Kids books are a popular choice for Christmas presents. This year, why not buy a book from a local author or illustrator. The Newcastle and Hunter region is full of talented individuals who have written or illustrated a wonderful selection of children’s books.

Liz Anelli

A prolific illustrator, Liz has provided drawings for some beautiful books.

Grace & Katie

Grace and Katie

Grace and Katie are twins who love to draw. Grace loves everything to be organised and neat, while Katie loves everything to be bright, bold and messy. Suitable for kids 4+.

Howzat!

Howzat!

Whack! There’s a sound in the blue summer sky. The sun’s coming out, as the ball soars high. Kids all over the world play cricket. Follow their game all around the globe. Suitable for kids 5+.

Desert Lake

The dry salt bed of Kati Thanda-Lake Eyre shimmers in the desert heat. But far up north, the rains have come. Water is flooding into empty riverbeds and swirling down towards the lake. Soon everything will change. Suitable for kids 5+.

Ten Pound Pom

In the 1950s and 60s Australia welcomed thousands of British immigrants as part of the Assisted Passage Migration Scheme. Ten Pound Pom is the true story of award-winning author Carole Wilkinson’s immigration to Australia. Suitable for kids 8+.

For more information, visit Liz Anelli’s website.

Jess Black

Jess is the author of notable series including Keeper of the Crystals, Little Paws, RSPCA Animal Tales and Bindi’s Wildlife Adventures. Her latest book is Bold Australian Girl.

Bold Australian Girl

This delightful picture book encourages girls to do anything. Focusing on a nurturing relationship between a young Indigenous girl and her mum, this book celebrates everything from football to friendship, reading to surfing. Suitable for kids 4+.

Keeper of the Crystals

Keeper of the Crystals is an adventure fantasy series full of secrets and mystery. Eve and Oscar, two unlikely friends, accidentally tap into the power of crystals. This chapter book series is suitable for kids 7+.

Keeper of the Crystals

Little Paws Series

Little Paws: Book 1

A fun, heartwarming series about the puppies that train to become Guide Dogs and the families who help raise them. Little Paws is published in association with Guide Dogs Australia. This chapter book series is suitable for kids 7+.

Bindi’s Wildlife Adventures

Bindi Wildlife Adventures 19

Come and join Bindi Irwin on her wildlife adventures! The books are fast paced adventures that travel to destinations such as Africa, Thailand, Madagascar and of course around Australia! Suitable for kids 7+.

Animal Tales

Animal Tales 4: An Unexpected Arrival Cassie and Ben accompany Dr Joe on an RSPCA farm assessment visit, to make sure the animals on the farm are being looked after properly. But a surprise awaits them when they have to help with an unexpected arrival!

An adventure series based around helping animals big and small, fully endorsed by the RSPCA.

For more information, visit Jess Black’s website.

Cherelle Fleming

Cherelle is the author of Buy Me a Monkey.

Buy Me a Monkey

Ellie Eckles is determined to have a monkey for her 6th birthday! But will it be as she imagined, or a disaster?

For more information, visit Cherelle Fleming’s website.

Karen Hughes

Kalika Magic Series

Looking for a mystical adventure series that both you and your children can enjoy? Check out the Kalika Magic books. This series written by Karen Hughes is a wonderful addition to children’s fantasy fiction. The Kalika Magic books are atmospheric and filled with spells, magic and ancient lore. This chapter book series is best suited to readers aged 8+.

For more information, visit the Kalika Magic website.

Deborah Kelly

Deborah has written a selection of picture books including The Bouncing Ball, Jam for Nana, The Chalk Rainbow and Dinosaur Disco. Her recent picture book Me and You was the winner of Speech Pathology Australia Book of the Year. She also writes the popular Ruby Wishfingers chapter book series.

 Jam for Nana

Jam for Nana

Jam for Nana is a very special picture book about the bond between little girls and their grandmothers.

The Bouncing Ball

The Bouncing Ball

Try to keep up with the bouncing ball as it travels down the street, between two cars, into a gutter, down a storm drain This picture book will delight young readers as they follow the adventures of the bouncing ball through colourful fields and cities, past animals, cars, boys and girls.

Dinosaur Disco

Dinosaur Disco

Stomp your feet at the Dinosaur Disco! Everyone is dancing at the disco. But then …The music stops. The ground shakes. Is the intruder looking for a dance …or his dinner? Twist your hips, not your tongue!

