordinary skill; she is a genius super sleuth and can solve mysteries, and she is only 11 years of age.

Growing up in a family of geniuses, she has never attended an organised school before. So, when she solves a bank robbery for her Uncle Bernie, she uses the reward money to send herself to the most exclusive boarding school in the country.

Are there lots of mysteries to solve at school? You bet there are! The school is a hotbed of crime! From disappearing homework, school pranks, a stolen clock, high tech smuggling, a mysterious Yeti living in the school swamp, and the biggest mystery of all, why her new best friend, Melanie, keeps falling asleep. What else can an amazing girl detective do but keep solving mysteries!

Can Friday ever understand the crazy world of Highcrest Academy? Can she make friends with the other students? Will she ever defeat her arch enemy, Ian Wainscott?

This book is great for a family reading out loud together or independent readers aged 8-14 years.

There are lots of books to read in this series, including Under Suspicion, Big Trouble, Danger Ahead, No Escape and Undercover. Check out the latest book in the series, Last Chance, published January 2023!

R.A.Spratt is an Australian author who has also written the Nanny Piggins and the Peski Kids series.

Click here to find all the books in the series at the library.

Penny Dreadful and the Midnight Kittens by Allison Rushby

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A badge stating Reviewed by Lorrie, Children's Librarian

“It is 1872, Miss Pickering. We are living in the modern world. A girl can’t get by on daydreams and fancies you know!”

This story transports us to England during a time of great advances in science and opportunities for girls. Penny Pickering attends Miss Strickland’s School for Girls of an Enquiring Mind. Her parents are both scientists and have very enquiring minds. Penny however is drawn to the imaginative and fantastic like the ‘Penny Dreadful Stories’ published by her famous authoress Aunt Harriet.

She dreams of being rescued from the dreary school routine to embark on an exciting adventure with her Aunt. Her dream comes true when her aunt arrives at the school announcing she has been made Penny’s guardian and agrees to whisk her away.

Mysterious events call for all of Penny’s curiosity, powers of observation and inventiveness to discover the secrets behind the bizarre and unexplainable. In the end many of Miss Strickland’s wise words help guide her enquiring mind to the answers she seeks.

I loved being transported to this time and place where girls and woman were starting to be allowed opportunities for an education that opened doors for them.


Find the book here: Miss Penny Dreadful and the Midnight Kittens

Find the e-book here: Miss Penny Dreadful and the Midnight Kittens

Festergrimm by Thomas Taylor

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Badge stating Reviewed by Gary, children's librarian

If something mysterious is going to happen, it’s going to happen in Eerie-On-Sea, you can bet! And when it does, Herbie and Violet are going to try to get to the bottom of things. So, when arch-villain Sebastian Eels reappears unexpectedly in town telling everyone he wants to re-open the famous but long-abandoned waxworks museum, and everyone believes he has changed his bad ways and is finally doing something good for a change, the two best friends become suspicious and start delving into his goings on! With legends of a genius inventor of clockwork marvels, his missing daughter, and a giant clockwork robot that once tore the town apart to keep Herbie and Violet enthralled, as well as the secret goings-on in the waxworks by Eels to keep them busy (and in danger) there is plenty to keep them (and you) guessing. It certainly kept me wondering what was going to happen! If you like adventure with a twist of mystery in your stories, this is one for you! Suitable for boys and girls aged 9+


Find this book here

Other books by this author at Wyndham City Libraries here

Thomas Taylor – author website

Thomas Taylor - ReadingZone Bookclub - YouTube

A Little Princess by Frances Hodgson Burnett

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Badge stating Reviewed by Sandra, children's librarian

I loved the movie when I was a kid so I thought it was about time I read the book! The story follows a child called Sara who is leaving her father in India to move to a boarding school in London. Sara doesn’t always get along with the head mistress because Sara is very clever, independent and gets on well with everyone. Sara settles in well at school but then something terrible happens on her birthday. She finds out her father has died and now Sara has no money to pay for her school. Sara goes for the richest girl in the school to a servant who lives in the cold damp attic. She is not treated very well by the head mistress who was always jealous of Sara’s wealth.  You will need to read the book to find out what happens to Sara!



