stories for the adventure that is school (or any other big life-changing adventure)

Savannah is off to pre-school this year, and William and Ivy start Kindy. In honour of these major life moments, here's a small collection of books that are lovely to read in the first week or two of school. I hope you find something that feels right for your new (or returning) school kid.

I’m going to read Off to School Baby Duck to all three of our new school kids via Marco Polo this week too. It’s a cute story of a baby duck who is scared to go to school but, predictably, has a good day. It was a favourite for their fathers long ago—mostly out of print now, but full of nostalgia for our family.

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a beautiful story of friendship, love, hope, joy and newfound strength—perfect reading for a new year

a beautiful story of friendship, love, hope, joy and newfound strength—perfect reading for a new year

ages 0 to 8 years
Summer is in full swing in Tasmania and everywhere we look trees are laden with fruit. We're closely watching our plum and nectarine trees, eagerly awaiting the first ripe fruit, and I think this is what drew us to Together Always when we saw it in the library. That and the wonderfulness of friendship for the start of a new year.

The opening line is:


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our really great (new-ish) Christmas Eve tradition—choosing, giving and opening books!

our really great (new-ish) Christmas Eve tradition—choosing, giving and opening books!

Our family is still young and we don’t have a lot of traditions yet, but one that we borrowed from Kim when Alec and I were newly married is giving and opening books on Christmas Eve.

Kim and I get the job (joy really) of choosing the books for our families, and we hide them away till the night. But those choices are sometimes pretty difficult! Here's what I've bought for this year—I think I did well:

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classic literature isn't just for grownups

classic literature isn't just for grownups

ages 0 to 3 years
One-year-old Angus’s favourite book at the moment is A Christmas Carol from the BabyLit series. 

If you’re not familiar with BabyLit, they're board book primers (covering things like animals, counting, sounds, flowers and much, much more) that are a sweet introduction to classic literature. The words are simple and each page connects an object to a story via engaging artwork. For example, in A Christmas Carol:

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'cause Christmas is different (and the same) everywhere

'cause Christmas is different (and the same) everywhere

ages 3 to grownup
I’ve been a John Williamson fan since childhood and a few months ago we were lucky enough to go to one of his concerts as a family. Amazing. There's really nothing quite like a live performance.

During intermission, I came across Christmas in Australia. I had no idea John Williamson had written a children’s book and just had to buy it—my only regret was that the kids were so exhausted by the end of the show we couldn't wait in the line to get it

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the latest in the Matilda Saga—every bit as wonderful as we'd hoped

the latest in the Matilda Saga—every bit as wonderful as we'd hoped

I’ve just finished this new book in the Matilda Saga. Actually, you could say I just started it too since I started it last night and finished it this morning! All of us at WTBA love this series, so imagine my delight when I spotted Facing the Flame on the shelves at Avid Reader yesterday, even though the official release date is December 1.

When Louisa saw me reading it she sighed: “It’s short.”—and added with mock exasperation: “Jackie French!” We always hope that the next Matilda Saga book will be in the 600 page realm so that we can enjoy the characters for longer.

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a one-of-a-kind book of elephant sized opposites—and surprises!

a one-of-a-kind book of elephant sized opposites—and surprises!

a lovely book for all ages
'Opposites' books are pretty great—and not uncommon. They're wonderful for building kids' vocabularies and usually simple enough to keep even the little ones interested. Elephant Elements is a book of opposites, but it's not the common variety—more like one-of-a-kind.

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