Most of us here in the office developed a strong love of reading at a young age.
We’ve all been delighted by richly illustrated picture books that helped our imaginations grow, and quite a few of us spent many nights staying up well beyond our bedtime with a torch and a book we simply could not put down.
Every year we publish the Dymocks Top 51 Kids’ Books
– the best 51 books to help get kids reading, as voted by Dymocks Booklovers. Voting for the 2016 list has opened
and you have until midnight on Sunday 31 July to have your say and vote for ten of your favourite kids’ books.
To give you some inspiration, we asked some of our well-read team to share their favourite kids’ book (we were very mean and asked them to only pick one!). Take a look below to see which books they chose.
Did your favourite make their list?
by Graeme Base (picked by Paige)
I remember when I first read Animalia
as a child... Its glossy pages with stunning, intricate illustrations was a brand new experience for me. No matter how many times I had that book in my hands, I could look at the pages over and over again, always finding some new, amazing detail. I would say this book was one of the very first things that helped me discover my creative side, and since then my life has been full of art and design and I still surround myself in it to this day. The 30th anniversary edition of this book comes out in 2016 and I cannot wait to look at those glossy pages once again.
Goodnight Mister Tom
by Michelle Magorian (picked by Kate)
At the start of World War II, Willie Beech is one of the many children evacuated from London to the countryside where he finds himself billeted with Tom Oakley. A relationship begins to form between the two of them and Will begins to flourish. But then a summons back to London arrives… This is my absolute favourite book that I read as a child, and although there are certain parts where I always find myself tearing up whenever I re-read it, the overall sense of hope and the development of Willie to Will always makes me feel better. Reading the book and following the development of the relationship between ‘Mister Tom’ and Willie/Will never fails to satisfy.
Danny the Champion of the World
by Roald Dahl (picked by Rhys)
Any book that involves drugged pheasants falling gently out of trees was always going to be a winner in my childhood eyes. Danny is a nine year old boy whose mother died when he was very young, and he is now living with his father in a caravan in rural England. For Danny, his father is the world, and it is the relationship between Danny and his father William that is the key to this book, as Dahl steers away from his fantastical tales and brilliantly focusses on this family dynamic. Add to this underlying family storyline some horrible hunters, hundreds of drugged pheasants, and an overall anti-establishment theme, and this tale of gentle revenge is one that every child should read at least once. Or, if they are like me, over and over again for the rest of their lives – in my opinion this is the very best of Dahl’s work.
Where the Forest Meets the Sea
by Jeannie Baker (picked by Mark)
Where the Forest Meets the Sea
was the one book I always sought out whenever I went to the school library. Jeannie Baker's use of collage is so detailed that I was always getting in the pages. With its little hidden characters that are subtly placed throughout the pages, there always seemed to be something new to find every time I read it. As a Creative Artworker, I can’t help but feel that WWhere the Forest Meets the Sea
is one of the early influences on my passion for creativity and design. I bought this book for my own children and apart from enjoying reliving the discoveries with them, I love that the copy of the book we own now is exactly the same format as the one that meant so much to me as a child.
Oh, the Places You’ll Go
by Dr Seuss (picked by Paul)
Oh, the Places You’ll Go
isn’t just my favourite kid’s book; it’s pretty much my favourite book of any type. While it’s a great tale for kids, with Dr Seuss’s famous rhyming style and rhythm it also has a deeper layer of meaning that makes it a perfect book for adults of any age. I can’t say with certainty that everyone would have their life changed by it, although it could proudly sit along any self-help best seller list, but if you know the story well then I guess I can say that success is 98 and 3/4 percent guaranteed.
Penny Pollard's Diary
by Robin Klein (picked by Claire)
One of my favourite children's books is Penny Pollard's Diary
by the Australian treasure Robin Klein, and illustrated by Ann James. Penny Pollard is a fierce and passionate young girl whose determination to own a horse, never wear a dress, and defeat her nemesis Jason Taylor was irreverent and often touching. The book uses letters, diary entries, newspaper articles and more, with pictures (lots of horses!) and cartoons, to tell the story. As a child I loved reading about her endeavours like trying to get the local stables to employ her, pitching (constantly rejected) articles for the local newspaper, and hammering several horseshoes into her ceiling to make it look like a horse had walked across it (she took a good chunk of paint and plaster out of the ceiling and her father was not thrilled). Penny wasn’t waiting for anyone’s permission to take on her many and varied projects, and she never let setbacks discourage her. I'm so pleased this book is back in print and I'd recommend it for the 8 - 13 years age range.
by Margaret Wise Brown (picked by Tonile)
My mum read to me from a very young age, but the first book I remember truly connecting with was Goodnight Moon
. Together we read this book hundreds of times and each night I never failed to be enraptured by the quest to locate the mouse in each picture of the book. It’s as if each night my memory of where the mouse was located faded, and I saw each picture anew (much to my mother’s eventual frustration, I’m sure). My much-loved and well-worn copy still sits in my bookshelf, held together by layers of tape and a healthy smattering of love. As friends and family members have children of their own, I give them all a copy of Goodnight Moon
in the hope that it may touch then even half as much as it touched me.
The Hunger Games
by Suzanne Collins (picked by Genevra)
It was late at night. I was tucked under my covers and probably wearing a face mask of some sort. In a time when my main concern should have been monitoring my chocolate intake, suddenly the only thing I could think about was whether Katniss Everdeen was going to survive the Hunger Games. I dreamed about the Hunger Games, I breathed the Hunger Games, and I even wished I was in the Hunger Games at one point for some reason. Katniss Everdeen’s fear and will to live felt so real to me. After I finished reading it, I sat in silence staring blankly at my lecturer and just thought. I even looked up ‘post-Panem depression’, the sadness associated with finally finishing The Hunger Games
, a condition which I was convinced I had. After soldiering on, my second thought was ‘I’ll never read a book that I’ll enjoy as much as this one.’ And my last thought was, ‘Well, I’ll write one.’ That is how I started writing my first novel, set in a dystopia similar to The Hunger Games
, but with magical folk instead. I’m still writing it and I remain eternally grateful to The Hunger Games
. Although it isn’t considered to be the most inspiring young adult trilogy to have hit our shelves, it still holds the title of favourite children’s book for me for one very important reason: it inspired me to write. It also inspired me to consider taking up archery, which I definitely considered for a good twenty minutes. May the odds be ever in your favour!