The Chalk Rainbow

The Chalk Rainbow

The Chalk Rainbow explores difference and diversity through a family living with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD). It’s also a story of unconditional love, of trust and of learning to look at the world through the eyes of others. Illustrated by local illustrator Gwynneth Jones.

Me and You

Me and You

A delightful rhyming picture book that celebrates all the special relationships and fun-filled activities in a child’s life. Their special bonds with parents, grandparents, cousins, neighbours and pets, as well as all the wonderful fun-filled days they enjoy together: from beach and baking days, to cycling and footy-kicking or simply lazy days. Suitable for kids 0 – 5.  Me and You recently won Speect Pathology Australia’s Book of the Year for kids 3 – 5.

Ruby Wishfingers Series

Ruby Wishfingers is an ordinary girl … except for her extraordinary name. One day she wakes with a strange feeling in the tips of her fingers and discovers she has inherited a marvellous gift: the power to wish for whatever she wants. Chapter book series suitable for kids 6+.

For more information, visit Deborah Kelly’s website.

Lynn Jenkins & Kirrili Lonergan

Lynn and Kirrili have written and illustrated a fantastic series of picture books to help kids. Their books focus on kids anxiety, finding courage and developing mindfulness.

Lessons of a Lac

Lessons of a Lac

Loppy the Lac has learned its whole life to look out for danger. Looking out for what can go wrong is all it knows – until Loppy meets Curly Calmster. Curly teaches Loppy that it doesn’t have to look out for the everyday worst-case scenarios all the time.

Brave

Brave

Have you ever needed to do something that made you nervous; even thinking about doing? Kids do all the time. Going to bed, weathering through storms, going to school, speaking in class, making a new friend and so on.Children are expected to just get on with it! What they need is to find their BRAVE! Something that is inside of them but they just can’t find. The much-loved characters of Loppy and Curly teach kids how to find their BRAVE.

Ollie’s Treasure

Ollie's Treasure

Ollie’s Treasure is tale of mindfulness for young, developing minds. Ollie’s grandma sends him a treasure map that promises to lead him to ‘something that will make him happy always’.

For more information, visit the Lessons of a Lac website.

Anouska Jones

Anouska is the author of Patch and Ruby.

Patch and Ruby

Patch and Ruby

Patch and Ruby is a wonderful, often very funny tale about friendship and finding out where you belong.

For more information, visit Anouska Jones’ website.

Gwynneth Jones

Gwynneth’s colourful illustrations fill the pages of many great picture books including Dance With Me, Don’t Think About Purple Elephants, Patch and Ruby, The Chalk Rainbow and The Great Sock Secret.

Dance With Me

Dance with Me

Dance with Me is a gorgeous picture book about treasured possessions and the memories they hold.

Don’t Think About Purple Elephants

Don't Think About Purple Elephants

Sometimes Sophie worries – not during the day when she is busy with family and friends, but at night when everything is calm and quiet. Her family all try to help, but somehow they just make her worries worse. Until her mother thinks of a new approach … that might just involve an elephant or two! Don’t Think About Purple Elephants is an excellent resource for social and emotional learning for parents and teachers.

The Great Sock Secret

The Great Sock Secret

Sarah’s mother is tired of finding odd socks in the laundry basket. Where do all the missing socks go? Sarah’s mother is pretty sure the puppy is responsible but Sarah knows better. And her mother simply mustn’t find out the truth! The Great Sock Secret is a wonderfully fun adventure into an imaginative world that’s home to some very cool fairies.

For more information, visit Gwynneth Jones’ website.

Katrina McKelvey

Katrina is the author of the beautiful book Dandelions.

Dandelions

Dandelions

This heart-warming picture book illustrated by Kirrili Lonergan explores the bond between a father and his daughter. One day, a little girl notices her father mowing the lawn — in the process destroying her favourite flowers: the dandelions. She rushes out to stop him, but she’s too late, they’re all gone. There’s nothing for it: she’s just going to have to sit outside and wait until they grow back! But fortunately, Dad has another idea. Suitable for kids aged 4 – 8.

For more information, visit Katrina McKelvey’s website.

Susanne Merritt

Susanne is the author of Don’t Think About Purple Elephants, Grace and Katie and The Great Sock Secret.

