When we asked the HDM team to tell us about their favourite kids’ books we didn’t expect such a passionate response! What it told us was that books inspire us, bring us joy every single day and create treasured memories for our kids that last a lifetime. And there’s no doubt that there are a couple of stand-out authors loved by children all over the Hills District (ahem, Mem Fox!)

So here are some of our favourites – hopefully there are a couple that you and your children are yet to enjoy!


My son Ollie loves the Hairy Maclary series by Linley Dodd and The Gruffalo, The Gruffalo’s Child and Room on the Broom (all by Julia Donaldson) for their fabulous rhymes – and I love reading them for the same reason!


My favourite book is John Brown, Rose and the Midnight Cat by Jenny Wagner. I adored it as a child and remember I loved the pictures. I first read it to my twin boys Will and Joe when they were around 13 months.

I also love Tim and Ed by Ursula Dubosarsky and Andrew Joyner. It’s about two identical brother koalas and a friend bought it for the boys for their 1st birthday. It’s nice to have a book that’s about two identical boys (even though they’re koalas!) …there aren’t many around!


Time for Bed by Mem Fox is probably my all-time favourite kid’s book so far. I love reading it to my son at bed time (hint hint!) as he loves animals. It also has stunning illustrations.

I also love reading him Room on the Broom by Julia Donaldson because it’s actually fun to read with the fabulous rhyme. And now he loves to see it brought to life in the little mini movie they show on ABC4Kids every now and then – although he’s a bit scared of the dragon!

My Mum  by Anthony Browne was a book given to us by a good friend when my son was born. My husband read it to my son when he was tiny and it used to make me cry hearing him read! Bloody hormones! But it’s how I hope my son sees me. A beautiful book for a new mum.


Chelsea is 20 months old so our books to date have been more of the tactile variety! The most popular one by far is Touch and Feel Playbook by Eric Carle – this one came off the shelf when she got the hang of tummy time, so at about 3-4 months, and she still goes to her bookcase to choose this book. The textures, flaps and mostly the mirror keeps her entertained for 10 minutes at a time.

My favourite baby book so far is I Feel Happy by Parragon Books (no author listed) as it explores different emotions with pull-out pictures.

My favourite book as a child was The Choosing Day by Jennifer Beck. I got it for my fifth birthday and I read it every birthday, even now. I read it to Chels on her first birthday too. It’s all about making you feel special on your birthday and it works!


Mem Fox also features in our house. My daughters are both teenagers now but we loved Koala Lou – When my daughter Chloe was very young and I’d read it to her every night because it made me think of her and me. Turns out she is a lot like Koala Lou.

And Harriet, you’ll drive me wild – same with Emily lol! I read this to her from a very young age every night and as sheh got older we’d giggle about how she’d do some of the same things as Harriet and mummy would get mad and yell. But in the end they laughed and hugged and loved each other very much.
These are both very special books to me and remind me of each of my children’s personalities very much.


Rose meets Mr Wintergarten by Bob Graham. It deals with difference in such a delicate way, as ever with Bob Graham. My son Matthew was 2 or 3 when I first read this to him.

Old Pig by Margaret Wild. An extremely emotional book in which Old Pig dies. It’s about how she handles her impending death and explores the grief felt by Granddaughter. I think Matthew was 3 when we read this – and I sob absolutely every time!

 Zoo by Anthony Browne. (Very hard to choose only one of his books I must say). This is a very poignant examination of the politics of a family and the treatment of animals in captivity. Browne is well known for his illustrations of gorillas, but he has never drawn a primate more emotionally than the back view of the orangutan in this book. Absolute heartbreak in a single page. Matthew was 1-2 when we read this.


One of our faves is Belinda by Pamela Allen. I’ve read it to my son from 6 months. Also, I’m a teacher and my kids in Year 2 thought it was hysterical and would request it over and over…. (Poor old Tom!)

Mem Fox is big in our house too! Ten Little Fingers and Ten Little Toes and Where is the Green Sheep? are firm favourites that my son Samuel loves before bed. We read where is the green sheep because in the end, the sleep is asleep! Be like the green sheep I say!

Another beautiful Mem Fox book about accepting difference that makes me teary is Whoever You Are.

My personal favourite is Wilfrid Gordon McDonald Partridge by Mem Fox and Julie Varas. If you read it you’ll understand – there are so many reasons to love this story.


My 3 and 5 year old girls love the Meg and Mog books by Helen Nicoll and Jan Pienkowski about a witch Meg and her cat, Mog. It was first published in the 70s but the awesome bright imagery has stood the test of time. And there are actually very few words, allowing the kids to create some of their own interpretation along the way.
The girls love it as there are lots of spells cast and they all rhyme and there are ‘gross’ things like toad soup to make them laugh!


What is your favourite kids book?