Mister Cassowary

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Badge stating reviewed by Fiona, Children's Librarian

Personally, I think that the Cassowary is Australia’s most awesome bird! Who doesn’t like the thought of a giant flightless bird? Mister Cassowary by Samantha Wheeler is an easy-to-read book all about cassowaries and family secrets. Ideal for kids aged 7+

The story takes place at Flynn’s Granddads old rundown banana farm and right from the start there is a mystery that needs figuring out. No one will talk about how Flynn’s Granddad died just last year or why Flynn’s dad is so scared of the local cassowaries, the strange and dinosaur-like bird found in Far North Queensland. Flynn’s dad calls them the most dangerous birds in the world. Is he correct?

Flynn, who is ten, meets a local girl called Abby and together they discover two orphaned baby cassowaries and the adventure, and the mystery continues.

The book weaves information about cassowaries into a story about relationships very effectively. Flynn must tread carefully between doing what he is told to do and finding the answers to his many questions.  Hidden family secrets are uncovered, like why Flynn’s Granddad is called Mister Cassowary, and Flynn becomes closer to his dad through the investigative process.

The chapters of this book are short and steadily paced, most are event based with lots of dialog. There is some terrific factual information at the end about Cassowaries in a special section which is an excellent resource for projects and for readers who want to know more about this endangered bird. There are also three other books in the series, all animal based. So if you like animals or want to know more about Tasmania Devils, Sea Turtles or Wombats check out these other books!


Mister Cassowary Book

Mister Cassowary eBook

Find all Samantha Wheeler books here

Seven Wherewithal Way by Samantha-Ellen Bound

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A badge stating Reviewed by Emily, Children's Librarian

Looking for a whimsical, fast-paced fantasy adventure that both younger and older readers will adore? Look no further! In Seven Wherewithal Way, Celeste and Esme are two sisters who are about to spend a boring summer at their Gran’s house, when suddenly, their cousin Ferdinand literally crash-lands in front of them. Ferdinand soon whisks them away on an adventure to Seven Wherewithal Way, a place where magical portals and curious creatures abound.

There is so much to love about this book, including its laugh-out-loud humour and charming characters (I fell in love with Ferdinand instantly). Moreover, it is written by an Australian author and features a non-binary main character, so it is perfect for those who want to read more stories with gender-diverse figures. This novel invites you to a world that is as magical and captivating as Narnia or Hogwarts, with delightful humour that reminded me a lot of Howl’s Moving Castle. I highly recommend it for ages 7+.

You can request a hard copy or download the eBook version here!


The Legend of Hobart

The Legend of Hobart

Badge stating reviewed by Monica, children's librarian

Hobart is tired. Tired of being bullied by the local Lord’s nephew. Tired of being mocked by his siblings. Tired of failing. To prove his worth, Hobart feels his only chance is to be offered a spot in Knight School. And the only way he can think to get into Knight School is to slay a dragon.

So Hobart sets off on a quest to find a dragon. He expects danger and adventure, both of which he finds in great supply. But on the way, he meets some interesting characters who seem to be able to see that he is already a person of value.

Hobart’s quest takes some unlikely turns, with unexpected friendships formed along the way. So did Hobart succeed in his quest? You’ll have to read to find out!

I recommend this book for those that like medieval, fantasy tales but sometimes struggle with longer stories. At only 90 pages, this book is short but still captivating and I hope there will be a sequel.

Find it on our catalogue here

A Bad Beginning by Lemony Snicket 

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A badge stating Reviewed by Lorrie, Children's Librarian

Trouble comes knocking on the Baudelaire children’s door with the death of their parents in a house fire that destroys their home and possessions. That is just the beginning of a Series of Unfortunate Events spanning another 12 volumes. Violet and Klaus work together to protect themselves and their baby sister Sunny from the evil Count Olaf who is determined to find a way to steal the fortune they have inherited from their parents. 


Who doesn’t like a good orphan story? Harry Potter, The Graveyard Book, The Secret Garden, Frozen, Anne of Green Gables, Cinderella, Peter Pan- the list goes on and on. I love seeing the underdog triumph by resilience, kindness, courage, and inventiveness. 

