Australian Literature

Picture books

Advance Australia fair : Australia's National Anthem

Michale Salmon

Do you know the words to Australia's national anthem? Perhaps you can only remember the first verse? Inside this book you'll discover Australia's national anthem in a way that you've never seen it before!

Advance Australia fair

Composed by Peter Dodds McCormick.

Alexander's Outing

By Pamela Allen

'Stay close, take care,' quacked Alexander's mother. But Alexander was a wayward duckling – he straggled behind ... and disappeared down a deep dark hole ...

Angel of the Kokoda

By Mark Wilson

Kari knows a lot about his jungle home but he doesn't know why there is fighting in the village of Kokoda. When Kari finds a wounded Australian soldier, he knows he cannot leave him. They must retreat along the Kokoda Track with the enemy following.

Anzac Biscuits

By Phil Cummins

Here is a tender story of war. Anzac Biscuits is a story that goes beyond the experiences of soldiers. It shows the private moments of families who are left behind to worry about their fathers, brothers, uncles and sons.

Laid out over alternate pages, Phil Cummings cleverly tells two stories simultaneously. A young man fights a war on the other side of the world while his wife and daughter bake Anzac Biscuits for him.

Are We There Yet?

By Alison Lester

Join Grace and her family on their adventurous and, sometimes, funny expedition around Australia. A warm, heartfelt story based on an actual journey undertaken by the award-winning author and illustrator, Alison Lester.

Baby Wombat's Week

by Jackie French

He sleeps. He eats. He gets bored. He creates havoc wherever he goes! He's Mothball's baby - and he's even cuter, naughtier and more determined than his mum.


Jeannie Baker

This wordless picture book, with exquisite collage illustrations, explores the re-greening of a city, the role of community and the significance of children, family and neighbourhood in changing the urban environment.

Black Fella, White Fella

By Neil Murray

Black fella white fella doesn't matter what your colour - the message is clear, We are all brothers and sisters no matter where we are from in this world.


Jeannie Baker

An eco-conscious picture book which explores the complex, interdependency of nature. This is the story of the little-known Bar-tailed Godwit who, following invisible pathways that have been used for thousands of years, undertakes the longest unbroken migration of any bird, a total of 11,000 kilometres, flying from Australia and New Zealand to their breeding grounds in the Arctic and back again. Facing hunger and treacherous conditions to reach their destination, their flight is one of bravery, tenacity and strength, and Jeannie's stunning mixed media collages, inspired first-hand by the spectacular landscapes of Alaska and China, will amaze readers, and take them on an extraordinary visual journey to the corners of our Earth.

Dan's Grandpa

Sally Morgan

Dan and his grandpa were the best of friends and shared many special times together. From his grandpa, Dan learnt about nature, the land and his Aboriginal culture. When grandpa dies, Dan misses him. Then grandpa's cocky disappears.

Ducks Away!

Mem Fox

Five little ducks went out one day... over the bridge, and away'

Edward the Emu

By Sheena Knowles

Edward is bored being an emu and wants to be noticed by the visitors to the zoo. In his quest for attention, Edward imitates the other animals.

Edwina the Emu

Sheena Knowles

Edwina, the emu, tries to find a job while Edward sits on the eggs.


By Margaret Wild

A story about an unusual friendship between a dog and a magpie. Magpie's wing is injured in a fire and she can no longer fly. She is looked after by Dog, who is blind in one eye. He wills Magpie to get better and enjoy her life again. The friendship continues until Fox arrives. Seeing the pair cosily together, Fox conspires to separate them.


Jeannier Baker

Grandfather has a junk shop which is a delightful place for his granddaughter to explore, play and dress up in. A wordless picture book told through beautiful collages.


Jeannie Baker

A special bond exists between a grandmother and her grandchild as they explore the overgrown jungle which is also grandmother's garden of memories. A wordless picture book told through beautiful collage

Hattie and Fox

Mem Fox

I'm Australian Too

Mem Fox

I'm Australian! How about you? Many people from many places have come across the seas, to make Australia their home. How Australian is that? From countries near and far, many have made their home in Australia, sharing it with the original inhabitants, and living in peace beneath the Southern Star.

I Saw Nothing : The Extinction of the Thylacine

By Gary Crew and Mark Wilson

Rosie witnessed the capture of the last thylacine (tiger-wolf) in Tasmania. She is concerned that she may have been able to do something to save it, and so save the species from extinction.

Journey of the Sea Turtle

By Mark Wilson

Sparsely worded but beautifully told with evocative artwork, this is the life story of a loggerhead turtle over a 30 year period.

