Looking to prise your iso-kids away from their screens and boost their literacy? We’ve selected the most gripping, un-put-downable children’s books on the market. Be the first to grab a hot new release and pick up some complementary brownie points for supporting Australian authors:
PRESCHOOL (ages 2+)
BAD CRAB by Amelia McInerney and Phillip Bunting
Are your cooped-up kids getting a little crabby? Get set for one shell of a story about an impulsive crab who grabs life by the claws! BAD CRAB is almost-wordless and will have even the tiniest tot sitting and ‘reading’ it to themselves or their stuffed toys.
Humour and a highly flawed (although cheeky and cute) main character allow exploration of this deceptively simple book’s themes (kindness, friendship, forgiveness and revenge, empathy, the consequences of our actions) as we see Bad Crab learning to keep his/her claws to him/herself.
Teaching notes: https://www.ameliamcinerney.com/teaching-notes
PICTURE BOOK (ages 4+)
RIBBIT RABBIT ROBOT by Victoria Mackinlay and Sofya Karmazina
What happens when a friendly frog, a greedy rabbit and a robot with a short fuse find a magic lamp? Hint: chaos!
A fun and clever read with gorgeous illustrations – kids will love keeping up with the characters’ hilarious escapades. With themes of friendship, greed (hoarding even!), kindness and altruism, RIBBIT RABBIT ROBOT is a true companion for this moment.
JUNIOR FICTION (ages 6-9)
EVIE AND POG series by Tania McCartney
High in a tree house live two very best friends. One is a girl and one is a dog, and everyone knows them as Evie and Pog. Evie is six years old. She likes knitting, jumping, books and cake. Pog is a two year old pug who likes to drink tea and read the newspaper.
STEM themes are woven through the series, along with friendship, creativity and community. There are three stories in each book, cut into bitesize chapters for early readers.
KAT. THE LEGEND OF GNAWBONIA by Nick White
In the great city of Catifornia, the Meofia are by far the most feared of all the felines. At home, their baby sister Kat is enslaved under lock and key. Done with the constant abuse, she escapes, embarking on a perilous journey far beyond the land of cats.
Lost at sea, Kat is captured by a ruthless gang of notorious pirate dogs and forced to the depths of the ocean in search of treasure; where she discovers an ancient city, lost in time.
Here, Kat comes to terms with who she truly is – gaining the courage to fight for her life and freedom, to fulfil an ancient prophecy that she inevitably finds herself entwined with.
This is the world’s first fully illustrated novel. The beautiful illustrations and storytelling combine to create an engaging masterpiece that kids won’t be able to put down.
MIDDLE GRADE (ages 8-12)
SECRETS OF A SCHOOLYARD MILLIONAIRE by Nat Amoore
In times of financial uncertainty this is the perfect adventure to dream big, laugh huge and think about what is truly important in life.
Finding a million dollars in your backyard – every kid’s dream, right? That’s what Tess and her best friend Toby thought too.
Jumping castles at school. Lollipops for their adoring fans. Wearing sunglasses indoors (‘cos that’s what all the millionaires do).
There’s a lot you can get with a million dollars . . . including a whole lot of trouble.
Teaching notes thanks to Childrens Books Daily: https://childrensbooksdaily.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/10/Secrets-of-a-Schoolyard-Millionaire-Teachers-Notes-by-Childrens-Books-Daily.pdf
UPPER MIDDLE GRADE/YOUNGER YA (ages 10-14)
THE BOOK OF CHANCE by Sue Whiting
THE BOOK OF CHANCE tells the story of almost thirteen-year-old Chance Callahan’s quest to find her own truth, only to discover that her life is in fact a big fat lie – #biggestfakeever!
Inspired by a true crime, the novel explores truth and lies and the grey area in between, the impact of social media, the importance of family, and ultimately ponders the notion that maybe being truthful is really just a great big lie.
An absorbing page-turning read – perfect for escaping the current world woes.
Teaching notes and author interview: http://classroom.walkerbooks.com.au/home/wp-content/uploads/2020/03/TBOC-Web-4.pdf
YOUNG ADULT (ages 14+)
DEEP WATER by Sarah Epstein
Coax your teens away from screens with the mystery of DEEP WATER – a gripping crime novel from the award-winning author of Small Spaces. (include link)
DEEP WATER is the story of a missing thirteen-year-old boy called Henry Weaver and a group of teenagers know more than they’re telling about the night he disappeared. A compelling page-turner that prompts the question: how far would you go to keep a secret?