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Book Week 2020: Need inspiration? Try these books

By William Roberts & Natasha Zivanovic 4 min read
Thursday, October 08, 2020

Ten books that complement the "Curious Creatures, Wild Minds" theme and might spark some inspiration in your own child.

The CBCA Book Week is an Australian tradition that you've probably been involved in when you were in school. And now it's your turn to help your child with costumes for the annual Book Parade.

The theme for this year's Book Week (October 17–23; delayed due to COVID-19) is "Curious Creatures, Wild Minds" and if you're struggling for ideas on what to do, we have some books to help you (and your child). When it comes to inspiring your child to read, a strong sense of curiosity is exactly what they need.

Books to complement this year's Book Week theme

Here are some ideas for texts that complement the "Curious Creatures, Wild Minds" theme, and might spark some inspiration in your own child:

1. A Hollow is a Home

A Hollow is a Home by Abbie Mitchell

Abbie Mitchell

CSIRO Publishing

Suitable for ages 5 and above

Take a peek into the world of tree hollows and the Australian animals that call them home. Find out how hollows are created, why they are threatened, and meet scientists who spend their time hollow-hunting. There are also plenty of tips on how you can spot hollows yourself, help to protect the environment and encourage habitats for hollow-dependent animals.

2. Searching for Cicadas

Searching for Cicadas by Lesley Gibbes

Lesley Gibbes

Walker Books

Suitable for ages 5 and above

In the summertime, Grandpa and I go cicada-watching. We put our camping gear into my wagon and walk down to the local reserve. Last year we saw five Green Grocers, three Yellow Mondays and one Floury Baker. Can we find the rare Black Prince this year?

3. What’s Out There?

What’s Out There by Nicole Stewart

Nicole Stewart

Hardie Grant Travel

Suitable for ages 6-10

We all know about kangaroos, koalas and gum trees, but have you ever heard of the pademelon, handfish or idiot fruit tree? Would you recognise a wombat poo or the cry of a yellow wattlebird, or know how to say kangaroo in Guugu Yimithirr?

In What’s Out There, you can dig, dive and delve your way through Australia, learning about some of the most amazing plants, rocks, creatures and cultures that make up this extraordinary country.

4. Yahoo Creek

Yahoo Creek by Tohby Riddle book cover

Tohby Riddle

Allen & Unwin

Suitable for ages 7–11

Luminous images accompanied by newspaper extracts dating back to the early 1800s and words by Ngiyampaa Elder Peter Williams explore the ongoing mystery of yahoo encounters.

Throughout the first century or so of Australian settlement by Europeans, the pages of colonial newspapers were haunted by reports of a bewildering phenomenon: the mysterious yahoo or hairy man . . . But what was it? Yahoo Creek breathes life into this little-known piece of Australian history—which, by many accounts, is history still in the making.

5. The Illustrated Encyclopaedia of Ugly Animals

The Illustrated Encyclopaedia of Ugly Animals by Sami Bayly

Sami Bayly

Lothian Children's Books

Suitable for ages 7 and above

Marvel as you enter the fascinating hidden world of ugly animals in this illustrated encyclopaedia of the animal kingdom's most unusual and beauty-challenged species. It's time for ugly animals to shine! Children and adults alike will pore over the breathtaking scientific illustrations of unusual animals, debating their relative ugliness and merits, learning about science and nature along the way.

6. The Thing About Oliver

The Thing About Oliver by Deborah Kelly

Deborah Kelly

Wombat Books

Suitable for ages 8 and above

Twelve-year-old Tilly dreams of becoming a marine scientist, but she doesn’t even own a swimsuit. She lives in a drought- stricken town with her mum and younger brother Oliver, who is autistic. When Mum announces they are moving to the Queensland coast, Tilly is excited at the thought of finally learning to swim—even snorkel! But she is also worried. The thing about Oliver is, he can’t cope with even the tiniest of changes to his routine. 

7. Australia's Amazing Dinosaurs

Australia's Amazing Dinosaurs

Australian Geographic

Suitable for ages 8 and above

A guide to the dinosaurs Down Under, which ranged from ferocious carnivores to herbivorous behemoths. Meet Australia’s most famous dinosaur species, and learn about the science behind paleontology—from how we define dinosaurs to how we’ve started learning what colour they might have been!

8. The Glimme

The Glimme by Jennifer Rowe

Emily Rodda

Omnibus Books

Suitable for age 8–12

Finn’s life in the village of Wichant is hard. Only his drawings of the wild coastline, with its dragon-shaped clouds and headlands that look like giants, make him happy. Then the strange housekeeper from a mysterious clifftop mansion sees his talent and buys him for a handful of gold and then reveals to him seven extraordinary paintings. Finn thinks the paintings must be pure fantasy—such amazing scenes and creatures can’t be real! He’s wrong.

9. Catch a Falling Star

Catch a Falling Star by Meg McKinlay

Meg McKinlay

Walker Books

Suitable for ages 9 and above

This coming-of-age story by multiple-award-winner Meg McKinlay is about loss and grief, dealing with change and fighting to hold on to what you can, while letting go of what you can’t.

10. Young Dark Emu

Young Dark Emu by Bruce Pascoe

Bruce Pascoe

Magabala Books

Suitable for ages 10 and above

Bruce Pascoe has collected a swathe of literary awards for Dark Emu and now he has brought together the research and compelling first person accounts in a book for younger readers that asks them to consider a different version of Australia's history pre-European colonisation.

William Roberts is the head of library at Waverley College and Natasha Zivanovic is Waverley College's primary literacy and innovation teacher.