Each year, Better Reading asks young Australian readers, their families, librarians and teachers to vote for their favourite book. In 2020 we’ve been overwhelmed by the enthusiastic response! It’s clear that Australian love reading across a broad range of children’s titles in all formats – paperback, hardcovers and board books.
The 2020 list includes old favourites, newcomers, award winners and some anniversary titles that have stood the test of time. As we did last year we have split the list into two sections: the Top 25 for older readers and Top 25 for younger readers.
For younger readers The Very Hungry Caterpillar by Eric Carle has once again wormed his way to the top, narrowly beating Possum Magic by Mem Fox which came in second place. The Gruffalo by Julia Donaldson was in third place, a long-term favourite celebrating 21 years on the bookshelves.
A host of Australian authors and illustrators are prominent within the 25 titles for younger readers. Mem Fox, Aaron Blabey and Alison Lester hold three positions each in the list of 25 books. True blue nostalgic dinky-di characters Grug and Snugglepot and Cuddlepie also made an appearance.
Better Reading Director, Cheryl Akle says, ‘It’s clear there is a deep love for picture books. We saw this with the response our readers had to Grug’s 40th birthday and Spot’s 40th anniversary this year. There’s a fondness and respect for characters we know from our own childhood that makes us want to share them with the next generation. We also open our hearts to new characters like Thelma the Unicorn.”
“People are always telling me how hard it is to find the right book for a child in their life,” says Akle. “With so many wonderful new books hitting the shelves each month, making a decision can be overwhelming so this list is something you can take with you to the bookshop. When you give a book to a child you want to know it’s a book they’re going to love.”
The 25 titles for younger readers in Australia’s Top 50 kids books are:
|1||The Very Hungry Caterpillar||Eric Carle|
|2||Possum Magic||Mem Fox|
|3||The Gruffalo||Julia Donaldson and Axel Scheffler|
|4||Where is the Green Sheep||Mem Fox and Judy Horacek|
|5||Hairy Maclary from Donaldson’s Dairy||Lynley Dodd|
|6||The Very Cranky Bear||Nick Bland|
|7||Pig the Pug||Aaron Blabey|
|8||We’re Going on a Bear Hunt||Michael Rosen|
|9||Where the Wild Things Are||Maurice Sendak|
|10||Room on the Broom||Julia Donaldson and Axel Scheffler|
|11||The Wonky Donkey||Craig Smith and Katz Cowley|
|12||Magic Beach||Alison Lester|
|13||Piranhas Don’t Eat Bananas||Aaron Blabey|
|14||The Secret Garden||Frances Hodgson Burnett and Adelina Lirius|
|15||Meet Snugglepot and Cuddlepie||May Gibbs|
|16||Thelma the Unicorn||Aaron Blabey|
|17||Green Eggs and Ham||Dr Seuss|
|18||Ten Little Fingers and Ten Little Toes||Mem Fox and Helen Oxenbury|
|19||Oh The Places You’ll Go||Dr Seuss|
|20||The Very Noisy Baby||Alison Lester|
|21||Wombat Stew||Marcia K Vaughan & Pamela Lofts|
|22||Where’s Spot?||Eric Hill|
|23||Dear Zoo||Rod Campbell|
|24||Kissed by the Moon||Alison Lester|