Growing up in the 80s Australia was the land down under and we knew about Crocodile Dundee and the Crocodile Hunter. And maybe they were walking on their heads because they were in the Southern hemisphere. It didn’t take too long for me to figure out that idea was wrong, but it’s still a magical land to my mind. So when we decided to study Australia I headed to our library and picked up a great stash of Australia books to add to my ultimate booklist.
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A word about the Australia booklist
I’m updating this Australia booklist from when I first wrote it over 10 years ago, the book titles in bold were the ones from when we first learned about Australia when the kids were in kindergarten. The other books are the ones I’ve found since then, or the ones I apparently didn’t write about originally (I can’t believe some of the books I missed)
Australia picture books
- Over in Australia: amazing animals Down Under– A nice book on the animals in Australia, and a great overall introduction. It looks like this is part of a series covering several different locations.
- Tough Boris– Honestly, this isn’t particularly an Australia book, but Mem Fox is from Australia, and I love this book. It’s such a great book about grief (I cry when I read it)
- Koala Lou– I saw this featured on a couple of blogs recently, sadly I don’t remember where. As we were reading it I came up with all sorts of ideas I’d like to do with this book. Overall it was very cute, fun and appropriate on so many levels. It’s about Australia, koalas, and the Olympics. Poor little Koala Lou is worried her mother doesn’t love her anymore, so she decides to compete in the Olympics. Very cute.
- Hunwick’s Egg– very cute story about a (totally forgetting the type of animal, something that burrows and is only in Australia) that find an egg and decides to care for it. Very cute, with a bit of a surprise ending. My kids liked it, but weren’t thrilled with it.
- Possum Magic– magic, Australian animals, and a journey, what’s not to like?
- Diary of a baby wombat– Baby wombat trains his new neighbors (a family of humans) how to live next door to him
- On the farm: our holiday with Uncle Kev– a fun silly book from the looks of it, it wasn’t available when I was getting books, so I can’t say for sure
- Noni the Pony rescues a joey– A fun adventure book exploring the Australian countryside as Noni wanders around
- Kersplatypus– Since the platypus was thought to be a fake animal when a stuffed sample was brought over, this seems rather appropriate
- Sam’s Bush Journey– I love stories of this sort with intergenerational stories, this time between a grandma and grandson
- Living in Australia– A nice easy to read (hence being an Easy Reader) book covering what it’s like to live in Australia
Australia nonfiction books
- Birrarung wilam: a story from Aboriginal Australia– I didn’t see this initially when I was getting books for Australia, so I’m going to pick it up when I go back again.
- Sun Mother wakes the world: an Australian creation story– I love reading different creation myths, so of course I loved this book
- Mermaid Queen: the spectacular true story of Annette Kellerman, who swam her way to fame, fortune, and swimsuit history– having heard a Stuff You Missed in History Class episode on her, of course I like this one
- Australia and Oceania– This focuses more on Australia as a continent and area then as a country
- Australia: all around the world– perfect if you’re doing a country report
This starts a long series of animal books, my kids loved them
Seriously, back when my kids were in preschool, that’s what most of our country studies consisted of, what animals can you find there. Most of the animals there was more than one book for the animal, so I’ve picked a wide variety, and if that particular author had several in the series, I’ll note it.
- Endangered Animals of Australia– a nice generic book about Australian animals
- Australian animals– I like this particular author, and it’s her signature style but with pictures
- Destination, Australia– another generic Australia animal book, seriously there are so many great books in this particular area
- Emu– I’ve recently read so many crazy stories about emus, that they have come to greatly amuse me
- A koala’s world– When I wrote about our Australia booklist 10+ years ago, I just referred to the “Caroline Arnold animal books that my kids love,” so these are well worth getting if you can find them
- Wombats– this is part of a series, it may not all be the same author, but they’re nicely put together (it also looks to be out of print, look at that price! So check your used bookstores)
- Jimmy the joey: the true story of an amazing koala rescue– having read lots of stories of koala rescues after the recent bushfires, this book looks especially good
- It’s a baby spiny anteater– any book about baby animals is popular
Australia Christmas books
Our library had exactly two, wait no, one more is Christmas, so three Australia Christmas books, and neither of them are particularly how Australians celebrate Christmas, more of cute animal from Australia celebrates Christmas.
I’m not going to complain really. Just don’t use this as “This is how they celebrate,” because I mean animals.
- Kangaroo for Christmas– Kathryn gets a kangaroo for Christmas (title, obviously), and hijinks ensue.
- Wombat Divine– poor Wombat just can’t get the part he wants, will he get a part in the Christmas play?
- Christmas Wombat– Wombat competes with Santa’s reindeer to get the carrots
More great booklists or geography ideas to check out
Originally published February 27, 2010