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Our Family Reads, Through the Ages: Australia’s Top 50 Kids’ Books

October 3, 2019

“Again Mummy, again.”

“In the light of the moon a little egg lay on a leaf…”

How many times did I read Eric Carle’s The Very Hungry Caterpillar over the course of raising four boys? How many times did I begin story time with the words, “For my sister Christa” because even the dedication could not be left out? For my sons, every single word was to be read, over and over. Every single illustration was to be memorised, over and over. This very simple, yet brilliantly conveyed story was a classic in our house.

This 50-year-old story is #1 on our Top 25 Kids Books for younger readers. Going through the books that made this year’s list is like a trip down memory lane with my sons. My boys are older now, 20 and 15. The years of picture books are well behind us… which makes collating this list even more bitter sweet.

Possum Magic,and in fact any of the Mem Fox books that made the list, bring back memories of time hands and sweet snuggles, that you often don’t value properly until they’re gone. Being somewhat melodramatic, I often acted out the picture books, something that would then elicit squeals of delight (my performances now elicit eye rolls or secret videoing that gets shared with friends on snapchat – check out my weird mother!). We’re Going on a Bear Hunt was perfect for performance.

As my sons got older, we discovered many books on the Top 25 books for older readers together. I delighted in re-reading Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone by J.K. Rowling, this time out loud to my sons. Same with Roald Dahl’s Charlie and the Chocolate Factory and The BFG. The began to move off into their own reading time, with Diary of a Wimpy Kid by Jeff Kinney. And my own favourite childhood book, which makes the list again, The Secret Garden by Frances Hodgson Burnett reminds me that try though I might, some books I thought I’d share with my children, simply didn’t interest them.

I know many of you, like me, love the Top 100 and Top 50 annual lists. This year, the children’s list is filled with not only wonderful stories… but for me it’s filled with memories long gone. Filled with classic I hope to one day share with grandkids (but not too soon!).

See the Top 25 Books for Younger Readers here and Top 25 Books for Older Readers here.


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