My Favourite Children’s Authors and Picture Books

This is in no way an exhaustive list of all the children’s book series and authors I love. I love children’s book. I love reading aloud. I would love to write children’s books one day (Aside from this one time I wrote, illustrated and published for my children, but it doesn’t REALLY count.) So for now I’m happy to just read them as often and as enthusiastically as I can.

I’m going to focus on picture books, but if you’re looking for chapter books for early readers then there’s this list here.

My Favourite Children’s Authors and Picture Books

Aaron Blabey

I have a confession to make. While I would describe “Aaron Blabey” as “the guy who wrote the Pig the Pug books”, I don’t actually love the Pig The Pug books as much as I love some of his other books. That might just be me? I don’t even know why, but they just don’t click with me.

But one of my favourite books at the moment is “Piranhas Don’t Eat Bananas.” And my favourite part of this book is the detailed description of piranhas, and also bananas, at the front and back of the book. Do not skip these part. Younger children may not quite follow along and think it’s funny, but it is still thoroughly enjoyable to read.

Also “Busting” is quite a fun book. And I think it could almost be used as a bit of teachable moment for children who are toilet training. Or not. Maybe it just a hilarious book about Lou busting for the loo.

Actually it wasn’t until I read Piranhas Don’t Eat Bananas to my older son that he pointed out that the illustration style is the same as the Bad Guys series – of which we own and have read every single book. *Palm face*.

Yep. Aaron Blabey wrote and illustrated those too. So he’s not just “the Pig the Pug guy, he’s also the “Bad Guys guy”. Those books are more for early  independent readers and they’re included in the chapter books for early readers mentioned above.

Nick Bland – Cranky Bear Series

I adore the Cranky Bear series. They are very easy to read, and really enjoy the rhymes and rhythm in these books when reading aloud. They are quite fun to read aloud, especially if you like to read with a bit of theatrics. There’s plenty of opportunity in these books to give the characters their own voice. And the characters are all so sweet (including the “cranky” Bear) . I’d also love to see a spin off series called “The Very Thoughtful Sheep.” Can that be a thing?

My favourite book in this series is “The Very Itchy Bear”. I could never have imagined a book that made me care so much about a little flea. Especially one that has no lines, he doesn’t speak, but is still a very cheeky and sweet character.

Though all the books in this series are thoroughly enjoyable and absolutely adorable.

Mem Fox

I want to mention Mem Fox on this list because she’s still my favourite children’s author of all time, but I also feel like her books require no introduction explanation. I grew up with her books! So there’s something beautifully nostalgic about reading books like Possum Magic, Koala Lou, Good Night Sleep Tight, Time For Bed, Hattie and the Fox, Shoes from Grandpa, Sail Away – The Ballad of Skip and Nell etc etc etc to my children. I had a Mem Fox cassette tape that I remember falling asleep to pretty regularly. So when I read these books to aloud I can’t help but mimic the pace and tone that she used when she used to read to me as I fell asleep.

She’s also written newer books that I’ve experienced for the first time reading them to my own children. Books like Where is the Green Sheep, Ten Little Fingers and Ten Little Toes, A Particular Cow, Where the Giant Sleeps and so on.

Just read them. All of them. That’s all I have to say.

Jackie French – Diary of a Wombat series

I actually bought the first of these books before I had children. When I was studying a Bachelor of Education one of my classmates did an assignment based on Diary of a Wombat, and her emphatically reading this particularly entertaining children’s book made such an impression on me that I bought myself a copy.

My father was a park ranger and I grew up hearing remarkably similar stories from one of his workmates who had hand-reared a baby wombat that ended up basically destroying his house (digging through the door. Messing up the foundations). With love though. Always with love.

So I was absolutely delighted when the first time I read Diary of a Wombat to my son he laughed so hard I had to stop reading several times for him to catch his breath. It’s heartwarming and hilarious. Though we enjoyed all the additional books in the series, the first Diary of a Wombat is definitely out favourite.

Dr Seuss

Another author that requires no real introduction, but still absolutely worth mentioning is Dr Seuss. Some of the greatest Dr Seuss books include The Cat in The Hat (and The Cat in the Hat Comes Back!), Green Eggs and Ham, Horton Hears a Who, The Grinch That Stole Christmas, Fox in Sox, Hop on Pop… honestly I could go all day… there are SO MANY good Dr Seuss Books to add to your family library.

My absolute favourite Dr Seuss book is Oh The Places You’ll Go. I have to admit every time I read it, every time I get to the end of the book, the line “Kid, you’ll move mountains”, makes my throat catch. Every time. It’s just such a beautiful message for children that life isn’t easy,  not everything will work you the way you plan, but you’ll be okay. And you will succeed. (98 and 3/4 percent guaranteed!)

The Book With No Pictures

The Book With No Pictures is incredibly clever and funny. It’s a book that needs to be read aloud to children, because the whole joke of the book is that this book makes growns have to say silly things (and make silly sounds). So be prepared for some pretty dramatic reading out loud. And giggles. Lots of giggles. Watch the video to see what I mean!

Beck and Matt Stanton – Books that drive kids CRAZY!

I have to admit I bought “This is a Ball ” to (gently) mess with my oldest child, who can be very literal and doesn’t always get sarcasm. I thought it would be funny to see how he’d react to a book that the words and the pictures are the complete opposite to each other and see if he got the “joke”. Thankfully he did find the book amusing rather than confusing!

I’d suggest not reading “This is a Ball” or “The Red Book” to a child who is still learning shapes and colours! You don’t want mix them up!

The Gruffalo – Julia Donaldson

Oh I love the Gruffalo and also The Gruffalo’s Child. They’re both beautiful to read and well loved. I absolutely adore the short movie as well. Every time I read the Gruffalo out loud I’m trying to emulate the way it’s read in the movie, because it’s just so beautiful. Also check out the The Gruffalo Website, it’s full of further information, activities, songs and videos to enjoy.

That’s really not all the books I love. I could go on forever. I think I will either have to add to this at a later date, or write an additional list. Let me know what you think! Also comment below with your favourite children’s books! 

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Rachel Stewart

Rachel is the founder of Parenting Central Australia. She is raising two children, boy and girl, with her partner.She has a background in early childhood education, but right now is content to be a stay at home mum.She is passionate about birthing rights, breastfeeding and mental health. She enjoys crafting, drinking coffee (sometimes wine) and spending a little too much time on Facebook.

19 Comments

  1. My absolute favourite from my childhood is a little known book called ‘The Biggest Sandwich Ever’. It has become a hard and fast favourite with my kids too and although our copy is well and truly being held together with sticky tape and a prayer, we love reading it together.

    (And not just you… Pig the Pug does nothing for me either but I love Pirahna’s Don’t Eat Bananas)

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