Baby Blog

Award-Winning Australian Children's Authors & Books Work / Play / Leisure Suitable for stages: 0 - 3 Months, 3 - 6 Months, 6 - 12 Months, 12 - 18 Months, 18 - 24 Months

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Updated 3 March 2024
Want some help to choose some great Australian books that you will love reading as much as your babies will love hearing?

Reading with your baby is one of the simplest, all round best things you can do for and with your baby. There is so much to say in favour of reading together, that I have dedicated two other articles to this subject. If you want to check them out, here are the links: Reading with your baby & Reading with Your older baby & toddler.

Aussie parents are spoilt for choice when it comes to early childhood picture books due to our many amazing Australian authors.

If you are looking for somewhere to start with your Australian book collection, please read on, but also be sure to check out the Children's Book Council of Australia (CBCA). They have been doing the hard work identifying and celebrating the best early childhood and picture books every year since 1945. The CBCA yearly literary awards are the biggest in Australia for Children's books. See the 2023 winners and 2022 winners on the CBCA website, or check out Amazon Australia who have the option to search for and buy CBCA notable books at competitive prices.

CBCA are not alone in celebrating Australian authors and illustrators, there are also other children's book and author awards including the Speech Pathology Australia Book of the Year Awards which have a 0-3 years, 3-5 years, 5-8 years and 8-10 years  categories. In 2022, Hello World by Aura Parker won the best book for the 0-3 category and in 2023, the winner was Snap! by Anna Walker. In addition to the main awards, the CBCA Queensland branch (pre-covid) ran the Books I Love Best Yearly (BILBY awards), and the ACT branch had its Canberra's Own Outstanding List (COOL Awards).

In researching Australian award-winning authors and books it was evident that through the years, several authors kept appearing on the best-of lists. To make things easy to follow, I have gone ahead and grouped books by author in the first section, and then discussed the remaining award-winning books.

The books mentioned can be read to children of any pre-reading age and will also entertain early readers. I have many of these books at home and have loved sharing these Aussie stories with my own children. Where you see images, these are from my own collection, and are 'read it again!?' books. You'll also notice the years when books were awarded go back some decades in some cases. What is lovely with children's books is that they don't seem to date. It doesn't seem to matter if they were published 20 years ago, the best books have timeless themes included in their stories. There is something especially magical about books which were read to you as a child and you then become the reader to share that same story to your young one. I think the best collections of children's books have a mix of modern and classics to suit any mood.

Where you see book title links, these should take you to the Amazon Au book listing to you can check out more information and pricing.

Here we go...


Notable Australian Authors and their award winning books

Alison Lester

Alison Lester is one of Australia's most popular and bestselling creators of children's books.

Alison has won many awards, including the 2016 Dromkeen award for outstanding achievement in the creation of Children's and young adult literature and the 2005 Children's Book Council of Australia (CBCA) Picture Book of the Year Award for Are We There Yet? A Journey Around Australia.

Other CBCA awarded books include: 

  • Magic Beach (Picture Book of the Year Shortlisted 1991)

magic beach by Alison Lester

noni the pony by Alison Lester noni the pony goes to the beach by Alison Lester Noni the pony rescues a joey by Alison Lester

kissed by the moon by Alison Lester

Other popular titles include Imagine & My Farm.

Little ones will love reading the Baby Days collection of 4 board books with all the things little children can do in a day. Includes Bibs and Boots (personal fave), Bumping and Bouncing, Crashing and Splashing & Happy and Sad.


Libby Gleeson

Look A Book by Libby Gleeson  Amy and Louis by Libby Gleeson

Books were hugely important to Libby Gleeson as a child and have remained the focus of her adult life. Libby’s fiction and picture books have won multiple awards, including CBCA short-listings and wins, State Premier’s Literary Awards, the Bologna Ragazzi Award in 2000, and the Prime Minister’s Award in 2013. For her services to children’s literature, Libby has been honoured with the Lady Cutler Award (1997), Member of the Order of Australia (2007), the 2011 Dromkeen Medal for outstanding achievement in the creation of Australian children's and young adult literature and the Nan Chauncy Award (2015).

Libby has collaborated with many different illustrators, including Ann James, to write Shutting the Chooks In, which was shortlisted in the Early Childhood Book of the Year 2004. Many of her books have been illustrated by Freya Blackwood. For their first book together, Amy & Louis, won the CBCA Early Childhood Book of the Year in 2007. Their other successful collaborations include Clancy & Millie and the Very Fine House (Early Childhood Honour Book 2010), Look, A Book!  (Picture Book of the Year Shortlisted Book 2012), Banjo and Ruby Red (Early Childhood Book of the Year Honour Book 2014) & Go to Sleep, Jessie! (Early Childhood Book of the Year, 2015). Mum Goes to Work, illustrated by Leila Rudge, about what mums do at work while their child is at daycare, was short-Listed for the 2015 Speech Pathology Book Of The Year Award, 3-5 Years Category and the 1993 Prime Minister’s Multicultural Award, Picture Book Category. 

