Australian children's books
Australian children's books are an art form rich with invention, exploration and feeling. They are part of a tradition of Australian language and literature as well as establishing themselves as part of visual art.
Three Walpiri boys reading books they prefer – about their own culture, May 1976. Image by and courtesy of Ludo Kuipers.
People know that children's books help to shape young minds, and for this reason children's books form a special kind of mirror. They reveal the values and hopes of each adult generation and show us a great deal about Australian life. 'Children's books, perhaps more than any other print media, reflect social change', says Maurice Saxby, an expert on children's literature.
For most of the 1800s Australian colonial children were regarded as British and were expected to read British children's books. But by the late 1800s and early 1900s, children's books were exploring the experience of being Australian. They started to feature self-consciously Australian characters – human and animal.
After the end of the Second World War in 1945, there was increased support for children's literature through children's libraries, the formation of the Children's Book Council and its awards, and specialist bookshops. Children's literature flowered. It also developed a new realism at this time.
The 2011 Children's Book Council's Book of the Year, Mirror by Jeannie Baker, a wordless picture book
From the early 1970s, picture books for children became a major art form in Australia. Colour printing had become relatively cheap and this made possible a wave of aesthetic invention and enjoyment, influenced by trends in the visual arts and graphic design. By the mid 1980s, half of all children's books published were picture books.
The boundaries between children's and adults' literature are looser now than in the past, for example, the 2011 Children's Book Council's Book of the Year was Mirror by Jeannie Baker, a wordless picture book suitable for adults as well as children.
Since the 1960s the range of genres has become wider and the voices more culturally diverse. Increasingly from the 1990s, children's books about multiculturalism have been written from the point of view of the minority cultures. Especially since the 1970s, books by and about Indigenous Australians have become an exciting and innovative part of the literature.
Beginnings – 1800s
Before the 1700s, people did not think of childhood as a special time and did not think children should have their own types of books. But from the 1700s in Europe and America, and with the beginning of mass printing, writers started to create a separate literature for children.
The spirit of the bush and the everyday
Buckley's escape by Tommy McRae, 1890s, various scenes from the legendary story of convict William Buckley who spent more than 30 years with local Aborigines, pen and ink drawing.
In the early years of the Australian colonies, in the late 1700s and early 1800s, Australian settler children were thought of as British, and so British children's books were thought to be the best books for them.
The earliest known children's book to reflect Australian experience is A Mother's Offering to Her Children by Charlotte Barton (1841). Like other books of that time, its purpose was to instruct children, but it was also sometimes disturbing (Stone in Hunt, 1995). It is available online from the National Library, and begins:
Mrs. Saville engaged at her needle.
Clara, Emma, Julius, and Lucy) Amusing themselves by Drawing.
Emma – How very extraordinary those tremendous noises were, Mamma, which we heard at the Coolandal Mountain ...
By the late 1800s, Australian writers began to focus on stories describing real-life experiences and everyday adventures, such as settling in Australia and family life. This was now a separate Australian literature with its own subjects.
Portrait of Ethel Turner, 1927, by May Moore (1881–1931), sepia photograph. Courtesy National Library of Australia: an3084746.
Ethel Turner's highly successful children's novel Seven Little Australians (1894) is set in the 1880s, in Sydney and on a sheep station. It relates the adventures of the seven prankster Woolcot children, their disciplinarian father Captain Woolcot, and their young stepmother Esther who cannot control the children. A falling tree brings a tragedy that touches and changes the whole family. This book is naturalistic in style. Turner wrote over thirty novels for children.
The tone of voice in children's novels starts to change in the late 1800s, away from teaching and instructing, and Turner's book illustrates this shift. Naughtiness, youthfulness and optimism are defined as Australian characteristics.
There followed many titles, particularly adventure stories set in the colonies amidst pioneering struggles, hazardous explorations, encounters with ‘blacks', bushrangers and escaped convicts.
Rhonda N Bunbury, Australian Children's Literature: An Overview, La Trobe Journal, No 60 Spring 1997
Legendary tales and Dreaming stories
The re-telling of Aboriginal stories for children has been attempted by writers and collectors in an effort to reproduce accurate written translations of the oral stories. An early example is Mary Ann Fitzgerald's King Bungarees Phyalla: Stories, Illustrative of Manners and Customs that Prevailed among Australian Aborigines (1891). It is simple in presentation, intended for non-Indigenous children and reflects the hierarchies of the day although it provides a glossary of Aboriginal words and acknowledges an informant, ‘King Bungaree’. However Fitzgerald modified some of the stories told to her in her childhood and it did not remain in print like its successors.
