Explore the 2024 Program

Adventure Reading for Kids

Five books to take you on an adventure when you're stuck at home

For young bookworms holed up at home, finding a gripping new series to read is high on the priority list. Through her selection of thrilling adventure books, Amelia Lush invites readers to journey to drowned cities, get lost in labyrinths between worlds, meet a terrifying band of monster hunters, enlist in escapades with pirates, and roam an island of magic, wonder and destiny!

Here are five series by 2020 Festival guests that I absolutely love, perfect for independent readers aged 7–14 or to read aloud with the whole family.
Amelia Lush, Head of Children’s and YA Programs, Sydney Writers' Festival

The Grimsdon Trilogy, Deborah Abela

This phenomenal sci-fi series set in an apocalyptic, drowned city is gripping, exciting and incredibly relevant for kids aged nine and up. Inspired by the author’s frustration with the lack of government action on climate change and with a wonderful cast of characters sure to connect with young readers, this series is full of wild weather, rescue eagles and bounty hunters that will hold kids’ attention.

Ages 9+

The Storm Keeper's Island, Catherine Doyle

Catherine Doyle’s stunning series is steeped in Irish folklore and mythology and was inspired by her own family history and ancestral home of Arranmore Island. Perfect for young fans of Katherine Rundell and Philip Pullman, this magical adventure has all the hallmarks of a modern classic. Catherine deftly weaves together tension and humour into an immersive seaside story, making it a perfect family read-aloud series. This tale of the remarkable bravery and destiny of Fionn Boyle – the next Storm Keeper of Arranmore Island – will be loved by kids aged nine and up.

Ages 9+

Atticus Van Tasticus, Andrew Daddo

Atticus Van Tasticus narrowly escapes a boring life of school when he inherits a PIRATE SHIP from his Grandnan. A swashbuckling life on the high seas with a tough and brilliant crew is surely what now awaits him … right? This absurd and joyful new series from Andrew Daddo and Stephen Michael King is one of my favourite recent releases for young readers – kids will be giggling and entranced within just a few pages. Atticus is sure to become the most infamous 10-year-old pirate in children’s literature! 

Ages 7+

The Jane Doe Chronicles, Jeremy Lachlan

Jane Doe is the wise-cracking, puzzle-solving, curse-dodging hybrid of Lara Croft and Indiana Jones that I wish I had been able to read about when I was 12. Jane Doe and the Key of All Souls is the second book in this series by Jeremy Lachlan, and at more than 400 pages each, they are the highly immersive books perfect for the voracious reader stuck at home right now. When Jane’s father is pulled into a labyrinth between worlds, Jane must navigate family secrets, deadly booby traps and a menacing man with an army to rescue him and bring him home.

Ages 10+

The Narroway Trilogy, Rhiannon Williams

For fans of epic fantasy quests, this trilogy featuring young heroine Ottilie Colter is sure to meet requirements! When Ottilie’s younger brother Gully is forcibly recruited into a secret organisation of monster hunters, she is forced to disguise herself and go undercover in an attempt to rescue him. Training alongside these hunters, Ottilie and Gully bide their time waiting for the perfect opportunity to escape. But with terrible monsters and fierce enemies surrounding them, will their moment ever come?

Ages 9+