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childrens books about australia

Best Children’s Books about Australia

Australia’s enchanting landscapes – from the Outback to the Great Barrier Reef – are brought to life in this list of the best children’s books about Australia. These titles offer vibrant illustrations and engaging narratives to help young readers to discover Australia’s unique wildlife, indigenous cultures and fascinating history. Start young explorers off on their journey “down under” with this inspiring collection of books.

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Picturebooks about Australia

Jessica Parry-Valentine,Stephen Parry-Valentine
 & Ashlee Spink
Mum and Dad told me they've got a wild plan . . . We're exploring Australia in a snug little van. Ride along with Hunter as she discovers beaches and billabongs, paddocks and plains, forests and dugouts, and even underwater worlds. With a home on wheels and the open road ahead, a big adventure awaits. From Jessica and Stephen Parry-Valentine, the creators of travel channel Flying the Nest, comes a delightfully illustrated recount of a family road trip that celebrates Australia's natural beauty.
Lydia Williams
 & Lucinda Gifford
Little Lydia loves sport. She lives in the outback and is friends with all the animals. When she asks Emu, Kangaroo and Koala to play with her, she soon discovers that each of them has a special talent. But does Lydia have a gift for sport too? And if she does, how will she discover it?A funny and triumphant picture book by Lydia Williams, goalkeeper for the Australian Matildas.
Roland Harvey
This is a series of fictional postcards from a child on a seaside holiday. The pictures are incredibly detailed and children will spend hours poring over them. This book works well as a great stimulus for writing.
Aunty Joy Murphy,Andrew Kelly
 & Lisa Kennedy
Travel along Melbourne’s twisting Yarra river in a glorious celebration of indigenous culture and Australia’s unique flora and fauna.Yarra Riverkeeper Andrew Kelly and Aboriginal Elder of the Wurundjeri people Aunty Joy Murphy join to tell the indigenous and geographical story of Melbourne’s beautiful Yarra river – from its source to its mouth and from its pre-history to the present day. The writing dazzles with poetic descriptions of the trees, plants and wildlife that thrive in harmony along the iconic waterway, while lush and vibrant acrylic paintings from indigenous illustrator Lisa Kennedy make the mighty Yarra come to life – coursing under a starry sky, drawing people to its sunny shores, mirroring a searing orange sunset.The end matter includes an author’s note and a glossary of the Woiwurrung words used in the story.
Ian Whybrow
 & Adrian Reynolds
Harry and his bucketful of dinosaurs are going on holiday to Australia and can't wait. But everything is very different down under. There are lots of new sights, sounds and experiences and, without Nan there to comfort them, Harry AND Tyrannosaurus begin to feel a bit homesick. Luckily, a surprise gift makes all the difference and they soon all have a raaah-tastic time!

Rachel Bright
 & Jim Field
A funny rhyming story about dealing with change and overcoming worries, from the bestselling creators of The Lion Inside.In a wonderful place, at the breaking of dawn, where the breezes were soft and the sunshine was warm, a place where the creatures ran wild and played free ... A Koala called Kevin clung to a tree.Meet Kevin. A koala who likes to keep things the same. Exactly the same. But sometimes change comes along whether we like it or not... And, as Kevin discovers, if you step outside your comfort zone and try new things, you might just surprise yourself!

Recommended chapter books about Australia

M. G. Leonard,Sam Sedgman
 & Elisa Paganelli
Chapter book

A full-steam-ahead adventure series that had us hooked from the get-go. This series contains middle-grade mystery stories set on train journeys around the world.. With a high spirit of adventuring and a good-and-proper mystery that unfolds with clues and red herrings along the course, this is a brilliantly fun story that is sure to be on track to find itself set among the very best in the children’s mystery genre.

Sabotage on the Solar Express can be read as a stand-alone novel or enjoyed as part of the series. Join Hal and Uncle Nat alongside train enthusiast August Reza on the maiden voyage of the Solar Express, which hurtles passengers into a heart-stopping, action-packed, thrill ride across the Australian Outback. Themes explored include eco-friendly travel, environmentalism and traditional aboriginal values versus modern technology.