K Langloh Parker’s Australian Legendary Tales — from Peter Hippi
K. Langloh Parker's Australian Legendary Tales, 1896.
Katherine (Katie) Stow writing as K. Langloh Parker, published Australian Legendary Tales with an introduction by Andrew Lang, a well-known collector of Aboriginal stories, in 1896. Legendary Tales was not intended as a children’s book but it became very popular with both children and adults. It was the first publication of Dreaming stories, retold with integrity for a popular audience.
The Aboriginal story tellers were named: Peter Hippi, to whom the book was dedicated, and Hippitha, Matah, Barahgurrie, and Beemunny. The stories were collected by Stow during her childhood and adult life on the Narren River, in northern NSW. The stories include Dinewan the Emu and Goomblegubbon the Bustard, The Galah, and Oolah the Lizard, Bahloo the Moon and the Daens, The Origin of the Narran Lake with Old Byamee and many more.
Legendary Tales was reprinted five times over the next hundred years although with various omissions and illustrators. An incident when Stow was rescued from drowning by an Aborigine at an early age was portrayed in the film Picnic at Hanging Rock, directed by Peter Weir. The song They Call the Wind Mariah was based on a story from this book
Returning from hunt, Tommy McRae, drawing, c. 1880s. Courtesy of the State Library of New South Wales
In the first edition, the drawings used to illustrate the stories were made at Corowa, New South Wales, June 1886 by Aboriginal Tommy Macrae, later McRae, (c.1835–1901). McRae’s hunting and other scenes were seen to be infused with life, movement and spirit. McRae is seen today as a significant artist with a valuable perspective on life through his drawings and sketchbooks. From the 1860s to the late 1800s, McRae made a living from the sale of his story or sketch books, a form of storytelling that was appreciated by those who purchased his sketch books.
A later edition of Australian Legendary Tales, in 1955, with Henrietta Drake-Brockman editing, and illustrated by Elizabeth Durack did not include the acknowledgements to the original informants or the drawings. Neither did any reprints provide acknowledgement: a 1975 edition was adapted by Vashti Farrer and illustrated by Walter Cunningham; a 1978 edition which reproduced the 1896 original text with an introduction by Wandjuk Marika was illustrated by Rex Backhaus-Smith; and neither did the 1993 nor 1998 editions. (Judith Johnstone, The Genesis and Commodification of Katherine Langloh Parker's Australian Legendary Tales, 2006)
David Unaipon’s Legendary Tales of the Australian Aborigines
Other significant publications re-telling Aboriginal Dreaming stories include David Unaipon’s Legendary Tales of the Australian Aborigines. Unaipon, born in 1872 at the Point McLeay Mission on the Lower Murray, journeyed through southern Australia to collect stories during 1924–25. The manuscript was submitted for publication but was sold to William Ramsay Smith, an anthropologist. Ramsay Smith published it under his own name in 1930 with the title Myths and Legends of the Australian Aboriginals.
The book was finally published in Unaipon's name, using his original title, in 2001. Prior to this, in 1985 Unaipon was posthumously awarded the FAW Patricia Weickhardt Award for Aboriginal writers, and in 1988 the annual national David Unaipon Award for unpublished Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander writers was established, along with an annual Unaipon Lecture in Adelaide.
Catherine Berndt and Djoki Yunupingu’s Land of the Rainbow Snake
Land of the Rainbow Snake. Aboriginal Children's Stories and Songs from Western Arnhem Land (1979)
Land of the Rainbow Snake, Aboriginal Children's Stories and Songs from Western Arnhem Land (1979) is a collection of twenty-seven traditional stories compiled from women of Oenpelli and the Goulburn Islands and translated from the Guwinggu language by Catherine Berndt. It is illustrated by Djoki Yunupingu and the cover is from a bark painting by Peter Maraiwanga. The fascinating stories include boys who turn into fish, and a wild woman and her giant dog who look for people to eat.
