Looking for fun new books to share with your child? Look no further!
Cover of a book showing a green cicada in a grey suit surrounded by papers
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7.1/10
Cicada
Ages 6 to 8 / June 26, 2018

Cicada By Shaun Tan, Hachette Australia, 2018. ‘Cicada tell story. Story good. Story simple. Story even human can understand. Tok Tok Tok!’ Cicada is written very differently to other children’s books I’ve read. Its staccato text is reminiscent of people who have English as a second language. Tok Tok Tok! We feel sorry for Cicada as he works hard all day for very little pay and poor conditions. He is bullied by his coworkers. Tok Tok Tok! The repetition of Tok Tok Tok! works well. During the pages where Cicada is tormented by his life and his workplace, the illustrations only appear on the righthand page with the simple text on a white lefthand page. Until Cicada retires from his office job…then we see full-colour double-page spreads with no text, where we watch cicada transform! This is also an unusual approach to a kids picture book. The illustrations by Shaun Tan, as always, are artistic masterpieces. Cicada Book Trailer 0

Cover of a book showing an illustration of a group of soldiers in uniform posing for a photo while planes fly overhead and explosions occur in the background
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6/10
Alfred’s War

Alfred’s War By Rachel Bin Salleh and Samantha Fry, Magabala Books, 2018. ‘Alfred’s War opens our hearts to the contribution and sacrifice that Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander veterans made to Australian’s war efforts.’ Alfred is a first Australian who lives outside, sleeps on park benches and under trees. He enlisted in the army as a young man and sailed off to fight in the first world war. His comrades meant a lot to him, and even when he returned home after the war he often thought of them. They even appeared in his dreams. Alfred’s War is not the same as other the men’s war, as he is one of the forgotten soldiers, one of the unnamed men. There is a double-page spread at the end of the book that explains how Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders were enlisted to fight in wars that Australia has been involved in. Alfred’s War highlights the lack of recognition of the Australian Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander servicemen. While they were afforded equal pay and were considered equal among their mates, their service was not acknowledged upon their return. It is only more recently that their service and sacrifice has been acknowledged. Download…

Cover of a book showing a cute penguin dancing under the moonlight with a flock of birds in the sky
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6/10
The Second Sky
Ages 6 to 8 / October 1, 2017

The Second Sky By Patrick Guest and Jonathan Bentley, Little Hare, 2017. ‘Great things happen when we reach for the sky.’ Little Gilbert is a dreamer. He is a little penguin with big clumsy feet and small little wings and he can’t fly up to where the other birds soar; where he wants to be. The Second Sky is a delightful story about one penguin’s determination and drive to not give up on his dream at any cost. But what Gilbert discovers is that there are some things that he cannot be, just like a person with brown eyes can’t ever have blue eyes, in the same way that fish can’t climb trees. On one of his attempts to fly like the albatross, Gilbert climbs high up the mountain and throws himself off, only to find himself…slipping…spinning…stumbling…tumbling down to the bottom and beyond into the sea, where he tumbles…bubbles and sinks. Here underneath the surface of the ocean he finds another world similar and equally as beautiful as the world above the surface of the water. Gilbert overcomes his obstacles, discovers his hidden talents, and learns to fly under the sea. He spreads his wings and… Awards Shortlisted for Children’s…

Cover of a book showing a child's hand picking up some soil, and the underground view of roots of a plant and insects
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7.1/10
Exploring Soils

Exploring Soils: A Hidden World Underground By Samantha Grover and Camille Heisler, CSIRO Publishing, 2017. ‘Have you ever wondered what happens in the earth underneath us?’ Journey with James as he learns that there is more to dirt than meets the eye. James wants to be a soil scientist, and he explores the ‘hidden world underground’. He learns about the differences between clay, silt and sand particles, and discovers what each soil type can be used for. Exploring Soils: A Hidden World Underground takes children on a journey into and under the earth. A wonderful resource not only for parents and grandparents but also for pre-school and primary schools. Teacher’s notes are also available from the CSIRO. The illustrations are drawn sensitively, and the level of detail in the insects is impressive. Ideal for the budding gardener. As an adult, even I learned things from this book! For example, I had never heard of Clorpt before 🙂 Suitable for ages 6 to 9 years. The book raises questions, such as: What is soil? How does it change? Why is it important? What can we do with soil? Awards Children’s Book Council of Australia 2018 notable books under the Eve Pownall Award for Information Books….

