Read Around the World: Children’s Books Set in Australia and Oceania
You don’t have to travel all the way to Australia and the rest of Oceania to experience the beauty and cultures found on this continent in the Southern Hemisphere. The lesser-known continent of Oceania encompasses Australia, New Zealand, Papua New Guinea, Fiji, and many other amazing islands. Dive into the habitat, landmarks, and indigenous culture with your kids through these suggested picture books, early readers, and middle grade books. There is something for everyone on this book list!
yes no Picture Books 9780525478652 Wombat Walkabout by Carol Diggory Shields, illustrated by Sophie Blackall
Six wombats head out for a walk in the warm outback. They enjoy seeing the other wildlife of the outback but avoid their most fearsome predator — the dingo! Full of luscious illustrations and clever rhyming verse, this book is a sure winner for your little one.
9781536220360 Wombat by Christopher Cheng, illustrated by Liz Duthie
Learn about the incredible wombat — a rarely discussed animal. Did you know wombats can live for years without drinking water? This book is filled with facts and illustrations to keep your eyes and mind engaged.
9781536205909 Where’s the Kangaroo? by Nosy Crow, illustrated by Ingela P Arrhenius
Little hands love lift-the-flap books but can destroy them in minutes. Where’s the Kangaroo? has brightly colored, soft felt flaps that allow little ones to lift and lower as many times as they like without damaging the book. Find a series of Australian animals behind these shaped flaps!
9780744027594 Eco Baby Where Are You Koala? by DK
Help find a baby koala in the land Down Under in this touch-and-feel book! Along the way, discover other Australian animals such as wombats, kangaroos, and crocodiles.
9780375987694 Elizabeth, Queen of the Seas by Lynne Cox, illustrated by Brian Floca
World-renowned swimmer and bestselling author Lynne Cox and Caldecott Medal-winning illustrator Brian Floca teamed up to create this beautiful children’s book based on a real-life elephant seal named Elizabeth. Elizabeth’s home is in the Avon River in the city of Christchurch, New Zealand, but when she ends up sunning on a road, a group of volunteers are worried and help bring her out to sea. But Elizabeth knows where she belongs and makes her way back to her beloved river. This informative picture book also teaches kids about elephant seals!
9780399257384 Pouch! by David Ezra Stein
Caldecott winner David Ezra Stein’s adorable board book is a must-read for anyone interested in Australia. Baby Kangaroo wants to try new things outside of Mama’s pouch. First hops, first time exploring, first time out of Mama’s reach. How will Baby Kangaroo do?
9781602198036 Good Night Australia by Adam Gamble and Mark Jasper, illustrated by Kevin Keele
Australia is a big country and continent with many places to explore. There’s so much to see, from the wild outback to the cultural attractions. Lull your child to sleep while learning about this beautiful place in this adorable board book.
yes no Early Readers & Chapter Books 9781536202267 Under the Southern Cross by Frané Lessac
Wind down at bedtime with this wonderful nighttime-focused picture book set in Australia. The lively illustrations enable you to discover the country’s nocturnal animals. They flit through a sky filled with dancing stars with a brightly lit city in the background.
9780763674793 Emu by Claire Saxby, illustrated by Graham Byrne
An emu is a fascinating bird, but one characteristic that sticks out from the rest is the daddy’s protective nature toward their unhatched eggs. Watch a daddy emu guard his gray-green eggs until they hatch and then protect his baby emus throughout their childhoods.
9780763648480 Mirror by Jeannie Baker
In this beautifully illustrated book, you will find two families who appear to have different ways of life. One family in Sydney, Australia and another in a Northern African village go through their daily activities. As readers watch and compare the two families’ routines, their similarities become apparent, and differences fade.
9781536209426 Birrarung Wilam: A Story from Aboriginal Australia by Aunty Joy Murphy and Andrew Kelly, illustrated by Lisa Kennedy
Get in touch with Australia’s nature through this book. It focuses on Melbourne’s Yarra River and its indigenous people. Learn about the peoples’ history and the river’s geographical story with vibrant pictures and poetic writing.
yes no Middle Grade 9780399554056 The Race to Kangaroo Cliff by Alexander McCall Smith
The crew from the School Ship Tobermory series and their adventures conclude with this third installment. Ben, Fee, and their friends head to Australia on the Tobermory to participate in a ship race. However, with people to rescue and a lost dog to find, they might never make it to their destination. Hop aboard!
9780763674779 Welcome to New Zealand: A Nature Journal by Sandra Morris
Inspired by her own home of New Zealand, author and illustrator Sandra Morris encourages kids to explore the wonders in their own backyard! This nature journal helps budding lovers of the great outdoors to discover and record what they find amongst their own local flora and fauna.
9780763667610 Sand Swimmers by Narelle Oliver
The Dead Heart desert lies smack dab in the middle of Australia. A desolate and lonely place, few people will travel to Dead Heart, yet it contains many wonderful survival stories. Follow the adventures of the earliest explorers and indigenous people with this spellbinding nonfiction book for kids.
9780448486994 Where Is the Great Barrier Reef? by Nico Medina and Who HQ, illustrated by John Hinderliter
Do you have an ocean lover in your house? In this installment of Where Is?, kids can discover the largest coral reef in the world. Located off the Australian coast, the Great Barrier Reef is incredible, electrifying, and has much to offer curious young readers.
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