Don’t Think About Purple Elephants

Don't Think About Purple Elephants

Sometimes Sophie worries – not during the day when she is busy with family and friends, but at night when everything is calm and quiet. Her family all try to help, but somehow they just make her worries worse. Until her mother thinks of a new approach … that might just involve an elephant or two! Don’t Think About Purple Elephants is an excellent resource for social and emotional learning for parents and teachers.

Grace and Katie

Grace and Katie

Grace and Katie are twins who love to draw. Grace loves everything to be organised and neat, while Katie loves everything to be bright, bold and messy. An imaginative exploration of individuality, sisterhood, creativity and appreciating each other’s strengths.

 The Great Sock Secret

The Great Sock Secret

Sarah’s mother is tired of finding odd socks in the laundry basket. Where do all the missing socks go? Sarah’s mother is pretty sure the puppy is responsible but Sarah knows better. And her mother simply mustn’t find out the truth! The Great Sock Secret is a wonderfully fun adventure into an imaginative world that’s home to some very cool fairies.

Renee Price

Renee has created the unforgettable and curious character of Digby.

Digby’s Moon Mission

Digby's Moon Mission

One night, Digby Fixit wakes to find his room in too much darkness! Discovering the moon in a frightful state, he plans a clever mission to bring back the light of night. Digby’s Moon Mission is a tale of curiosity, commitment and celebration. The engaging story portrays the importance of friendship, working together and embracing imagination.

Digby and the Yodelayhee… Who?

Digby and the Yodelayhee... Who?

Digby Fixit is perplexed. What or who is making that super-duper sound? Join Digby and his very bestest friends, as they help solve the mystery of the noisy noise, with some toe-tapping fun along the way. Digby and the Yodelayhee… Who? celebrates imagination, friendship, curiosity, and the joy of music and performance. It is complemented with an original song, titled Digby’s Jam; available for free download via a featured QR code.

For more information, visit Renee Price’s website.

Maxine Rennard

The Snail Ate the Mail

The Snail Ate the Mail 2

Snail Ate The Mail 2

Not only are The Snail Ate the Mail books written by a local author Maxine Rennard, it’s also set locally, in Swansea. This unique book is a combination of a children’s mystery and travel adventure book targeting kids aged 4 to 7.

For more information, visit the Snail Ate the Mail website.

Leila Rudge

An author and illustrator, Leila brings to life unique characters.

Gary

This is the story of Gary, a grounded racing pigeon, and his big adventure. It is a story of perseverance and being comfortable in your own skin, perfect for anyone who has ever felt like the odd one out.

Ted is a smart dog, with his own jumper. But he has lived at the pet store for as long as he can remember and nobody seems to notice him. Will Ted ever find the perfect place to live?

For more information, visit Leila Rudge’s website.

Paul Russell

Grandma Forgets

Grandma Forgets

Paul is the author of Grandma Forgets. It’s a heartwarming story of a family bound by love as they cope with their grandma’s dementia. This is a warm, hopeful story about a family who sometimes needs to remind their grandmother a little more often than they used to about how much they care.

Lillian Webb

Alfie Happy to be Himself

Lillian is the author and illustrator of Alfie Happy to be Himself“, a book with a strong message about self-esteem and the environment for kids aged 4 to 8.

For more information, visit Lillian Webb’s website.

Ant Wood

Ant Wood has created fantastic books that are perfect for preschoolers and young readers. They’ll especially love making the squawking cockatoo noises.

Flaming Charli

The story revolves around Charli, an energetic, Sulphur-crested cockatoo who likes to perform a special trick – the curly wurly Raaaaarrrrrrkkkkk! One morning, while performing her stunt, she sees a bushfire and warns the other forest animals – Charli saves the day! Suitable for kids 3 – 7

Dancing Charli

In the follow up to Flaming Charli, this story revolves around Charli who meets Gordon the Pink-and-grey galah. Charli notices their colours are different and Gordon takes her on a journey around Australia to meet new friends and celebrate diversity through different dances. Dancing Charli is a celebration of the things that bring us together. Suitable for kids 3 – 7

For more information, visit Ant Wood’s website.

Hopefully this list of books will inspire you to choose a kids book from one of the many talented authors and illustrators that call the Newcastle and Hunter region home.