Five of 2016’s best Australian books for kids under ten
It’s the Easter holidays in a couple of days and it’s time to get a holiday reading list. While there’ no shortage of children’s books on the market, the sheer volume of choice available can be overwhelming. It’s not unusual to see time-poor parents trying (and failing) to make quality comparisons as they are bombarded with title after title in bookshops and libraries.
At Kluwell, we believe most kids books have value, but some are ahead of the game when it comes to being entertaining and educational. We also think children should be immersed in their culture, and what better way to immerse in Australian culture than with a beautifully illustrated, well-written Australian book? We’ve compiled an eclectic top five from 2016 to keep your kids reading over the coming holidays.
Welcome to Country by Aunty Joy Murphy and illustrated by Lisa Kennedy (Black Dog Books, 2016)
Age: 5 and up
This brilliant title introduces children to the significance of welcome to country ceremonies. Beautifully illustrated and simple, yet evocatively written, the book shares the greeting by Aboriginal elders through landscape, people and art. A fantastic introduction to indigenous traditional stories, Welcome to Country is a gentle and respectful reminder that ‘we are part of the land and the land is part of us.
Amazing Animals of Australia’s National Parks by Gina M. Newton (National Library of Australia, 2016)
Age: 8 and up
With plenty of pictures, gorgeous design and stacks of information, Amazing Animals of Australia’s National Parks is jammed packed with educational information on 120 species of Australian fauna. This book will act as both entertainment and reference for the young and old alike, and there is also plenty to think about regarding environmental stewardship.
Radio Rescue by Jane Jolly and illustrated by Robert Ingpen (National Library of Australia, 2016)
Age: 9 and up
Return to a fascinating era in Australian history when the world arrived through the invention of the pedal radio. Mixing a very human story of a family on an isolated station with factual information about the invention, the simple text makes for easy, enjoyable reading. Add Ingpen’s soft pencil sketches, and impressive foldouts and Radio Rescue becomes an unforgettable story of human isolation and innovation.
Mr Huff by Anna Walker (Penguin Books, 2015)
Age: 3 and up
A Children's Book Council of Australia Book of the Year award winner and an excellent title for helping children understand anxiety and depression, Mr Huff is a creature who starts out quite small but continues to grow as he follows Bill through a not-so-perfect day. Mr Huff keeps growing until Bill accepts his presence, and then he begins to shrink. Combining woodblock printing, etching, collage, ink and watercolour drawing, the book displays real sensitivity for childhood worries and creates compelling urban landscapes that set the right tone for Bill’s discovery that he can face his fears.
Lennie the Legend: Solo to Sydney by Pony by Stephanie Reeder (NLA Publishing, 2015)
Age: 7 and up
Winner of the Children's Book Council of Australia Eve Pownall Award for Information Books, Lennie the Legend relives the story of Lennie Gwyther, a nine-year-old who rode his pony from his family property in rural Victoria to Sydney to see the opening of the Sydney Harbour Bridge. Steeped in the history of 1930s Australia, the story is a boy's-own fictionalised account of Lennie’s very real adventure, and culminates in him leading the first public crossing of the bridge on his pony, Ginger Mick; starring in a newsreel and meeting the Prime Minister.
Would you like to find more titles to tempt the little ones into reading over the school holidays? Take a look at the resources below for a comprehensive list of great Australian books for children.
For great picture books recommended by The Conversation, visit here.
Or for a listopia of best Australian Children's Literature by Good Reads, visit here.