Find this book here

More books by Lemony Snicket

Lemony Snicket Wikipedia

Lemony Snicket Goodreads

A Series of Unfortunate Events Activities

A Girl called Corpse by Reece Carter 


A badge stating Reviewed by Fiona L, Children's Librarian

‘If my hair looks like bright green seaweed, it’s because that’s exactly what it is. My eyes, a pair of abalone shells, polished blue by sand. Teeth, two rows of pebbles. And my skin is made of wax.’


Hiding in the attic of a witches’ shack, on a rock that can’t be seen by living eyes, is the ghost of a child called Corpse. Unlike the ghosts who have slipped away into death proper, Corpse is desperate to escape the rock and uncover her past. Who was she before she died? Where are her family? How did she meet her gruesome end at such a young age? One day a strange visitor arrives and gives her the chance to find out. The story follows Corpse as she searches for answers, coming up against evil witches and other unsavoury characters along the way. What I like most about this story, is that Corpse isn’t your usual hero. She gets scared, stuffs up and isn’t always a nice person but she makes it through in her own way. Be warned, this book is not recommended bedtime reading, mainly because you’ll want to read until the end. I can’t wait until the next book comes out.

This quirky read would appeal to fans of Tim Burton, Neil Gaiman and readers aged 8+.

Find a copy of the book here.

The Elemental Detectives by Patrice Lawrence

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A badge stating Reviewed by Dayle, Children's Librarian

If you enjoy a good fantasy adventure, then this is the book for you. Set in historic London, where the city is ran by the Elemental spirits, the fiery Dragons, airy Fumis, earthbound Magogs and the watery Chads. One of our lead characters is Marisee, her grandmother is what they call the Keeper of the Wells, and is regularly in contact with the Chads, so Marisee is familiar with the magic of the world, but when a strange sickness takes over London and Grandma disappears, Marisee finds there’s a lot her grandmother hasn’t told her!

Down the road at the Hibbert estate, 12-year-old Robert Strong lives as a slave to Lady Hibbert, after he was taken from his family on the plantation in Barbados. As he watches everyone around him fall to the sleeping sickness, including his best friend, he ventures off to the Keeper of the Wells house to hopefully get something to help them. That’s where Robert finds Marisee trying to fit off infected people, together they escape them and team up to find Marisee’s grandmother and cure the sleeping sickness that’s infecting London.

This book is full of adventure and magic, and is the first in an upcoming series. I definitely recommend if you’re a fan of fantasy, mysteries, adventure and/or magic!

Find it on our catalogue here

The Mystery of Banshee Towers by Enid Blyton

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Badge stating reviewed by Fiona, Children's Librarian

I must admit that I’ve not read any Enid Blyton until now and I was pleasantly surprised after reading The Mystery of Banshee Towers. The Find-Outers gang plus Ern were all there to explore the spooky towers with dogs in tow in the final case of the series. As Chief Inspector Jenks said, it is a mystery that only children might find, because adults hardly ever observe things in that much detail. The book was quick and easy to read and would be ideal for someone starting out on chapter books who loves mystery.  A variety of characters and dilemmas are presented, including a new dog, Bingo, who provides relief from the mystery itself being the only focus of the story. The kids start off with no mystery to solve but after visiting Banshee Towers on Banshee Hill after a long bike ride a mystery is presented to them. They must discover what is making the hideous wailing banshee sound, whether the owner of the towers is a bit of a crook and if the painter they encounter is all that he seems to be. It appears that some art work is also not what it appears to be on first glance. What can you make of a painting that seems to have a small boat in it one day, and not the next?  I did enjoy the scenes with the two dogs, Buster and Bingo, as they provided most of the comical situations in this book. I also liked the groups meeting place scenes, a location for Ern to hide out and keep his new dog under control, as these scenes provide another focus of the story. And who doesn’t want to have their own little shed in the backyard where friends can hang out and eat biscuits all day with dogs!