It’s a full-throttle mystery with likeable characters and a well-paced plot that is especially full of treasures for anyone who loves trains or adventures in different countries. 

Zillah Bethell
Chapter book

The Song Walker is a soulful story that beautifully serenades the reader with themes of freedom, identity, music and heritage. Zillah Bethell’s writing always takes readers to new horizons.

The author’s previous book The Shark Caller was a real favourite here at BooksForTopics HQ and also among our community of teachers and librarians. The Song Walker is a new standalone adventure that shares a similar intensity of setting and an interweaving of gentle existentialist musings with relatable themes of making friendships and searching for identity in the face of cultural and familial expectations.

This time, the setting is the Australian Outback and the reader feels the blazing heat and dryness of the red, flat landscape that spans underneath a limitless sky. The main character, who is nameless at the start of the story, appears to have no idea how she got there or who she is. She carries a mysterious case and finds herself on a search for answers accompanied by her new friend, Tarni. Journeying deeper into the desert landscape, the girl has to dig deep into her inner self to find answers about who she is and who she wants to be. 

Tarni’s character adds real depth to the story. She is a First Country Australian girl from the traditional Alaywarre community. Tarni navigates the Outback using a traditional form of mapping – not with paper maps or satellite technology but with songlines, with which routes are passed from generation to generation by repeating the words of a song. The differences and similarities between the two girls become increasingly celebrated as the story progresses, showing how a bond between people from different cultural heritages and lifestyles can be mutually enriching. 

The story is philosophical and at times dream-like, with a melodic quality to the writing. The book is perfect for mature readers in upper kS2 who enjoy an immersive reading experience and a thought-provoking narrative with the potential to stir some very profound discussion questions.

Non-Fiction books about Australia

Lonely Planet Kids,Helen Greathead
 & Alex Bruff,Matt Taylor
Here's a book about Sydney that's seriously streetwise. Lonely Planet Kids' City Trails: Sydney features colourful themed trails, from history and culture to food and nature, that reveal amazing facts and intriguing tales that kids won't find on the tourist routes or inside the average guidebook. We'll show them where to find haunted pubs, ancient Aboriginal art, the best surfing beaches, and lots more!Join Lonely Planet explorers Marco and Amelia as they hunt for more secrets, stories and surprises in another of the world's great cities.Themed trails include:In the Beginning Underground...Underwater Sky High Making a Splash Sydney Spooks Convicts, Refugees and Ten Pound Poms The Name Game Sydney Shapes Do it Outdoors Float On? Asia in Oz Walk on the Wild Side Looking Good Sporty City Mudbugs, Bush Tucker and Big Fat Snorkers Deadly Sydney Got to be Green Wet, Wet, Wet Sydney in the Dark
Sarah Ridley
Find out about the circle of life on Earth's amazing Australian desert habitat.Explore Ecosystems: Desert dives into the diverse wonder of Australia desert biome. This habitat is home to reptiles, kangaroos, birds, plants and more. Readers find out how this ecosystem works through the lives of these animals and plants. It explores how desert life relies not only on other living things, but on non-living things, such as the sand, rain and rocks.The importance of balance in the natural world is a key theme - showing how animals large and tiny have an impact on their environment. The Explore Ecosystems series is a perfect introduction to habitats for readers aged 7 and up.
Rob Hunt
 & Victor Beuren
An engaging and visually exciting look at some of Australasia's major cities.This series offers readers of 9 and up an engaging and visually exciting look at some of the world's major cities.Cityscapes draw in the reader with facts about the iconic buildings that help to shape each city's unique identity. Data-packed pages give the essential details about each featured city, including where to go, what to do and things to eat on a visit, as well as information about the city's history.The cities of Australasia covered in the book are Melbourne, Australia; Sydney, Australia; Aukland, New Zealand; Christchurch, New Zealand; Port Moresby, Papua New Guinea; Suva, Fiji; Perth, Australia; Dili, East Timor; Noumea, New Caledonia and Brisbane, Australia, as well as Sunshine Coast, Australia; Canberra, Australia; Wellington, New Zealand; Hamilton, New Zealand; Adelaide, Australia, Hobart, Australia, Nelson, New Zealand and Darwin, Australia.Titles in the 6-book series feature the cities of Africa, Asia, Australasia, Europe, North America and South America.
Rob Colson
 & Josy Bloggs
Discover some of Earth's most spectacular places on the continents of Australia and Antarctica, and in Oceania!Uncover the unique features of Australia, Antarctica, New Zealand and Oceania, from the wide variety of habitats and landscapes to the cultures of the peoples that inhabit these continents. Explore Tongariro National Park, the Outback and Great Barrier Reef, Tahiti, the rainforests of New Guinea and more in this beautifully illustrated and informative celebration of Earth's flora, fauna and spectacular geography.This book is part of the Continents Uncovered series, which takes the reader on a tour of the world, charting landmarks, climates, people, animals and other wildlife. But it doesn't stop there! This series is full of easy craft activity ideas that explore human cultures, wildlife and geographical phenomena. This series is ideal for children aged 7+ studying geography at KS2 or who are interested in maps, continents, wildlife and habitats.