Libby has just released Soon, illustrated by Jedda Robaard, a delightful story that perfectly captures the excitement of waiting for the arrival of a new baby.


Nick Bland

Nick Bland collection of books

Nick Bland was born in the Yarra Valley of Australia in 1973. He wanted to be a cartoonist and a writer from a very young age. In 1996, he took a job at a book store, and decided to write and illustrate children's books. His first book, A Monster Wrote Me a Letter was published in Australia in 2005. Since then, he has written many successful and award-winning books including The Very Cranky Bear series (very funny and clever rhyming books), King Pig (Picture Book of the Year Honour 2014), The Runaway Hug, Illustrated by Freya Blackwood (Early Childhood Book of the Year 2012) & Walk of the Whales (Early Childhood Honours Book 2022)

The Wrong Book (Early Childhood Shortlisted Book 2010) is a book all about Nicholas Ickle, but he keeps getting interrupted by characters who have wandered into the wrong book. The sequel The Unscary Book (2018) is Nicholas' attempt at showing us a book full of very scary things, however much to his frustration, the most unscary things keep appearing.

The wrong book by Nick Bland


Mem Fox

Mem Fox collection of books

Mem Fox is Australia's most highly regarded picture-book author. Her first book, Possum Magic, is the bestselling children's book ever in Australia, with over three and a half million sales. In the USA Time for Bed and Wilfrid Gordon McDonald Partridge have each sold over a million copies! Time for Bed is on Oprah's list of the twenty best children's books of all time and has run in repeat many a night in my house. Mem Fox was recognised for outstanding achievement in the creation of Australian children's and young adult literature in 1990 when she won the prestigious Dromkeen Medal.

Mem Fox has written over thirty picture books for children and five non-fiction books for adults, including the best-selling Reading Magic, aimed at very young children's parents. Her book Ten Little Fingers and Ten Little Toes beautifully illustrated by Helen Oxenbury, was on the New York Times bestseller lists for 16 weeks in 2008/2009.

Where is the green sheep? by Mem FoxBaby Bedtime by Mem Fox

CBCA award-winning books include, Where is the Green Sheep?, Illustrated by Judy Horacek (Early Childhood Book of the Year 2005), I'm Australian Too, Illustrated by Ronojoy Ghosh (Early Childhood Book of the Year Shortlisted 2018) & Baby Bedtime, Illustrated by Emma Quay (Early Childhood Book of the Year Shortlisted 2014).


Pamela Allen

Pamela Allen is a phenomenon in the world of children's literature. Many of her titles have won prestigious awards and commendations including Who Sank the Boat? which won Picture Book of the Year in 1983. She has earned classic status through the enduring popularity of her stories with the very young.

Grandpa and Thomas and the green umbrella by Pamela Allen

Pamela's books are full of the music of language; they are 'fragments of theatre', designed to be read aloud and shared between an adult and a child. Eight of Pamela's titles were adapted for the stage by Patch Theatre Company, and Grandpa and Thomas won the Children's Book Council Book of the Year Award: Early Childhood in 2004 and The Potato People was named an Honour Book in the same category in 2003, and Grandpa and Thomas and the Green Umbrella was shortlisted for the same award in 2007, as was Shhh! Little Mouse in 2008. Is Your Grandmother a Goanna? won a 2008 Speech Pathology of Australia Book of the Year Award, as did Our Daft Dog Danny in 2010.


Bob Graham

Bob Graham is a Kate Greenaway-winning author-illustrator who has written and illustrated many acclaimed children's picture books including How to Heal a Broken Wing (Early Childhood Book of the Year 2009), Max, Jethro Byrde: Fairy Child and April Underhill: Tooth Fairy. His 2011 title, A Bus Called Heaven, is endorsed by Amnesty International UK and was the winner of the 2012 Children's Book Council of Australia Picture Book of the Year Award - a prize Bob has won an unprecedented six times. He lives in Melbourne, Australia.

