Nella provides some great titles that she bought for Christmas gifts and they should inspire, amuse and enthral kids of all ages. Some of these may not end up as gifts for others but will sit under her tree and then slip onto her bookshelf!
For younger readers
The Fabulous Friend Machine by Nick Bland, Scholastic.
Popcorn is the friendliest chicken at Fiddlestick’s Farm, until she finds a Fabulous Friend Machine (mobile phone) in the barn.
As Francie and Mum drive home in the rain, Francie seeks inspiration for the name of her new baby sister.
George Laurent, the cap wearing duck/baker is far too busy to go anywhere with his friends. Or maybe it’s because he can’t fly. With illustrations reminiscent of Herman and Rosie, have a sneak at all the details, courtesy of the the author.
For readers 9+
Elizabeth and her father are moving to his childhood home after her mother leaves them for a more ‘adventure-filled’ life. Zenobia, Elizabeth’s 'not-an-imaginary best friend', goes with them. Then Elizabeth stumbles on a mystery.
A Most Magical Girl by Karen Foxlee Piccadilly Press.
Set in Victoria London. Annabel Grey has been brought up as a proper young lady but when she is sent to live with her aunts, she discovers she’s magical. Aided by Kitty, a street urchin, she struggles against a villain who plans to take over the world with dark magic.
When his mother “sells” him to the infamous Captain Bowen of the Black Dragon, Red Read’s life becomes an adventure filled with smugglers, pirates, and dastardly and murderous Dutch imperialists. Thrilling though maybe not for the squeamish.
The Bone Sparrow Zana Fraillon, Lothian.
This one has been out a while and made awards list in the UK. Subhi was born in an Australian immigration detention centre after his mother and sister fled their home country. Life behind the fence is tough and violent. One night when he can’t sleep and is wandering the camp, Subhi comes across a young girl – she has shoes, a backpack, a torch – she is from Outside.
Gemina by Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff, Allen & Unwin.Second in the Illuminae Files. Continues the struggles of Hannah (the Captain's daughter) and Nik (criminal family) on board a space station. Sci-fi at its best. Watch the video for an intro to Book 1: Illuminae.
Words in Deep Blue by Cath Crowley, Pan Macmillan.
After moving away and losing touch with her friends, Rachel Sweetie returns to town. She is working at Howling Books, grieving for her brother Cal, and trying not to be in love with Henry Jones.
Tell the Truth, Shame the Devil by Melina Marchetta, Viking.
Bish Ortley, a suspended policeman, finds himself the British liaison in the aftermath of a bomb attack on a bus full of students including his daughter. And there’s a link to a notorious terrorist attack of the past.
For other gift ideas, try the CBCA eStore for beautiful cards by Feya Blackwood, or support your local Tasmania authors with ideas for Christmas at Tassie books.