Children’s publisher Cate Sutherland picks her 2019 new release highlights

After a bright and busy 2018, well, I really didn’t think it could get any better. But a flurry of picture books, debut authors, familiar faces and award-winners look set to fly off the shelves this year.

Kelly Canby’s next book Rodney (1 March) is the tale of a small tortoise with a big dream. All of the other animals he encounters live high up in the treetops, or are much taller than him. But Rodney’s dream of a life up high takes him to some unexpected places. On 1 May we’ll publish Violet and Nothing by Fiona Burrows. Violet is a little girl with very big ideas. She searches high and low to find the answer to the question, what is nothing? A vibrant, colourful and thought-provoking story.

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Another highlight is Antarctica by Moira Court (1 November). Moira has illustrated a number of picture books with Fremantle Press authors, but this time she’s flying solo. A fun and beautiful book that explores the animals and other wildlife of Antarctica through clever counting and lyrical prose.


On 1 July our junior fiction highlight comes in the form of Dr Helen Milroy’s Indigenous tales, Wombat, Mudlark and Other Stories. With detailed illustrations, this collection of stories explores the power of friendship and the wonder of the natural world.

Debut author Heather Waugh’s junior fantasy title The Lost Stone of SkyCity (1 October) sees one young girl embark on an epic journey to save her friend. Along the way, she must tackle five tests to realise the true value of friendship.

Norman Jorgensen is back with a rollicking tale of mischief on the high seas in the follow-up to the hugely popular The Smuggler’s Curse. The Wreckers’ Revenge (1 June) sees Red Read whisked off again by Captain Black Bowen, one of the most infamous smugglers to ever have plied the coast of northern Australia.

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From an old favourite to a new and exciting voice. Kathryn Lefroy (yes, she is related to Mike and Joy) will publish her first book for children, Alex and the Alpacas Save the World on 1 May. Alex is a feisty, adventurous and curious kid who realises there’s something a bit odd going on when the alpacas on her grandfather’s farm start to talk. A gripping and mystical adventure that has its roots in folklore and nature.

We’re delighted to see Julia Lawrinson return to Fremantle Press with her new book, Maddie in the Middle (1 September). Maddie is determined to be friends with the new girl at school. But as she gets closer to Samara, she realises her new friend has a secret, and soon Maddie is caught up in a web of deceit and crime, but is it for the right reasons?

Our YA titles for 2019 are all about honesty, intimacy and mental health awareness. Jon Doust’s Miles Franklin Literary Award longlisted novel Boy on a Wire is available now in a new YA edition. It is the story of one boy’s attempt to understand the world around him and come to terms with the beginnings of depression as he’s packed off to boarding school. Jack Muir must find his way in a world dominated by bullies.

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Driving into the Sun by Marcella Polain is a poignant, evocative novel exploring a young girl’s growth into adolescence after the trauma of losing her father. Told from the perspective of 11-year-old Orla, Polain delves into what it is to be a young, grief-filled girl in late-1960s Perth, and the threats and obstacles that women must deal with without a male figure to protect them.

Last but by no means least, our City of Fremantle T.A.G. Hungerford Award winner Holden Sheppard’s debut novel, Invisible Boys (1 October). A snappy, contemporary exploration of the risks of coming out as gay in a Western Australian country town, Invisible Boys tackles everything from sexuality to suicide, mates to mental health.

Books discussed
Violet and Nothing
Boy on a Wire
Driving into the Sun
The Smuggler's Curse
The Wreckers' Revenge
Wombat, Mudlark and Other Stories

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