Indigenous Australian Picture Books

This post contains affiliate links.
Thanks for your support!

Since writing my last post on Indigenous Australian Picture Books, many more picture books written and illustrated by Indigenous authors and illustrators have been sent our way.

Seeing as this week is NAIDOC Week- a yearly celebration of Indigenous achievements and culture- it seemed a perfect time to create a follow-up post with the books that have become staples on our bookshelves.

Steve Goes to Carnival by Joshua Button and Robyn Wells


Indigenous Australian picture books

How much life and joy can you fit into one picture book? This much! A beautifully drawn, designed and dreamt story for all ages.’ – Shaun Tan
When a book comes with a Shaun Tan endorsement, you know you’re in for something special…
The creators first collaborated when Robyn worked with Joshua in a literacy program at his primary school. This resulted in their first book together, “Joshua and the Two Crabs.”
This second offering has been 10 years in the making.
It came about from Joshua’s love of gorillas and wanderlust for Brazil.
It tells the tale of Steve, a gorilla in a Rio zoo.
He shares a love for jazz with his zookeeper, Antonio.
One night, Steve escapes the zoo to go in search for Antonio. He travels the streets of Rio incognito. Steve eventually finds Antonio playing saxophone in a jazz club. Steve’s disguise is blown…
The illustrations are inspired by 1970s Rio and capture the heart and soul of this carnival city.
This was one of our favourite books for 2016, and even provided the theme for our 3-year-old’s birthday party.

Welcome to Country by Aunty Joy Murphy and Lisa Kennedy

Indigenous Australian picture books

“We are part of the land and the land is part of us. We feel the roots of this land beneath the soles of our bare feet.”
Each Indigenous community has its own ceremony of welcoming visitors to their traditional lands.
This book welcomes us to the land of the Wurundjeri people.
The beautiful illustrations introduce us to the landscape of these lands and the words are warm, enlightening and inviting.

Maralinga: The Anangu Story 

Indigenous Australian picture books

I’m struggling to find the words to do this text justice.
This book was pieced together through a series of workshops, extensive research and community consultation between Yalata and Oak Valley community members with author Christobel Mattingley.
It’s a historical text, a cultural text and an artistic masterpiece told from an Indigenous perspective.
We learn about Anangu Dreaming stories passed between generations before moving into the effects of colonisation on Indigenous lands and ways of life.
Through the words of community members, we gain a deep insight into the devastating impact of a government decision to test atomic weapons on Anangu lands.
This is an incredible story of adversity, survival and pride.

On the Way to Nana’s by Frances and Lindsay Hajj-Ali and David Hardy

Indigenous Australian picture books

This is a counting book that beautifully captures the special rite of passage of the childhood road trip.
It was inspired by the road trips that the authors used to undertake with their children across the remote Kimberley.
Starting at 15, we count backwards as we take in rugged anthills, alert goannas, dancing brolgas and bulging boabs.
It is refreshing to find a book that counts backwards and encourages counting via real-life contexts.

Mrs White and the Red Desert by Josie Boyle and Maggie Prewett

Indigenous Australian picture books

I really love this book.
It gently explores the minefield of cross cultural understanding.
Told as a first person recount, the author introduces us to her childhood. In particular, an occasion when “we had invited Mrs White to our red desert home to show her why our homework was always grubby.”
The “higgledy-piggledy” house was cleaned from top to bottom.
The aptly named Mrs White arrives in an impeccable white outfit. In time for a dust storm.
A real pleasure to read aloud with beautiful illustrations to examine.

Animals in my Garden by Bronwyn Houston

Indigenous Australian picture books

A vibrant and vivid board book that will have littles counting from 1 snake through to 10 mosquitoes, taking in some kookaburras, cockatoos and other Aussie animals along the way.

Return of the Dinosaurs by Bronwyn Houston

Indigenous Australian picture booksDid you know that dinosaurs used to inhabit the area around Broome?
This is a great tale based on the question of “What if?”
What if dinosaurs came back to hang out in Broome?
What would they get up to?
Hang out with the camels on Cable Beach? Catch a movie at Sun Movies? Hang with the crocs
in the mangroves?
The artwork is a beauty in this one and is an often-requested book by my Mr 2.


Pin for Later:

Indigenous Australian Picture Books

All books except Maralinga were sent to me for review purposes. Many thanks to Walker Books and Magabala Books.

The images and titles of each book will take you to the Australian based online bookstore Booktopia. As a Booktopia Affiliate, purchases clicked through from my blog result in a small commission. You do not pay any extra for your books! Commission is used to maintain Oh Creative Day. For more information, you can read my Disclosure Policy here.

Not Australian? The Amazon links will take you to Amazon. I am also an affiliate with Amazon and will receive a small commission. You do not pay any extra for your books. Thanks for your support. Happy reading!