Who best to recommend books for the kids in your life than some of Australia’s leading children’s authors and illustrators? Better Reading asked for their recommendations to make your hunt for the perfect book that much easier.
This list was put together by New Zealand author Gareth Ward, a.k.a. The Great Wardini. Gareth is a magician, hypnotist, storyteller, bookseller and author. He has worked as a Royal Marine Commando, Police Officer, Evil Magician and Zombie – basically, any job where you get to wear a cool hat!
Gareth also runs two independent bookshops, Wardini Books and Wardini Books Napier with his wife Louise and son Max. The five titles below are some of his favourite books to recommend to adults and children that come into his bookstore:
Lockwood & Co: The Screaming Staircase – Jonathan Stroud
My favourite current series of books. Swash-buckling, ghost hunting kids with a sense of gothic noir. What’s not to love? (Ages 10+)
This Is Not My Hat – Jon Klassen
You just know a picture book that opens with “This is not my hat. I stole it” is going to be special. It teaches children not to steal, or possibly not to get caught stealing, or even not to trust crabs because they’ll snitch on you. All important life lessons I feel. (Ages 3+)
The Thunderbolt Pony– Stacy Gregg
A great story with young Evie on a mission to rescue her pony, cat and dog after an earthquake. I fell in love with the cat, Moxie, who was a wonderful character and has actually appeared several times in my dreams. (Ages 9+)
The Flying Furballs 1: Dog Fight– Donovan Bixley
Amusing characters, an engaging story (World War I but cats versus dogs) and brilliant illustrations, the Flying Furballs books are a pleasure to read. (Ages 6+)
The Princess In Black – Shannon Hale & Dean Hale
I find it refreshing that Magnolia can be a pink princess one moment and the kick-ass black princess the other. She’s not constrained by one role but is happy being what she needs to be at the time. (Ages +)
The Traitor and the Thief – Gareth Ward
Shameless self-promotion because I love my characters beyond all reason. Thoroughly enjoyed by children and adults alike, The Traitor and the Thief is a superb rip-roaring adventure. (Ages 10+)