The Top Ten Australian Children’s Books to Read Before You Grow Up

Date :
January 19, 2018


This is a contribution from Kristena Lowry. Kristena discovered a love of reading as a teacher before landing her dream job at an ABC shop surrounded by her favourite things. She now shares her passion with others through Bookgeek, an online shop for all things bookish. 

Meet snugglepot and cuddlepie gumnut babies book

Looking for the best Australian children’s books to read – preferably before you or your kids grow up? We’ve got a list of some of the best!

There’s something magical about Australia, that wide brown land, that produces a wealth of gorgeous children’s literature – and the best time to immerse yourself in this wonderful landscape is sometime before you cross over that immense divide between childhood and being fully ‘grown-up’.

This list of the best Australian children’s books to read before you grow up is not fully comprehensive – we could potentially be here for the next decade writing that kind of list. In our humble opinion, it does represent some of the best children’s books to come out of Australia in the past 150 years.

A world of pure imagination

Enter a world of pure imagination with these ten truly talented Australian authors.

Possum Magic by Mem Fox (Picture Book)

Aussie great Mem Fox pens this modern classic about a possum with magical powers who turns her granddaughter Hush invisible. Will Hush ever be seen again?

The Magic Pudding by Norman Lindsay

Without the magic pudding, Australian children’s literature would be missing one of its vital organs. A must read for kids of all ages.

Magic Beach by Alison Lester (Picture Book)

The beach is such an important part of Australian culture, and Alison Lester’s imaginative view of a typical summers day out at the seaside offers great insight into what makes an Aussie beach day so special.

Gumnut Babies and the Complete Adventures of Snugglepot and Cuddlepie by May Gibbs

The books that started it all – and we couldn’t just choose one! May Gibbs celebrates the Australian bush and its beautiful animals and plants with these gorgeous titles. Every Australian child needs to read these at least once – and once you’ve finished, you need to read them all!

 Amy and Louis by Libby Gleeson

This beautiful story about two friends is a must read for Aussie kids. When one of the children moves to another country, the colour fades from both their lives. When the other discovers how to re-build their special bond despite their distance, you’ll be feeling goose bumps.

Storm Boy by Colin Thiele

Storm Boy has captivated Australian children for over forty years. The friendship between a boy and a pelican is timeless and profound. Experience this Aussie classic before you come of age.

 Blinky Bill by Dorothy Wall

No list of Australian books would be complete without Blinky Bill in there somewhere. The koala is an icon of Australia, and Blinky has become one in his own right.

The Book Thief by Markus Zusak

Markus Zusak is an immense talent in Australian young adult fiction, and this, the best of his work, goes above and beyond any piece of children’s literature before it. Truly astounding and heartbreaking.

Looking for Alibrandi by Melina Marchetta

The ultimate teen novel about multicultural Australia that spawned an awesome movie, Looking for Alibrandi has been popular with teenagers for over 15 years. All kids can relate to the fierce, independent Josie and her struggle to find her place in the world.

Tomorrow When the War Began by John Marsden

A stark dystopian sci fi novel set in the Australian bush with an ensemble of wonderful characters. John Marsden is a staple in the Australian children’s literature landscape, and fully deserves his place.


Discover more about Australian children’s literature or May Gibbs today!