This story is available as a book and eAudiobook

Other stories by Enid Blyton

Ballet shoes by Noel Streatfield

Ballet Shoes Cover

Badge with Reviewed by Caroline, children's librarian

Would you like to go to a school that teaches you to dance? Would you like to earn money performing in pantomimes, ballets or plays? Then put on your ballet shoes and meet the Fossil sisters….


Pauline, Petrova and Posy are three orphans raised as sisters by their guardian Sylvia. Deciding to put their family name of Fossil into the history books and because of a burning need to follow their passions, they embark on an exciting journey at the school the Academy of Dance and Stage Training. Here they learn the skills they will need to start earning their own living on the stage, performing in plays and dancing troupes. As they take classes in acting, ballet and performance, each sister goes on a very different journey, battling through financial hardships, personal triumphs, and some tragedies. Along the way, the three sisters learn that being a star isn’t as easy as they first thought; but if you work hard enough, you can follow your dreams.

This classic book can be read aloud by the family or by independent readers aged 9+.

Also part of the Shoes series by the author, including White Boots, Dancing Shoes and Circus shoes.

Find the book here.

Arsenic for Tea by Robin Stevens



Badge stating Reviewed by Gary, children's librarian

Do you enjoy a good murder mystery story? Because thirteen-year-old detectives Daisy Wells and Hazel Wong are back for their second case. This time the location is Fallingford mansion, Daisy’s family home. It’s her birthday, but she’s dreading the completely awful tea party her mother has planned. However, the gruesome crime that follows is far from boring, and with the house isolated by flood-waters, the murderer must still be in the house! Yikes! Can Daisy and Hazel solve the crime before the police arrive? Are their lives in danger? Apart from the servants and Daisy’s governess, everyone in the house is her family. Imagine suspecting members of your own family of murder! How would you feel? What would you do?


This is the second of eleven books in the A Murder Most Unladylike series, and it’s the first one that I’ve read. It’s got some interesting characters, all with secrets they would rather not share. Can you solve the case before Daisy and Hazel? If you’re a budding detective, or just a fan of mysteries, this one’s for you.


Find this book here.

More Books, eBooks, and eAudiobooks by this Robin Stevens here.


A Great Escape by Felice Arena

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Badge stating Reviewed by Sandra, children's librarian

Set in Cold War Germany. A great point of view from a kid in Berlin when they build the Berlin wall, dividing the city and families in two. This is what happens to Peter. He is stuck on one side with his grandparents, his parents and sister are on the other side and he can’t go to them. Everybody is so angry and confused. Why have the authorities build a wall dividing the city in half? In the East where Peter is, their life is very restricted- they are sent home from school if they wear jeans! But in the West, people have a lot more freedom.

Peter decides the best way to go find his family is to build himself a pair of wings so he can fly over the wall. Let’s hope Peter is reunited with his family again.

Find a copy here

Yahoo Creek: An Australian Mystery by Tohby Riddle

Cover image for Yahoo Creek

A badge stating Reviewed by Emily, Children's Librarian

I have always been fascinated by tales about yowies: mysterious creatures also known as the Australian Bigfoot, yahoo or hairy man. Yahoo Creek is a fascinating book that combines excerpts from Australian newspapers with first-hand tales from an Aboriginal elder, illuminating the unusual yahoo phenomenon.

The newspaper excerpts, dating from the 19th and early 20th century, include eyewitness accounts from early settlers who had strange encounters with a mysterious creature they described as “an immense ape-like animal.” Also included are words from contemporary Ngiyampaa Elder Peter Williams, who tells us about indigenous stories of berai, the hairy man.

Tohby Riddle’s beautiful illustrations perfectly capture the mysteriousness of this mythical creature and the dense, wild nature of the Australian bush. The monochromatic images are perfect to contemplate as you absorb the words on the page.

This book is perfect for inquisitive readers aged 8+.

Yahoo Creek is on the Victorian Premier’s reading Challenge list for Years 3, 4, 5, and 6. It was also shortlisted for the CBCA Children’s Book of the Year awards in 2020.

Find the book on our catalogue here.

Find out more about Australian author and illustrator Tohby Riddle here.

