Junior Fiction

On this page you can find information about our junior fiction titles, for readers from about 7-10 and who no longer read chapter books, but still enjoy illustrations in their reading. We’re debuting this list in 2021 with a fabulous title from an award-winning team!

Fil and Harry

By Jenny Blackford

Illustrated by Kristin Devine

ISBN: 9780648815402, RRP: $15.99

Published by Christmas Press, May 2021

About the book:

Fil always suspected that her cat Harry could talk if he really tried. Sometimes she even dreamed about it. But it was still a shock when he did start talking, on the worst afternoon of her life – or one of them. She seemed to be having a lot of them lately.

Her friend Kirsten had ignored her all day at school, again, after spending the weekend at her place. Harry told her that her friend Kirsten was “selfishness personified”, and maybe he was right.

Things got worse after that. Grandma painted Fil’s older brother’s bedroom walls black, escalating tensions with Fil and Stephen’s stepmother Elspeth, who tried far too hard. And Kirsten soon showed her true colours, making Fil’s life even more difficult…

Harry was the only one in the family who knew the way out of the tangle.

Fresh, lively junior fiction by acclaimed author, Jenny Blackford, winner of the 2020 Davitt Award for Best Children’s Crime Novel, with fabulous pictures by emerging illustrator Kristin Devine, winner of the 2019 New England Illustration prize.

Read a review of the book here.

Read an interview with the author here and an interview with the illustrator here.

About the author

Jenny loves writing for kids, and often contributes poems and stories to The School Magazine. Her awards include the Thunderbolt Prize for Crime Poetry in 2017, and two first prizes in the Humorous Verse section of the Henry Lawson prizes.

Her previous novel from Christmas Press (in the Eagle Books imprint) was The Girl in the Mirror, a spidery, ghostly middle-grade mystery. It won the 2020 Davitt Award for Best Children’s Crime Novel.

Jenny lives in sunny Newcastle. She loves cats so much that she wrote a whole tiny book of cat poems, called The Duties of a Cat(Pitt Street Poetry) Her Ragdoll cat Felix has her twisted around his furry little paw. Now and then she dreams that he can talk.

About the illustrator:

Kristin Devine is an artist and illustrator from the New England region of NSW Australia.  She grew up in the small town of Inverell with her parents, three sisters and a veritable menagerie of pets.  She has a deep fascination with the natural world and loves to explore intricate specimens of flora and fauna through her drawings.  In 2019, she won first prize in the New England Illustration Prize, a national award for illustrators at all stages of their careers. Fil and Harry is the first children’s novel she has illustrated.