Five of the Best New Children’s Books (and Five All-Time Classics)

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If you’re looking for great books that have stood the test of time, keep scrolling to find our list of classics.

Extraordinary children’s books are being written every year. It’s exciting to discover quality books that reflect the diverse cultures and families that make up our world today. These books touch on themes such as identity, the environment and belonging in a way that young children can relate to. Below you’ll find some of the best new release children’s books for 2021.

New Release Children's Books

Bluey My Dad Is Awesome

My Dad is Awesome

by Bluey and Bingo

The ABC show Bluey broke new ground by portraying a dad who loves to play with his kids. Bandit is capable of taking the kids to school and getting the washing up done, while supporting his kids through their ups and downs. This book is a tribute to great dads everywhere. Written from the perspectives of six-year-old Bluey and her sister Bingo, they tell us all the reasons why their dad is awesome. For ages 2 and up.

Book cover of Aunty's Wedding

Aunty’s Wedding

by Miranda Tapsell and Joshua Tyler, illustrated by Samantha Campbell (Fry)

From the writers of the hit Australian movie Top End Wedding comes a story about a Tiwi Island girl preparing for her Aunty’s wedding. She’s excited to get dressed up with her Grandma but she’ll need a little help to understand what a wedding is all about. This lovely picture book celebrates family, culture and love. For ages 3-6.

Book cover of Freedom, We Sing

Freedom, We Sing

by Amyra Leon and illustrated by Molly Mendoza

This is a powerful book that explores what freedom means. "Is it a place? Is it a thought? Can it be stolen? Can it be bought?" Through conversations with a mother and her young daughter, this beautifully illustrated book discusses the ways in which people all over the world are finding ways to live freely and be themselves. Based on the poem by Amyra León, it is a book about hope. During times when there are no easy answers, this book reminds us of all the beauty in the world and invites us to stay grounded as we face whatever comes next. For ages 4 and up.

Book cover of Ways to Make Sunshine

Ways to Make Sunshine

by Renée Watson

Ryan lives with her parents and brother in Portland, US. She’s a good cook, a kind friend and she knows how to stand up for herself. But when Ryan’s dad loses his job, things start to change. Her family has to sell their car and move into a smaller house. On top of that, Ryan has to deal with her annoying older brother and the pressures of the fourth grade. But she knows how to make the best out of a bad situation. This is the relatable story of a Black girl growing up and dealing well with pressures of identity and facing the world with optimism. For ages 6 and up.

Book cover of The Accidental Wizard

The Accidental Wizard

by Kimberly Pauley, illustrated by Jason Cockcroft

Twig is realising that being a wizard’s apprentice is not all it’s cracked up to be. The great wizard Ripplemintz makes a lot of blunders. As his only apprentice, Twig is forced to clean up the mess. When Ripplemintz’s latest spell gets loose, Twig is sent to catch it. But this time he makes a blunder of his own and the spell ends up inside Twig. What will happen next? Readers of Terry Prachett will love this boisterous fantasy. For ages 9 and up.

Classic Children's Books

These ageless books are ones you’ve probably loved since childhood and now are lucky enough to read to your own children. With their beautiful illustrations and simple expression, parents won’t mind reading them over and over again. There are so many great books for children that this list could be endless, but we’ve narrowed it down to five we love. How many of them have you read?

Book cover of Possum Magic

Possum Magic

by Mem Fox and illustrated by Julie Vivas

Grandma Poss and Hush live in the Australian bush, along with their wombat, kangaroo and emu friends. But when Grandma Poss accidentally makes Hush invisible, the two set off around Australia to find the missing ingredient which will break the spell. They eat their way through Anzac biscuits in Adelaide and Minties in Melbourne, but it’s not until they get to Darwin that they find the missing ingredient. Through the eyes of these two possums, you’ll discover the charm of Australia’s cities and the magic of a vegemite sandwich. For ages 3 and up.

Book cover of Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You See?

Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You See?

By Bill Martin Jr. and illustrated by Eric Carle

Any preschooler will tell you this book is firmly at the top of their list of favourites. The simple illustrations from Eric Carle are captivating. The lyrical pattern throughout the book helps toddlers to remember and repeat the words. “Blue Horse, Blue Horse, What do you see? I see a green frog looking at me." This wonderful book will help your child learn how to recognise different animals and name all the colours. It’s also a perfect book for children who are just starting to read. For ages 1 and up.

Book cover of Where the Wild Things Are

Where the Wild Things Are

by Maurice Sendak

Possibly the best loved children’s book of all time. When Max is naughty he is sent to his room without dinner, then sails away to the land where the Wild Things are. With their gnashing teeth and stomping feet, the Wild Things are pretty scary. But none of them are a match for Max’s piercing stare. Without parents around they can all be as beastly as they want. But even Wild Things can get lonely and Max starts to think that maybe home isn’t so bad after all. The beautiful illustrations bring to life the free spirit and imagination that lives inside all children. For ages 3 and up.

Book cover of My Place

My Place

by Nadia Wheatley and illustrated by Donna Rawlins

Have you ever wondered who lived in your house before you did? This wonderful book lets you glimpse into the past and see what Australia was like many generations ago. It tells the story of 21 children who have lived on one piece of land in the middle of Sydney from 1788 until 1988. Go back in time and discover how family life, dress and customs have changed throughout the decades. Use this book to teach children about the traditional owners of the land, and the people from many cultures who live in Australia today. For ages 5-11.

Book cover of Matilda

Matilda

by Roald Dahl

Matilda is a gifted child who loves to learn. But she is neglected by her parents and tormented by her school principal. The only one who recognises her talents is her kind teacher, Miss Honey. Matilda takes revenge by playing practical jokes on the bullies in her life. She’s too smart to get caught but will she get her happy ending? Roald Dahl’s genius is that he takes children’s inner lives seriously. This story will connect with every kid who has ever felt ignored. For ages 8 and up.