Sisters of the Lost March by Lucy Strange


Badge stating reviewed by Fiona, Children's Librarian

Sisters of the Lost March by Lucy Strange lived up to my expectations! This slightly spooky story about six cursed sisters is set on a farm in the middle of marsh lands that are harsh, dangerous, and unforgiving. The marshes hold many mysteries. What is the will-o’ the-wisp? The sisters are usually protected by their Grammy, a strong grandmother that protects the girls from their beastly father. A father who believes in superstition and curses, like so many in the village nearby. Unfortunately the curse that looms over the family is caused by one of it’s members. When Grammy is too old and frail to look after the sisters and is accused of being a witch it is Willa, the second eldest sister, that steps up to protect them all. But at what cost? Will it be the happiness of her eldest sister, Grace, forced to marry someone she doesn’t love?  Or will the marsh lands claim a life? Is their father right to believe in the curse? Read Sisters of the Lost Marsh and find out!

Other Books written by Lucy Strange.

Authors website


Pippi Longstocking by Astrid Lindgren

Cover image Pippi Longstocking

Badge stating reviewed by Monica, children's librarian

Pippi Longstocking has been a favourite book of mine since I was in Grade 3.

Pippi lives on her own with just her horse and pet monkey for company. You can only imagine what Pippi gets up to without parents to tell her what to do! But Pippi does get lonely. Lucky for her, she meets some new neighbours, Tommy and Annika, to share her life with. I really like seeing how the three characters grow as they spend time with each other.

Pippi Longstocking has lots of fun characters and unbelievable adventures and is an exciting read for any primary schooler. You can start your “Pippi Longstocking” reading adventure here.



Charlotte’s Web by E.B. White

Cover of Charlotte's web

A badge stating Reviewed by Lorrie, Children's Librarian

A pig’s life on a farm is DANGEROUS. But with the help of wise and caring friends a pig can find peace and protection. 

Our hero, Wilbur the pig, is rescued from certain death by the intervention of a sensitive farm girl- Fern. 

Fern raises the little runt with love and care until he is big enough to be sold. 

Once again, she pleads for Wilbur’s life and he is sold to her uncle, where he continues to live.  

There he meets a wise and magical friend Charlotte.  

This was a favorite of mine from my own childhood. I can picture the wonderful scenes on the farm and fell in love with all the characters.  

Find this book here

Other books by E.B.White

E.B.White Wikipedia

E.B.White - Goodreads

Dirty Beasts by Roald Dahl

Dirty Beasts Book Cover

A badge stating reviewed by Angela, children's librarian

Roald Dahl’s classic Dirty Beasts is a collection of gruesome kid friendly poems full of wacky animals doing unmentionable things. From the tale of the super smart pig to the very hungry ant eater, all get their just desserts. Or do they? My favourite poem is The Tummy Beast. Who doesn’t have a growly, yowly monster in their tummy? If you like funny poems with a twist this book is for you.

Find a paperback copy of this book here, read the eBook, or listen to the audiobook

Like Roald Dahl stories? Find more here




Huda and Me by H. Hayek

Huda and me cover

A badge stating Reviewed by Fiona L, Children's Librarian

Stealing your aunt’s credit card, booking plane tickets, and boarding an international flight to the other side of the world might seem drastic, but 9-year-old Huda manages to convince her somewhat more cautious older brother, Akeal that it’s their only option.

As we follow these two unaccompanied minors on their journey to Lebanon, wondering at what point they’re going to get caught, the story flashes back in time, slowly revealing the events that made life unbearable for Huda, Akeal and their 5 siblings. The sense of action and drama makes the book hard to put down. I found this book incredibly funny and the characters very likeable. The story is set in the western suburbs of Melbourne which might be why it is so relatable! It provides insight into the lives of a large Muslim family, with its usual everyday fun and busyness, while also conveying the complexities of being from a migrant background and living in Australia.

Huda and Me was shortlisted in the Younger Readers category for the 2022 CBCA Book of the Year Award.  This cheeky, clever and engaging read is recommended for ages 8+


Find this book here.

See what other kids are saying about the book here.

