Your Kid’s Next Read podcast celebrates 150 episodes

Your Kid’s Next Read podcast celebrates 150 episodes

As usual, I’m late to my own party because the Your Kid’s Next Read podcast celebrated 150 episodes on March 27th and here I am sharing the news right before episode 152 drops tomorrow.

You can listen to episode 150 here.

I’m sure you’ll be unsurprised by this situation – after all, I’m a known under-celebrator from way back – but I’m feeling bad about this one.

The truth is, I’m really proud of this podcast.


Your Kid's Next Read podcast


My co-host Megan Daley and I began the podcast as a natural extension of the Your Kid’s Next Read Facebook community, which we founded in 2017, along with author Allison Rushby.

We thought the podcast would give a voice to the conversations and engagement from our thriving group – and it turns out we were right.

At the time the podcast began, I was still co-hosting the So You Want To Be A Writer podcast with Valerie Khoo, and I loved doing both, but I’d been with SYWTBAW for seven years and I was, frankly, tired.

My first love is children’s literature and I was watching the spaces given over to the discussion and promotion of Australia’s children’s literature shrinking.

I was also watching our literacy rates and results dropping, and an increasing number of desperate parents/carers/educators/other interested parties flocking to the Your Kid’s Next Read community to try to find ways (and books) to keep their kids interested in reading.

So I decided to focus on the Your Kid’s Next Read podcast and I truly believe that Megan and I have created something special.

Yes, we discuss children’s books (from board books to YA), reading, and writing, but our conversations (the Quality Waffle) take us upwards, downwards and sideways into parenting, teacher-librarian life and advocacy, education, honey, cooking, gardening, the joys (and challenges) of teens, our wonderful author interviews and so much more.

If you haven’t yet had a listen, it’s a great time to jump on board.

And if you are a part of our community of listeners, thank you SO much for being part of our conversations.

We love that we go walking with you, and fold the washing with you, and ferry the kids around with you.

We love it when you talk back to us via reviews and via the Facebook community.

We love making Australian children’s literature a part of your week.

Even if we do forget to celebrate that sometimes…


a l tait profileAre you new here? Welcome to my blog! I’m Allison Tait, aka A.L. Tait, and I’m the author of middle-grade series, The Mapmaker Chronicles, The Ateban Cipher, and the Maven & Reeve Mysteries. My latest novel THE FIRST SUMMER OF CALLIE McGEE is out now. You can find out more about me here, and more about my books here.

If you’re looking for book recommendations for young readers, join the Your Kid’s Next Read Facebook community, tune in to the Your Kid’s Next Read podcast and sign up for the Your Kid’s Next Read newsletter

New A. L. Tait novel in 2025

New A. L. Tait novel in 2025

I’m excited to announce that I’ve signed a contract with Scholastic Australia for a new A. L. Tait novel, to be published in 2025.

I can’t wait to work once again with publisher Laura Sieveking and the rest of the Scholastic team – the same team who fell in love with Callie McGee and brought her so successfully into the world in 2023!

It’s my 10th contract and just as thrilling to me as the first one I signed all those years ago – though, these days everything is done digitally, meaning I have to get more creative with my photos…

I’ll share more details when I can!

In the meantime, if you haven’t read THE FIRST SUMMER OF CALLIE McGEE, have a look!

Best middle grade books 2023











a l tait profileAre you new here? Welcome to my blog! I’m Allison Tait, aka A.L. Tait, and I’m the author of middle-grade series, The Mapmaker Chronicles, The Ateban Cipher, and the Maven & Reeve Mysteries. My latest novel THE FIRST SUMMER OF CALLIE McGEE is out now. You can find out more about me here, and more about my books here.

If you’re looking for book recommendations for young readers, join the Your Kid’s Next Read Facebook community, tune in to the Your Kid’s Next Read podcast and sign up for the Your Kid’s Next Read newsletter

The YKNR Community’s Favourite Bookshops

The YKNR Community’s Favourite Bookshops

Following recent comments, widely covered in the media, from an Australian independent bookseller, we asked the Your Kid’s Next Read community to recommend their favourite Australian bookshops for children’s literature.

