HALE W18 Masthead

Author Tania McCartney’s Favourite Kids’ Books

Molly McLaughlin

For anyone with little people in their life, whether they are your own, your extended family or just your best friend’s boss’ cool kid, even after Christmas there’s always a struggle as to what to buy kids as presents.

Want, need eat, read is the usual rhyme to work out what to buy, but what do kids read? With long summer holidays stretching ahead and January sales slashing prices, now is the time to stock up on books for your kids and for future gifts.

I spoke to children’s author, founder of Kids’ Book Review and self-confessed book-obsessive Tania McCartney to find out about the latest kids’ books that we should all be reading aloud these holidays.

What’s Hidden in The Woods by Aina Bestard

Ages 2+

Thames & Hudson, $27.99 RRP


Using detailed patterns, Aina Bestard has created an interactive and intriguing picture book. Objects pop out of the page when seen through the coloured magnifying glasses provided as the text leads the reader on an adventure with an ecological message.

Adults will be equally fascinated by what is discovered hiding in plain sight.

Paper Zoo: Create Collage Animals by Oliver Sabini

Ages 2- 10

Thames & Hudson, $31.99 RRP


Illustrator Oscar Sabini has created system of templates so kids can collage lots of different colourful papers before sliding their creation into a page pocket, which reveals a cut out animal shape.

There are papers in the back of the book, but young artists are encouraged to find their own and create again and again. An art form where small-scale destruction is actively encouraged? Yes please!

Scarlett, Starlet by Emma Quay

Ages 3-7

ABC Books, $24.99 RRP


Emma Quay’s story about a girl who loves dancing but isn’t so sure about performing alone on stage will connect with kids who are performers in any capacity.

Scarlett is a memorable character, beautifully illustrated as she dances through life. This book’s lessons about confidence and passion make it inspiring and fun at the same time.

Imaginary Fred, written by Eoin Colfer and illustrated by Oliver Jeffers

Ages 4-9

HarperCollins, $27.99 RRP


Imaginary Fred is a professional imaginary friend who has to fade away when his services are no longer required by a child, but one day he meets a new friend named Sam who wants him to stick around.

In this story Eoin Colfer offers a fresh perspective on friendship with creative storytelling and illustration. Imaginary Fred has a higher level of text, which allows a complex narrative to be told, and is suited to slightly older children.

Bella and The Wandering House

Ages 6+

Fremantle Press, $12.99 RRP


When Bella notices her house has begun to wander off at night, no one believes her except for her grandfather, who always has time for her stories.

He encourages Bella to solve the mystery, otherwise who knows where they could end up! Meg McKinlay has created an independent heroine, who is up to the task of finding her house a home.

And of course, I love Tania’s new book, illustrated by Andrew Joyner, Australian Kids Through The Years, which chronicles the little moments of children’s lives from the first children thousands of years ago until the present.

It’s a colourful and innovative story that will have kids wanting to learn more about our history. So before you let the stress turn you into the Grinch and you give up on Christmas altogether, head down to your local bookshop. Happy reading!

Images of book covers via Kid’s Book Review.

Feature image of ‘a little cute girl…‘ via Shutterstock


Molly McLaughlin

Molly McLaughlin was less than thrilled to move to Canberra a couple of years ago to study Arts and Economics at ANU, but she can confirm the city has grown on her since then. Along with writing for HerCanberra, she spends her time reading, eating noodles and planning her next adventure. More about the Author

MEJ Leaderboard