H. Hayek - Website.

Ming & Flo Fight for the Future by Jackie French

Cover of Ming & Flo Fight for the Future

A badge stating Reviewed by Dayle, Children's Librarian

Sick of constantly hearing about the great achievements of historic men, 12 year old Ming wishes she could learn more about impactful historic women. This wish is answered by Herstory, History’s sister, who sends Ming back in time to live as Flo Watson in 1898 on a struggling farm in rural Australia. Ming is soon rescued by her Wealthy Aunt McTavish and taken to Sydney where Aunt McTavish lives and has her eyes open to how people are struggling to survive. Ming is desperate to help change the world but how she’s supposed to do that when she’s supposed to be acting like a good young lady?

Follow along with Ming as Flo to find out!  

Find it as a eAudiobook, eBook, or regular print book on our catalogue here.

A Bear called Paddington by Michael Bond

cover of the book a Bear called Paddington

Badge with Reviewed by Caroline, children's librarian

What would you do if you met a Bear at the train station who needed a home? Mr and Mrs Brown found a bear at Paddington station. All he had was a label around his neck that said, “Please look after this Bear, Thank you.” Life was never going to be the same again for the Brown family. So that is just what they did. From the very first night when he attempted his first bath and ended up nearly flooding the house, Paddington was seldom far from imminent disaster. How does a bear cope with eating tea and cakes, using the underground train, going to a department store, cleaning up old paintings and going to the Theatre? Especially a bear from Darkest Peru who has never had these experiences before.

This book uses humour to explore the situation of being a refugee in a new country, where everything is new, exciting but very different from home. Paddington is very happy being different and brings joy to his new family. A collection of stories that can be read to any age and loved by 7+ readers.

Find this book here

More Paddington at Wyndham City Libraries

Michael Bond wikipedia

Paddington website

Michael Bond and Paddington in 60 seconds

Amari and the night brothers by B. B. Alston

The cover of Amari and the night brothers with a badge stating reviewed by Lorrie

When her brother goes missing at a prestigious school, and the authorities seem not to care, Amari attempts to find out why. Clues lead her to become involved in a secretive school where she displays a supernatural talent that alienates her from other teenagers. Meanwhile, she has try to locate her brother and prove to everyone that she’s not the enemy because an evil magic is lurking in the sidelines that could destroy the whole of the supernatural world. This is a story about underdogs battling bullies and conquering challenges. It’s about finding your purpose and your tribe. And it’s also about a school for magic. Sound familiar? If you enjoyed Harry Potter and are looking for the next great fantasy adventure - this is the book for you!

Find this book here

Find the eAudiobook here

Find the eBook here

B. B. Alston – Author website

B. B. Alston – Goodreads

Paul Biegel – The King of Copper Mountain

Cover of the King of Copper Mountain with a badge stating Reviewed by Gary

King Mansolain is hundreds of years old and slowing down fast. Some days his heart is barely beating at all! A very rare plant located a long way away from his castle can save him, hooray! But only the Wonder Doctor knows its secret location. While he goes in search of it, the king’s heart must be kept ticking! And interesting stories can do that! Word is sent around the kingdom and everyday a new visitor arrives at the castle with a unique story to tell the king. But will enough visitors come? Will their stories be good enough to keep the king interested and his heart beating? And, importantly, will the Wonder Doctor find the special plant and return to the castle in time to save the king’s life? Containing a host of animal characters, all with their own special story to tell, if you like a good fairy tale, this story will appeal to you.

Find this book here.

Paul Biegel - wikipedia.

The Grandest Bookshop in the World by Amelia Mellor 

The cover of The Grandest Bookshop in the World, Reviewed by Fiona

I’d been waiting to read this book as soon as I heard about it.  I knew it was based on a real bookshop, right here in Melbourne that used to trade in the mall!  Was it really the biggest in the world? Did it really have animals and plants inside? Indeed Cole’s Book Arcade was the grandest bookshop of its time.  The book perfectly describes areas in the shop that existed in real life, like the Toy Land, Wonder Land and fernery. 