Kick it to Me

By Peter Hudson

This is an illustrated, historical account of Tom Wills who was the principal founder of Australian Rules Football. Tom was inspired by the game of Marn-grook, a game played by the people of the Djab Wurrung tribe of the Gariwerd Grampions in Victoria, near the town of Moyston, where Tom spent his boyhood in the early 1840s.

Koala Lou

by Mem Fox

A warm and emotional story of enduring mother love, superbly portrayed in colourful, textured illustrations.

The Little Refugee

By Anh Do and Suzanne Do

The author and his family nearly didn't make it to Australia. They escaped from war-torn Vietnam in an overcrowded boat, surviving a dangerous journey, with murderous pirates and terrifying storms. Life in suburban Australia was also hard for a small boy with no English and funny lunches. But, there was a loving extended family, lots of friends and always something to laugh about.

The Lost Thing

By Shaun Tan

The Lost Thing is a humorous story about a boy who discovers a bizarre-looking creature while out collecting bottle-tops at a beach. Having guessed that it is lost, he tries to find out who owns it or where it belongs, but the problem is met with indifference by everyone else, who barely notice it’s presence. Each is unhelpful in their own way; strangers, friends, parents are all unwilling to entertain this uninvited interruption to day-to-day life. In spite of his better judgement, the boy feels sorry for this hapless creature, and attempts to find out where it belongs.

The Terrible Suitcase

By Emma Allen

Sometimes you don’t always get what you want. Instead of the rocket backpack, you might end up with a terrible suitcase for the very first day of school. And this makes you mad! But sometimes what you think is terrible, might not be so terrible after all, especially when there are rocket ships and new friends involved. The Terrible Suitcase is a lovely story about acceptance, making friends and new experiences.

Marngrook : a long ago story of Aussie Rules

By Titta Secombe and Grace Fielding

This fictionalised story of Marngrook takes place at the foot of Duwul, the highest mountain in the spectacular Grampians region of north-west Victoria, the traditional country of people from the Djab-Wurrung and Jardwadjali clans. When Wawi, a clan Elder, notices that his son, Jaara, and the other children only have old toys to play with, he goes for a walk to see what he can find. Wawi comes across a banya (ring-tailed possum) and has an idea. He kills the banya and skins it, and sews up the skin with a tendon from a kangaroo tail. Wawi stuffs the skin with emu feathers and moulds it into the shape of an emu egg. Jaara and the children play with the marngrook every day and spend hours practising their kicks. One day, when Jaara kicks the marngrook far into the bush, he finds himself lost and has to bear the consequences of not listening to his Elders.


By Shaun Tan and Gary Crew

Memorial is a story about a tree planted beside a war memorial monument, in a small country town by returned servicemen. Years on, the tree has grown to be huge and unruly, dislodging the statue next to it and creating a traffic hazard in what is now a much larger, busier town. A decision is made by a local council to cut the tree down.

Mirror = Mira't

By Jeannie Baker

Two diverse countries and cultures are linked by this two-in-one wordless picture book comprising two stories designed to be read simultaneously, the English from the left, the Arabic from the right. Page by page the lives of two little boys are shown, one from an urban family in Sydney, Australia, the other from Morocco. From busy motorways to desert landscapes, these worlds couldn't be further apart yet with the journey of a homemade Moroccan carpet into the Australian boy's home we are shown how these separate lives become intertwined. The theme illustrates how our lives reflect each other and that we are all connected. Includes a short introduction and author's note in both English and Arabic. Text in English and Arabic.

My Island Home

By Neil Murray

Everyone who loves Australia can appreciate the beauty and diversity of our wonderful country, shown through Neil Murray's song lyrics and beautiful landscape illustrations by the school children of the Kintore and Galiwinku communities.

My Place

By Nadia Wheatley

Using maps, the author traces the history of one special Australian neighbourhood back 200 years.

Night Noises

Mem Fox

One Hungry Spider

Jeannie Baker

Pannikin and Pinta

By Colin Thiele

At rare intervals great floods fill the desert basin of Lake Eyre in Central Australia, and for a while wildlife teems along the shore. But the miracle is short-lived. In the fierce summer heat the lake shrinks, the water turns to brine and the fish die. Birds such as pelicans then face a vast flight across the desert to the southern coast, and many die along the way. Pannikin and Pinta is the story of a pelican family that sets out on that heroic journey.

Photographs in the Mud

By Diane Wolfer

Jack and Hoshi are soldiers on opposite sides who meet on the Kokoda Track during World War Two. Graphic illustrations enrich this sensitive, realistic and harrowing story of the personal tragedy of two soldiers and their loved ones at home.

Possum Magic

By Mem Fox

Grandma Poss uses bush magic to make Hush invisible but, when Hush wants to see herself again, Grandma can't remember which particular Australian food is needed to reverse the spell.

