Australian books are a wonderful way to introduce children to the unique and diverse culture of our nation. From picture books to poetry and short stories, there are a wide variety of books by Indigenous and local authors about our beautiful country that can be enjoyed by young readers.
Petit Early Learning Journey centres encourage children to enjoy a broad selection of books available in indoor and outdoor environments. Our educators inspire children to borrow and read books from our centre libraries and local community libraries too.
Our educators organise incursions where local authors, librarians, families and guests read books to the children. Each year CBCA Book Week is a magical time for children’s dress-up as their favourite characters and to celebrate books, reading and story time. We encourage children to read every day.
Read on to learn about some of the inspiring Australian children’s books for ages 3 and up that are:
- Read by our educators
- Written and illustrated by First Nations peoples
- Told by local and award winning authors
- More Australian books
1. Tippy and Jellybean – The True Story of a Brave Koala who saved her baby from a bushfire by Australian author Sophie Cunningham and illustrated by Anil Tortop. Sophie Cunningham is an adjunct Professor at RMIT and she was made a Member of the Order of Australia (AM) for her literature contributions.
2. All I Want for Christmas is Rain by Cori Brooke and Megan Forward covers a subject that many Australians can relate to, drought. Cori, who lives in Brisbane, tells this gorgeous story through a delightful rhyming narrative of a little girl with a big wish. This 2017 CBCA shortlisted story is one of the many books read out loud by our educators.
3. Do Not Open This Book by Australian author and radio comedian Andy Lee is a best selling book. The book is about a child who wants to open a book, only to be told not to. This adventure of finding out what is inside the book has been enjoyed by Petit ELJ children.
4. Winner, Winner, Bin Chicken Dinner by Jol and Kate Temple are Australian children book authors who have written over 20 books for children. Some rhyme, some are silly and others are not. Bin Chicken Dinner is a silly best seller.
5. Miss Understood by Kathryn Appel and illustrated by Beau Wylie tells a fractured fairy tale (or parody) based on the story of the Three Little Pigs but from the wolf’s perspective, Miss Understood. This little old lady sets out to visit her friends but due to unfortunate circumstances becomes a stalker.
6. Ceremony co-written by Adam Goodes and Ellie Laing and illustrated by David Hardy is a joyful celebration of family and culture. The Welcome to Our Country series introduces First Nations’ history to children and invites the reader to join in the fun of dance, family, community and caring.
7. Sea Country by Aunty Patsy Cameron and illustrated by Lisa Kennedy is a children’s book with provocative text and delightful illustrations. Aunty Patsy Cameron generously shares the stories and traditions from her family’s seasonal island life in Tasmania.
8. Awesome Emu by Gregg Dreise is a tale for children 3 years and over about morality, success and being humble. Gregg Dreise is an author, artist and musician, a descendant of the Kamilaroi and Euahlayi people of south-west Queensland and north-west New South Wales.
9. Shake a leg by Jan Ormerod and Boori Monty Pryor is a unique early learning collaboration about having fun, sharing culture and the power of story and dance. Winner of the Australian Prime Minister’s Literary Award Children’s Fiction 2011, it was published by Allen & Unwin in 2010.
10. The Emu Who Ran Through The Sky by Helen Milroy and published by Magabala Books was shortlisted for the 2021 Western Australian Premier’s Book Awards, Writing for Children. The book forms part of a series about the bush mob who must work together to solve problems. Helen is a descendant of the Palyku people of the Pilbara region of Western Australia.
11. The Art in Country – Four Books in One by Bronwyn Bancroft an Aboriginal Australian author, artist, administrator and book illustrator who uses colour, shapes, patterns and words to explore the awe-inspiring beauty of Australia. This lovely book inspires children to seek out the beauty of our land and to discover colours and patterns in their environment.
12. Sorry Day by Coral Vass and illustrated by Dub Lefller was first published in 2018 by the National Library of Australia. The story acknowledges the historic speech made by Kevin Rudd, former Prime Minister of Australia to apologise to the Indigenous people for past abuse and to recognise the prolonged abuse endured by the Stolen Generation. It was awarded the 2019 CBCA Eve Pownall Award.
13. Noni the Pony Rescues a Joey is a children’s board book by Australian Author and Illustrator Alison Lester and the third in her book series for children. She has published over 25 picture books for children. Noni goes out for the day and meets a lost small wallaby. Published by Allen & Unwin, Noni the Pony Rescues a Joey was short-listed CBCA Book of the Year, Early Childhood, 2019
14. Little J and Big Cuz: The Big Race authored by Dot West and illustrated by Tony Thorne is part of a book collection about a group of friends who go on all kinds of adventures to learn more about their community, culture and country. Dot West is a Ngoongar writer based in Broome.
15. Kangaroos Hop by Ros Moriarty and illustrated by Balarinji is another delightful story characterising Australian animals in a beautiful rhyming tale about friendship. Ros Moriarty is a popular Australian author who is the Managing Director of Balarinji, an Australian leading Indigenous design studio.
16. Where is the Green Sheep? by author Mem Fox and illustrated by Judy Horacek is about different coloured sheep doing diverse things, with the main character, the green sheep, not showing up until the final pages of this fun story. Mem Fox is a prolific children’s author known for her books, Possum Magic and Possum Stew.
17. Funky Chicken Crocs and Chooks is a musical picture book about a chicken that’s on a mission to make the world a happier place. Authored by Chris Collins and illustrated by Megan Kitchin, Petit ELJ Caloundra children were visited by Chris earlier this year.
18. Australian Animal Walkabout by author Karen Weaver and illustrated by Jeanette Lees introduces children to emus, snakes, kangaroos and crocodiles using a rhyming scheme. Karen is an author and founder of Serenity Press, a small Australian publisher in Western Australia.
19. Give Me Some Space! by Philip Bunting is not just any ordinary book. It’s about a Una who dreams about life in space. This lovely story was read during National Simultaneous Storytime in 2021 by a NASA astronaut on the International Space Station! Born in England, the author Philip Bunting now resides with his family on the Sunshine Coast in Australia.
20. Edward the Emu is a hilarious story by author Sheena Knowles and illustrator Rod Clement. No longer wanting to live the daily life of an emu, Edward decides to try something new such as slithering with snakes. Sheena Knowles is an Australian author from Victoria.
21. Bouncing Bouncing Little Joeys is a lovely book authored by Lesley Gibbes and illustrated by Doris Chang. In this story, three little joeys are decorating the Christmas tree and getting it ready for Santa’s arrival. Lesley Gibbs grew up in Sydney’s northern beaches and Wagga Wagga in country NSW.
Books for Australian children
The power of books provides an imaginative way to explore the complexities of identity. From stories about family, friendships and fitting in, to tales of adventure and discovery, Australian authors have created some incredible works that touch on the subject of identity.
These fun books for children are just a few of the wonderful titles available that can help introduce your child to Australia’s rich history and culture. Rhythm and rhyming play a large part in children’s story books and where storytelling promises to become something more.
We hope you find a book suggestion to inspire your young reader!
Be inspired with books at Petit Early Learning Journey
At Petit Early Learning Journey our community enjoys reading and storytelling. Books can be found from our baby rooms to kindergarten and preschool. We welcome families to join in and share a book either from home or the centre with their child’s studio.
Our educators encourage children who may not want to sleep to enjoy quiet time with a book. We have counting books, animal books, books with fabulous illustrations, board books, and many other types books to inspire children’s imagination, reading and learning.
To learn more about the importance of books for an early learner and how we can support your child’s early childhood journey book a tour with your nearest centre today.