Australian Literature


An Anzac Tale

By Ruth Starke

With the outbreak of war in 1914, best friends Wally and Roy, and new mate Tom, are among the first to enlist.

But their great adventure soon turns to disaster. The day after the landing at Anzac Cove on 25 April 1915, more than 2000 of their fellow Anzacs are dead and the bold attempt by the Allied commanders to knock the Turks out of the war becomes a stalemate.

As the Gallipoli campaign drags on, Wally, Roy and Tom find themselves locked in combat with a formidable enemy, a ferocious landscape, flies, fleas, cold and disease.


By Tim Winton

Abel Jackson's boyhood belongs to a vanishing world. On an idyllic stretch of coast whose waters teem with fish, he lives a simple, tough existence. It's just him and his mother in the house at Longboat Bay, but Abel has friends in the sea, particularly the magnificent old groper he meets when diving. As the years pass, things change, but one thing seems to remain constant: the greed of humans. When the modern world comes to his patch of sea, Abel wonders what can stand in its way.

Blueback is a deceptively simple allegory about a boy who matures through fortitude, and finds wisdom through living in harmony with all forms of life. It is a beautiful distillation of Winton's art and concerns.

Boy Overboard

By Morris Gleitzman

Jamal and Bibi are Afghani asylum seekers whose most precious possession is their soccer ball. They dream of being international soccer stars in a land where they don't have to worry about their ball hitting a landline.

Bugalugs Bum Thief

Tim Winton

Skeeta Anderson woke up one morning to find that his bum was gone. And not only his bum, but the bum of every single person in the town of Bugalugs.

February Dragon

By Colin Thiele

"The three Pine kids truly belong in the bushland. And they have nicknames to match - Resin, Turps and Columbine. They like fishing for yabbies, taming unusual pets, riding in the local show and astonishing their teachers. But their usual adventures are nothing compared to the dire events that take place when somebody lets loose the February Dragon - the dreaded bushfire."

The Day Grandma Came and Spoilt my Life

By Diana Kidd

"If I was covered all over with measles spots they wouldn't have noticed. I thought of dyeing my hair green and making it stick out in spikes like a Dracoid from planet Zepha, but they'd be too busy to even look." When Lucy's Grandma comes from Italy to stay, there are a lot of problems, especially when Grandma arrives wearing " witchy black" clothes. Worst still, Lucy isn't allowed to go on the class farm holiday. She has to "grandma-sit" instead. But "grandma-sitting" leads Lucy into a lot of adventures, the unravelling of the mystery of the secret box and pride in her Italian heritage.

Girl Underground

By Morris Gleitzman

Bridget wants a quiet life, including, if possible, keeping her parents out of prison. A boy called Menzies makes her an offer she can't refuse. They set off on a desperate, daring adventure to rescue two kids from a detention centre in the desert.

Jamil's Shadow

By Christine Harris

A young, orphaned boy keeps to himself, tending his herd of cattle and remaining apart from others in his small Turkish village. When a stray dog follows him home, Jamil finds that he can't get rid of it. A challenging read.

Midnite- the Story of a Wild Colonial Boy

By Randolph Stow

Even though MIDNITE was seventeen, he wasn't very bright. So when his father died, his five animal friends decided to look after him. Khat, the Siamese, suggested he became a bushranger, and his horse, Red Ned, offered to help. But it wasn't very easy, especially when Trooper O'Grady kept putting him in prison.

So it was just as well that in the end he found GOLD!

A brilliantly good-humoured and amusing history of the exploits of Captain Midnite and his five good animal friends.

My Girragundji

By Meme McDonald

The story of an Aboriginal boy whose house is invaded by a Hairyman - a spirit the old people call a Quinkin. When a little green tree frog lands on his windowsill, he knows she has been sent by the ancestors to help him face his fears.

'I wake with a start. The doorknob turns. It's him. The Hairyman...' There's a bad spirit in our house. He's as ugly as ugly gets and he stinks. You touch this kind of Hairyman and you lose your voice, or choke to death.
It's hard to sleep when a hairy wrinkly old hand might grab you in the night. And in the day you've got to watch yourself. It can be rough. Words come yelling at you that hurt.
Alive with humour, My Girragundji is the vivid story of a boy growing up between two worlds. With the little green tree frog as a friend, the bullies at school don't seem so big anymore. And Girragundji gives him the courage to face his fears.

Nips XI

By Ruth Starke

The boys at North Illaba Primary School form a cricket team. The team includes students from different cultures and they combine to celebrate their common interests, not their diversities.

Onion Tears

By Diana Kidd

Recommended by Margot Lingren

Nam-Huong escaped from Vietnam and lost her grandfather on the long terrible voyage. She finds it hard to release her pent up grief, until her teacher falls ill.

Staying Alive in Year 5

By John Marsden

Scott and his friends are just staying alive in year 5 until their surprising new teacher, Mr Murlin, comes along. Boring textbooks go into the bin, eating chocolate in class becomes compulsory and suddenly it's OK to be weird. But Mr Murlin is not popular with everyone... A thrillingly funny story for primary school readers from one of Australia's most popular storytellers, John Marsden.

Storm Boy

By Colin Thiele

Storm Boy is one of the classics of Australian writing for children. This edition is illustrated with paintings by artist Robert Ingpen that capture the wave-beaten shore and windswept sandhills of the Coorong in South Australia, home of Storm boy and the pelican Mr Percival. Storm Boy saves the life of Mr Percival, and in return the pelican helps Storm boy¿s father with his fishing and joins in the rescue of a shipwrecked crew. The boy and the pelican prove friends to the end.

Surviving Sydney Cove

By Goldie Alexander

Life in the early days at Sydney Cove is told through the diary of a young girl.

The Burnt stick

By Anthony Hill

All through his childhood John remembered the life of the camp at Dryborough Station and the good trick his mother, Liyan, played with a stick burnt in the fire when the Big Man came looking for John. She rubbed the black charcoal into his skin to make John seem darker than he was really was – too dark to be taken away.

Twice she got away with it. But the third time...

The Fat and Juicy Place

By Diana Kidd

At the back of Jack's school is a special place. He can't tell anyone except his mate, Lizard, about all the things that can happen there. When Jack meets the mysterious Birdman, he learns secrets about the past that he just can't tell anyone.

Two Hands Together

By Diana Kidd

Cultural and racist issues are explored in this story about a girl who befriends an Aboriginal family, who live next door.