Five Children’s Books Your Bookshelf Needs Now

By Haylee Hackenberg

We all know the incredible benefits of reading to your children, not least of which, is a great story’s ability to captivate your child’s imagination in a way they previously never dreamt of. I adore story time with my kids and am always on the lookout for fantastic new books to add to our collection. Lately, with so much upheaval in the world, story time has taken on additional responsibility, and we are using this time to not only cosy up for bed, but to have some difficult conversations. These five have passed the stringent testing of a four and six-year-old, and Mum and Dad think they are pretty great too: 

All the Ways to be Smart, written by Davina Bell and illustrated by Allison Colpoys. 

Before I had kids, I had heard tell, that having children felt like your heart was walking around outside your body. Never has a truer word about parenting been spoken.

I, like so many other parents, wish for my children to grow into adults with unwavering self-worth. ‘All the Ways to be Smart’ is a delightful book that encourages just that, whilst highlighting the joy of difference.

Davina Bell weaves an imaginative story that captivates the reader and exposes children to the valuable message of intelligence and its meaning beyond simply ‘book smarts’. ‘All the Ways to be Smart’ will give you the warm fuzzies. An excellent bedtime tale.  

Our Home, Our Heartbeat, written by Adam Briggs and illustrated by Kate Moon and Rachael Sarra 

Ah. What to say about this incredibly beautiful book? Adapted from Briggs’ celebrated song ‘The Children Came Back’, ‘Our Home, Our Heartbeat’ is a celebration of past and present indigenous legends, as well as emerging generations, and at its heart honours the oldest continuous culture on earth. Featuring Cathy Freeman, Doug Nicholls, Lois Peeler and Adam Goodes to name a few, this book will inspire you. 

Energetic and fast moving, my children (and myself) loved the pace of this book, but I must admit it is the illustrations that keep us coming back.

‘Our Home, Our Heartbeat’ is a visual delight and a great starting point to begin anti-racism conversations with your children.  

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