The Potato People

By Pamela Allen

Every Friday, Jack spends the day with Grandma. They play, read stories and eat cake. Then, one cold and rainy Friday, they make two little people using potatoes, toothpicks and scraps of fabric.

The Rabbits

By John Marsden

A sophisticated picture book depicting the invasion and multiplying of the rabbits. The threat that this poses is symbolic of the coming of white civilisation to Australia.

Took the Children Away

By Archie Roach

This is an illustrated, historical account of Tom Wills who was the principal founder of Australian Rules Football. Tom was inspired by the game of Marn-grook, a game played by the people of the Djab Wurrung tribe of the Gariwerd Grampions in Victoria, near the town of Moyston, where Tom spent his boyhood in the early 1840s.

Shake a Leg

Boori Monty Pryor and Jan Ormerod

A unique picture book collaboration about having fun, sharing culture and the power of story and dance. A picture book to get the whole town dancing.

Solid rock = Puli Pulka = Sacred Ground

By Shane Howard

This song was one of the first songs of its type to touch on the subject of Aboriginal rights in Australia. Beautiful illustrations by the school children from Mutujulu, near Uluru, Australia.

Sophie Scott goes South

By Alison Lester

I'm going to Antarctica and I can't wait! Sophie Scott is only nine years old, but she's going to Antarctica on an icebreaker with her dad, the ship's captain. During the voyage to Mawson Station and back, Sophie keeps a diary. She sees icebergs, penguins, seals and whales. She makes new friends, experiences the southern lights and even becomes stranded in a blizzard! Much-loved picture-book creator Alison Lester travelled to Antarctica as an Antarctic Arts Fellow. Her alter ego, Sophie Scott, goes on the same adventure in a friendly, informative and beautifully presented book that sees the wonder of Antarctica through a child's eyes.

The Story of Rosie Dock

By Jeannie Baker

The Australian desert: for thousands of years the only changes here were made by the wind, the willy-willies and sometimes the rain.
Then a hundred years ago people from Europe settled in the desert and planted seeds from the other side of the world.
The Story of Rosy Dock is the story of one of the settlers who followed them, and her garden in the wilderness, a garden that is beautiful – but with an unexpected flowering.

There's a Hippo on our Roof Eating Cake

By Hazel Edwards

The imaginary Hippo can do what he likes on the roof. In fact, he does all the things a little girl wishes she could, but is not allowed. When she takes a bath, the hippo takes a shower; when she goes to bed, the hippo watches television on the roof. And when the repair men come to fix the roof, the hippo conveniently disappears, returning of course to eat a very large piece of cake.

Vietnam Diary

By Mark Wilson

Leigh and Jason are inseparable. But when Jason is conscripted and sent to fight in Vietnam, they are divided not just by distance, but by their beliefs about the war.

Where is the green sheep?

Mem Fox

Here are all sorts of sheep doing activities. There is the blue sheep, the red sheep, the bath sheep and the bed sheep, but, the green sheep is missing.

Where's Mum?

by Libby Gleeson

When Dad, Annie, Jess and baby Jack arrive home from kindergarten, hardworking Mum is not there. Where can she be? Annie and Jess put forward all sorts of wonderful explanations, but when Mum finally does come home there's an even bigger surprise for them. Libby Gleeson's delightfully quirky fantasy and Craig Smith's detailed, colourful illustrations are certain to delight young children.

Where the Forest Meets the Sea

By Jeannie Baker

A book without words in which superb collages tell the story of a boy and his father visiting an endangered rainforest in Queensland.

Whoever You Are

Mem Fox

Wilfred Gordon McDonald Partridge

By Mem Fox

Wilfrid, who has four names, spends much of his time in the retirement home next door. His special friend, Miss Nancy, who also has four names, has lost her memory. Wilfred tries to help her by finding Miss Nancy's memories for her.


By Jeannie Baker

Window is a groundbreaking work which points to one possible direction for books in the future - the wordless picture book. It also has a serious purpose, to give children an understanding of how growth affects the world we live in.

Wombat Divine

By Mem Fox

All the animals are excitedly preparing for a Christmas nativity performance. Wombat is desperate to have a part in the play but is unsuitable for every role he tries, except one.

Why I Love Australia

By Bronwyn Bancroft

In a similar vein to Dorothea Mackellar's My Country. Stunning images and words showcase the awe-inspiring beauty of the Australian continent.

Ziba Came on a Boat

By Liz Lofthouse

Moving story about a little girl whose family has lost almost everything. Ziba, her mother, and other women and children from a tiny village escape the approaching war in Afghanistan to travel in an overcrowded fishing boat to a new life and freedom.