I have always been one of those nerdy types who when filling out a questionnaire about what I would love to be doing would always tick an option that says lying on a beach somewhere reading a good book. I adore books and although my time now is so very limited I still try to have one within arms reach for those all-too-rare moments when I manage to find 10 minutes in my day to unwind and get lost in a fantastic new tale.
It’s why I love to read to my kids. Aside from all the expert statistics that say how beneficial it is for kids to be introduced to a wide range of books from a young age I love reading the innocent, funny, charming tales that many kids’ picture and story books entail. And I know my girls do too.
There are just so many wonderful books out there for young children and I love sharing ones with them that have been written by Authors who practically live in our backyard! Where possible its always great to support our local artists so next time you are looking to buy a new book for your children or as a gift check out the below list first of great children’s books by Brisbane and Southeast Queensland resident authors. It’s full of home-grown talent and books they are guaranteed to love!
1. Peter Carnavas – The Children Who Loved Books
This is a delightful book about Angus and his sister Lucy. They may not have many possessions but they do have hundreds of books. And they love them. One day all of their books are taken away and Angus and Lucy discover they need them more than they ever imagined. This story is a warm and moving celebration of books and the way in which they bring us all together.
2. Belinda Jeffrey – It Wasn’t Me
Whether it’s an overflowing bathtub, an overturned flower pot or a messy bedroom, whenever his mother discovers a new mess Finnigan’s response is always a confident “It wasn’t me!” And he really believes it as well. But if it wasn’t Finnigan, thn who was it? This is a cheeky, funny story that is presented alongside beautifully detailed pictures and is one I’m sure most kids will relate to.
3. Katherine Battersby – Squish Rabbit (Born NQLD)
Squish is just a little rabbit and sometimes being little can lead to big problems. He can be hard to hear and see so it’s also not very easy to make new friends. But if there is one thing Squish does have it’s a big heart. This is a beautiful book with an adorable main character. An exploration and celebration of the joy of friendship.
4. Clare McFaddden – The Flying Orchestra
On a windy day, the Flying Orchestra blows into town and plays beautiful music to the tunes of life. Its strands can be heard whenever a significant and special moment is experienced – a baby being born, a new achievement in a young child’s life, those moments when you are sad or that joy of a fresh, sunny day. They play to the beat of your emotions.
This is a unique story about the magic in the air all around us in day-to-day life. It introduces the concept of different types of music to children, inviting them to imagine the tunes that could be played to the various moments described.
5. Kim Michelle Toft – One Less Fish
Children will delight as mesmerising tropical fish shimmer across each page of this special counting book set in Australia’s Great Barrier Reef. It’s not long though until they realise that something isn’t right. One by one the fish are disappearing. This cautionary tale warns of the threats to a fragile underwater environment but teaches that by preserving these deep-sea homes, we can all help keep this environmental countdown from coming true.
6. Ruby Red Shoes – Kate Knapp
Ruby Red Shoes is a hare who lives in a colourful caravan with her grandmother. Ruby is gentle and kind and cares for all living things, including plants and trees, animals and people. She is particularly fond of strawberry jam, peppermint tea and most of all cuddles. As much a visual journey as a story, Ruby Red Shoes has a basic premise but one that is refreshing, sweet, simple and easily-cherished.
7. Ruby Who? – Hailey and Andrew Bartholomew
If you have a child that compares themselves with others and always wishes for what they may have then this is definitely a book worth reading with them. As Ruby spots other children during a walk she secretly admires things they may have and wishes them for herself. Miraculously, they appear! But it’s not long before she realises that all these changes may not necessarily be for the best. Ruby Who? reinforces the message that having more, and being like others doesn’t make you happy!
8. The Bear Said Please – Jacque Duffy
A great book that teaches little readers the importance of using their manners! This clever rhyming picture book centres on a bear who wakes up hungry for some honey. He sets off to find some but it doesn’t take long for him to realise that where hives are there are bees and he learns the hard way that it’s better to be polite and ask nicely then to simply take what isn’t yours.
9. The Boy, The Bear, The Baron and The Bard – Gregory Rogers
An adventurous tale filled with drama as we see what happens when a little boy goes through a curtain in a deserted theatre and is transformed onto Shakespeare’s stage in London! A dramatic chase within a visual feast of imagery, this wordless picture book with its delightful main characters (a curious boy, grumpy bard, captive bear and baron) is definitely a great one to share with your children.
10. Smooch & Rose – Samantha Wheeler
Rose’s life changes for the better when one day together with her Gran she saves a baby koala, named Smooch. They take him into their care until eventually he is old enough to make the trees on their strawberry farm his home. Rose’s happiness is in jeopardy though when her Gran gets a letter from the bank and bulldozers are also mentioned. Rose soon realises it’s not just her home that is at stake! Rose has a voice and wants to make a difference and this book explores just how much one girl and her koala can do if she fights hard enough.
I think it’s inspiring to read a story to your child and then share with them that the Author actually grew up or now lives in Brisbane. And there are so many more than are on this list too! Next time you visit your local library or bookstore maybe you could ask for some more recommendations?