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A dozen Australian stories for every child’s library

We’ve been brainstorming  a list of the dozen Australian books we’d want every child to have as part of their library.

The choice is huge, so we’ve had to narrow the field: these are books that celebrate Australia and Australians. Books that you could send to a child living on a desert island, or the other side of the world, or even in an Australian city, to show them something about us.

Which books would you add to this list?

My Place by Nadia Wheatley – Following the children who live at the same address in a Sydney suburb between 1788-1988, this superb book has much to tell us about our history and the experience of urban kids in Australia.

Magic Beach –  Our list just has to include a tale about time spent at the beach, and this is a gorgeous example which celebrates imaginative play. Alison Lester’s illustrations are stunning.

In the Bush – we’ve visited the beach, so now we ‘go bush’. This one is a hilarious take on a camping holiday, with lots of detail to explore on each page

Are we There Yet? – yes, we’ve included two Alison Lester books on the list! This is her story about the quintessential great Australian family road trip.

Possum Magic – moving on to animal stories, this is one of the best-loved and most charming imaginative tales featuring Australian animals, ever.

Diary of a Wombat – another animal story. Gorgeous, funny and informative, this is the true-life story of how Jackie French’s life was turned upside down by a baby wombat.

Warnayarra the Rainbow Snake – every child should be familiar with some Indigenous stories. There are many available now; this one is based on a story told by the Senior Boys Class at Lajamanu School, a bi-lingual school where Aboriginal children are taught to read and write their own language

A Fortunate Life, Sally’s Story, The Little Refugee and Playing Beatie Bow – wonderful books about Australian lives, past and present (three true stories and one classic novel)

My Grandma Lived in Gooligulch – rounding out our dozen, this picture book combines Australian animals, travel and a lot of fun, along with rollicking rhyme which plays on Australian place names. Author-illustrator Graeme Base was voted one of Australia’s favourite authors in a recent survey by our friends at Booktopia, and this is his most quintessentially ‘Australian’ book.


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