I loved the main character of Pearl, a headstrong and intelligent ten-year-old. Her father strikes a deal with a devilish and tricky magician, who calls himself Magnus Maximillian or the mysterious Obscurosmith. One very slippery character! The deal could see the end of the Coles family ownership of the bookshop, so Pearl and her siblings try to save it. It’s a race against time, with puzzles at every turn, some which see the children put their lives at risk should they fail! It did get a little dark in places, touching on themes of grief, death of a loved one and loss of memory.  

It was indeed a mysterious story. I ended up loving Pearl and her family and wishing them on to win the bookshop back. The characters had great development throughout the story.  I thought perhaps the magical elements of the story were not needed, but they do add to the urgency of the story as it progresses. It is a very fast paced book, and at times I found this a little unsettling and I needed to pause to catch up! But overall the story mixes magic and realism well and all its descriptions are very vivid. I wish I could visit this bookshop now!  


Amelia Mellor – 30 authors in 30 days YouTube 

Other books by Amelia Mellor at Wyndham City Libraries 

12 Curly Questions with at Kids Book Review

Amelia Mellor – Publisher website

Inkling by Kenneth Oppel

The cover of Inkling by Kenneth Oppel with a badged stating "reviewed by Monica, children's librarian"

How do you impress your friends, make money, and help your family deal with the loss of your mum? The answer lies with Inkling – a tiny inkblot from a comic sketchbook that magically comes to life. 

The main character, Ethan, initially uses Inkling to help with a school project. But over time, Inkling becomes his friend. And when friends are in danger you do everything you can to protect them – even break the law. 

Inkling is a great, easy to read book for middle to upper primary school kids. If you like books about real life experiences but enjoy a little bit of magic, humour, and mystery, Inkling could be the next book for you! 


Find this book here

Other books by Kenneth Oppel at Wyndham City Libraries

Kenneth Oppel - Website

Kenneth Oppel - Wikipedia 

Kenneth Oppel - Youtube 

Kenneth Oppel - Publisher website 



Undone! By Paul Jennings

Cover of Undone with a badge stating Reviewed by Lorrie

Paul Jennings short stories on audiobook are read by my favourite narrator- Stig Wemyss. All the voices he uses bring these bizarre stories to life. Because these are short stories you can listen in short bursts- but I doubt you will be able to drag yourself away. Many of the characters are underdogs who battle through twists in the stories to triumph against bullies and harsh circumstances. These books were originally published over 30 years ago and have stood the test of time. I listened to these stories with my children (who now have children of their own) and we both enjoyed them very much. 


Find this book here

To listen to it being read by Stig (my favourite narrator) click here 

Other books by Paul Jennings 

Other books read by Stig Wemyss


Percy Jackson and the Olympians series by Rick Riordan  

Cover image of Percy Jackson and the Lightning Thief with a badge stating Reviewed by Dayle

Percy Jackson is a 12-year-old boy who always has good intentions, but trouble seems to follow him wherever he goes. After being expelled from every school he’s ever been too, he always feels like he is an outsider and someone, or something, is out to get him. When his teacher turns into a monster and tries to kill him, his mother finally decides it’s time take him to the one place he might be safe, Camp Half-Blood; where he discovers who he really is, the son of a Greek God.

Join Percy, alongside Annabeth, daughter of Athena, and Grover the Satyr, as they make their way through different adventures and challenges, in this modern day take on Greek Mythology. This compelling series shows that heroes come in a diverse range of characters.  

Find books in this series here 

Other books by Rick Riordan books at Wyndham City Libraries 

Rick Riordan – goodreads 

Rick Riordan - website 

‘Swimming on the Lawn’ by Yasmin Hamid

The cover of Swimming on the Lawn with a badge stating Reviewed by Fiona

Spend some time with Farida and her family. Small and simple chapters delight in Swimming on the Lawn by Yasmin Hamid.  Full of sensory detail, everyday actions are explored as Farida goes to school, does family chores, enjoys a holiday and plays with siblings and friends. What I enjoyed most was the book's attention to detail. I could smell the molasses and overripe fruit! The story took me on a journey through 1960’s Sudanese culture, customs and food. A visit to the remains of Nubian pyramids and vivid descriptions of twirling dancers at the Mawlid festival bring alive a time and place that is so unlike my own. Can happiness last forever? Read this celebration of family life to find out.

