Australian children’s books of the year revealed

The Swap

A story that helps children get used to the idea of having a sibling has been named one of Australia’s books of the year.

The Children’s Book Council of Australia announced its Book of the Year awards on Friday. Winner of the early childhood category – for babies, toddlers and pre-schoolers – was The Swap, which we featured back in December. Written by Jan Ormerod and illustrated by Andrew Joyner, it follows big sister crocodile Caroline as she tries to take her new brother back to the baby shop to swap him for something else. It’s a lovely book for children struggling with a new addition to the family.


“Honour books” in the category were Janeen Brian and Ann James’ I’m a Dirty Dinosaur a simple, rhyming story about a little dinosaur who loves mud – and Libby Gleeson and Freya Blackwood’s Banjo and Ruby Red – about hard-working farm dog Banjo and “haughty” chicken Ruby Red learning to get along.

Oscar winner Shaun Tan picked up the best picture book of the year award for The Rules of Summer (he’s now a three-time winner in the category), about the surreal adventures of two boys as they learn essential life lessons. It’s recommended for children aged five and above.

Silver Buttons

“Honour books” in the category were Nick Bland’s King Pig, about a pig who learns a royal lesson, and Silver Buttons (above), which captures several moments happening simultaneously at 9.59am on a Thursday. We described it as like a Sliding Doors for children when we took at look at this beautifully illustrated book  – suitable for kids aged three to five – in January.

The full list of winners is on the Children’s Book Council of Australia website. Have you read any of the winning or shortlisted books? Tell us below.

Michelle Rose

Michelle Rose

Michelle is a journalist and mum to two girls who are obsessed with dinosaurs, fairies, pirates and princesses in equal measure. She lives in Melbourne's east with her husband, daughters and a giant, untameable labradoodle. Michelle loves all things vegetarian, wine (it's a fruit) and online shopping.

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