Children's Non-Fiction about Australian Animals and Habitats

Anne Rooney
 & Qu Lan
Non-fiction Picturebook
Baby Koala likes to stay close to Mum as the pair snuggle up together, safe in the treetops. But one day, when danger threatens, Baby Koala must be brave and bold... This heartwarming story about an animal family living in the wild has big flaps to open and koala facts to discover. Readers will love interacting with the big non-fiction flaps, where they can measure their finger against a tiny newborn koala! With a feathertail glider to spot on every page. Amazing Animal Tales is an exciting and innovative new series following baby animals' incredible stories of survival, with big flaps that can be opened to reveal amazing facts. The books can either be enjoyed with the flaps closed, as an engaging narrative story, or with the flaps open as a combined story and non-fiction experience. Also available: Amazing Animal Tales: Little tiger. Look out for more books coming soon!
Andy Seed
 & Nick East
If you could talk to animals, what would you ask?Get familiar with 10 extraordinary marsupials as they step up to the mic and share their habits, behaviour, likes and dislikes, favourite foods, and more. Each animal has its own story to tell… and its own attitude!In this fun and fact-filled book, bite-sized text in a question-and-answer format is paired with colourful and engaging illustrations throughout, perfect for emerging or reluctant readers, or any young animal enthusiast who enjoys a bit of humour!Features 'interviews' with a kangaroo, koala, Virginia opossum, Tasmanian Devil, numbat, bandicoot, sugar glider, quokka and spotted cuscus. Plus, ideas for how to do your bit to help endangered species.Look out for other titles in the series: Interview with a Tiger and Interview with a Shark!
Catherine Barr
 & Jean Claude
Discover why we must protect the Great Barrier Reef from climate change. The Great Barrier Reef is a wonderland of colour beneath the waves. The largest coral reef in the world, it is home to a quarter of all ocean life. This beautifully illustrated picture book brings to life this extraordinary underwater world for young children, exploring its dazzling coral gardens and rainbow-coloured sea creatures. Diving into this unique habitat, readers will discover fascinating marine life, how the coral reef helps our oceans and therefore why it is so important that we act to protect this special aquatic landscape from the impact of climate change.
Helen Scales
 & Lisk Feng

The Great Barrier Reef is a colourfully illustrated, delightful book full of facts. From the first page, the beautiful illustrations draw the reader in to learn all about the story of the Great Barrier Reef from how it began to the present day.

This book is full of information which could be shared in discussion or independently. You can dip into different sections, and focus on particular areas such as who dwells in the reef to shipwrecks and legendary tales as well as learning from the illustrations, so there is something for everyone. There is a glossary of technical language to explore, linking to science as well as geography.

This beautiful book is a captivating read for children and adults of all ages, with a clear message about protecting the wonder that is the Great Barrier Reef for future generations – not least because there is nowhere else in the world quite like it.

Ella Bailey
If you love cute baby animals, come spend the day in the Australian outback with this adorable and bouncy kangaroo joey.From Ella Bailey's acclaimed series of beautiful and educational picture books comes another tale of how one young animal friend spends his day. He's only a little kangaroo, but that doesn't stop him being curious and learning all about life in his corner of our big blue planet.

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