10 children's books that educators are loving in 2021

To celebrate PETAA's free member webinar series, which includes conversations with authors like Ursula Dubosarsky, Wendy Orr, Claire Saxby and Jess Rackleyft, and Radhiah Chowdhury, about the power and magic of children's books, we asked our members which books for children they're loving and using in their classroom at the moment.  


Here are their responses!

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1— Anzac Ted by Belinda Landsberry

Anzac Ted is the powerful, poignant story of a little boy's teddy bear that was passed down to him from his grandfather. Battered, torn, missing an eye and an ear: he might look scary but he's got a great story to tell. Anzac Ted went to war, keeping soldiers company and giving them comfort. And while he never won a medal, and now doesn't even attract a single vote at classroom Toy Shows, if only everyone looked a little deeper...

- Freya, Edith Cowan University (WA)

2— Cooee Mittigar: A Story on Darug Songlines by Jasmine Seymour and Leanne Mulgo Watson 

Cooee Mittigar, meaning Come Here Friend, is an invitation to yana (walk), on Darug Country. In this stunning picture book, Darug creators Jasmine Seymour and Leanne Mulgo Watson tell a story on Darug Songlines, introducing children and adults-alike to Darug Nura (Country) and language

- Ashley, Berkley Public School (NSW) 

3— Born to Fly by Beverley McWilliams

Harry Butler played a significant role in the development of early aviation in Australia. Even as a young boy Harry was a thinker, always busy inventing, crafting and building. He left school at the age of thirteen to work full time on the  family farm; however, his intrigue with engines, aircraft engines in particular, became an obsession. Harry became a well-loved local and national hero, flying mail runs, passenger flights and aerial displays all over the country.Born to Fly is Harry’s story, told succinctly with warmth and integrity, specifically for young readers. Lending itself to be read aloud, Born to Fly represents a piece of Australian history and a portrayal of country and spirit.

Linda, California Gully Primary School (VIC)

4— The Paper Bag Princess by Robert Munsch and Michael Martchenko

When the fiercest dragon in the whole world smashes Princess Elizabeth’s castle, burns all her clothes, and captures her fiancé, Prince Ronald, Elizabeth takes matters into her own hands. With her wits alone and nothing but a paper bag to wear, the princess challenges the dragon to show his strength in the hopes of saving the prince. But is it worth all that trouble?

Rachel, Victoria University (VIC)

5— Mallee Sky by Jodi Toering and Tannya Harric

The first people of the land call the Mallee “Nowie”. It means sunset country. When the sun goes down the red heat of the day bleeds into the sky and sets it on fire. Drought and rain – life under a Mallee sky. An extremely timely and beautiful picture book about the effects of drought and climate change in the Mallee.This poetic text by emerging author Jodi Toering is beautifully accompanied by lush oil paintings by fine artist and illustrator Tannya Harricks.

Karen, Bradbury Public School (NSW)

6— This is not my Hat by Jon Klassen

When a tiny fish shoots into view wearing a round blue top hat (which happens to fit him perfectly), trouble could be following close behind. So it's a good thing that enormous fish won't wake up. And even if he does, it's not as though he'll ever know what happened, will he. Visual humour swims to the fore as the bestselling Jon Klassen follows his break-out debut with another deadpan-funny tale.

- Gloria, Catholic Educaton Services (QLD)

7— The Duck and the Darklings by Glenda Millard and Stephen Michael King (Read PETAA's unit of work)

Grandpapa's eyes shine when he remembers the beauty of the world, long-ago. Peterboy wants to find something wonderful to bring the light to Grandpapa's eyes and keep it there. What he finds is a duck, wounded and broken, and Grandpapa mends her from top to tail; quack, waddle and wing! The Duck and the Darklings is a triumphant story, for children and adults, about the coming of hope in dark days, the warmth of friendship and the splendour of a new dawn.

- Karen, Bradbury Public School (NSW)

8— I Can Catch a Monster by Bethan Woolvin

Meet Bo the Brave. She's smart, she's strong and she is definitely in charge. Bo's brothers say she is too little to catch a monster. But Bo has other ideas, so she sets off on a quest to catch a beast of her own. Can she defeat the furious griffin, conquer the hideous kraken and triumph over the monstrous dragon? Or if not, can she make friends with them? I Can Catch a Monster is a sassy and vibrant picture book with a message about not judging by appearance and standing up for yourself and your friends.

-  Sophie, Catholic Education Offices (QLD)

9— Iceberg by Claire Saxby and Jess Racklyeft (Read PETAA's unit of work)

An iceberg is born into spring and travels through the seasons before dying in a new spring. A stunning, lyrical story for our times, from renowned picture book creators Claire Saxby and Jess RacklyeftIn the final freeze of an Antarctic winter, green tails wave across a star-full sky, as if to farewell endless nights. If this world looks empty, look closer. Penguins trek across the ice to their winter homes. As the temperature warms, birds fly above on their long migrations. And with the advent of summer, beneath an iceberg, the sea is teeming with life. Ocean, sky, snow and ice - minute greens and giant blues - dance a delicate dance in this evocative portrayal of the life cycle of an iceberg.

- Carmel, Bentleigh West Primary School (VIC)

10— There are Fish Everywhere by Britta Teckentrup and Katie Haworth

There are fish everywhere! Some of them live in fresh water, some of them live under ice, and some even live in the desert. There are Fish Everywhere is the first in a series of non-fiction books from Britta Teckentrup. Young readers will learn where in the world all sorts of animals can be found and all the weird and wonderful things that they never imagined were true.

- Scott, University of Otago (NZ)


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