Open the world to children through books

Books and the stories they contain have the power to connect communities and help children learn and grow values and empathy. There are hundreds of wonderful books for children written and published each year. Sometimes as educators and as parents, it can become overwhelming to figure out what books to buy or which books will engage young readers (and listeners) the most.

Earlier today, the 2021 Book of the Year shortlist was announced by the Children Book Council of Australia and there are some remarkable books on their list to include in your library, whether at your service or at home.

This year, the shortlisted books, all uniquely Australian, are avenues to help children see themselves in their world. In some, concerns such as climate change and social change are woven through the stories in a way to engage in an age-appropriate way for young readers.

The early childhood category includes books that may be fiction, drama or poetry and are appropriate in style and content for children who are at pre-reading or early stages of reading. They are aimed at children from 0-6 years.

This year’s Early Childhood shortlist is:

  • Busy Beaks by Sarah Allen (ISBN: 9781925972948)
  • Who’s Your Real Mum? by Bernadette Green (illus. by Anna Zobel) (ISBN: 9781925849493)
  • No! Never! by Libby Hathorn & Lisa Hathorn-Jarman (illus. by Mel Pearce) (ISBN: 9780734418906)
  • Anemone is not the Enemy by Anna McGregor (ISBN: 9781922310118)
  • There’s No Such Thing by Heidi McKinnon (ISBN: 9781760877279)
  • We Love You, Magoo by Briony Stewart (ISBN: 9781760896904)

No matter how old you are, a great picture book will make you think and often, smile. Entries in the Picture Book of the Year category are outstanding books in which the author and illustrator achieve artistic and literary unity or, in wordless picture books, where the story, theme or concept is unified through illustrations. Some of the books on this year’s shortlist are appropriate for younger readers and some may be for more mature readers.

This year’s Picture Book of the Year shortlist is:

  • The Unwilling Twin by Freya Blackwood (ISBN: 9781460757536)
  • Not Cute. by Philip Bunting (ISBN: 9781760972387)
  • Norton and the Bear by Gabriel Evans (ISBN: 9780648785132)
  • Ellie’s Dragon by Bob Graham (ISBN: 9781406387629)
  • How to Make a Bird by Matt Ottley (text by Meg McKinlay) (ISBN: 9781925381894)
  • Your Birthday Was the Best! by Felicita Sala (text by Maggie Hutchings) (ISBN: 9781925972535)

Do you have any of these shortlisted books in your service? If so, how do you use it? Which ones are your favourite? Which ones are a hit with the children in your setting? Please let us know in the comments below and we may share your ideas on a future Spoke post.

CBCA’s Book Week will be held 21-27 August 2021 with the theme, Old Worlds, New Worlds, Other Worlds. You can find more information about Book Week here.


Early Childhood Australia

Early Childhood Australia (ECA) has been a voice for young children since 1938. We are the peak early childhood advocacy organisation, acting in the interests of young children, their families and those in the early childhood field. ECA advocates to ensure quality, social justice and equity in all issues relating to the education and care of children aged birth to eight years.

2 thoughts on “Open the world to children through books”

    Very interesting blog. Keep on posting these inspiring blogs.

    Rahul Saxena says:

    Children try to understand what we explain through storytelling or while playing it helps them understand and learn better without any difficulties. The information that you have shared about opening the world through books will help us make it easier for children to learn faster.
    Thank you for listing it together and sharing this helpful information with us through this article. Keep sharing more such articles like this in the future also.

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