Christmas is just around the corner! If you’re wondering what gifts to get your kids, or your extended family or friends’ kids, we highly recommend picture books. You can’t go wrong with picture books as they are a great way for children to unlock their imaginations, and learn literacy and numeracy skills. Not to mention, they provide a lovely way to bond and spend quality time together. Christmas themed picture books also help to teach children the values of kindness, generosity and sharing.
So, in the spirit of Christmas, we have created a list to help get you started on finding some lovely Aussie Christmas books for your children:
Tea and Sugar Christmas. Courtesy of Koori Curriculum, 2021.
Tea and Sugar Christmas
This delightful story from the National Library of Australia will take children on a journey to the past in the outback with Kathleen as she eagerly awaits the Christmas Tea and Sugar train. For 81 years, from 1917 to 1996, the Tea and Sugar train travelled from Port Augusta to Kalgoorlie once a week. This 1050-long rail link provided remote settlements along the Nullarbor Plain with everyday necessities as there were no shops or services in sight. The train carriages provided everything from livestock, to groceries, to medical aid, to banking facilities. There was even a theatrette carriage that allowed the townspeople to watch the latest films inside the carriage. To all the children in the settlements, the biggest excitement was the first Thursday of December every year, when Santa travelled the line, distributing gifts to all the children (Koori Curriculum, 2021).
This wonderfully illustrated children's book includes a double fold-out image, showing the different services the train carriages provided (Koori Curriculum, 2021).
The Old Frangipani Tree at Flying Fish Point. Courtesy of Koori Curriculum, 2021.
The Old Frangipani Tree at Flying Fish Point
This story is set in a small Queensland town called Flying Fishing Point in the 1950s. When a young girl has nothing suitable to wear to her school’s annual fancy dress carnival, her family comes to the rescue. Inspired by blossoms on the town’s Old Frangipani Tree, the family creates an outfit that’s both surprising and heartwarming. The story fosters a sense of community spirit, and is reminiscent of experiences of the author’s mother (Koori Curriculum, 2021).
The author of this gorgeously illustrated book, Trina Saffioti, is a descendant of the Gugu Yalanji people of North Queensland. Saffioti’s writing has been influenced by creation and personal stories told by her grandmother, who was a part of the Stolen Generations, as well as family stories told by her mother (Koori Curriculum, 2021).
Whilst this book doesn’t talk specifically about Christmas, it does touch on a fancy dress celebration in summer time. Koori Curriculum recommends this book to discuss with children the different ways that people celebrate occasions as not everyone celebrates Christmas. The book also touches on the fact that not every family can afford to participate in hallmark calendar events (Koori Curriculum, 2021).
Warrikirti Christmas Bilby. Courtesy of Koori Curriculum, 2021.
Warrikirti Christmas Bilby
This fun, Aussie Christmas-themed kids book tells the story of Warrikirti the Christmas Bilby. When Santa comes flying into the Aussie Outback on a sleigh led by kangaroos, he asks Warrikirti to help him navigate through the rough terrain to deliver Christmas presents to the children living in a small bush community. During his travels with Santa and his flying ‘roos, Warrikirti meets and befriends many dingoes and people (Koori Curriculum, 2021).
This is where conservation themes arise in the book as the dingoes Warrikirti meets hunt feral cats. These feral cats are a major threat to the survival of bilbies, who are already critically endangered (Koori Curriculum, 2021). Throughout the book, a few Warumungu words of the Pama Nyungan language are featured, from the Western Desert in the Northern Territory. By including Aboriginal words and phrases in the text, this book helps to keep language, culture and connection to Country strong and alive (AIATSIS, 2021).
An Aussie Night Before Christmas. Courtesy of Kmart, 2021.
An Aussie Night Before Christmas
Now in its 10th Anniversary Edition, this kids book is a true-blue Aussie twist on the classic Christmas verse ‘Twas the Night Before Christmas.’ The kids will absolutely love the clever, Aussie references and the funny icons woven into every line of this traditional verse and visual narrative. The soft, watercolour illustrations recreate the warm, sunny, comforting, familial atmosphere that an Aussie Christmas is all about (I Still Call Australia Home, 2021)
Christmas Wombat. Courtesy of HarperCollins Publishers Australia, 2021.
It’s Christmas, but from a wombat’s point of view. In this charming picture book, the star of the bestselling Diary of a Wombat becomes an accidental stowaway on Santa’s sleigh. Luckily for Mothball, she discovers that carrots are available all around the world, courtesy of children leaving them out for Santa’s reindeer. The curious, hungry wombat goes head to head in competition with Santa’s reindeer for carrots. So, it looks like Santa won’t be the only one facing the prospect of getting stuck in a chimney this Christmas! (HarperCollins Publishers Australia, 2021)
The sensory and feeling based words, accompanied by the humorous illustrations moving across the pages makes this book perfect for toddlers. This book can be a fun, engaging lesson for your young child to learn core literacy and speaking skills (HarperCollins Publishers Australia, 2021).
The Australian Twelve Days of Christmas. Courtesy of Walker Books, 2021.
The Australian Twelve Days of Christmas
Perfect for the littlest member of the family celebrating their very first Christmas, this book is a hilarious Aussie rendition of the world-renowned Christmas song ‘The Twelve Days of Christmas.’ Kids will love this book purely for its escalating chaos and silliness as the days go on - from flies hanging around mince pies to emus playing football (Walker Books, 2021).