The places they go for a wide range of diverse and interesting stories of all kinds, advice and a warm welcome.

Well, we were INUNDATED with glowing responses and reviews, and have put them into a list for easy reference (and so you can plan your Bookshops Of Australia roadtrip).

And yes, we’ve included some New Zealand and online favourites as well.

Click the bookshop name for their website, Instagram or Facebook page, and address details. Enjoy!



Best children's bookshops VictoriaYKNR FAVE BOOKSHOPS: VICTORIA

The Little Bookroom, Fitzroy. “The oldest children’s bookshop in the southern hemisphere, I believe. Family run and brimming with all kinds of books. During the long covid lockdowns in Melbourne we could buy a book online in the morning and they would deliver it to you by bicycle that afternoon.” – Georgina

Squishy Minnie, Kyneton. … is amazing!! Really progressive and eclectic range of books for kids and teens.– Renee

The Younger Sun Bookshop, Yarraville.

The Kid’s Bookshop, Mitcham. “They’re wonderful!” – Kirsten

Bookish, Bendigo.Wonderful, friendly, knowledgeable staff.” – Carol

Farrells Bookshop, Mornington. “Staff that I absolutely adore and such a huge range of Kidlit!” – Danielle

Collins Booksellers, Croydon. “An extensive and diverse children’s section which is very popular. I love seeing kids searching for books there!” – Heather

Avenue Bookstore, Elsternwick. “Next level awesome!” – Claire

Jeffreys Books, Malvern. “So supportive of local authors, always friendly and helpful staff, and have an amazing collection of kids books.” – Romi

Great Escape Books, Airey’s Inlet. “One of our faves! Nicole and the team are brilliant.” – Kylie

The Leaf Bookshop, Ashburton. “Delightful and always well stocked.” – Madeline

Turn the Page, Cowes. “A number of times I’ve phoned them to help me organise birthday presents for my nephews for them to pick up from the store after school. They’re amazing.” – Melissa

Beaumaris Books, Beaumaris.…is great! That’s where I get a lot of stuff.” – George

Reader’s Emporium, Traralgon. “Very supportive of authors and readers.” – Susan

SchoolWorks, Bairnsdale. “Also an educational bookshop [and] has a great range of childrens books and local author books.”Charlotte

Pictures and Pages, Coburg.You rock!” – Lauren

North Melbourne Books, North Melbourne. “A small local bookstore with good selection.” – Zannatul

Enchanted Years, Williamstown.[It’s] a gorgeous shop! Laura is fabulous…” – Michelle

Bookgrove, Ocean Grove.

The Bookshop at Queenscliff, Queenscliff.

Escape Hatch Books, Kew. “We discovered Fran and this gem of a store while visiting the school uniform shop across the road years and years ago and she has always been wonderful and welcoming and has worked to make the bookshop about community, as much as books and reading, which is what so many of the wonderful bookshops on this list do everyday.” – Kylie

Torquay Books, Wadawurrung. “Lynne and her team are knowledgeable, friendly and helpful!” – Fran

Collins Books, Shepparton. “Not my local bookshop, but it is my Dad’s and they are also very helpful when I visit with him and my kids.– Sally

Edgars Books & News, Wangaratta.Is wonderful! What a great travel itinerary visiting each of these stores would make.– Lisbeth

Readings, Melbourne. “My forever bookshop. A wonderful selection of kids books at all their stores in Melbourne and a dedicated kids bookshop in Carlton!” – Vanessa

Cook & Young Booksellers, Southland.It’s my local and they have so many graphic novels, it’s pretty great!– Anna



The Mad Hatters Bookshop, Manly. “A tiny but very well stocked store with super knowledgeable and friendly staff.” – Erin

Where The Wild Things Are Bookshop, West End. “A kids’ book shop with an amazing and diverse range of books and lovely, widely read booksellers.” – Sarah

Riverbend Books, Bulimba.Riverbend and its staff have given me so many years of wonderful children’s literature events and recommendations as well as a space in Bulimba to escape the hustle and bustle, browse the shelves and chat with other lovers of childrens and YA literature. A true treasure in the heart of Brisbane!” – Megan

Little Gnome, Wynnum.