Silver Buttons by Bob Graham

Other award-winning books include Silver Buttons (Picture Book of the Year Honour Book 2014), Buffy: An Adventure Story (Picture Book of the Year 2000), Queenie the Bantam (Picture Book of the Year Shortlisted 1998), Let's Get a Pup! (Early Childhood Book of the Year 2002), Home in the Rain (Picture Book of the Year 2017), Rose Meets Mr Wintergarten (Picture Book of the Year 1993), Greetings from Sandy Beach (Picture Book of the Year 1991), Grandad's Magic (Picture Book of the Year Honour Book 1990)


Aaron Blabey

Aaron Blabey book collection

Aaron Blabey has written many well-loved, and comedic best-selling books for children. He has around five million books in print and is the creator of three hugely successful series for children - the New York Times Bestseller The Bad Guys, Pig the Pug and Thelma the Unicorn.

Aaron's books have won many awards including nine REAL Awards, an INDIE Book Award for Children's Book of the Year, a Children's Book Council of Australia - Book of the Year Award, a NSW Premiers Literary Award for Children's Literature, two Australian Book Design Awards and a Children's Peace Literature Award.

Pearl Barley and Charlie Parsley won the CBCA Early Childhood Book of the Year for 2008 and Pig the Pug was a Early Childhood Book of the Year Shortlisted in 2015.

Other Great Books include: Piranhas Don't Eat BananasBusting!I Need a HugThelma the Unicorn.

The Pig the Pug book collections are a great place to start to enjoy the book series in bulk.


Jackie French & Illustrator Bruce Whatley

Wombat Book Collection

Bruce Whatley is one of Australia's most highly regarded and talented authors and illustrators for children, both here and internationally. Since 1992 Bruce has written and/or illustrated over 90 picture books. In 2002 he paired with author Jackie French and illustrated Diary of a Wombat, which was the start of an extraordinary creative collaboration.

Jackie was the Australian Children's Laureate for 2014/15 and the 2015 Senior Australian of the Year.  She is also a historian, ecologist, dyslexic, and a passionate worker for literacy, the right of all children to read, and the power of books.

Jackie's writing career spans 25 years, 148 wombats, over 140 books, 36 languages, 3,721 bush rats, and over 60 awards in Australia and overseas. 

Diary of a Wombat by Jackie French & Bruce WhatleyFlood book by Jackie French & Bruce Whatley

What started with Diary of a Wombat which won Picture Book of the Year Honour in 2003, has now grown into a collection of adorable wombat books including Christmas Wombat, Baby Wombat's Week, Wombat Goes to School, Grandma Wombat & Happy Birthday Wombat. The wombat books are funny, cute and are likely to run on repeat within your house, spending lots of time off the shelf if you make the investment.

Other notable and award-winning books include Flood (Picture Book of the Year Honour Book 2012), Fire (Picture Book Shortlisted Book 2015) & Pete, the Sheep.

Other notable award winning books by various Authors listed by Year

  • Where the Lyrebird Lives by Vikki Conley (Illustrated by Max Hamilton) (2023 CBCA Early Childhood Book of the Year)
  • Bev and Kev by Katrina Germein (Illustrated by Mandy Foot) (2023 CBCA Honour winner for Early Childhood Book)
  • Snap! by Anna Walker (2023 CBCA Honour winner for Early Childhood Book)
  • Lionel and Me by Corinne Fenton (Illustrated by Tracie Grimwood) (2023 CBCA Sun Project: Shadow Judging Winner)
  • Dirt by Sea by Michael Wagner (Illustrated by Tom Jellett) (2023 Honour Winner for Picture Book)
  • Tiny Wonders by Sally Soweol Han (2023 CBCA Award for New Illustrator)
  • Jetty Jumping by Andrea Rowe (Illustrated by Hannah Sommerville) (2022 Early Childhood Book of the Year)
  • Amira's Suitcase by Vikki Conley (Illustrated by Nicky Johnston) (2022 CBCA Honour winner for Early Childhood book)
  • Just One Bee by Margrete Lamond & Anthony Bertini (Illustrated by Christopher Nielsen) (2022 CBCA Honour winner for Picture Book)
  • The Boy Who Tried to Shrink His Name by Sandhya Parappukkaran (Illustrated by Michelle Pereira) (2022 CBCA Award for New Illustrator)
  • No! Never! by Libby Hathorn & Lisa Hathorn-Jarman (Illustrated by Mel Pearce) (2021 Early Childhood Book of the Year)
  • We Love You, Magoo by Briony Stewart (2021 CBCA Honour winner for Early Childhood book)
  • Anemone is not the Enemy by Anna McGregor (2021 CBCA Honour winner for Early Childhood book)
  • My Friend Fred by Frances Watts (Illustrated by A. Yi) (Early Childhood Book of the Year 2020)
  • I Need a Parrot by Chris McKimmie (Picture Book of the Year 2020)
  • Baby Business by Jasmine Seymour (New Illustrator Award 2020)
  • Three by Stephen Michael King (Honour Book for the Picture book of the Year 2020 & BILBY Picture Book Winner 2020)
  • When Billy was a Dog by Kirsty Murray (Illustrated by Karen Blair) (Early Childhood Honour Book 2020 BILBY Early Childhood Book Winner 2020)
  • Goodbye House, Hello House by Margaret Wild (Illustrated by Ann James) (Early Childhood Honour Book 2020)
  • One Runaway Rabbit by David Metzenthen (Illustrated by Mairead Murphy) (Early Childhood Shortlisted Book 2020)
  • Heads and Tails: Insects by John Canty (Early Childhood Honour Book 2019)
  • Here Comes Stinkbug! by Tohby Riddle  (Early Childhood Honour Book 2019)
  • Hark, It's Me, Ruby Lee! by Lisa Shanahan (Illustrated by Binny)  (Early Childhood Honour Book 2018)
  • Rodney Loses It! by Michael Gerard Bauer (Illustrated by Chrissie Krebs) (Early Childhood Book of the Year 2018)
  • A Walk in the Bush by Gwyn Perkins (Picture Book of the Year 2018)

