Tagchildren's literature

Stephanie Owen Reeder and Liz Duthie – Courageous Kids and Their Amazing Adventures

National Library of Australia Publishing, Australia, 2023
Designer Hugh Ford
Cover and internal illustrations Liz Duthie

What a wonderful way for children to learn history this book is! All the heroes and heroines are children, some quite young, who are exemplars of bravery, care for family, perseverance in the face of difficulties and danger, cooperativeness and imaginative, innovative thinking. They also demonstrate practical life skills that see them through the worst of times.

Barbie spoke to Stephanie Owen Reeder about Courageous Kids and Their Amazing Adventures
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Samantha Tidy and  Rachel Gyan: Wollemi – Saving a Dinosaur Tree

CSIRO Publishing, Australia, 2023

We were walking around the Australian National Botanic Gardens recently and came across a Wollemi, described as a dinosaur, not because of its appearance but because of its age. The legend panel beside the tree spoke of its chance discovery by David Noble and this is indeed the springboard for Samantha Tidy’s text in Wollemi.

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Gina Newton and Nandina Vines – <em>Spider Wars </em>

Wilkinson Publishing Pty Ltd, Australia, 2024
Design Alicia Freile, Tango Media
Illustrations and information section designed by Nandina Vines

The natural world conflict of Spider Wars, a picture book by Gina Newton and Nandina Vines is a story of territorial dispute between the Wolf Spiders and the Peacock Spiders. The author and illustrator also tell a kind of Romeo and Juliet tale of star-crossed lovers.

Gina Newton speaks to Barbie about Spider Wars
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Maura Pierlot and Jorge Garcia Redondo – Alphabetter

Affirm Press, Australia, 2024
Cover design and internal Stephanie Spartels @ Affirm Press
Cover illustrations Jorge Garcia Redondo

The question of how early one should teach ethics to children and in what form is at the heart of this book. Maura Pierlot posits a convincing argument with this work for its early introduction.

Barbie spoke to Maura Pierlot about Alphabetter
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Best-selling author is new Australian Children’s Laureate

The Australian Children’s Laureate Foundation has announced Sally Rippin as the 8th Australian Children’s Laureate for 2024 and 2025.

Barbie spoke to Sally Rippin about her role as the new Australian Children’s Laureate
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Jacinta Froud and Gökçe Yavaş Önal – The Perfect Book

Self-published, Australia, 2023
Designed by Ozan Tortop tadaabook.com

Jacinta Froud takes us on wild ride as Finn engages book seller Mr Persnickety in the search for a perfect book for friend Ginny.

Barbie talks to Jacinta Froud about The Perfect Book
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Cate Whittle – Starberries and Kee

Storytorch Press, Australia 2023
Cover design by Flo + Ebb Design

Starberries and Kee is a middle grade fiction described by its publisher as solarpunkSolarpunk is subgenre of what used to be called science fiction, works speculating on how the future might look if humanity succeeds in solving major challenges like climate change and pollution.

Barbie spoke to Cate Whittle about Starberries and Kee
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Samantha Tidy (words) and Susannah Crispe (pictures) – Cloudspotting

Windy Hollow Books, Australia, 2023

Samantha Tidy’s textual story and Susannah Crispe’s visual story come together perfectly in Cloudspotting (Windy Hollow Books, Australia, 2023). This is a gentle tale of a father and daughter who, while the rest of the family still sleeps, go out crabbing in their boat in the dark chill of early morning.

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Jane Godwin – A Walk in the Dark and The Isabelle Stories

Lothian Children’s Books, Hachette, Australia, 2023

Unusually and despite their different target audiences, I am writing about both of these books by Jane Godwin at once. Jane Godwin’s writing is characterised by her gentle but astute understanding and observation of young people and their concerns.

Barbie talks to Jane Godwin about A Walk in the Dark and The Isabelle Stories
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Jennifer Cossins – Amazing Animal Journeys

Lothian Children’s Books/Hachette, Australia, 2022
Design Kinart

Jennifer Cossins’ beautifully illustrated book contains facts and figures about animals and their migratory habits that will be a revelation to adult readers (let alone children). She has chosen both well and lesser known creatures for this informative work, and does not confine herself to the furred and feathered.

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Kate Temple – The Dangerous Business of Being Trilby Moffat

Lothian/ Hachette, Australia, 2022
Cover and internal design and illustrations Christopher Cooper

What a delicious book this is! And do not for a minute be thinking it’s just for children. This is a book bursting with rich language, big ideas and sardonic humour – including the satirisation of things you probably need to be an adult to really understand.

Barbie spoke to Kate Temple about The Dangerous Business of Being Trilby Moffat
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Nicole Godwin and Susannah Crispe – Swoop

CSIRO Publishing, Australia, 2022
Cover, text design and layout by MDCN Creative

Spring in Canberra always alerts people to our beautiful magpies because sometimes people, especially cyclists, are swooped. We see a lot of inventive head protection and hand waving.

Barbie spoke to Nicole Godwin and Susannah Crispe about Swoop
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Craig Cormick – Colonial Settlement: France vs Britain

What if History of Australia series
Big Sky Publishing, Australia, 2022
Cover and internal design and illustrations by Cheri Hughes

This book is just the sort of make your own adventure that primary school children love. It presents the facts as we know them about the first European settlement of Australia and then suggests that things could have gone very differently had the French beaten the English to the post.

Barbie spoke to Craig Cormick about Colonial Settlement: France vs Britain
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