Our Favourite Reads of 2022 (Young reader version!)

Here, the Words on the Waves committee suggest the books that kids and teens won’t be able to put down from their favourites of 2022. (Check out the adult version here)

As always, if you are inspired to grab any of these for a summer read or gift, we encourage you to shop at your local independent bookstore. In the words of the great Neil Gaiman: “What I say is, a town isn’t a town without a bookstore. It may call itself a town, but unless it’s got a bookstore, it knows it’s not foolin’ a soul.”

Runt by Craig Silvey
This is such a special, enjoyable, poignant book. The story of courageous and determined Annie Shearer, and her adopted stray dog Runt, trying to save the family home, is utterly beautiful. It is written for children but it made my heart sing as an adult reader, and there is much in the broader context of the story about drought, family dynamics, community, bravery, greed and power, to satisfy. A triumph. Ages 8+ (Mary-Jayne)

The Inheritance Games trilogy by Jennifer Lynn Barnes
As soon as I picked up the first book in the trilogy I was hooked. A fantastic holiday read about a teenager (Avery Grambs) who is suddenly bequeathed the entire fortune of a billionaire when he dies. She has no idea why. Nor does his four grandsons. It’s a wild ride in a world of wealth, fame and privilege that keeps you guessing until the very end. I particularly loved how Barnes creates her characters with such distinct voices and personas. One for the beach, or the back garden, with a glass of your favourite beverage! Ages 13+ (Marie)

Charlie’s Swim by Charmaine Ledden-Lewis
Charlie’s Swim is the true story of proud Bardi man Charles D’Antoine (author Edith Wright’s Uncle Charlie) risking his own life to save a drowning mother and child in World War II Broome. For readers aged 4 to 8, this important First Nations historical story of courage and selflessness is spectacularly brought to life by Charmaine Ledden-Lewis in a series of heartbreakingly beautiful illustrations. All ages, but particularly 8+ due to content. (Fiona)

A Reluctant Witch’s Guide to Magic by Shivaun Plozza
This middle-grade fantasy is a real treat if you’re looking for a quirky and hilarious mystery (with heart) about a girl called Willa who discovers she has magic, and she’s really not happy about it. I loved being in this world of raining frogs, cursed objects and chaotic spells with a mind of their own. Great stocking filler! Ages 8 – 12 (Marie)


Sugar Town Queens by Malla Nunn
Malla Nunn’s Sugar Town Queens has a wonderfully wilful cast of women across three generations in post-Mandela South Africa. Racism, injustice, misogyny and violence are balanced perfectly by the humorous and relatable multi-racial friendship of fifteen-year-old protagonist Amandla and her friends Lil Bit and Goodness. This student choice winner of the CBCA Book of the Year for Older Readers is a real page-turner that keeps you guessing until the end. Ages 13+ (Fiona)

The Words on the Waves Kids & Schools Program rebrands as Ripples in 2023, and will offer Secondary Schools sessions in addition to Primary Schools and a free Family Fun Day. The program will be revealed early 2023 (Hint: some of the above authors will be appearing!).