A Walk in the Bush by Gwyn Perkins

  • Go Home, Cheeky Animals! by Johanna Bell (Illustrated by Dion Beasley) (Early Childhood Book of the Year 2017)
  • Mr Huff by Anna Walker (Early Childhood Book of the Year 2016)
  • Perfect by Danny Parker (Illustrated by Freya Blackwood) (Honour Book Early Childhood Book of the Year 2016)
  • The Cow Tripped Over the Moon by Tony Wilson (Illustrated by Laura Wood) (Honour Book Early Childhood Book of the Year 2016)
  • Scary Night by Lesley Gibbes (Illustrated by Stephen Michael King) (Honour Book Early Childhood Book of the Year 2015 & Shortlisted Speech Pathology Australia's Book of the Year Awards - 3-5 years 2015)
  • I'm a Dirty Dinosaur by Janeen Brian (Illustrated by Ann James) (Early Childhood Honour Book 2014)

I'm a dirty dinosaur by Janeen Brian

  • The Terrible Suitcase by Emma Allen (Illustrated by Freya Blackwood) (Early Childhood Book of the Year 2013)

The Terrible suitcase.jpg

The pros and cons of being a frog by Sue de Gennaro

  • Rudie Nudie by Emma Quay (Early Childhood Shortlisted Book 2012)

Rudie Nudie by Emma Quay

  • The Terrible Plop by Ursula Dubosarsky (Illustrated by Andrew Joyner) (Early Childhood Shortlisted Book 2010)

The Terrible Plop by Ursula Dubosarsky

A great children's book will engage your child, sparking their imagination and thoughtful questions and unleash your own creativity and joy in re-telling the story and exploring the themes in the book. Some books are funny; some are inspiring; some take you to another world; others inspire thought and teach life lessons. All books gift you and your child something to take away and fuel a colourful imagination. There will be favourites that get read over and over again, and there is always “just one more book” to explore. 

There are so many ways to start your children's book collections. If you prefer to buy new:

Shop for Children's books at Amazon Au

Explore the Amazon Au Bestsellers in Children’s Books List

If you want to try before you buy, don't forget to visit your local library regularly and get your child a library card from a young age.

If you want to tap into the circular economy, ask friends and family to do a book swap or check out your local buy, swap, sell for free to good home groups. Better still, take the time to explore your local charity/op-shops for second hand books. There are also market places for second hand children's books such as eBay Australia.

However you get your hands on children's books, they are meant to be read, so once you have finished, pass them onto friends and family who can continue to love them. Don't forget though to keep some extra special ones to read to your grandchildren one day or pass onto your child to read to their children to pass the magic down.


For more on reading to your children, please also check out our other articles Reading with your babyReading with Your older baby & toddler & Preparing for sleep

Happy exploring!

Written by Anna Noud

Anna Noud headshot

Anna is a mother of 2 boys and an Occupational Therapist, holding a Bachelor of Occupational Therapy with Honours from the University of Newcastle, NSW, Australia. A lifelong learner with a passion for everything health-related and a drive to improve the lives of Mothers and the babies who will be the leaders of our future. The most important assets we have in this life is our health, well-being, and happiness. Writing for BabyPeg is a passion project alongside life tripping in the caravan, parenting, and working as an OT to help people with disabilities fulfill their potential. Find me on LinkedIn or message me through the BabyPeg Facebook page.

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