Indigenous and non-Indigenous publishers and writers
Today, there are books about Indigenous lives published in English by commercial publishers written by non-Indigenous writers but; many of these have been endorsed by the community. For example, Jeanie Adam's picture book Pigs and Honey (1989) reflects with warmth and understanding the family life of people living in Aurukun.
Of great impact has been the publication by Aboriginal publishers of children’s books in some of the 50 languages that have survived, as well as English, with illustrations and stories from both children and adults – about their own lives, customs and cultures.
The bush idyll – a children's fantasy – early 1900s
The Magic Pudding Being the Adventures of Bunyip Bluegum and His Friends by Norman Lindsay
The artist Norman Lindsay wrote and illustrated The Magic Pudding (1918) to settle an argument with a friend: Lindsay insisted that children would rather read about food and fighting than about fairies. His book is a comic fantasy adventure with Albert, a pudding who can be eaten without growing smaller, and his mates Bill Barnacle, Sam Sawnoff and Bunyip Bluegum, who must fight off pudding thieves.
Drawing on the tradition of the Australian bushman as archetype of national character … Lindsay presents characters deemed typical Australian males in their comradeship, ready humor, and good-natured lawbreaking. At the end they inhabit Australian male heaven: unlimited food, abundant free time, and undisturbed leisure. The book also reflects early Australian nationalism, however, expressing a backlash against the colonizer in its pervasive mockery of authority and class aspiration.
Stephens in Zipes 2006
May Gibbs' Gumnut Babies c. 1905, postcard. Courtesy State Library of Victoria: H42549/47.
May Gibbs' Snugglepot and Cuddlepie was another book published in 1918. It is regarded as a classic and still available in bookshops.
These two classics were followed by a growth in fantasy and fairy stories, such as the finely illustrated books of Ida Rentoul Outhwaite and Annie Rentoul. The popular Billabong series by Mary Grant Bruce (published 1910–1942) celebrated rural life as the source of 'true' Australian values.
Blinky Bill by Dorothy Wall
In 1933 Dorothy Wall created the story of the impudent koala Blinky Bill, which has never been out of print. Like Blinky Bill, many of the wombats, koalas and other human and animal characters do not have much respect for authority.
Writers for children tried to find ways to have a feeling of belonging in the strange, new, un-European landscape of Australia – the bush. They often did this by reworking imported stories in new ways.
Popular poet C.J. Dennis's 'A Bush Christmas' (published for' children in 2011 by Black Dog Books, with illustrations by Dee Huxley) is an example.
Bush Christmas by C.J. Dennis reprinted in 2011 with illustrations by Dee Huxley, Black Dog Books
C.J. Dennis also wrote and illustrated the deliciously humourous poems and stories of A Book for Kids (1921, and still in print today). We meet all types of people – the Pieman, the Sulky Stockman, the Boy Who Rode into the Sunset – and see scenes from that vision of Australia in the early 1900s. Dennis's wife said, 'I never knew Den more happy than when he was doing A Book for Kids.'
Other writers for adults also wrote for children. For example AB (Banjo) Paterson created The Animals Noah Forgot (1933), and Frank Hurley, the Antarctic and Second World War photographer, won the 1948 Children's Book Council Book of the Year Award for Shackleton's Argonauts.
Postwar realism – 1945–1970
Tangara by Nan Chauncy
After the end of the Second World War in 1945 there was a general cultural renaissance in Australia, and children's books also gathered force and inspiration at this time, for example in the books of Nan Chauncy and Ivan Southall. Publisher Walter McVitty describes the 'special hold the land itself has had on Australian writers and illustrators' and highlights the work of Hesba Brinsmead, Mavis Thorpe Clark, Mary Elwyn Patchett, and Colin Thiele.
Changes in technology and society brought changes to children's literature in the 1960s. Stories began to tackle serious and sometimes controversial issues. Teenage fiction gained popularity, and Australian writers including Eleanor Spence, Simon French, Victor Kelleher, Gillian Rubinstein and Frank Willmott wrote books for this age group.
Muddleheaded Wombat by Ruth Park, illustrated by Noela Young
Ruth Park was commissioned in 1942 to write a radio serial for the ABC Children's Session. This became the popular and long-running Muddleheaded Wombat serial, 1951–70. Park wrote an extensive series of Muddleheaded Wombat books as well as 23 other books for children. She became well known and loved as a novelist for adults after The Harp in the South won the Sydney Morning Herald literary prize in 1946. Her writing, whether for children or adults, is characteristically full of warmth and practical toughness.
