Australia’s Top 50 Books includes 25 amazing picture books, and many of them are old favourites. We asked Angela Cain, superstar primary teacher and booklover, why so many old favourites pop up on the list every year and why reading picture books aloud is so vital. Here are her thoughts:
“Hi Aunty A, I love the picture book, The Gruffalo, what other children’s books can you recommend?” As an educator and lover of children’s books, my sister asked the right person for further recommendations! I can spend hours in a bookshop browsing at children’s books. There is a complexity to how the words for the book are constructed that I adore. I turn the pages in awe and wonder, looking over the carefully created artwork on each page of the book.
My sister, Josie recognises the importance of reading to her 10-month-old every day and one of her favourite books is The Gruffalo. Josie talks about the way her daughter’s face lights up with pure concentration and delight when she reads to her. As an educator, we know that reading and storytelling with your child promotes brain development and imagination, teaches your child about language and emotions, and strengthens the relationship between the child and parent.
As I reflect back on my recommendations to my sister, the books I’ve suggested are very similar to the list of top 50 children’s books for 2020. Our children are still engaging with the same books we read as children. I wondered, what is the secret formula? Why do we still love these books so much?
I believe they touch our hearts, and they educate us. It’s the colours and movement in the artwork, and the rhythm and the rhyme in the construction of the words on each page. There has been careful thought into exactly how many words appear on each page. And these books appeal not only to the child but to the parents as well.
Just like the family stories that are passed down from generation to generation, so too are the greatest children’s picture books of all time. These books are as much for our children as they are for us.
Angela is an experienced primary school teacher who has worked in the independent and Catholic school sectors. Angela has a passion for early childhood education and supporting families and teachers to support their children transition to the first formal years of schooling. Angela works for Catholic Schools NSW and has recently worked on a significant project on boosting early achievement in literacy and numeracy skills. The Early Years Foundations for Learning website
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|