Children & Young Adult Staff Picks - February 2023

We hope you enjoy this month's selection of children and young adult books that our librarians recommend. 

Children's Non-fiction

Sex is a funny word by Cory Silverberg

Much more than the "facts of life" or “the birds and the bees," Sex Is a Funny Word opens up conversations between young people and their caregivers in a way that allows adults to convey their values and beliefs while providing information about boundaries, safety, and joy.

A comic book for kids that includes children and families of all makeups, orientations, and gender identities, Sex Is a Funny Word is an essential resource about bodies, gender, and sexuality for children ages 8 to 10 as well as their parents and caregivers.     

“Not your typical book about sex for kids, this fun, honest volume covers the topic in new and exciting ways. Sex Is a Funny Word provides a framework of foundational information about bodies, gender, and touch, and then invites young readers and their adults to talk to each other in order to "fill in the blanks" with beliefs, values, and connections to family history, culture, and community. This book isn't actually about sex: It's about providing a foundation for kids to understand sex as a big, multifaceted life experience.” – Common Sense Media

Lots : The diversity of life on earth by Nicola Davies

This is a really beautiful and simple book about diversity.

There are living things everywhere: the more we look, the more we find. There are creatures on the tops of the tallest jungle trees, at the bottom of the coldest oceans, even under the feathers of birds and in boiling volcanic pools. So how many different kinds are there? One, two, three ... lots!

Children's Fiction

Bindi by Kirli Saunders

I really enjoyed reading this to my kids (6 & 7 yrs at the time). It’s different and easy to read. Also great intro to poetry. A good mix of words and pictures.

Meet 11-year-old Bindi. She's not really into maths but LOVES art class and playing hockey. Her absolute FAVOURITE thing is adventuring outside with friends or her horse, Nell. A new year starts like normal--school, family, hockey, dancing. But this year hasn't gone to plan! There's a big art assignment, a drought, a broken wrist AND the biggest bushfires her town has ever seen!

The Puffin Keeper by Michael Morpurgo

Another book I enjoyed reading to my kids. A good mix of words and pictures.  

It was Benjamin Postlethwaite's job all his long life to make sure the light shone brightly high up in the lighthouse on Puffin Island. Not once in all his years as the lighthouse keeper had he ever let his light go out. But sometimes even the brightest light on a lighthouse cannot save a ship. This is a story of a life-changing friendship, a lost puffin, and a lonely artist. It's the story of an entire lifetime, and how one event can change a life forever. From masterful storyteller, Michael Morpurgo, and world-class illustrator, Benji Davies, comes a magical new story. This truly beautiful tale will enchant readers of all ages.

Children's Picture Book

After the fall by Dan Santat

I love this book, it is in my top 10 picture books. Beautiful illustrations and the best take on humpty dumpty I have come across. This is one I hope to read to my grandchildren.

Everyone knows that when Humpty Dumpty sat on a wall, Humpty Dumpty had a great fall. But what happened afterwards? Caldecott Medalist Dan Santat's poignant tale follows Humpty Dumpty, an avid birdwatcher whose favourite place to be is high up on the city wall - that is, until after his famous fall. Now terrified of heights, Humpty can longer do many of the things he loves most. Will he summon the courage to face his fear? This masterful picture book will remind readers of all ages that life begins when you get back up.

Everybody needs a rock by Byrd Baylor

Really interesting illustrations and beautiful story. This is my favourite Byrd story. Relatable to everyone who appreciates a good rock.

Describes the qualities to consider in selecting the perfect rock for play and pleasure.

The Rabbit Listened by Cori Doerrfeld

I loved this book before I started working in the library and I brought a copy for kindy.

When Taylor's block castle is destroyed, all the animals think they know just what to do, but only the rabbit quietly listens to how Taylor is feeling.

Young Adult Non-fiction

Honest : everything they don't tell you about sex, relationships and bodies by Milly Evans

Being a teen is tough enough without having to navigate the minefields of discovering sex, love and bodies. And let's be real: sex education at school doesn't always cut it. Sex educator and journalist Milly Evans is here to help - as a young adult who is still figuring life out, she knows exactly what teens are going through. And she's here with answers to all those questions that aren't in their school textbooks. From orgasms to anatomy, gender identity to masturbation, positive relationships to first times, it's all here, and in candid detail. With playful and informative black-and-white illustrations by Lucia Picerno throughout, HONEST is the searingly frank, inclusive and witty guide that every 21st century teenager needs. Enough foreplay! Let's do this.

Quick and easy guide to consent by Isabella Rotman

Yes means yes instead of no means no?

This book is amazing, it clearly covers gender dynamics prevalent in our culture that needs to change. For the older young person who doesn’t want a book tailored to younger people it is straight to the point and 16+. As an adult I enjoyed this book as it identified culture and gender dynamics very clearly. Book is recommended for 16+

A quick, easy and important educational illustrated guide to giving and receiving consent in sex, relationships, and other physical contact. Includes tips on what affirmative consent looks like, advocating for what you want, and setting boundaries that honor your comfort and safety. The result is a positive resource illustrating how easy it really is to respect each other's bodies and desires.

One girl, one dream by Laura Dekker 

Inspiring story which was then made in to a doco. Laura now lives in NZ too and you can check out what she has been up to since her epic adventure.

The amazing autobiographical account of the youngest ever solo circumnavigation of the Earth. Aged just 14, New Zealand-born Laura Dekker defied the authorities and braved the open oceans to realise her dream of becoming the youngest ever sailor to circumnavigate the Earth. When she finished the journey she was still only 16, the youngest ever person to achieve this feat. Her extraordinary story is both a real-life adventure for all ages, and an inspirational account of how a free spirit and will to succeed can accomplish anything.