Welcome to the blog of the Tasmanian branch of the Children's Book Council of Australia!

Saturday 3 August 2019

Hunting for board books

Are you seeking board books for the very young? Nella provides some starting points and things to consider when seeking books that withstand rereading and young hands manipulating them. If you have further sources to suggest post a reply.

What are the new (preferably board book) stories for babies?  When gifting for newborns, I prefer to select new stories by Australian authors.  Other people will buy the traditional favourites (anything written by Mem Fox, Anna Walker, Alison Lester or most books illustrated by Freya Blackwood, Julie Vivas or Ann James.  My favourite board book classic is I went walking by Sue Machin.

Although there are several beautiful lyrical books to welcome a new baby, I prefer board books with stories, as these are generally read and then given to the infant, not kept on the shelf for “best”.  Then, baby can suck and chew, open and shut, look at, touch and hold or carry – whatever the moment requires.

But new Australian board books with simple stories for babies are hard to find.  There are word books, number books and alphabet books. Others are merchandise (e.g. Storm Boy rescue – movie tie-in), event-based (e.g. Sing along with me! This is the way we go to school) or have a moral (e.g. Kindness makes us strong) – all outside the world of the average baby.

Some are wonderful books for older children reissued in a board book format (e.g. The way I love you).  Some of these are abridged, most are not with many a 32-page story crammed into 12 boards/pages. Older children reject these because of their “baby” format and littlies find the stories too long.

So, who is producing quality Australian board books for babies? Magabala Books has a Young Art series which includes In the bush I see, At the Zoo I see, At the Beach I See and In the City I See and the Aussie baby books.
Any other suggestions?  
Nella Pickup
Reader, retired librarian
IBBY Australia Inc Executive Committee member

Editor’s note: Allen &Unwin have a globally sourced short list that might be of interest if Australian publications are not your focus.

1 comment:

  1. Thanks Nella for the tip about Magabala Books it is so important to use books that can withstand "a lot of love" from very young children and be fun and engaging.