Bright And Early Books, Ascot. “Owner Cholm is an experienced educator and his bookstore has a great mix of adult, children’s and YA titles along with watercolour classes and literacy classes for a young audience.” – Murray

Book Face, Pacific Fair, Gold Coast.

Under the Greenwood Tree, Tamborine North. “Tiny, delightful, and full of every thing.” – Sarah

Annie’s Books, Peregian.

The Junction Bookstore, Noosa Heads.

Berkelouw Books, Eumundi. “Love their variety of children’s books (and grown up books).” – Michelle

The Little Book Nook, Palmwoods.

Rosetta Books, Maleny.

Quick Brown Fox Bookshop, Grange. “Absolutely delightful!” – Sharolyn

Dymock’s, Indooroopilly. “I know it’s a chain, but the staff are incredibly kind and helpful whenever my daughter and I go in.– Rachel

Scrumptious Reads, Paddington.

Books@Stones, Stones Corner. “Karen and Michael are so welcoming.” – Louise

 The Book Tree, Toowoomba. “It’s lovely.” – Sarah

Shelf Lovers, Wooloowin. “A fully inclusive and representative bookshop for everybody. They run some awesome events, too – drag storytime for one!” – Lucy

Pulp Fiction Books, Queen St Mall, Brisbane.

Under Blue Skies Bookshop, Mareeba. “A fab little bookstore in our town.” – Theresa



Better Read Than Dead, Newtown.

Hill Of Content, Balmain.

Gleebooks, Glebe. “A fabulous selection and a brilliant Children’s Book specialist who can recommend books for your child, tween or teen.” – Kate

Abbey’s Bookshop, Sydney. “Always terrific.” – Belinda

The Constant Reader, Crows Nest. “A fabulous bookshop and now has a separate kids bookshop next door!– Alison

Big Sky Stories and One More Page Book Emporium, Broken Hill.Living remotely we would be lost without the lovely Jane who recommends and orders in all sorts of lovely books for us and then even posts them out when we won’t be in town again soon.” – Michelle

Books on East, Narrandera. “It’s fantastic.” – Caroline

 Humphreys, Manly.A terrific kids’ section and their bookseller Wendy is brilliant.” – Pip

Dymock’s, Nowra.

The Turning Page, Springwood NSW.

Novella Fine Books, Cards and Gifts, Wahroonga.

Book Face, Erina. “Always beautiful, excited and helpful.” – Fiona

The Book Warehouse, Lismore.

 The Bookshop Bowral, Bowral.  “[One] of my favourites.” – Stephanie

Boobook On Owen, Huskisson.

Wax Lyrical Bookstore, Berry.

Harbour Bookshop, Ulladulla.

Collins Booksellers, Thirroul.



Red Kangaroo Books, Alice Springs. “The place to go in Mparntwe/Alice Springs. They are always happy to order books in and are great supporters of Territory and Australian writers.” – Deborah

The Bookshop Darwin, Darwin. “Large selection of children’s novels and picture books including new releases and classics. Features local authors.” – Veronica



The Book Cow, Kingston. “Fabulous collection of kids books and super supportive of local authors.” – Stephanie




The Hobart Bookshop.

Petrarch’s Bookshop, Launceston. “Amazing.” – Kate

Fullers Bookshop, Hobart. “Love them!!!” – Jessie

Dymocks, Hobart. “They are incredible and always go above and beyond.” – Kate

Cracked and Spineless New and Used Books, Hobart.  “Wonderful, weird and passionate.” – Kate

Not Just Books, Burnie.