The Children's Book Council of Australia (first formed 1945–6 in New South Wales) and its awards encouraged serious interest in children's literature. So did the appointment of children's editors in publishing houses, the development of children's libraries, greater education for librarians, conferences on children's literature, and the creation of specialist bookshops such as The Little Bookroom in Melbourne in 1960. All of these factors helped children's literature to become an exciting area with more and more books published.
The rise of picture books
Waltzing Matilda by Banjo Paterson, published by Collins in 1970 with illustrations by Desmond Digby
Banjo Paterson's verse, Waltzing Matilda, illustrated by Desmond Digby and published by Collins in 1970, in one move established the picture book in Australia as an art form. Like many that followed it, this book appeals strongly to adults as well as to children. It won the 1971 Children's Book Council Picture Book of the Year Award – a category open to books for ages 0 to 18 years and beyond.
After 1970 the proportion of picture books to other children's books increased dramatically in Australia: in 1970 it was about one third, by 1987 it was more than half. Meanwhile, the number of children's books published overall was steadily increasing.
These books have enormous range: ballads and Australiana, personal stories both light-hearted and deeply serious, Dreaming stories, the outback, historical time and place, the sea, wildlife, conservation, urban life, grandparents and the elderly, friendship, the inner world of children, and the power of the imagination.
See the work of authors Jenny Wagner, Margaret Wild and Mem Fox and artists such as Ron Brooks, Armin Greder, Ann James and Julie Vivas. Authors Pamela Allen, Kerry Argent, Jeannie Baker, Graeme Base, Louise Elliott, Bob Graham and Junko Morimoto are all authors as well as illustrators.
A Piece of Straw, 1985, by Junko Morimoto, commended for Best Picture Book of the Year
Junko Morimoto was born in Hiroshima and came to live in Australia in 1982. She has written and illustrated many best-selling picture books including My Hiroshima and The Inch Boy. A Piece of Straw (1985) based on a Japanese tale with text adapted by Helen Smith, where a poor man's piety and kindness are richly rewarded, was commended for Best Picture Book of the Year. In later years Kojuro and The Bear and The Two Bullies were winners of the Children's Book Council Picture Book of the Year in 1987 and 1998 respectively.
The 2011 Picture Book of the Year was Mirror by Jeannie Baker. This is two books joined together: one opens to the left as usual and tells a story set in Australia; the other is set in Morocco, opens to the right, and reads from right to left as would a book in written Arabic. It has no text, communicating through pictures and its physical form.
Fiction for older children
Jackie French at her property, Braidwood, New South Wales, 1996–99, photographer Terry Milligan. Courtesy National Library of Australia: 794227.
From the serious and gripping stories of John Marsden and Sonya Hartnett to the humorous tales of Paul Jennings and Andy Griffiths, there are books for all tastes and moods. Robin Klein, Gary Crew, Jackie French, Isobelle Carmody and Catherine Jinks are among the other many names to look for.
Jackie French was born in Sydney and grew up in Brisbane, but moved to the bush in her early twenties near the small town of Braidwood.
She began writing when she was 30, in a desperate attempt to get enough money together to register her car. At the time, she was living in a tin shed with a black snake named Gladys and a wombat named Smudge.
Since then French has written about 30 children's books as well as books across other genres, and 12 picture books, all bar one with Bruce Whatley. French writes animal series and is also known for her wombat stories for children. French has been called Australia's most popular children's writer.
Joshua and the Two Crabs by Joshua Button, published by Magabala Books
Many children’s books have been worded in such a way that they exclude Indigenous child readers and some of them were very outdated in their attitudes. In discussing Indigenous culture, they have tended to have oppositions, such as black/white skin, rural/urban, traditional/modern, and Indigenous/non-Indigenous instead of just telling the stories. As well, the books have tended to define Indigenous Australians as ‘other people’ and /or a ‘past people’.
The 1967 Referendum marked the start of an exciting wave of children's books, primarily by Indigenous people, that rethought representations of Indigenous Australia.
