New Children’s Book suggestions for gift-giving season

There’s an excellent new breed of non-fiction for young readers coming from publishers, writes Margaret Hamilton. With Christmas not very far away, there are ideas here for gift books for all ages. I recommend these. Also some non-fiction books are mentioned in this list.

There’s an excellent new breed of non-fiction for young readers coming from publishers. In a world where most research is done online, the new non-fiction books extend knowledge to a new level and provide information in new formats that will appeal to all young readers.

Bindi-_2020_-lr_150xBindi by Kirli Saunders, illus by Dub Leffler (published by Magabala).

This wonderful book, winner of the Daisy Utemorrah Award, is a verse novel, written using both Gundungurra language and English. It’s a moving,  sensitive and evocative story of a young girl, her family, her animals, her friends and her Country. In the aftermath of devastating bushfires, it is written as a call to action for young people to understand their role in conservation and caring for Country. Indigenous illustrator Dub Leffler’s (who was an Illustrator in Residence at Pinerolo) exquisite illustrations and the superb production make this book a winner. Special Mention.  Available 15 November.

Took the Children Away by Archie Roach, illus by Ruby Hunter (published bySimon & Schuster).

This important book includes the lyrics of this iconic song, with illustrations by his partner and collaborator, Ruby Hunter, as well as his own memories of his family and historical photographs. It was the last project they worked on together before she died in 2010. A moving and touching tribute that will introduce this song to many new readers.

Anemone is not the Enemy by Anna McGregor (published by Scribble).

When you’re an anemone who accidentally stings everyone, finding a friend in a rockpool is not easy. Simple and colourful illustrations in this unusual book.

Australia’s Wild Weird Wonderful Weather by Stephanie Owen Reader, illus by Tania McCartney (NLA).

A fascinating, detailed and comprehensive look at Australia’s weather, which is indeed weird. Illustrations extend the text and combined with the index, resources and word lists, this is an excellent non-fiction book.

Back to Sleep by Zoe Foster Blake, illus by Mike Jacobsen (published by Puffin).

Roles are reversed in this amusing story of a fractured bedtime. A bedtime story with a difference and colourful, amusing illustrations.

Evie is All Ears by Kellie Byrnes, illus by Lesley McGee (published by Little Pink Dog).

Evie is a bilby and she loves school, but she can’t hear the teacher. A gentle way of highlighting hearing difficulties, with lovely illustrations.

Fire Wombat x200The Fire Wombat  by Jackie French, illus by Danny Snell. (published by Angus & Robertson).

The dreadful bushfires a year ago were a threat to many native animals. This moving story of a wombat sharing its burrow with other animals actually happened on the author’s property. Evocative illustrations.

Go Away, Worry Monster! by Brooke Graham, illus by Robin Tatlow-Lord (published by EK Books).

Anxious thoughts are common before starting school. Archie can’t get to sleep because of the worry monster. His strategies for coping will inspire readers, especially with the bright, colourful illustrations.

Hello Jimmy! by Anna Walker (published by Puffin).

A warm and touching story of a boy and his father, reinforcing their relationship. Another stunning book from this awardwinning creator.

How to Make a Bird by Meg McKinlay, illus by Matt Ottley (published by Walker Books).

This beautiful book about the magic of making a bird is for reading and rereading slowly. Two award-winners collaborate to create something very special. The illustrations are superb.

I-Want-to-be-a-Superhero-_2020_-lr_150xI Want to Be a Superhero by Breanna Humes, illus by Ambelin Kwaymullina (published by Magabala).

Written when the author was 8 years old, this is about wishing on a shooting star. Lively and colourful illustrations.

the-illustrated-encyclopaedia-of-dangerous-animalsThe Illustrated Encyclopaedia of Dangerous Animals by Sami Bayly (published by Hachette).

Another fascinating, beautifully illustrated and produced new non-fiction book. Packed with information and clearly designed and set out.

im a hero tooI’m a Hero Too by Jamila Rizvi, illus by Peter Cheong (published by Puffin).

Readers will relate to this story of one family’s way of coping with the pandemic and the changes to their normal family activities. A timely book.

Monkey Mind by Rebecca J Palmer (published by Little Pink Dog).

Dealing with anxiety with kindness is the theme of this simple yet relevant book. Lively and colourful illustrations add lightness and humour.

ShirleyPurdy-MyStory_2020_-lr_150xNGAGINYBE JARRAGBE My story by Shirley Purdie. Gija translation by Eilieen Bray (published by Magabala).

The bi-lingual story of the author’s life illustrated with her brilliant artwork. A spectacular picture book highlighting Indigenous life.

Pea + Nut Go for Gold! by Matt Stanton (published by ABC Books).

Pea is a panda and Nut a flamingo. Their race for swimming gold makes a hilarious picture book. Very appealing and lots of fun.

Rudie Nudie ChristmasRudie Nudie Christmas by Emma Quay (published by ABC Books ).

Rudie Nudie is already a favourite and this new one, especially for Christmas, is delightful. Typically, Rudie Nudie bounces energetically through the pages. Perfect.

Scary Bird by Michel Streich (published by Scholastic).

It’s not easy accepting a newcomer but soon this bird is accepted in the aviary. Simple language and illustrations will appeal to young readers, especially those starting school. Note: local Blue Mountains creator.

The Thank-You present by Jane Martino, illus by Annie White (published by Puffin).

This appealing picture book is the first of a five-part collaboration between the publisher and the preventative mental health organisation, Smiling Mind.

something about lenaThere’s Something Weird About Lena by Sigi Cohen, illus by James Foley (published by Walker).

From the creators of My Dead Bunny comes a book about a weird new girl at school and the antics she gets up to, until it gets very scary. Suitably scary illustrations.

The Tree by Graeme Base (published by Puffin).

Another fabulous book from this major award-winner. A touching story about living together and sharing our natural environment. A book to read over and over again and delve into the beautiful, detailed illustrations.

Tree Beings by Raymond Huber, illus by Sandra Severgnini (published by EK).

With a foreword by Jane Goodall, this excellent non-fiction book, illustrated on every page, emphasises the importance of trees and forests to life on our planet. Recommended for all ages.

Ultimate Alphabet BookThe Ultimate Animal Alphabet Book by Jennifer Cossins (published by Hachette).

A very impressive collection of hundreds of animals with information about each one crowd into this fascinating book by CBCA award winner.

Unwilling Twin x200The Unwilling Twin by Freya Blackwood (published by Angus & Robertson).

This multi award-winner never fails to please. This warmly appealing story about identical twins and sibling love has a surprise cheeky twist that will entertain readers. Beautiful illustrations, as usual.

Margaret Hamilton AM, Pinerolo, the Children’s Book Cottage, Blackheath.

Children’s Book Council of Australia 2020

2020 CBCA Shortlist:, 2020 CBCA Awards and Judges Report 2020