Australian Picture Books
I post a lot of Australian literature on my Instagram feed as naturally, living in Australia, I have access to so many amazing Aussie authors. However, the other reason I choose to share Australian picture books with my daughter and the students in my class is that children should be regularly exposed to literature that is culturally specific to help them better identify with the themes, characters and settings presented in the stories.
I was recently discussing the need to grow my Canadian picture book library with my sister who is also a teacher at a Canadian international School in Vietnam. We discussed how if my daughter is reading only Australian picture books she’ll miss learning about Canadian landscape features such as mountains, lakes and forests, different animals, seasonal changes and cultural norms of Canadian life that are wonderfully depicted in children’s literature. I want to ensure my daughter has as much exposure to Canadian picture books and literature so that she is well informed about Canada and my heritage despite living across the globe.
The people, languages, food, animals and landscapes found in every country are beautifully unique and have a great influence on our lives. They become a part of our ethos and identity. Books are how we come to understand ourselves and the world around us. Choosing books that are culturally specific and relevant to children’s lives, assists in enriching any prior knowledge they may have of a topic, place or idea and thus assists in improving comprehension and their ability to take on new information from a book.
In the spirit of Australia day, I am highlighting 10 wonderful Australian picture books that feature Aussie spirit, heart and warmth. The following picture books are some of my favourites that help can us celebrate and develop a deeper understanding of our culture and what makes us uniquely Australian.
Where the Forest Meets the Sea Jeannie Baker
A story about a magical place found in the Daintree Rainforest where the forest meets the sea with a theme of sustainability. Also about the importance of caring for our local environment and the impact we have as humans.
Magic Beach by Alison Lester
A story of Australian beach life as a place where families spend much of their time swimming, surfing, building sandcastles, exploring rock pools and splashing in the waves.
Banjo and Ruby Red Libby Gleeson
A story of friendship and caring for one another set on a traditional Australian farm.
Pete the Sheep Jackie French
A fun tale of a quirky sheep dog who does things a little differently.
Amy and Louis Libby Gleeson
A story of a strong friendship and how distance doesn’t make this bond any less significant and can in fact make it stronger.
Pearl Barley and Charlie Parsley Aaron Blabey
A story that shows how our differences should be celebrated and embraced and that a good friend will help bring out the best of you.
Multiculturalism in Australia
Colour Me Ezekiel Kwaymullina
Australian author Ezekiel Kwaymullina and Illustrator Moira Court use the rainbow as a metaphor to show the diversity and uniqueness of Australia and our world.
I’m Australian Too Mem Fox
Celebrates multiculturalism in Australia highlighting the unique stories we each bring to this wonderful country.
Koala Lou Mem Fox
A beautiful story about the love shared between a parent and child as well as perseverance and determination to achieve our personal best.
Silver Buttons Bob Graham
A story about the everyday life of Australian people and the common thread we share through intertwining stories and experiences.
What’s your favourite Aussie Author picture book?