Many of the children’s books written by Indigenous Australians have given readers insights into their culture and thoughts not previously possible. (Kate Shepherd and Mandy Clarke)
Stradbroke Dreamtime by Oodgeroo Noonuccal (Kath Walker), 1972
The first of these children’s books from an Indigenous perspective was Stradbroke Dreamtime by Oodgeroo Noonuccal (Kath Walker at the time) in 1972. The book features an Indigenous child as the main character and uses standard English in such a way that both Indigenous and non-Indigenous readers are included.
A series of short autobiographical stories build up to make a larger story. Political issues – for example, Oodgeroo's father's low wages as an Aboriginal worker – are not avoided. Aboriginal culture is no longer defined as fixed or locked in the past, but is shown as practical and responsive:
Of course we never depended on the rations to keep ourselves alive. Dad taught us how to catch our food Aboriginal-style, using discarded materials from the white man's rubbish dumps.
Dick Roughsey and Elsie Roughsey
The Rainbow Serpent by Dick Roughsey was Australian Picture Book of the Year in 1976
Dick Roughsey’s The Rainbow Serpent (Australian Picture Book of the Year 1976) was part of the wave of new Indigenous children’s books in the 1970s. Roughsey went on to write 22 titles, sharing the illustrating with Percy Trezise. Some of the most referenced works include The Giant Devil Dingo (1973) and The Quinkins (1978) with Trezise. Roughsey also illustrated The Turkey and the Emu (1978), a traditional tale retold by his wife, Elsie Roughsey.
IAD Press titles for children in Arrernte, 1970s
- publish the work of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander writers and artists
- promote the many and varied voices of Indigenous Australia
- maintain and promote Indigenous language and culture
Significantly IAD Press published children’s titles in the Arrernte language. This encouraged literacy as well as reading and re-telling the stories by Arrernte adults to young people in their communities – something which non-Indigenous cultures take for granted. IAD currently has 18 titles in Central Australian Aboriginal languages, many of them picture dictionaries.
More Indigenous tales and illustrations from Scholastic, 1980s
Other publishers took up this trend, such as Scholastic, who published titles such as The Echidna and the Shade Tree (1984), as told by Mona Green to Aboriginal children living in Halls Creek, WA with illustrations adapted from their paintings. Similarly, George Mung Mung Limmiyarri retold How the Kangaroos got their Tails (1987) to Aboriginal children living in Warnum (Turkey Creek) community which was illustrated by the children. These and other books remained in print until 2004. Compiler Pamela Lofts created eight picture books in all re-telling Aboriginal stories as told and illustrated by Aboriginal people.
From 1990, Magabala Books titles for children – intersecting stories
Jimmy and Pat Meet the Queen, by Pat Lowe and illustrated by Jimmy Pike
Magabala Books, established in Broome, Western Australia in 1990, provided the framework for a series of children’s book titles that emerged from the Aboriginal Language Centres of the Kimberley region, supporting the teaching of language by Aboriginal elders through books. These were often illustrated by children.
Daisy Utemorrah’s Do Not Go around the Edges (1990), illustrated by Pat Torres totally transforms the usual form of the Western picture book. It combines two intersecting stories – poems and an autobiographical account. As a result it has both an individual and collective viewpoint, and cannot be read in one way only.
Jimmy and Pat Meet the Queen, by Pat Lowe and illustrated by Jimmy Pike is a funny, satirical book which is a wonderful introduction to Land Rights and how it looks from an Aboriginal perspective. Jimmy is amazed when he is told that Walmajarri land is Vacant Crown Land and therefore really belongs to the Queen. The Queen accepts Jimmy’s and Pat’s invitation to visit, and she arrives with corgis in tow. Jimmy challenges her to identify all the waterholes in his country to prove ownership, and the Queen is stumped.
Winning picture books by Indigenous authors, 1990s – 2000s
The Papunya School Book of Country and History by Ian Abdulla, 2002
From around 1990 there was wide publication of Indigenous picture books by Indigenous authors such as: Elsie Jones's Story of the Falling Star (1989), Lucille Gill's Tjarany Roughtail (1992), Sharon Hodgson's Booyooburra: A Story of the Wakka Murri (1993) and Ian Abdulla's As I Grew Older (1993). Other picture book authors included: Gracie Greene, Joe Tramacchi, and Lionel Fogarty.
