Our favourite Australian children’s classics

Following our Australia Day focus on our favourite Australian literature as part of the Australia Day Blog Hop last year, we thought it time to turn a spotlight on our favourite Australian children’s classics.

We haven’t done a very good job at narrowing down selections, but thanks to this you get a couple of ready made reading lists, which also make for perfect shopping lists when getting presents for little (and not so little) ones!

Speaking of little ones, and in the spirit of promoting Australian literature, we asked one of our favourite Alien Onions from our Melbourne office to tell us a little more about how she came up with the name for her brand new Spring Onion, Emlyn…

Emlyn, one of our youngest Spring Onions.

There is no more sure a sign that two people just starting a relationship are Made For Each Other than discovering a shared literary love. So I was worried when my new boyfriend Tom had not read Vikram Seth’s The Golden Gate, and then did not read the copy I bought specially for him. Was the relationship doomed?

Luckily for us, we found common ground not in a verse novel about fairly self-obsessed kind-of yuppies in San Francisco – but in the mythical, magical Wales of Brian Caswell’s 1989 Young Adult Classic Merryll of the Stones – a timeshift story of good and evil, bravery and destiny, with a wonderful, courageous heroine.

15 years later, the second copy of The Golden Gate remains unread (by Tom), but we have just named our son Emlyn, after the ‘brilliant and rebellious’ hero of Merryll of the Stones. Classic literature – bringing people together, building families, spreading the love.

We followed this up with a vote on some of our favourite classic Australian kids’/YA books, and some of our favourite classics (be they officially recognised as such or not!) from our list. Because editors love a good book-vote.

Mind you, note we say some of – in a not-entirely-successful attempt to avoid any editors being harmed in the creation of these lists. Sadly, there was still some gnashing of teeth and feverish oscillation involved – because how do we choose just one of each when there are so many good Australian books out there to hold up and praise?

Anyway, trust us: go forth and read all of the books on these two lists, and you will not be disappointed.

Without further ado, and in no particular order…

Favourite Australian Children’s & Young Adult books

Here’s a selection of some of the Alien Onions’ favourite Australian kids’/YA classic fiction:

****Playing Beattie Bow actually won not one but four votes. Upon deliberation, we decided this allowed us to sneak three shortlisted titles onto the list, rather than make the list shorter. Obviously.

Favourite Australian Children’s & Young Adult books that we’ve published

Here’s a selection of some of the Alien Onions’ favourite Australian kids’/YA classic fiction published by Allen & Unwin over the years:

  • **Sea Hearts, Tashi & Sabriel won 2 votes each and ***Fox won 3 votes (and also inspired one Onion to become an Onion in the first place – that’s a whole lifetime altered by reading this book!)

Win our favourite Australian children’s & YA classic fiction!

One lucky winner will take home Fox, Sea Hearts, Tashi, Sabriel, Magic Beach, Mr Chicken, At the Beach and Song for a Scarlet Runner, while nine runners up will each win a random title from our selection – just fill in the form below for your chance to win!

You can visit more Australia Day Blog Hop participants, and find more opportunities to win over at Bookdout. We’d also love to hear in the comments which of these would make your Australian children’s classics list, or what we’ve missed!

You can also read more about some of our selections & authors in previous blog posts:

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