As a mother of three primary school-age children, and a teacher-librarian, I read a ridiculous number of books with and to young people. I spend my days recommending books to children and hearing their views on the ones that have resonated with them. When I hear the pleas of “one more time!” after a read-aloud, or struggle to keep particular books on the library shelves due to student demand, I know that we’ve struck gold.
A commonly used analogy posits that books should serve as both windows and mirrors. I want to see the children in my life recognising themselves in the characters on the page, while glimpsing other ways of being, seeing and knowing through reading.
The small but prolific Australian children’s publishing industry produced many books of windows and mirrors this year, but my criteria for this list was simple: Which 2023 books by Australian creators were regularly requested by the children in my life?