The love of reading is one of the greatest gifts a parent can give a child.
Reading is empowering, and a book is a gift that continues to give, long after the occasion has past. It’s effects cannot always be measured.
To help you decide which books to give to whom for Christmas, I thought I’d make your task a little easier by reminding you of the lovely books I shared throughout the year in interviews with their authors and illustrators.
Below you will find a list the books and their authors and illustrators. I also include links to
- the interview on the blog
- the interview in the Author or Illustrator Spotlight
- the creative’s website
- a place where the book may be purchased.
Many of these authors and illustrators have more than one book, some for readers in other age groups, including adult, so please check out their websites for additional information.
At the conclusion of the post, I list other books read and enjoyed. Sadly, there’s just not enough time for all the interviews I’d love to do.
Of course, the list is not exhaustive. These are just a few suggestions to get you started. Enjoy!
Magic Fish Dreaming – a wonderful collection of poems written by June Perkins and illustrated by Helene Magisson. The poems encourage children to wonder and appreciate the world around them.
I had the pleasure of interviewing both June and Helene.
(Don’t forget Helene’s beautiful version of The Night Before Christmas at this time of the year.)
The Magic in Boxes is written and illustrated by Chrissy Byers to inspire children to use their imaginations and play creatively using household junk.
Chrissy’s books are extra special with their use of recycled paper and card in both the hard and soft cover versions of the book.
(Since the interview, Chrissy has a new book out The Magic in Dress-ups.)
Katie Schaeffer Pancake Maker written by Cynthia Mackey and illustrated by Paula Nasmith is a book about making things from loose parts and found objects. Katie makes a pancake maker that does such a great job she has more than enough pancakes to share with the whole neighbourhood.
Kookoo Kookaburra written and illustrated by Gregg Dreise is a story about kindness. It demonstrates that if you want to be treated kindly, you need to treat others kindly too.
Caroline Tuohey’s lovely rhyming story Forest Wonder is beautifully illustrated by Muza Ulasowski. The story, about Australian animals enjoying a moon-lit party in the forest, is a celebration of nature, magic and imagination.
Stripes in the Forest written by Aleesah Darlison and illustrated by Shane McGrath, tells a story of the last wild thylacine. Through the story, Aleesah encourages children to think about the plight of endangered animals and consider what they can do to protect them.
The fractured fairy tale Cinderstella, co-written by Brenda Miles and Susan Sweet, is beautifully illustrated by Valeria Docampo. The story challenges stereotypes with its story of Cinderstella who wants more to her life than parties and princes. She wants to be an astronaut and travel in space. The story encourages children to take an interest in STEM topics and follow their dreams.
Birds of Paradise written by Pamela Wight and illustrated by Shelley Steinle is about two special sparrows Bert and Bessie who realise, that although they are different, they can be friends and even help each other overcome their fears.
The underwater Twelve Days of Christmas written and illustrated by Kim Michelle Toft is an innovation on the original carol. Kim’s beautiful illustrations, painted on silk, take us into an underwater world to marvel at marine life and encourage us to protect the ocean and its inhabitants.
At the back of the book, as with all her books, Kim includes additional information about the creatures and the environment. The book is a wonderful combination of story, art and information.
While I mostly interview authors or illustrators of picture books, I know some six and seven years olds will be ready to move into chapter books. For this reason I occasionally interview an author of junior fiction.
Rainforest Camp is book 12 in the Juliet Nearly a Vet series by Rebecca Johnson. The series, for young readers, is about ten-year-old Juliet who, having watched her mother who is a vet, thinks she is nearly a vet. In Rainforest Camp, Juliet uses her knowledge and resourcefulness to “save the day” in a variety of situations.
(Note: Rebecca has Nearly a Vet kits available for sale to Australian customers.)
Song Bird Superhero and The Battle of Bug World are the first two books in Karen’s Tyrrell’s Song Bird series. The books have strong messages about empowering children and being resilient. Along with her others, these books share positive messages of self-belief, resilience, team building, problem solving and STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics); each with a good dose of humour included.
#10 additional suggestions – new publications this year
There are so many wonderful new books to read. These are but a few. If you have other suggestions, please add them in the comments.
I Want to Be in a Book – written and illustrated by Narelle Oliver
Coral Sea Dreaming – written and illustrated by Kim Michelle Toft
The Lion in our Living Room – written by Emma Middleton, illustrated by Briony Stewart
The Fix-It Man – written by Dimity Powell, illustrated by Nicky Johnston
Parmesan the Reluctant Racehorse – written by Jacqui Halpin, illustrated by John Phillips
Turtle Love – written by Renee Hills, illustrated by Anna Jacobson
Getting Home – written by J. R. Poulter, illustrated by Muza Ulasowski
Engilina’s Trains – written by Andrew King, illustrated by Benjamin Johnston
Fox and Moonbeam – written by Aleesah Darlison, illustrated by Narelda Joy
I’m Australian Too – written by Mem Fox, illustrated by Ronojoy Ghosh
With #2 left over from last year
They All Saw a Cat – written and illustrated by Brendan Wenzel,
Ada Lovelace Poet of Science – written by Diane Stanley, illustrated by Jessie Hartland
I hope you find something here for a young one in your life. Remember the power of books to change lives: the gift of a book may be the catalyst to spark a life-long interest.
Look for interviews with some of these authors and illustrators next year! (Or suggest someone you’d like to see interviewed.)
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