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Get your kids hooked on books with these great local reads

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Books are a wonderful way for kids to pass the time—especially when we’re in lockdown. Peter Arnaudo from The Book Cow in Kingston shares some of his favourite books from Canberra authors and illustrators.

Reading a book with the kids before bed is a ritual in many households, and for very good reason. It’s been proven to promote brain development and imagination in children and help them develop language and emotions. It may even help strengthen your relationship.

So at what age should you start reading to the kids?

Peter Arnaudo, founder of Canberra’s newest independent bookstore The Book Cow in Kingston, says there’s no such thing as too young, and that when they’re very young, it doesn’t really matter what you’re reading them—or even which language you’re reading in.

Reading is for all ages

“The benefit of reading to really young kids, like less than six months old, is you can actually read whatever you want,” says Peter.

“It’s all about reading out loud, because it’s the sound of your voice and the vibrations that you give as you read. And of course, you’re holding them pretty close as well, too. So it’s an opportunity for quiet bonding time.”

As kids get a little older, reading morphs into something more, with beautiful illustrations and bright colours to look at, different things to spot on pages, and flaps to lift and pages to turn.

“That’s also where you start getting your speech development going, and some books have got rhythm and rhyme and sound words, which help kids learn how to speak,” says Peter.

There’s no right way to read

At the end of the day, there are no strict rules when it comes to reading to your kids.

“Sometimes parents, especially if it’s your firstborn, feel a bit overwhelmed by everything. There’s so much information out there, so things like reading books can often get pushed down the line in terms of priorities, or there’s a hesitancy that you might not get it right,” says Peter.

“Even if your child quickly flicks through the pages, won’t let you turn the pages, or only gets through two pages before moving onto something else, you’re still enjoying the book together and they’re getting some benefit out of it.”

Peter, who opened The Book Cow in December 2020, is passionate about helping to get kids hooked on books.

While the store stocks a wide range of books, The Book Cow has a particular focus on Canberra authors, including in-store events and author talks (when we’re not in lockdown), as well as a large, dedicated selection of great kids books.

The Book Cow on Jardine Street in Kingston.

Great local talent

“We are very lucky in Canberra and the surrounding region to have a great range of local kids’ authors and illustrators who bring to life great stories for kids – right here in Canberra” he said.

Looking for a new read for the kids? Here are some of Peter’s suggestions for Canberra authors and illustrators to add to the bookshelf:

  • Who Fed Zed? by Amelia McInerney
  • The Adamson Adventure series by Sandra Bennett
  • Blast Off! by Shelly Unwin
  • My Possum Plays The Drums by Catherine Meatheringham
  • Max Meets A Monster by Tracey Hawkins
  • RapperBee by Harry Laing
  • Our Bush Capital by Samantha Tidy
  • The Trouble in Tune Town by Maura Pierlot
  • Australia’s Wild, Weird, Wonderful Weather by Stephanie Owen Reeder
  • AlphaKid an A-Z of Antics by Tania McCartney
  • Jelly-Boy by Nicole Godwin
  • Hold On! Saving the Spotted Handfish by Gina Newton
  • Sophie Makes New Friends by Kerry Malone
  • Aussie Kids: Meet Matilda at the Festival by Jacqueline de Rose-Ahern
  • Where The Heart Is by Irma Gold and illustrated by Susannah Crispe


What: The Book Cow Bookshop
Where: 47 Jardine Street, Kingston
When: Open seven days for click and collect.
Website: Visit or call 02 5100 2730

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