The Papunya School Book of Country and History was the winner of the 2002 New South Wales Premier's Young People's History Prize, 2002 Awards for Excellence in Educational Publishing, and 2002 CBC Eve Pownall Award. Fiction for children by Indigenous authors includes Boori Pryor and Meme Macdonald's My Girragundji (1998) and The Binna Binna Man (1999).
More recently, Malu Kangaroo: How the First Children Learnt to Surf by Judith Morecroft and Bronwyn Bancroft (2007, Little Hare – Notable Book, Children's Book Council) revisits a traditional story structure. My Mob Going to the Beach, written by Sylvia Emmerton and lovingly illustrated in gouache by Jaquanna Elliott (2004, Black Ink Press), takes us on a long-ago childhood journey through scrub and cattle yards, and past billabongs. We meet the extended family and see the whole day's adventure from the cheeky viewpoint of the youngest children.
Looking for Alibrandi by Melina Marchetta, 1992
From the mid 1900s, waves of immigration changed Australia from a Eurocentric and overwhelmingly Anglo-Celtic society, to a very diverse society. Multiculturalism featured as a social issue in children's books from the mid 1970s.
Two main genres emerged: historical fictions which discover or construct multiculturalism in the past, for example Goldie Alexander's Mavis Road Medley (1991); and personal histories, such as Melina Marchetta's best-selling Looking for Alibrandi (1992, winner of the Children's Book Council of Australia's Older Readers Book of the Year 1993). Increasingly from the 1990s on, the point of view in books about multiculturalism was seen from the minority culture rather than from the dominant culture.
Ziba Came on a Boat by Liz Lofthouse, 2007
Ziba Came on a Boat, written by Liz Lofthouse and illustrated by Robert Ingpen with loose but refined brushwork (Penguin Viking 2007) places the reader on a small and crowded boat, with only a view back to the migrating child Ziba's country of origin, and no certain future beyond the past tense 'came' of the title.
Local libraries have found ways to connect with the language communities in their regions through books, seeking to make suitable literature available for children. Bilingual books and books in migrant community languages are becoming more readily available in libraries and shops.
Beyond rural and urban – suburban
Tales from Outer Suburbia by Shaun Tan
Shaun Tan's Tales from Outer Suburbia (Allen and Unwin 2008) won the Children's Book Council of Australia Book of the Year Award for Older Readers in 2009. Tan's collection of 15 compressed stories has illustrations that are disturbing in an enjoyable way. Each story is about a dreamlike event in an otherwise normal suburban world:
A visit from a nut-sized foreign exchange student, a sea creature on someone's front lawn, a new room discovered in a family home, a sinister machine installed in a park, a wise buffalo that lives in a vacant lot. The real subject of each story is how ordinary people react to these incidents, and how their significance is discovered, ignored or simply misunderstood.
Shaun Tan on Tales from Outer Suburbia)
The whole book puts a new light on the common Australian experience of living in suburbia. The old familiarity of suburbia can never quite return. The book does fit loosely in the Australian settler tradition of the search for authenticity in the landscape. But it
challenges stereotypical representations of the suburban. Typically, suburban spaces have been represented as aesthetically bland, mundane, and ornamental. Tan … undermines anti-suburban sentiment, which has dominated Australian literary and popular culture.
The Red Wind by Isobelle Carmody
Celebrating books and writing for children
There are a variety of industry awards and children’s choice awards to assist in choosing from the wide variety of titles available.
Children's Book Week is held in August each year. The Children's Book Council of Australia encourages schools and local libraries to hold activities for children to celebrate the books, writers and illustrators they love.
Australia has a number of centres that focus on children's literature, including Books Illustrated, the Centre for Youth Literature, the Lu Rees Archives and The Literature Centre. Each offers varied activities and programs for children and adults, such as talks by writers and illustrators, seminars and workshops, exhibitions, historic collections of children's books, and research materials.
