Looking for fun new books to share with your child? Look no further!
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 with a black swan and a white swan hugging
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6/10
Swan Lake
Ages 9 to 12 , Classics / October 25, 2017

Swan Lake By Anne Spudvilas, Allen and Unwin, 2017. Divided into three acts, the children’s picture book, Swan Lake, follows a similar format to the ballet. This is a clever structural technique used by the author/illustrator. The book has slightly more pages than a traditional picture book, the pages are thicker, and the book overall has a high-quality feel to it. This iconic ballet is a tragic love story of a princess who is turned into a swan by an evil sorcerer. The book is set against the riverscape of the Murray-Darling basin, the longest river in Australia. Anne Spudvilas depicts this classic tale of passion, betrayal, and heartbreak with elegant and dramatic illustrations. Swan Lake is a classic story folded into a modern format. Awards Shortlisted for Picture Book of the Year 2018 by Children’s Book Council of Australia. 0

Cover of a book showing the ruins of a building with a small figure approaching the entry
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5.4/10
Tintinnabula
Ages 9 to 12 , Award Winners / October 1, 2017

Tintinnabula By Margo Lanagan and Rovina Cai, Little Hare, 2017. ‘In wild times and in wartime, in times of fear and illness, I go to Tintinnabula, where soft rains fall.’ The landscape is barren and bleak, with skeletal trees bending to the elements. Rain slices down on the ruins of a building; the chiaroscuro of shadows adding depth to the desolate. A small figure approaches a large opening in the ruins leading to nowhere…or is it? Tintinnabula opens with dark and frightening creatures dominating the small figure of a girl in the bottom corner of the page. They could be inner demons or outer demons. They are very visible though. The illustrations are haunting and emotive and move directionally through the pages. The girl running, tearing, in an effort to be free of the demons on her tail. Always, there is a glimpse of a lighter place, a safer place, but it is far from an immediate reach. And still, the demons come. A feather. A whisp. The faceless character runs through pages following a white bird, until we finally meet her face-to-face, when she arrives in Tintinnabula. The overall colour palette changes from dark and red, to light and…

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 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 with a painted and stylised magpie surrounded by indigenous dot paintings
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6.8/10
Mad Magpie

Mad Magpie By Gregg Dreise, Magabala Books, 2016. ‘Stay calm like the surface of the water, yet strong like its current.’ This beautiful masterpiece is both written and illustrated by a descendant of the Kamilaroi and Yuwalayaay people of the north-west New South Wales and the south-west Queensland areas, and published by Magabala, the oldest independent Indigenous publishing house in Australia. Mad Magpie is a richly illustrated artistic masterpiece that integrates the author’s indigenous Gamilaraay language in the names of the animals that we meet throughout the book! Guluu is an angry magpie who has been teased by a group of butcher birds. In turn, Guluu has been swooping down and attacking other animals. We learn about why Guluu is so angry and what has been happening to him. The Elders teach Guluu how to deal with the mean butcher birds and not become angry when they tease him. Mad Magpie is a story about overcoming adversity and standing strong in the face of difficulty. I hope that if you are from a country other than Australia, that you would still consider buying this book. You and your child will learn a little about Australia’s ancient past, as well as…

Cover of a book showing illustrations of a red dinosaur surrounded by loads of colourful fruit and veggies
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7.2/10
T-Veg
Ages 3 to 5 , Ages 6 to 8 , Ages 9 to 12 , Featured / September 3, 2015

T-Veg The story of a carrot-crunching dinosaur By Smriti Prasadam-Halls and Katherina Manolessou, Frances Lincoln Children’s Books, 2015. A laugh-out-loud tale of a dinosaur who dares to be different. When I first picked this book up off the shelf I wasn’t too sure what I was going to find in the pages; however, I was very smartly entertained by what I found! I absolutely LOVE this book! The rhyme is effortless, the illustrations are childlike and fun, and the story is action-packed and entertaining. T-Veg takes you on a journey through the life of Reginald, a young Tyrannosaurus Rex, who unlike the rest of his T-Rex dinosaur family and friends who are known carnivores, is vegetarian. Reginald ate BROCCOLI, Reginald at BEANS. Reginald ate bowls and bowls of GARLIC, GRAPES and GREENS. Reg grows tired of the other T-Rexes making fun of him, so he packs his dino-sack and leaves home in search of some herbivorous dinosaurs who he believes will make better friends. However, when he finds the ‘herbies’ he runs excitedly towards them, which scares them all off and they run away from him. His family and friends were missing him, so they went in search of Reg….

Cover of a book showing an illustration of a small child holding the head of a baby
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6.6/10
Hello Baby
Ages 6 to 8 , Ages 9 to 12 , Educational / January 1, 2008

Hello Baby By Jenni Overend and Julie Vivas, Frances Lincoln Children’s Books, 2008. ‘Hello baby,’ I say quietly. ‘Hello’ Delightfully drawn in a soft and scribbly fashion, Hello Baby takes us on the journey of a family and a home birth. My sister read this book to my niece for years when she was younger, and she still loves it now. She was so excited to see a copy of it on my desk, so we went and snuggled and read it together again. This is a great book for families who are expecting another child. It is sensitively written to explain to children some of the things they might expect to see and experience before, during and after the birth. In Hello Baby, the whole family is involved in the birthing process, with the other children helping as well. Originally published in 1999, this book has been reprinted many times, which just goes to show that it’s popular! Awards Shortlisted for Picture Book of the Year, Children’s Book Council of Australia, 2000. 0

Cover of a book showing illustration of one boy helping another boy climb a tree
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6/10
Memorial

Memorial By Gary Crew and Shaun Tan, Lothian Books, 1999. A story to help us remember…a message we should never forget. On a backdrop of old photographs, scraps of torn fabric and exquisitely textured paintings, we hear the story of Old Pa’s first world war memories. Journey down memory lane with Old Pa as he reminisces about his wife who was a nurse during the war, the Memorial tree they planted in town, and  We then hear from Ma, who was in the second world war and also remembers coming home the big town tree back in 1946. The tree stands next to a statue of the unknown soldier. Audrey, their great-granddaughter, and her father listen intently to the stories of her great-grandparents after the wars they served in. Special focus is the memorial tree in town. Memorial introduces environmental concerns when we learn that the council want to remove either the tree or the statue of the unknown soldier. Teacher’s Notes are available for this book for free from the publisher. Awards Picture Book of the Year,  Children’s Book Council of Australia, 2000. 0