Tag Archives: #EarlyChildhood

Learning to read: six great books for early readers

Children’s books are a delightful genre of books. The topics they cover are fun, silly, heart warming, insightful, cheeky and full of adventure. There is something rather special about hearing a child giggle aloud, or even chat to the characters of a book they are enjoying. With so many children heading back to school this month we wanted to share a handful of new books that we know will find a spot on the bookshelves both at homes and classrooms across Australia. 

We love hearing which books your children enjoy, and which ones you enjoyed as a child, please feel free to share in the comments below or over on any of our social media channels; instagram, twitter and facebook

The Museum of Marvellous Things by Kristina Stephenson

Sensible, serious Norbert Norris knows all the important things: dinosaurs, planets, shapes and sums. But when the Museum of Marvellous Things is in trouble, Norbert doesn’t know what to do. Only magic can save it – and he knows nothing about magic! Norbert must learn to believe, because when you imagine incredible things, almost anything can happen. This story is a joyful celebration of imagination and creativity, from the author of the bestselling Sir Charlie Stinky Socks books, Kristina Stephenson.

Scaredy Bath by Zoë Foster Blake

Bath-time is fun! There’s the bubbles, the bath toys and lots of splashing of course. But have you ever wondered what it’s like for the bath? Scaredy Bath does not like bath time . . . the piping hot water, the gooey muck and especially not the small boisterous grubby ones that shout and splash and make Scaredy all mucky! What’s a bath to do? Will Scaredy Bath ever enjoy bath time? Scaredy Bath is a delightful new addition to Zoë’s much-loved brand of picture books (you can find the other books here) that celebrate the ups and downs of family life.

Did you take the B from my _ook? by Matt Stanton

OK. Two things you need to know before you read this book. Firstly, your favourite thing in the whole world is the letter B. And secondly, you’re about to sneeze and all the Bs are going to be blown out of the book. So until you can get your favourite letter back, you’re about to sound really, really silly … And the kids will love it!

Abigail Fig: The Secret Agent Pig by Megan Hess

If you are a fan of the Claris books you are going to love this new character Megan Hess has dreamed up. It’s actually not in stores yet, but you can pre-order it. Clever and curious Abigail Fig has a real nose for details, tiny and big. But when a strange disappearance catches her eye she’ll need to think fast and act like a spy! Abigail Fig is a very curious pig. She’s full of questions, which can sometimes be a little annoying. But one day, her observation skills come in handy when she witnesses a pignapping – can she follow the clues to find her friends? This is destined to delight fashion-obsessed readers of all ages!

Thunderstorm Dancing by Katrina Germein

Thunderstorm is a rollicking rhyming story about a family who dance up a storm while the wind and rain swirl outside. Rhythm, rhyme and family mayhem. Perfect for reading aloud, this playful, energetic story will have young children leaping into action. When a sunny day at the beach turns stormy, a little girl runs for cover. Her daddy and brothers are wild in the wind and lightning, and her poppy is as loud as thunder. They fill the house with stamping and crashing while Granny plays piano to their riotous thunderstorm dancing. until the storm passes and they all fall down. Then, in the stillness, the girl is ready to play. What will she be, now that the rain has stopped and there’s a glimmer of sunlight? 

Bella The Brave by Rebel Wilson

Bella has so much to say, but she’s just too shy. If only she could be more like her confident sister, Stella. Then one day Bella’s mum brings her to the local choir. Could it finally be Bella’s time to shine? An empowering book about finding your voice from one of Australia’s best-loved stars, Rebel Wilson.


Book Week Picks – Early Childhood Book of the Year

Book Week is fast approaching – as advertisements spruiking dress-ups remind us. Book Week also means the CBCA (Children’s Book Council of Australia) Book of the Year Awards, the most prestigious awards in Australian children’s publishing. This year’s winners will be announced on Friday 21st August, the day before Book Week, a week long celebration of children’s books, literacy and publishing, from August 22-28.

This year, CBCA celebrates its 70th anniversary with the theme “Books light up our World”. Here’s a run down of the different award categories and some titles to watch out for.