Page & Turner, Myer Centre, Adelaide. “We happily spent an hour or so, found a full set of a new series – Warriors – here, and if we hadn’t had people waiting for us we would have spent longer there!” – Katy

Shakespeare’s Bookshop, Blackwood. “Well-stocked with amazing kids (and non-kids) books from diverse authors, including local talent.” – Hannah

Matilda Bookshop, Stirling.

Imprints Booksellers, Adelaide. Great for older readers.” – Jane

Dillions Norwood Bookshop, Norwood.

Pegi Williams Book Shop, Adelaide.

Greenlight Comics, Adelaide. “Amazing for graphic novels.” – Ruth

Dymocks, Glenelg.

Mostly Books, Mitcham Square. “They’re always nice to me and have a good range of books (also will order if they don’t have the thing). They are openly queer/trans affirming at times and have some cool older books like Angela Davis books.” – Agata



Rabble Books & Games, Maylands. “They also have an online shop. They have the most diverse range and are always happy to talk books and games that might be suitable for your needs.” – Aileen

Paper Bird Children’s Books and Arts, Fremantle. “Fabulous place and so much more than a bookshop. It even has its own Narnia!” – Jan

Beaufort Street Books, Mount Lawley. “Runs amazing kids and youth book clubs, story time and has wonderful employees.” – Melissa

Dymock’s, Subiaco. “[There’s} a Pride wall, a local authors display, a First Nations wall, and more. There’s lots of love in the store.” – Shannon



Scorpio Books, Christchurch. “A great one (especially because they have a dedicated children’s shop across the alley from the grownup bookshop)! I found some podcast recs in there, as well as receiving some employee recs and a teacher discount (what a lovely bonus?!)” – Shelley

Unity Books, Wellington. “They have a buyer just for their kids’ book selection.– Averil

Little Unity Books, Auckland. “Amazing staff, cute store in a cool street downtown.” – Tania

Dorothy Butler Children’s Bookstore, Ponsonby, Auckland

The Children’s Bookshop, Wellington. “Amazing.” – Louise



Bin Chicken Books. “An incredible source for preloved books and the owner constantly champions own voice’s literature. She’s bloody excellent at recommendations too.” – Haylee

Amplify Bookstore. “All about diversity and POC representation and authors.” – Lisa

Plus, a shout-out for public libraries – if you haven’t been to yours for a while, the community recommends a visit.


a l tait profileAre you new here? Welcome to my blog! I’m Allison Tait, aka A.L. Tait, and I’m the author of middle-grade series, The Mapmaker Chronicles, The Ateban Cipher, and the Maven & Reeve Mysteries. My latest novel THE FIRST SUMMER OF CALLIE McGEE is out now. You can find out more about me here, and more about my books here.

If you’re looking for book recommendations for young readers, join the Your Kid’s Next Read Facebook community, tune in to the Your Kid’s Next Read podcast and sign up for the Your Kid’s Next Read newsletter

What 14 years of blogging has taught me

What 14 years of blogging has taught me

As of today, I’ve been blogging for 14 years.

That’s right, my blog is not only a teenager but well and truly entering the ‘difficult’ years.

Which fits. It’s a lot surlier and harder to get started now than it was when I wrote my first post on 22 January 2010.

It’s also changed a lot since those early days.

My first post was all about how my move to the country had resulted in a lot more cooking in my life. Young children, fewer takeaway choices, and there I was, living in the Pink Fibro on the south coast. You can read it here – I keep it on this website because purely because of its place in my blogging history.

Speaking of blogging history, I haven’t written a blogoversary post like this for a few years. Not since my 10 Favourite Posts From 10 Years Of Blogging post.

As a contrast, you can read about the 12 things I learned in my first year of blogging here.

Or the 4 things I learned in my fourth year of blogging here.

Anyway, basic crux is that I’m a bit overdue one of these.


