Reading from an early age can instill healthy habits for a lifetime and the greatest joys in life are often the simplest.
To fill a young mind with a lasting sense of wonder and teach a child the joy of reading makes a picture book among the most valuable gifts you can give.
The fertile field of a child’s imagination makes a picture book a powerful medium – to transport them to an imaginary place, captivate them with magical ideas or have them rolling aound in stitches of laughter.
A well written children’s story allows children to explore their own emotions and make connections between the book and their own experience in the real world.
How about heading down to your local library and borrow these books for free?
1) Fox – Margaret Wild and Ron Brooks (2000)
An emotional journey into the heart of darkness and hope – set in the searing Australian outback. A fable on friendship, trust and loyalty. This is a masterpiece that can be appreciated by adults and children alike.
2) The Hero of Little Street – Gregory Rogers (2010)
A boy and a dog jump into a famous Vermeer painting and find themselves transported to seventeenth century Holland – danger, excitement and adventure follows. Plus some wonderful high-end cultural references for grown-ups.
3) Animalia – Graeme Base (1986)
The exquisite detail of the illustrations will captivate children as they search for hidden objects and alphabetized things. This is a book to get lost in.
4) Possum Magic – Mem Fox, Julie Vivas (1983)
It’s as Australian as meat pies, Vegemite and Possum Magic. This is probably our best-loved children’s book ever.
5) Amy and Louis – Libby Gleeson and Freeya Blackwood (2006)
This is a beautiful story about a deep friendship between two children and how they cope following separation.
6) Tiddalick The Frog Who Caused a Flood – Robert Roennfeldt (1980)
Based on an Aboriginal Dreamtime story, Tiddalick was so thirsty that he drank up all the rivers and billabongs in the land. And the other animals had to find a way to get the water back – much humour follows.
7) Imagine – Alison Lester (1989)
8) Where is the Green Sheep? – Mem Fox, Judy Horacek (2006)
Here is the blue sheep, and here is the red sheep. Here is the bath sheep, and here is the bed sheep. But where is the green sheep? The simple syntax and wonderful metre make this a perfect story to read to infants and also as a first reader for four and five year olds.
9) Stanley Paste – Aaron Blabey (2009)
Stanley Paste is small. Really small. And he hates it. But when a new girl arrives at school, Stanley learns that perhaps being small is not so bad after all. A sublime and memorable story that teaches young people about standing tall and celebrating diversity.
10) Diary of a Wombat – Jackie French and Bruce Whatley (2003)
Diary of a Wombat depicts the cheeky antics of Mothball, “a wombat with attitude”. This wombat leads a very busy and demanding life. She wrestles unknown creatures, runs her own digging business, and even trains her humans.