Cover of a book showing an echidna in some scrub
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5.7/10
Can You Find Me?
Ages 6 to 8 , Australiana , Educational / September 1, 2017

Can You Find Me? By Gordon Winch and Shirvington Patrick, New Frontier Publishing, 2017. Can You Find Me? is a delightful story about Australian animals hiding in their natural habitat. Journey along with your child as he or she discovers the animals hiding in the pictures. Even I had to search for a few of them the first time around! There is a lovely repetition on the pages, creating a rhythm to the story. Can You Find Me? teaches children about camouflage and about how animals, insects, and other creatures are often designed to reflect their environment. Can you find all the creatures hiding within the pages of this book? 0

Cover of a book showing a yellow cartoon face with large white eyes in the night with stars
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6.3/10
I Just Ate My Friend
Ages 3 to 5 , Ages 6 to 8 , Featured / July 26, 2017

I Just Ate My Friend By Heidi McKinnon, Allen & Unwin, 2017. ‘I just ate my friend. He was a good friend. But now he is gone. Would you be my friend?’ I think your child will love I Just Ate My Friend! This hilarious and quirky little book will delight readers of all ages. Even the grown-ups will have a giggle! The main character ate his friend and is searching for a new friend, but what will happen when he does find a new friend? I have it on good authority that the author has never actually eaten any of her friends, nor does she recommend it. Awards Shortlisted for The Crichton Award, 2018. Longlisted for Children’s Picture Book of the Year 2018. Longlisted for Australian Book Industry Awards, 2018. Longlisted for Indie Book Awards – Children’s Fiction, 2018. 1+

Cover of a book showing a drawing of a bird in a bird house, and a girl crouching and looking at her dog
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6.4/10
Why Do Families Change?
Ages 3 to 5 , Ages 6 to 8 , Educational / March 21, 2017

Why Do Families Change? By Dr Jillian Roberts and Cindy Revell, Orca Book Publishers, 2017. ‘A reassuring and straightforward explanation of separation and divorce.’ Are you and your family experience separation or divorce and don’t know how to talk to your children about it? Why Do Families Change? opens with ‘Many animals in nature choose lifelong mates’. On the opening double page spread, we see three sets of paired birds and three sets of paired couples, including one same-sex couple. The following page continues in this light with more couples from different cultures getting married, as well as another same-sex couple. It stresses that some couples choose to have a common-law relationship where they live together but don’t actually get married. Why Do Families Change? presents a very open-minded view of the different types of relationships that are possible. It gently introduces children to the fact that some people stay married for their whole lives, while others separate or divorce. The story goes on to explain what separation is, and what divorce is, and why these changes can happen. Why Do Families Change? addresses the all-important issue that many children face, ‘Is it my fault?’. No matter how old your children are, there…

Cover of a book showing an aerial view of a child's laced trainers and left and right arrows painted on a concrete path
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6.9/10
Left and Right
Ages 6 to 8 , Ages 9 to 12 , Educational / March 5, 2017

Left and Right By Lorna Hendry, Wild Dog, 2017. ‘Do you know your left from your right? Which hand do you write with? Does your left and right eye see the same thing? What side of the road do cars drive on and why? Here is everything you need to know about left and right!’ Left and Right is an innovative book by Australian author, Lorna Hendry. This is an interactive book that invites the reader to get involved by taking action and practicing what they’re reading. I did it myself when I read it! It works really well at helping you learn left from right by providing practical exercises and tools that you can employ to commit left and right to memory. It also assists with being observant and mindful of yourself and others. I could imagine children taking more notice of what they are doing and how, such as kicking a ball (which foot), brushing their teeth (which hand). Who knew that the eye I wink with is the same as the hand I write with but is different to the ear I listen with? These are things I hadn’t thought about before. Left and Right is scattered…

Cover of a book showing a cartoon cockatoo, parrot, cat and grandad
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5.2/10
A Walk In The Bush

A Walk In The Bush By Gwyn Perkins, Affirm Press, 2017. A Walk In The Bush will take you and your child on a journey through the Australian bush. Grandad can’t find Iggy. He looks everywhere for him. When he finally finds him, he takes him on a journey into the Australian bush looking for wildlife. Together we meet many different native birds and learn their bird calls, and bump into the odd wallaby. There are also caterpillar messages on trees! This whole book is truly like the experience of walking through the Australian bush. Awards Winner: The Picture Book of the Year, Children’s Book Council of Australia, 2018. 0

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5.6/10
Florette
Ages 6 to 8 / February 27, 2017

Florette By Anna Walker, Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company, 2018. Nature loving Mae moves with her family from her beloved home and garden to a big crowded city. This story gives us a reflective look at the difference between city and country living. Mae is nostalgic about her former home and sad about moving to the city because of all the buildings and concrete and lack of nature, until one day she finds Florette, a forest (garden store) in the heart of the city. Mae plucks a tiny shoot from the sidewalk outside Florette, takes it home and plants it…and this is the beginning of her very own garden. Mae continues to make her part of the grey city green and beautiful, just like her old garden. Her life becomes brighter, and the new plants allow her to accept the changes that she has had to endure by moving house. This book may show your child how they too can find a creative solution to improve their own environment. Anne Walker’s illustrations are stylised and soft, drawing the reader into the intricacies of Mae’s life and her perspective on it. There are loads of items of interest on every page…