The two key things I’ve learned in 14 years of blogging


The first thing I realised when I sat down to write this post is how much my blogging style has changed over the years.

In the early days, I just blurted it all out, no subheads, no spacing, a dodgy image and pressed send.

But along the way I learned that subheads are essential for reading on the internet. And most of us just want to be able to skim the text and find what we want.

So I’ve broken all of my thoughts about this momentous occasion down into two key points for you, dropped in some keywords (yes, I learned about SEO along the way as well) and have whipped up a tidy social image because Canva came along and changed my life.

Fourteen years is a long time. I’m glad I learnt a few tricks along the way.

But of all the things I’ve learned, there are two key secrets.


Consistency is key

I’ve always said that that one of the best things about blogging is the recording of your own history – your thoughts, your voice, your influences, your life at any given time.

In the earliest days of this blog, I wrote every single day and when I read back some of those posts now (they’re not all here anymore) I can see Book Boy and Book Boy Jr as they were at two or five or seven or nine.

I am reminded of tiny moments in our lives that would be forever lost without the discipline of blogging.

For it is about discipline. It’s about observation and training yourself to spot ideas and finding your writing voice – but most of all it’s about the discipline of putting words on a page (screen though it may be) and creating a writing habit.

Today, my blog is much more focused on my author life.

I share my writing knowledge, I share my love of children’s books and reading, I bring together lists of books to help others discover Australian authors and literature, I offer those same authors a space to write their own thoughts and promote their own books.

My blog is different, but it’s still here.

As writers turn to platforms like Substack and Medium or look for places to share their words, I return here, time and time again.

Yes, video content has taken over, yes, things are ever-changing, but I am lucky to receive hundreds and hundreds of visitors every day to this website, drawn by the deep well of words in my thousands of posts.

I’ve used different social media platforms to help spread the word about my blog over the years, but, as we all know, they come and go – while my words remain.


Secrets of blogging


Community is everything

As my focus has shifted from freelance writing to writing novels, from hands-on parenting of small children to being the rock lighthouse that older kids need, from a podcast for writers to a podcast that supports those encouraging young readers (and writers), I come back here to my home on the internet.

And to the people who are here with me.

From the beginning, I have been lucky enough to have had the support of an engaged and enthusiastic community of readers, who have cheered on the publication of my nine novels, as well as the two non-fiction books that have been launched on this blog.

I thank each and every one of you, whether you’ve been here right from the start or you started reading today.

I’m not showing up every day in this space like I once did.

But I’m still showing up.



a l tait profileAre you new here? Welcome to my blog! I’m Allison Tait, aka A.L. Tait, and I’m the author of middle-grade series, The Mapmaker Chronicles, The Ateban Cipher, and the Maven & Reeve Mysteries. My latest novel THE FIRST SUMMER OF CALLIE McGEE is out now. You can find out more about me here, and more about my books here.

If you’re looking for book recommendations for young readers, join the Your Kid’s Next Read Facebook community, tune in to the Your Kid’s Next Read podcast and sign up for the Your Kid’s Next Read newsletter

Are you a writer? Find out more about my online writing courses here.

Subscribe to my newsletter for updates, insights and more amazing writing advice.

Or check out So You Want To Be A Writer (the book), where my co-author Valerie Khoo and I have distilled the best tips from hundreds of author and industry expert interviews. Find out more and buy it here.

There’s a lot, I know, but then, 14 years is a long time. 

Write 5000 words with me in January!

Write 5000 words with me in January!

It’s that time of year when our thoughts turn to words like GOALS, CHANGE and DREAMS.

If your dream is to write – ‘write more’, ‘write that novel’, ‘write something’, ‘get serious about writing’ or words to that effect – I’ve got the kickstart you need.

Join my Write With Allison Tait group now to participate in the #Fresh5000 31-day writing and creativity challenge throughout January.

Every day there’ll be a new prompt to kickstart your writing word count for the year or a challenge to expand your creative thinking.

