We love books! It’s probably not groundbreaking news – this is a library blog after all – but we love all kinds of books and one of the things we love to do is share those books with you. Our staff are rarely shy in sharing their favourites and we love hearing from you about what you have enjoyed, both now and in the past. Highlighting favourite books from childhood that leave their impression long after you’ve turned the last page is one of our favourite things so welcome to today’s blog!
Nicole, who works at Warwick Library, shares her thoughts today and showcases children’s books from Australia – some that she grew up with, some published recently. Where we have copies, we’ve included links for you to borrow either through our BorrowBox collection or from our ‘Click and Collect’ libraries. For other titles, we’ve included links to information about them that we hope you’ll enjoy so happy reading!
I love books so when we moved from Australia to Warwick last year, I had to make the very difficult decision about what children’s books stayed behind and what books were shipped over with us. I compiled a list and asked myself:
- What books were a must?
- Which ones did my little boys love?
- What books did I love?
As I looked over that list recently, I realised that many of them were Australian books or authors. Don’t get me wrong – we have plenty of great books from America and the UK but our best loved books are Australian and have had a special place in our hearts for many, many generations.
For as long as I can remember I have loved reading. I have memories of both my parents reading to me and my grandparents too. Actually, my parents have a tape recording of my dad and I reading “The Little Red Hen” together. At the same point in the story, you can hear my little voice popping in to say “and she did!”. I loved the ‘Little Golden Books‘ series. I loved reading them every day and we loved collecting as many as we could. I have memories of my grandmother and I reading ‘Cuddlepot and Snugglepie‘ whenever I had a sleepover at my grandparents’ house as a special treat.
I decided to update my list and asked my sons to help create a list of Australian books and authors that we would recommend to our UK friends. So, in no particular order, here is our list.
Possum Magic – Mem Fox (1983)
Deep in the Australian bush live two possums, Grandma Poss and Hush. Grandma Poss uses her best bush magic to make Hush invisible. Hush has some wonderful adventures but when she longs to be able to see herself again, the two possums must make their way across Australia to find the magic food that will make Hush visible once more.
Wombat Stew – Marcia Vaughan (1985)
One day at a billabong, a dingo catches a wombat for tea! He is intent on making wombat stew! He receives cooking suggestions from all of the other bush animals, who have a plan to try and save their friend. They trick him into using mud, feathers, gumnuts (the woody fruit of a eucalyptus tree) and bugs to create a stew Dingo will never forget!!
Diary of a Wombat – Jackie French (2002)
Wombats are cuddly-looking, slow moving Australian animals who love to sleep and eat and sleep and scratch and sleep and dig holes!! This book is a story of one wombat’s busy week as it tries to train his new human neighbours to give him treats on demand!
Andy and Terry have built the most amazing treehouse! It’s got a bowling alley, a see-through swimming pool, a tank of man-eating sharks, a giant catapult, a secret underground laboratory and a marshmallow machine that follows you around and shoots marshmallows into your mouth whenever you’re hungry. All they need to do is stop getting side-tracked and finish writing their book!
Award-winning author Andy Griffith and Aussie illustrator Terry Denton have written many books together including 8 more books in the Treehouse Series.
This series is my sons’ favourite!
The Rainbow Serpent – Dick Roughsey (1975)
This book is a retelling of one of the ancient stories of the Australian Aboriginals. Dreamtime stories were the way that the Aboriginal tribes passed information down through the generations.
‘The Rainbow Serpent’ was the winner of the ‘Australian Picture Book Award’ in 1976, is found in most Australian schools and libraries and is covered in the primary school curriculum. The story tells of the beginning of ‘Dreamtime’ when the earth was flat and dry and empty. There were no trees, no rivers, no animals, and no grass. The Rainbow Serpent, Gooriala, travelled the Australian continent, as he did so, he created.
Pig the Pug – Aaron Blaby (2014)
“Pig was a pug and I am sorry to say, he is greedy and selfish in almost every way!”
Pig is rude, bad-tempered, mean and never, ever shares. Trevor on the other hand is kind and friendly and is always trying to persuade Pig to play with him. Once day Trevor suggests that they play with Pig’s toys, but Pig refuses to share and things backfire on poor Pig!
Aaron Blaby has written a whole series on Pig the Pug (‘Pig The Elf’ is available from Warwickshire Libraries) all as funny and laugh out loud as each other with a wonderful lesson in each. We love them all!!
Where is the Green Sheep? – Mem Fox (2004)
Here is blue sheep, and here is red sheep. Here is bath sheep and here is bed sheep. But where is green sheep?
A wonderful picture book full of sheep of many colours, all doing lots of amazing non-sheep things. You have to wait till the end of the book to find out where IS that green sheep!
The Complete Adventures of Blinky Bill – Dorothy Wall (1933)
Blinky Bill is a cheeky, mischievous koala who lives in a eucalyptus tree and gets up to all sorts of trouble around his Australian bush home. This book is a set of three, ‘Blinky Bill’, ‘Blinky Bill Grows Up’ and ‘Blinky Bill and Nutsy’. They follow Blinky and all of his antics and adventures with his friends.
These books have been made into TV shows and movies and have been loved by many generations of Australians. A personal favourite of mine!!
The Tales of Snugglepot and Cuddlepie – May Gibbs (1918)
(Also published as The Complete Adventures of Snugglepot and Cuddlepie – 1941)
Snugglepot and Cuddlepie are two adventurous little gumnut brothers who live in the Australian bush. One day they set out on a journey to find humans. Along the way the make new friends, fight enemies, and have some amazing adventures.
May Gibbs is a much-loved Australian artist and author and her ‘Gumnut Babies’ series are treasured by many generations of Australians. I remember reading this with my grandmother many, many years ago.
WeirDO – Anh Do (2013)
The first book in a 14-book series written by Australian stand-up comedian Anh Do.
A hilarious series of books following Weir and his friends as they navigate the trials of primary school. In the first book, we meet Weir Do, no that’s not a typo, that’s his actual name! Weir is the new kid in school. With an unforgettable name, a crazy family and some seriously weird habits, fitting in won’t be easy…but it will be funny!!
I hope you’ve enjoyed this tour through the books that I grew up with in Australia and that made the list when we moved to Warwick.
Where we have copies of the books mentioned by Nicole, follow the links to borrow either physical copies or download them from BorrowBox as an eBook/eAudio title. Some of those mentioned above will currently be available from our ‘Click and Collect’ libraries – find out how to request those titles here. If you’re new to using BorrowBox, we have a ‘BorrowBox Basics‘ video available here and a ‘Tips & Tricks‘ video to make sure you’re making the most of our eBooks and eAudio titles. You can also get in touch by email if you need any further assistance with our digital resources – email firstname.lastname@example.org.
I hope you liked our list of great Australian books and Authors! I certainly enjoyed putting this list together and researching books and authors. I had a wonderful time heading down memory lane re-visiting with books that made my childhood. And I must admit I was hugely side-tracked as I found YouTube videos or online books of some long-lost books which of course I had to read!
Happy Reading, Nic