THE GUARDIAN: THE BEST AUSTRALIAN CHILDREN’S BOOKS OF 2023
From picture books to young adult novels and nonfiction, one teacher-librarian picks her favourite read
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?
Cub and Brown by Edwina Wyatt and Evie Barrow, Walker Books Australia
Heartwarming friendship tales
Edwina Wyatt, author of the Magnolia Moon trilogy, has a flair for writing stories infused with whimsy and delight. Her latest offering is no exception.
Cub, an always-prepared boy scout, faces uncertainty when confronted by a bear in the woods. Brown, a bear living in a human house, becomes an unexpected companion. Their joint adventures delve into the nature of true friendship, overcoming irrational fears and honing outdoor survival skills.
Across 12 chapters, Cub and Brown exchange life lessons inspired by Cub’s scout guidelines in this charming exploration of camaraderie and personal growth.