Picture books are fantastic gifts for kids of all ages. They wrap easily, introduce visual literacy alongside the joy of words, and give endless joy when they hit the spot – just ask any parent who’s been asked to read a favourite picture book over and over again.
But how do you find the right book in the sea of picture books out there? We’ve rounded up a few of our favourites to save you a lot of time and effort.
The Wheelbarrow Express by Sue Whiting (illustrated by Cate James)
Anyone who has ever enjoyed a journey in a wheelbarrow will love this book, as Tommy takes a ride around the farm in the Wheelbarrow Express with Pa providing the push power.'
A Life Song by Jane Godwin (illustrated by Anna Walker)
This sweet, captivating picture book uses the metaphor of a song to carry us through a child’s life journey, adding new verses and extra voices through the year, to create their own unique composition – part of the grand score of the world. This is a lovely gift for a newborn or a first Christmas.
Nothing Alike by Zewlan Moor (illustrated by Peter Cheong)
Based on a true story and a common experience among Asians, this is the story of a boy who can’t tell his Asian classmates apart – or can he?
G.O.A.T by Kate and Jol Temple (illustrated by Rebel Challenger)
Best for kids aged 6+, this clever, slightly off-the-wall story plays with acronyms, supported by bright, goofy illustrations.
Giinagay Gaagal, Hello Ocean by Melissa Greenwood
An ode to happy days spent by the ocean, with eye-catching, evocative illustrations.
The Concrete Garden by Bob Graham
A gentle, post-pandemic story about finding optimism after a dark spell, finding creativity everywhere, and community friendships.
Where the Lyrebird Lives by Vikki Conley (illustrated by Max Hamilton)
Join the hunt as a family go on a rainforest walk searching for the elusive lyrebird. Lush illustrations, sparse, evocative text, and occasional glimpses of the lyrebird for keen young eyes to spot, make this a gentle and engaging narrative.
Some Fish Have Moustaches by Heidi Walkinshaw (illustrated by Michel Streich)
This bright, cheerful journey under the sea introduces the concept of oceans and their fin-tastic inhabitants – including fish with moustaches.
Easy Peasy by Ky Garvey (illustrated by Amy Calautti)
Ruby has just received her first pair of roller skates and she’s convinced she’ll be able to skate straight away, without help. But after a few tumbles, she realises it’s not as easy as she thinks… The perfect book for children learning to do something for the first time.
Nightsong by Sally Soweol Han
A gorgeous story about listening to the world around you, this draws you in from the cover to the last pages.
The Echidna Near My Place by Sue Whiting (illustrated by Cate James)
The award-winning Nature Storybooks series from Walker Books Australia, combining narrative and facts. In this story, as a young child and their nana go for walks together, they follow a short-beaked echidna, observing and discussing what its life might be like.
We Know a Place by Maxine Beneba Clarke
A love song to bookshops, written with Beneba Clarke’s signature lyricism and with bright illustrations that jump off the page.
Dads and Dogs by Mick Elliott
A fun look at lots of different dads with all their different dogs. Lots of alliteration in the text, and a chance to maybe recognise examples from their own lives, makes this one a great bedtime read.
The Bill Dup by Zewlan Moor (illustrated by Simon O’Carrigan)
A charming and linguistically playful story about a boy’s first experience of the heavy buildup to rain after a long period of drought. A delightful insight into life in country Australia.
I Spy Treasure by Vikki Marmaras (illustrated by Binny Talib)
This clever story about upcycling will engage readers 3+ as they follow grouchy pirate Captain Snarkle Tooth on his search for treasure.
When You’re A Boy by Blake Nuto
Stunning illustrations capture the magic of nature in this exploration of what it means to be a boy.
The Month that Makes the Year by Inda Ahmad Zahri
Exploring Ramadan through the eyes of a Muslim child, this joyful story illuminates the sense of belonging that this month of fasting, prayer and reflection brings.
Lily The Inventor: The True Story of the Kangaroo Cup by Claire Thompson (illustrated by Zoe Bennett)
Based on the true story of Lily Born, who was seven years old when she invented the Kangaroo Cup, this engaging book follows the spark and the process of useful design.
Ayla’s Christmas Wish by Pamela Jones (illustrated by Lucia Masciullo)
Ayla wants a snowman for Christmas, but there is no snow in her drought-stricken Australian country town – only bales of hay. Inspired by Tarrington, Victoria, and its hay bale design competition.
Dinosaur Dads to the Rescue by Lesley Gibbes (illustrated by. Marjorie Crosby-Fairall)
This sequel to the popular Dinosaur Dads book by the same duo is bright and fun, with a clever use of language and rhyme.