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
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 painted and stylised magpie surrounded by indigenous dot paintings
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 a painting of a tree with slices of toast growing on it and growing in desert soil with a blue sky
The Toast Tree
Ages 6 to 8 , Australiana / April 1, 2015

The Toast Tree By Corina Martin and Fren Martins, Magabala Books, 2015. Ella and Mia live in a small dusty town surrounded by the sea. When their grandfather brings home squares of delicious toast picked from a magical tree growing int he sand dunes, they set off to look for the very special tree. Grandpa has access to a magic toast tree and he surprises Ella and Mia with delicious honey toast when he returns from work every afternoon. The toast is delicious and tastes better than any toast they’ve ever tasted. They love it when Grandpa brings home the toast and they want to know where he gets it from. ‘The toast tree grows in the sand dunes,’ he tells them. The girls decide to search for the toast tree themselves, but instead of finding the toast tree, they discover a flower that tastes like honey. Grandpa sees them and scolds them, and tells them the magic sill stop if they find the tree. Because the girls don’t want the magic to stop, they leave the flowers alone. If your child has ever dreamed of a magic tree that bears their favourite food, they will enjoy this story. The Toast…

Cover of a book in green with indigenous Australian artwork and a football in the centre
Age Group , Ages 6 to 8 , Australiana / July 1, 2012

Marngrook The long-ago story of Aussie Rules By Titta Secombe and Grace Fielding, Magabala Books, 2012. ‘A wonderful kids’ story that shares the origins of our national game.’ The beginnings of how Aussie Rules football was invented is sometimes a controversial topic. Marngrook is a ball game that was played by first Australians in north-west Victoria over 150 years ago. This kids picture book is set in the traditional country of the Djab-Wurrung and Jardwadjali clans in the foothills of Duwul, the highest mountain in the Grampians. The opening pages give some factual content about the people and the region, as well as translations for some Jardwadjali language words. The main character, Jaara, a young Djab-Wurrung and Jardwadjali boy, is given a new toy from his father, Wawi. It is made from the skin of a banya, or ringtail possum. I found Marngrook a little bit gruesome, as the Elder grabs an innocent animal to kill and eat and make a ball from its skin. The story goes into the details of how the pieces of the animal are preserved to assist in the making of the marngrook ball. It is, however, educational, and would possibly appeal to young boys who…

Cover of a book showing an indigenous Australian baby and an Anglo Saxon baby with the ocean in the background
Australian Babies
Baby to 2 / September 1, 2005

Australian Babies By Magabala Books, 2005. ‘Rich with the colours of the Kimberley landscape in Western Australia, the vibrant photographic images reflect Australia’s multicultural community.’ Australian Babies is a lovely little board book for babies and toddlers. It has ten pages with photographs of babies from diverse backgrounds who make up some of the heritage of babies in Australia today. There are things to look for and point out on each page, such as a dog, chickens, books, trees, rocks, shells, etc. It is small in size, 143 x 156 mm. It was a little bit difficult to rank this book based on the criteria we use to measure, as there were no words and the book was so small. We hope you like this book 🙂

Cover of a book with richly painted earth and a goanna baking in the sun- Australian Aborigial style painting
The Outback

The Outback By Annaliese Porter and Bronwyn Bancroft, Magabala Books, 2005. Dark, red earth surrounding flat, stony plains — gibbers lay on scorching sand, where seldom it rains. What a lovely little book, richly illustrated in the style of traditional Australian Aboriginal paintings. The illustrations depict recognisable Australian animals, like goannas, snakes, wallabies and cockatoos, and landscapes such as the desert plains and Uluru. The Outback tells the tale of the harshness of the land, the desert, and the desert animals. This is a bush ballad about the Australian outback that was written by Annaliese Porter when she was only eight years old! She is one of Australia’s youngest published writers. What a great example of a story to read to a young writer 🙂