Check out this list of books for young learners by Australian authors to include at your centre.
Introducing children to the joys and wonders of reading before they head off to primary school can make all the difference in their futures. Integrating reading time into the everyday routine of children at your centre offers many benefits to these young minds. As a child reads, their brain develops, their imagination expands and their language skills improve.
Reading has proven to enhance young children’s ability to think and understand. Children build memory, problem-solving and decision-making skills that assist their cognitive development when they read. We’ve rounded up a list of children’s books by Australian authors that will surely spark a child’s interest and love for reading.
Several books on this list have well-known Australian themes, settings or characters, while others are simply remarkable books by outstanding Oz authors.
The Wombat books series (Bruce Whatley and Jackie French)
The series began with Diary of a Wombat in 2003 and has now grown to include Christmas Wombat, Baby Wombat’s Week, Wombat Goes to School, Grandma Wombat, Happy Birthday Wombat and several more. Diary of a Wombat won the Picture Book of the Year Honour in 2003. This book follows the adventures of a fun, kind-hearted and friendly creature through beautiful and delightfully entertaining illustrations. An extraordinary creative collaboration was born in 2002 when Bruce Whatley, an Australian author and illustrator for children, collaborated with author Jackie French.
The Bad Guys, Pig the Pug and Thelma the Unicorn (Aaron Blabey)
The Bad Guys, Pig the Pug and Thelma the Unicorn are among Blabey’s hugely successful series for children and have become New York Times bestsellers.
“The Bad Guys” is a series of graphic novels that follows the story of a gang of “bad guys”, Mr Wolf, Mr Piranha, Mr Snake, Mr Shark and Ms Tarantula, who strive to become heroes but fail hilariously. This was Blabey’s biggest success and has even been adapted into an animated film. You can use this series to teach children about how they have the power to do good things and make the right decisions.
The “Pig the Pug” series is written in playful rhyme with fun, colourful illustrations following the adventures of Pig, a pug who learns the value of sharing, honesty, sportsmanship and other valuable lessons through his adventures.
“Thelma the Unicorn” is the heartwarming story of a pony who dreams of becoming a glamorous unicorn. It teaches children valuable lessons about embracing your true self and being proud of who you are.
Possum Magic (Mem Fox)
Possum Magic is Australia’s best-selling children’s book of all time, with over three and a half million sales. It’s a highly-regarded and award-winning picture book for children. It tells the story of Grandma Poss and Hush. Grandma uses her magic to make Hush invisible and protect her from Australian bush dangers. The book follows their journey around Australia to find the magic food that will make Hush visible again. Children will learn to appreciate Australia’s beauty, culture and food through this narrative quest.
Who Sank the Boat? (Pamela Allen)
The story revolves around five friends, a cow, a donkey, a sheep, a pig and a tiny mouse, who decided to take a boat out on the bay. They all carefully try to board the boat, but ultimately it sinks. This read-aloud book will encourage participation among children when you ask them, ‘Who Sank the Boat?’ every time a new animal gets on board. This story will engage children and help them exercise their critical thinking skills and reasoning.
The Rainbow Serpent (Dick Roughsey)
A timeless classic and a famous aboriginal creation story, the Rainbow Serpent is a tale of a serpent who travelled below the ground and created mountains and gorges along his journey. It is a myth that will introduce children to the creation of the world, the seasons and the aboriginal people’s relationships with the land and human communities.
Edward the Emu (Sheena Knowles)
We meet Edward the emu, who is bored at the zoo. We follow his discoveries as he tries to become something else. He wants to be a different animal, so he lives like others. He tries swimming with seals, lounging with lions and slithering with snakes. But after experiencing the life of other animals, he learns that the best animal he could be is himself. This is a great story to teach children about the importance of loving and accepting oneself.
Blinky Bill (Dorothy Wall)
One of the most-loved characters in Australian children’s literature is the adorable, mischievous koala, Blinky Bill, who embarks on adventures with his friends in the fictional Australian country town of Greenpatch. This classic was first published in 1933 and quickly became a favourite. Blinky Bill has never gone out of print and is considered a quintessential Aussie classic that has made its way onto television screens and toy shelves.
These are just a few examples of the wonderful books created by Australian authors that your centre can introduce to children. Whether you’re looking to teach children about aboriginal culture, the importance of being yourself or the power of literature, there’s a book out there for children at your centre.
Sharing what books you’re reading to children at your centre with parents via an educator app, like Playground, is a great way to keep parents in the loop so they can continue the conversation at home.