Thematic Reading List: Australian Legends of Children’s Literature


This year the Australian postal service has chosen to honor some of their most memorable children’s authors by spotlighting them in its Australian Legends stamp series. The Australian Legends stamp series honors Australians who have made a significant contribution in their chosen field or a chosen theme. Examples of past themes are legends in sports, science, and philanthropy. The five chosen children’s authors are Mem Fox AM, Morris Gleitzman, Leigh Hobbs, Alison Lester and Shaun Tan- each who has won numerous awards for their creations. Each stamp includes a photo of the author along with a book jacket of one of their books.

For more information about the Australian Legends Award, visit

Each author has written an abundant number of books. Below are a few titles from each author.
Mem Fox Books
0152045988 Harriett, You’ll Drive Me Wild
Illustrated by: Marla Frazee

When a young girl has a series of mishaps at home one day, her mother tries not to lose her temper–and does not quite succeed.

0152632247 Possum Magic
Illustrated by: Julie Vivas

When Grandma Poss’s magic turns Hush invisible, the two possums take a culinary tour of Australia to find the food that will make her visible once more.

9780547366203 Ten Little Fingers and Ten Little Toes
Illustrated by: Helen Oxenbury

Rhyming text compares babies born in different places and in different circumstances, but they all share the commonality of ten little fingers and ten little toes.

Morris Gleitzman Books
9781429922340 Once

Felix lives in a convent orphanage high in the mountains in Poland. He is convinced his parents are still alive and that they will one day come back to get him. When Nazi soldiers come to the orphanage Felix decides to escape and make his way home. The journey to find his parents is a long and difficult one, as all of Poland is occupied by the Nazis and a dangerous place for a Jewish boy. Felix manages to live and look after himself and another orphan, Zelda, with the help of a kind dentist, Barney, who is hiding and looking after a number of Jewish children.

1740930282 Teacher’s Pet

What do you take to Pets Day at school when you’re allergic to cats and the new principal? A very large stray dog of course. Answering that question is much easier than the one she has to ask herself at home. Is she a pet, as mum’s always saying, or a stray herself?

9780375827624 Toad Rage

Determined to understand why humans hate cane toads and to improve relations between the species, Limpy embarks on a dangerous trek from his swamp to the Summer Olympics in Sydney, Australia.

Leigh Hobbs Books
0762420928 Fiona the Pig

Mr. and Mrs. Pig worry because their daughter Fiona is neat and clean and likes perfumed bubble baths rather than wallowing in the mud.

9781742378350 Mr. Chicken Goes to Paris

Mr. Chicken is overcome with the magnificence of the sights in Paris, while the inhabitants of the city are equally in awe of his size and appearance.

9781877003530 Old Tom Man of Mystery

When Angela Throgmorton decides that Old Tom is now big enough to help around the house, he has other ideas.

Alison Lester Books
9781929132737 Are We There Yet?

Grace recounts how she, her parents, and her brothers spent an entire winter travelling completely around Australia in a camper.

9781742373126 Magic Beach

Imagine a beach where you can swim, surf, splash through the waves, make sandcastles, hunt for treasure, explore rock-pools, muck about in boats, fish from the jetty, and build a bonfire under the stars. Imagine a beach where adventure begins.

1863739319 The Quicksand Pony

After her pony Bella, trapped in quicksand, is rescued by a mysterious unseen person, ten-year-old Biddy follows the trail into the Australian bush and discovers the solution to a disappearance that happened years ago.

Shaun Tan books
0340969938 The Arrival

In this wordless graphic novel, a man leaves his homeland and sets off for a new country, where he must build a new life for himself and his family.

0545229243 Lost & Found

Three stories explore how we lose and find what matters most to us, as a girl finds a bright spot in a dark world, a boy leads a strange, lost being home, and a group of peaceful creatures loses its home to cruel invaders.

9780545639125 Rules of Summer

Two boys explain the occasionally mysterious “rules” they learned over the summer, like never eat the last olive at a party, never ruin a perfect plan, and never give your keys to a stranger.


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