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See Yasmin Hamid’s bio here

Murder at the Museum by Lena Jones

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There’s something rather odd going on. Have you noticed? Agatha Oddly has. She’s a bold, determined 13-year-old, who wants to be a detective. She lives in a cottage in Hyde Park with her father, surrounded by detective novels and her invisible mentor, Hercule Poirot, the world-famous detective. The mystery? The water system in London is polluted with toxic algae, there’s been a murder at the British Museum, stolen gold bullion in a disused tube station, a missing curator at the National Gallery, and what is the secret society that holds the key to her mother’s disappearance? Can Agatha and her friends solve all the crimes, thwart the villains and keep London safe? For ages 9 and up, this is a fun, action packed series that will appeal to fans of Nancy Drew/Hardy Boys, Enola Holmes, Murder Most Unladylike and the Friday Barnes series.


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Other books by Lena Jones

‘The Graveyard Riddle’ by Lisa Thompson

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This is the story of Melody Bird, who stumbles across a hidden, abandoned house. And within it, a boy. The boy tells her that he’s a spy on the trail of a notorious criminal, and the theft of an expensive jewel. But is he telling the truth? Wanting to believe him, Melody becomes involved in solving some mysterious riddles that could break the case wide open. In the process, she convinces her friends, Mathew and Jake, to become involved in helping the boy, too. But the question is, is there a case to be solved at all? Can the boy be trusted? And how much of his story is true? The Graveyard Riddle is not just a great little mystery that’ll keep you guessing until the end, it’s also a story about friendship and trust. I highly recommend it!

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Other books by Lisa Thompson

Lisa Thompson website

Video interview with Lisa Thompson

The Wishing Spell by Chris Colfer

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Do you think you know everything about the fairy tale world? I certainly did, until I read “The Wishing Spell'. This book follows 11 year-old twins, Alex and Connor, on a journey through the fairy tale kingdoms, getting to know the true stories of a variety of fairy tale characters. As much as I liked learning new things about the traditional fairy tale characters, my favourite part was cheering Alex and Connor on through the challenges they faced, both in the Land of Stories and in their own world. I also enjoyed how Alex and Connor spoke to each other - making fun of each other but also supporting each other during hard times, just like real siblings. This book was first recommended to me by a Grade 4 student, so I decided to read it to my 9 year-old daughter. She became hooked and has now finished all six books in “The Land of Stories” series! I highly recommend this book for fantasy fans in middle to upper primary school.

Find this book here.

Other books by Chris Colfer

Chris Colfer wikipedia

Land of Stories website

‘Nevermoor: The Trials of Morrigan Crow’ by Jessica Townsend

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Morrigan is a cursed child, doomed to die on her 11th birthday. Just in time, a mystery man appears to take her away to a magical place called Nevermoor. He has chosen Morrigan to be his champion in a series of exciting and dangerous trials to earn her place at a magical school. All the other kids competing seems to have a special magical talent, but Morrigan does not know what hers is. Will Morrigan be able to successfully earn her place in the Wundrous Society competing against the other kids who understand magic more than she does? Of course, something is bound to go wrong, putting Morrigan’s life in danger once again! A great read if you love Harry Potter.

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Other books by Jessica Townsend

Jessica Townsend Wikipedia

Video interview with Jessica Townsend

 ‘The Miraculous Journey of Edward Tulane’ by Kate DiCamillo

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Edward Tulane is a white toy rabbit made of china. Rather privileged and self-centred, he doesn’t much care for anything, and certainly doesn’t love anyone, other than himself. One day he is removed from his comfortable world and thrown into a remarkable adventure. There, he meets lots of different people, and he experiences many different circumstances that make him re-think his life and who he is. I have to admit, this book is one of my all-time favourite stories! I never get bored reading it. The story is so well written, and aloof Edward is a wonderful character. It’s both funny and heartbreaking to read the problems he finds himself in, and to see how he changes as a result. I would recommend this book to anyone who likes adventures with great characters and a story that makes you think. Find this book here.


Other books by Kate DiCamillo

Kate DiCamillo Wikipedia

Video interview with Kate DiCamillo



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