Category Archives: Illustration

Posts about beautiful illustrations and illustrators

Starting School with Booko

Children all over the country are preparing to begin the new school year next week and we are all hoping that it will be a year that has far fewer interruptions than the last two years.

Starting school is such an exciting time and while it’s fun to shop for new shoes, pencil cases and lunch boxes, there is always a little trepidation at the thought of a new routine, new friends to make and new teachers to meet.

We have found six wonderful books that all aim to help the smallest students have a smooth start to their schooling. 

The Wild Guide to Starting School by Laura and Philip Bunting

The familiar and much loved animals from previous Bunting tales—Mopoke, Kookaburra, Liarbird, Koala, Quokka, and a few new friends—guide you from starting the day just right (mmm, GumFlakes) to first day jitters, meeting teachers, making friends, lunch time, home time and all the things in between. It is time to get set for your wildest adventure yet. Follow this simple guide and you’ll learn everything you need to know.

All The Ways to Be Smart by Davina Bell

This book has been out for a few years, and it remains a firm favourite in bookshelves all around the country.

Smart is not just ticks and crosses, smart is building boats from boxes. Painting patterns, wheeling wagons, being mermaids, riding dragons. From the award-winning creators of The Underwater Fancy-dress Parade and Under the Love Umbrella comes this joyful ode to all the unique and wonderful qualities that make children who they are.

Ally-saurus and the first day of school by Richard Torrey

When Ally roars off to her first day at school, she hopes she’ll meet lots of other dinosaur-mad kids in class. Instead, she’s the only one chomping her food with fierce dino teeth and drawing dinosaurs on her nameplate. Even worse, a group of would-be “princesses” snubs her! Will Ally ever make new friends? With its humorous art, appealing heroine and surprise ending, this fun board book celebrates children’s boundless imagination.

You can read more of Ally’s adventures here

Let’s Get Ready for School by Jane Porter

Starting school can be a great adventure, but it can make you feel a bit nervous too. Let’s Get Ready for School is a perfect book to reassure any new school-starter. Jane Porter answers all of these questions and more in this warm, witty and reassuring book for young children that explores everything they’ll need to know before starting school. Marley, Maya, Theo, Akiko, Ella and Zakir are all getting ready to start school. Why not come along with them and see what it’s like? Illustrated with charming characters by Carolina Rabei, this is the perfect introduction to joining a new class.

Old Friends, New Friends by Andrew Daddo

What do you do when none of your old friends are in your new class? From the team who brought you First Day and When I Grow Up comes an empowering and relatable picture book about making friends and being yourself.

Hello World by Kelly Corrigan

From New York Times bestselling author Kelly Corrigan comes a book that celebrates the people in our lives and the meaningful connections we make that come from asking each other questions. Hello World! is the perfect reminder that the journeys we take through life are all about the people we will meet along the way, people who will make us smarter, stronger, and more amazing than we ever thought possible. With her trademark inspirational wisdom, Kelly Corrigan writes the perfect book for anyone about to embark on a new adventure.

Enjoy!

Our Six Favourite Graphic Novels

Graphic Novels are long-form stories told mainly through drawings. They are now recognised as an important medium for storytelling, both for fiction and non-fiction, for adults as well as for children. Parents and educators are also discovering their benefits in encouraging reading and developing literacy. You can find graphic novels in a huge range of art styles and subject matter – and the diversity is growing daily! Dive into this format through these recent bestsellers:

Smile by Raina Telgemeier
It all starts here – reading Raina Telgemeier is practically a rite of passage for tweens and early teens. Whether it’s her own stories, or her adaptation of the iconic Babysitter Club series, readers just can’t get enough of her observant and empathic stories of the drama and tensions of growing up. Smile is her memoir, starting in her Sixth Grade, when she had a string of dental procedures – including braces – after a painful accident. Add in fickle friends, first crushes, and finding her own identity, and you get a heartfelt rite-of-passage story reminiscent of Judy Blume.

The Sad Ghost Club by by Lize Meddings
The Sad Ghost Club is centred around mental health, and is a great conversation-starter with tweens, while still providing a rich, reflective experience for teens and adults. It is about SG (Sad Ghost), who struggles with anxiety about school and feelings of loneliness. SG agonises over whether to go to a party, feeling nervous about not fitting in. After an awkward start to the party, SG meets Socks, and together they form the Sad Ghost Club, a secret society for the anxious and alone, a club for people who think they don’t belong. The Sad Ghost Club is a sweet, quietly optimistic story with a fresh and on-point analogy for depression, and presenting totally relatable situations.

Heartstopper series by Alice Oseman
Alice Oseman is both an accomplished novelist and artist – their popular Heartstopper series focuses on Nick and Charlie, characters from their first novel Solitaire. This adorable LGBT+ webcomic is now available in book form! Heartstopper volume 1 sees the beginning of Nick and Charlie’s blossoming romance, from their meeting in their newly-organised “vertical classroom”, to their first kiss. Heartstopper is upbeat, but does not shy away from depicting the difficulties of being queer teens, and is lauded for being relatable and a realistic portrayal of contemporary teenage life.

Future Girl by Asphyxia
The first thing you will notice about Future Girl is that it is a beautiful object – textured cover, heavy paper, packed with colourful art. This art/prose hybrid is not strictly a graphic novel, but deserves attention for its striking format and subject matter. Future Girl is set in a dystopian, near-future Melbourne whose heroine, Piper, is based on the author’s own experience. Piper is a deaf girl who relies on hearing aids and speech for communication. When an environmental catastrophe strikes, she defies the authorities by learning to grow her own food – through which she is introduced to sign language, and a Deaf community who does not view its differences as deficits. Future Girl is an an enthralling and heartfelt coming-of-age story from Deaf artist/writer/activist Asphyxia.

