Australia’s Home Grown Favourite Children’s Books
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Australia’s Home Grown Favourite Children’s Books

In June 2013 “Get Reading “ the Australian Government initiative to get Australian’s to read for pleasure set out to find the 100 favourite Australian books.

It was an Australia wide survey and people responded through Twitter, Facebook and Instagram and through the ‘Get Reading’ website.

There were more than 1100 nominated titles and they were limited to Australian books. The respondents were asked what their favourite book on the list was. There were 6000 replies.

Following are the Australian children’s books that received top votes. (I have placed their position in brackets.)

The most popular title was:

  • “Tomorrow, When the World Began” by John Marsden (#1) John Marsden is one of Australia’s best-selling teen and picture book authors.
  • Mem Fox did very well. Mem is one of Australia’s world famous authors. She writes for adults and children. Possum Magic (#5)‘Possum Magic ‘is her best-selling title. It has sold over three million copies. Others in the top 100 are: Where is the Green Sheep (#10) Koala Lou (#43) Wilfrid Gordon McDonald Partridge (#95)

A number of books were classic books of past generations.

  • Snugglepot and Cuddlepie by May Gibbs. (#18) Snugglepot and Cuddlepie appeared in 1918 and have never been out of print. Two other titles by May Gibb followed.
  • Seven Little Australians by Ethel Turner. (#21) This book has been a favourite for 120 years.
  • Playing Beatie Bow by Ruth Park. (#26) This is a gripping story. The game played by the children affects them profoundly.
  • The Muddleheaded Wombat by Ruth Park. (#90) There are a series of Muddleheaded Wombat books.
  • The Magic Pudding by Norman Lindsay. (#27) The pudding was first cooked in 1918 and it has become an Australian classic children’s book. The pudding is magical. Cut it and it appears whole again.
  • Blinky Bill by Dorothy Wall.(#31) First published in 1933. Two further titles were Blinky Bill Grows Up and Blinky Bill and Nutsy. By the way Blinky Bill is a koala. This book has never been out of print.
  • A Little Bush Maid by Mary Grant Bruce. (#33) This is the first in the Billabong series. Nora, her brother Jim and Jim’s friend Wally share adventures on a large cattle and sheep property in the Australian countryside.
  • The Silver Brumby by Elyne Mitchell.(#43) In Australia a silver stallion is the leader of the brumbies (wild horses). He is hunted by other horses as well as by men. Follow-up stories are also available.
  • Storm Boy by Colin Thiele. (#61) Storm Boy and Mr Percival the pelican are friends. The story is set on the Coorong on the South Australian coast. It teams with bird-life and attracts poachers. Storm Boy learns a bitter lesson.
  • Hating Alison Ashley by Robin Klein. (#85) Erica Yurgen hated the beautiful Alison Ashley on sight. The girls compete with one another to become the class star.

Current children’s novels counted in the top 100 were

  • Looking For Alibrandi by Melina Marchetta. (#15) Marchetta is a very popular author and has been critically acclaimed overseas as well. Her books have been published in eighteen languages.
  • Once by Morris Gleitzman. (#65) The message this book gives is one of hope. Felix is telling his story.

Picture Stories

  • Magic Beach by Alison Lester. (#54) The adventure begins at the beach where you can do it all.
  • Diary of a Wombat by Jackie French. (#58) This is the outline of the daily routine of Mothball the wombat. Mothball is a wombat with lots of character.
  • Animalia by Graeme Base .(#86)) This book is beyond words. So much is presented in the amazing illustrations.
  • Wombat Stew by Pamela Lofts. (#38) A dingo catches a wombat for his tea but the other animals have a cunning plan to save their friend.

The ‘Get Reading ‘website can be accessed here.

Australia has a wonderful range of books for kids and it was great to see our definitive classic books are still appreciated.

Many Australian children's stories are world famous and deservedly so.


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