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The Books Children’s Authors Buy: Susannah MacFarlane and Kylie Westaway

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.

We spoke with Susannah McFarlane – creator of EJ12, Boy vs Beast, Zac Power and D-Bot Squad, and Kylie Westaway – author of picture book Why Can’t I Be a Dinosaur?, about which books were in their shopping basket when they recently went Christmas shopping.


Susannah_McFarlane_2016-240x300Susannah McFarlane

While Susannah McFarlane’s name may not immediately ring any bells, we guarantee that almost every home in Australia has at least one of her books in it. Responsible for series such as Zac Power, EJ 12 Girl Hero, Boy VS Beast, Go Girl! and now the engaging new series D-Bot Squad, Susannah has played a huge part in creating a generation of avid readers.

When Susannah went Christmas shopping recently she found herself getting nostalgic, no doubt you will recognise at least one of these two classics!

Good Night Tales for Rebel Girls 2 by Elena Favilli and Francesca Cavallo

This was released just in time for the Christmas stocking and contains more inspiring tales of feisty females doing well and doing good – love it!

The Christmas Book by Dick Bruna

I recently hunted everywhere and interrogated siblings in my search for the family copy of this beautifully simple telling of the Christmas story. Defeated, I was thrilled to find it still available in its original format after all these years.

The Story of Ferdinand by Munro Leaf

Christmas must have brought on the nostalgia – the same shopping expedition revealed a re-release of the original hardback edition to coincide with the new movie release. One of my childhood favourites, Ferdinand is the story of a misunderstood bull who doesn’t want to fight and how peace wins.


1_WestawayKylieKylie Westaway

Having worked in theatre for years – including the Australian production of The Lion King and at Sydney’s Belvoir Theatre, Kylie Westaway now brings that flair for visual storytelling to her wonderful picture books. Ideal for all readers ages 2+ they are full of energy and perfectly capture the curiosity and stubbornness of children.

Old MacDonald Heard a Fart – Olaf Felafel

Everyone knows that farts are funny, and the unexpected noises that keep interrupting the poor farmer’s day will have every child you read this to in stitches. A guaranteed laugh out loud gift.

The Cleo Stories Bookbag – Libby Gleeson and Freya Blackwood

Cleo is one of my favourite heroines – cheeky, independent, creative, and loving. Her ingenious solutions to problems, the gorgeous illustrations, and the fact that the bookbag gives you 4 Cleo stories in one make this the perfect gift!

Wonder – R.J. Palacio

I read this when it first came out and fell in love. With the movie tie-in out this summer, I can’t recommend this highly enough. You’ll laugh, you’ll cry, you’ll hurt, you’ll rejoice. Genuine and beautiful.


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