Book of the Year (Early Childhood)

The Early Childhood category was first awarded in 2001, to differentiate these works from ones judged under the general Picture Book of the Year category, that may contain more mature, challenging subject matter. The need for two separate awards in picture storybooks reflect a growth and diversification of this format away from the idea that “picture books are only for young children”. In fact, a picture is still worth a thousand words, and the combination of text and graphics offers a multi-layered, powerful approach to storytelling.

This year’s shortlist is dominated by established authors and illustrators, many of whom are past winners.

To further your reading experience, many of these titles come with teaching notes available from the publisher’s websites.

A House of her Own by Jenny Hughes and Jonathan Bentley
Audrey is bigger than she was yesterday, so now she needs a bigger house – a house of her own. Luckily, Dad is there to help her build a wonderful house at the top of a tree, with a bathtub for snorkelling, a blue bed for hiding secrets under – everything that a girl could want. However, when it’s time to turn in, Audrey is not so sure that being big is such a good idea afterall…

Jenny Hughes and Jonathan Bentley have created a delightful heroine and an endearing story. The story, told almost entirely through dialogue, builds a vivid picture of a loving father-daughter relationship (with a single-parent subtext), and captures the essence of an almost-big girl who wants independence but who also longs for security.


Scary Night by Lesley Gibbes and Stephen Michael King

Stephen Michael King is a prolific and versatile author/illustrator who has three works shortlisted for this year’s CBCA awards – two in the Early Childhood category, and The Duck and the Darklings competing for the Picture Book of the Year. In Scary Night, he illustrates the story of first-time author Lesley Gibbes.

Once upon a scary night, a hare, a cat and a pig set out on a journey. They must keep going, even though there are lots of dangers lurking! The story unfolds into a happy surprise as the friends finally reach their destination. The use of repetition and sound effects in the text ramps up the pace and fills it with tension; it is perfect for a dramatic read-aloud. The cute-but-spooky illustrations – I especially love the wide-eyed apprehension in the friends’ faces – will bring delicious shivers to the audience.

Go to Sleep, Jessie! by Libby Gleeson and Freya Blackwood

Libby Gleeson and Freya Blackwood are both multiple award-winners with formidable track-records at the CBCA awards. This year, two of their collaborations – Go to Sleep, Jessie! and The Cleo Stories – are shortlisted for the Early Childhood and the Younger Readers awards, respectively. Moreover, Freya Blackwood has also been shortlisted for the Picture Book of the Year Award, as illustrator for My Two Blankets.

Baby Jessie screams every night at bedtime. Mum, Dad and Jessie’s big sister try all sorts of tricks to help Jessie sleep but the peace and quiet never lasts. The big sister (narrator) grows increasingly frustrated and looks set to snap… fortunately an endearing twist gives the story a gentle, happy ending.

Go to Sleep, Jessie! is a charming, tender story reminiscent of the award-winning The Runaway Hug, that will resonate with many parents (and older siblings!). Once again Libby Gleeson and Freya Blackwood show their great skill in illuminating the drama of everyday life. The use of some comic strip-style layouts add visual flow to the illustrations that help to propel the action.

Other shortlisted titles are:

Snail and Turtle are Friends by Stephen Michael King

A very simple, gentle and cute story about Snail and Turtle, friends who love to spend time together even though they are different. The humour and cheerfulness is guaranteed to bring a smile to everyone’s face. This is the second of three works by Stephen Michael King in this year’s awards.

Pig the Pug by Aaron Blabey

Pig the Pug is greedy and selfish in every way. When Pig refuses to share his toys, it starts a chain of events that leads to a nasty end for Pig! The rollicking rhymes and Aaron Blabey’s distinctive drawings will have children following the story with gleeful giggles. A sequel, Pig the Fibber, is just released and already a bestseller.

Noni the Pony Goes to the Beach by Alison Lester

Noni the Pony is friendly and funny. In this new adventure, Noni and her farmyard friends have lots of adventures on a fun day at the beach. It has the same musical rhymes and adorable illustrations of its predecessor and is a joyful story for even the youngest children.