By the end of January, if you stick with me, you’ll have added at least 5000 words to your work in progress, and have filled your creative well in new ways, too!

Join Write With Allison Tait here.


What is Write With Allison Tait?

Write With Allison Tait is an online writing group, facilitated through a Facebook group, and featuring two live Zooms each month:

• The Access Al Areas, which is an ‘Ask Me Anything’, offering an opportunity to talk about your writing progress with me and other group members, and ask any burning questions you may have about writing, editing, publishing, book publicity, podcasting, building an author platform and anything else you can think of.

• The Industry Insider, which is an intimate Q&A with an industry expert. Previous guests have included

authors, such as Dervla McTiernan, Kate Forsyth, Natasha Lester, Graeme Simsion, Anna Spargo Ryan, Rachael Johns, Ashleigh Barton, Meredith Jaffe, Pamela Cook, Angela Slatter

publishers, editors and agents, including Laura Sieveking (Scholastic Australia), Sophie Hamley (Hachette), Nicola O’Shea (freelance editor), Annabel Barker (literary agent),

industry professionals, such as Michelle Barraclough (author websites), Rah Gardiner (author’s assistant and tech), Anna Featherstone (indie publishing expert)

All Zoom sessions are recorded and remain accessible for members of the group to watch at any time.

The program for 2024 is shaping up with a bestselling children’s author, award-winning screenwriter, literary agent, publisher, and more in the mix.

On top of our Zooms, I also run at least two Creative Challenges each year to help you make progress with your manuscript. In 2023, we did the #Fresh5000 (January), the #Spark7000 (July) and #HaveAGoMo (November).


Who is the group for?

The group is for writers of all kinds, carrying on my philosophy from my years with the So You Want To Be A Writer podcast that we learn something from every writer we hear from, and I bring my own broad-ranging expertise (children’s author, non-fiction author, freelance writer, podcaster and interviewer) to the table.

In 2023, members of the group have been published in picture books, middle-grade and YA fiction, as well as historical fiction, commercial women’s fiction, romance, and more.

Whether you’re writing your first novel and trying to get to The End, you’ve written a manuscript and you’re wondering what to do next,  you’ve published a book (indie or traditional) and you want to know how to spread the word about it, you’re trying to write novel #2, you want to know more about what publishers want or how the industry works, or you need the encouragement and motivation of being part of a group of like-minded people, this group is for you.

If you’ve ever wanted to pick my brains or sit down for a coffee with me, it’s also for you.

Membership is $29.95 a month.

Find out all the details and join here.



Checking in with Write with Allison Tait is an essential part of my writing routine.

“I love being a member of Al’s online writing group (Write with Allison Tait).

“In addition to chatting with like minded people who encourage and lift each other up, Al is a constant and vibrant source of insider writing and publishing tips. Al’s abundance of knowledge and enthusiasm for the writing craft means that she can answer any queries thrown her way – and if she doesn’t know, will make it her priority to find out.

“I love the engaging zoom meetings where we discuss individual triumphs and difficulties; as well as the informative sessions with specialist guests including well known authors, publishers, editors and more. Checking in with Write with Allison Tait is an essential part of my writing routine.” – Lisa Heidke 


A generous mentor who has a lot to offer

“I have been a member of Write with Allison Tait online writing group since May 2022. WWAT is an inclusive and encouraging writing community offering a range of benefits to members. This includes engagement with industry experts from whom I have gained invaluable insights into the writing process. 

“Accountability is another key feature. Regular check-ins, writing challenges, and goal-setting exercises have motivated me and provided a sense of camaraderie.  

“Allison is a generous mentor who has a lot to offer given her extensive experience as a author, writing teacher and blogger.” – Pauline Wilson 

Join us! 


writing group Allison TaitAre you new here? Welcome to my blog! I’m Allison Tait and you can find out more about me here and more about my online writing courses here.

For full details about Write With Allison Tait, my online writing community offering Inspiration, Motivation, Information and Connection, go here

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