Look, listen and play
- Watch The Rainbow Serpent by Dick Roughsey, Narration by David Gulpilil, Soundtrack by Andrew Vial, video art work, 11: 23
- Watch Why Koala Has a Stumpy Tail, video art work, 4:39
- Watch Girawu The Goanna (Murrumbidgee River), video art work, 4:00
- Watch Mirram The Kangaroo and Warreen The Wombat, video art work, 4:39
- Watch Biladurang The Platypus, video art work, 4:36
- Watch A Brief History Of Australia, video art work, 6:00
- Watch Ziba Came On A Boat by Liz Lofthouse, story telling at Wodonga Library, NSW
- Watch Shaun Tan, The lost thing, trailers for art work animation
- Look at K. Langloh Parker, Australian Legendary Tales with an introduction by Andrew Lang (London, 1896)
- Watch Tommy McRae, video, 2:11 Koorie Heritage Trust, Nerissa Broben, Senior Curator talks about how the artist Tommy McRae provides a valuable Koorie perspective from the late 1800s through his drawings
- Look at Mickey of Ulladulla & Tommy Mcrae, State Library of New South Wales, high resolution drawings
- Children's Book Council of Australia (CBCA)
- Children's Book Council of Australia (CBCA) Awards
- Books Illustrated
- Maurice Saxby, Researching Australian children's literature – Australian Library Journal, vol 53, issue 1, 2004
- AustLit – Australian Literature Gateway
- Magpies: Talking About Books for Children – an online magazine with reviews of current children's and young adult books as well as articles related to children's books and reading. It is accessible through many public libraries.
- Who Next Guide – an interactive tool to help parents, teachers and librarians in schools and public libraries to guide children to authors they will enjoy reading
- Global Language Books – an Australian business serving cultural and linguistic diversity in the area of publications for children.
- Paper Tigers is a Pacific Rim website, outreach program and blog centred on multicultural young readers. Contains reviews including Australian books.
- The Conversation, Worth a thousand words: the top 10 best Australian children's picture books
- School Library Association of New South Wales, Maurice Saxby Award
Children's literature collections
- State Library South Australia, Children's Literature Research Collection
- State Library of Victoria, Children's Literature Research Collection
- State Library of Western Australia, Guide to the Childrens Literature Collection
- National Centre for Australian Children's Literature - (formerly Lu Rees Archives) - University of Canberra
Authors and illustrators
- Hazel Edwards
- Morris Gleitzman
- Mem Fox
- Paul Jennings
- Krista Bell
- Michael Salmon
- Andy Griffiths
- Christopher Cheng
- Jackie French
- Ruth Park: a Celebration (PDF 3MB)
- Shaun Tan
- Tommy McRae, drawings
- Magabala Books, Children's Picture Books – Indigenous authors
- Suzanne Eberlé and Noelle Williamson, The Fiction Gateway: Enriching the Curriculum with Children's Literature, ACER Press, Melbourne, 2009
- Collins-Gearing, B, 2007, Making Sense of 'Their' Sense of Place: Australian Children's Literature Landscape on Indigenous Land, Journal Of Children's Literature, 33, 2, pp. 27–37, OmniFile Full Text Mega (HW Wilson), EBSCOhost, viewed 23 July 2012.
- Collins, P, Book People: Meet Australia's Children's Authors and Illustrators, MacMillan Education Australia, 2002.
- Dunkle, M (ed.), The Story Makers, Oxford University Press, Sydney, Australia, 1987.
- Hunt, P (ed), Children's Literature: An Illustrated History, Oxford University Press, Oxford, 1995
- Judith Johnstone, The Genesis and Commodification of Katherine Langloh Parker's Australian Legendary Tales (1896), University of Western Australia, 2006
- McVitty, W, Authors and Illustrators of Children's Books, Hodder & Stoughton, Australia, 1989.
- Saxby, H. M., The Proof of the Puddin': Australian Children's Literature 1970–1990, Ashton Scholastic, 1993
- Saxby, M, Offered to Children: A History of Australian Children's Literature 1841–1941, Scholastic, Australia, 1998
- Australian Dictionary of Biography, Tommy McRae
- Stephens, J, 'Australia' in The Oxford Encyclopedia of Children's Literature. Edited by Jack Zipes. Oxford University Press 2006
- Stone, M, Colonial and Post-Colonial Children's Literature: Australia in Peter Hunt (editor) 1995, Children's Literature: An Illustrated History, Oxford University Press, Oxford, 1995
- Sydney University Library, Subject Guide, Children's and Young Adult Literature (Education)
- Oliver, K, Tiny leaf men and other tales from outer suburbia: Re-presenting the suburb in Australian children's literature, 2011, University of Wollongong Faculty of Arts Papers: Explorations into Children's Literature, vol. 21, no. 1, pp. 57–66.
Last updated: 20 November 2013
Creators: Kathryn Wells