They Call Us Enemy by George Takei and Justin Eisinger
The graphic novel format has been used as an eloquent tool for exploring, and inviting understanding of, social causes. They Call Us Enemy is one such award-winning example – it describes how a young George Takei – now beloved Star Trek actor and activist – and his family were incarcerated in a World War 2 camp for Japanese Americans. Their personal experiences fighting for safety and survival are juxtaposed upon descriptions of the social-political controversy surrounding this unjust practice. They Call Us Enemy is an emotional story that will resonate across many age groups, and offers powerful reflections upon the current issues of hate speech, institutional racism and racial profiling.

The Mental Load: a Feminist Comic by Emma
Not everyone can coin a powerful term that sparks a global discussion – French comic artist Emma did just that, when she drew an essay about women’s “Mental Load”, the invisible labour and unpaid organising that we do for others, an issue that disproportionately impacts women.  This piece now headlines this collection of graphic essays on everyday feminist issues – sexism in the workplace, objectification, motherhood, women’s health. The topics and examples are instantly recognisable. Follow up with its recently-released companion volume, The Emotional Load.

Hey science teacher – make it fun

Science teacher Tyler DeWitt thinks science textbooks are impossible to understand. He delivers a rousing call for science teachers to ditch the jargon and make science fun in this Ted Talk.


Our favourite children’s books on the market

Ahh… children’s books. We love their ability to share big ideas in fun, engaging ways; tell tales of mischief, feelings and friendship; bring characters to life through unexpected adventures; delight budding imaginations and inspire little people to become life-long readers. 

We have scoured the internet to find six of the most delightful and heart-warming children’s books that we know you are going to love reading these school holidays. 

Oli and Basil: The Dashing Frogs of Travel by Megan Hess 

Meet Oli and Basil, the dashing frogs of travel, in Megan Hess’s first World of Claris story! Two frogs dream of flying, but don’t realise that they’ll need each other to take to the skies. Oli is an artist who dreams up wild, fabulous machines, but he doesn’t know how to build them. And Basil is a master craftsman who can build anything from scratch, except he doesn’t know what to build. If only there was a way that these two dashing frogs could become friends. From the beloved creator of the Claris stories comes this heart-warming adventure about the joys of newfound friendship. You can see Megan’s other books here.

Malala Yousafzai (Little People, Big Dreams) by Maria Isabel Sanchez Vegara 

When Malala was born in Mingora, Pakistan, her father was determined she would have every opportunity that a boy would have. She loved getting an education, but when a hateful regime came to power, girls were no longer allowed to go to school. Malala spoke out in public about this, which made her a target for violence. She was shot in the left side of her head and woke up in hospital in England. Finally after long months and many surgeries, Malala recovered, and resolved to become an activist for girls’ education. Now a recent Oxford graduate, Malala continues to fight for a world where all girls can learn and lead. This powerful book features stylish and quirky illustrations and extra facts at the back, including a biographical timeline with historical photos and a detailed profile of the activist’s life. You can read Malala’s own story here.

Bedtime is Boring by David Campbell 

Billy Bunny REALLY doesn’t want to go to bed. He’s NOT tired! Not even a little bit. It may be bedtime, but Billy is NOT going quietly… See if Billy wins the bedtime battle in this hilarious sequel to Stupid Carrots, written by (a quite tired) David Campbell.

Maybe…by Chris Haughton 

Chris Haughton is a fan favourite in our household. Maybe is another funny, suspenseful and keenly observed cautionary tale about pushing boundaries and indulging your more mischievous, cheeky side (when nobody is looking). Three little monkeys, and their big monkey, are sat high up on their branch in the forest canopy. “Ok, monkeys! I’m off,” says the big monkey. “Now remember. Whatever you do, do NOT go down to the mango tree. There are tigers down there.” Mmm . mangos! think the little monkeys. They LOVE mangos. Hmm … maybe . maybe they could just look at the mangos? That’d be ok, right? You can see Chris’ other books here.

With a Little Kelp from Our Friends: The Secret Life of Seaweed by Mathew Bate 

Did you know that feeding seaweed to cows can reduce the methane in their burps and farts by more than half? Or that a forest of kelp absorbs more carbon than a tropical rainforest of the same size? We can even make edible bioplastics from seaweed! Beyond the tideline, there are around 10,000 types of seaweed. An essential ingredient for life on Earth, seaweed has sustained animals and people for many thousands of years. From ancient history and mythology to modern uses in food, health and medicine, discover how seriously cool seaweed is, and how it can even help tackle climate change. Complete with a guide to common seaweeds and foraging guidelines, this charmingly illustrated picture book will educate and inspire, and encourage respect for the natural world.

Reggie Red by Josie Layton 

With freckles and curls so big and so red, Reggie felt worried…’Just look at my head! Others have hair that is brown, blonde and flat, How can I make MY hair look like that?’ Reggie Red tells the story of a little girl who discovers that beauty is far more than what you see on the outside.

Enjoy!

Celebrating the Australian Book Industry with Booko: Places We Swim Sydney

From lap pools to ocean pools, harbour pools to waterfalls Places We Swim Sydney covers the very best of the city’s famous and hidden swimming spots.


Celebrating the Australian Book Industry with Booko: When We Say Black Lives Matter

“Little one, when we say Black Lives Matter, we’re saying black people are wonderful-strong. That we deserve to be treated with basic respect, and that history’s done us wrong”

When We Say Black Lives Matter is a gorgeous and essential picture book for children of all ages from bestselling and award-winning author Maxine Beneba Clarke.