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Wednesday, May 23, 2012


Thanks for your interesting comments about what children read.
I think my friend Jane is probably right about the fact that these days children predominantly read about  topics that they can relate to, in a setting that they know.

How things have changed from when I was young !

I grew up reading Enid Blyton from an early age.
Famous Five, Secret Seven, The Faraway Tree etc

Nothing there that related to life in Australia
and the way those children spoke was not at all familiar to an Aussie kid.

I moved on to Anne of Green Gables, Little Women, What Katy Did, Polyanna, Black Beauty and My Friend Flicka - all of them completely different to life here in Australia.

From there I finally moved to some books written by Australian authors.

My beloved Seven Little Australians and the Billabong series - both set way back before World War I in a time and social structure that was far from familiar and when Aussies still thought of England as "HOME".

There just weren't many books for children written by Australian authors and in those days literature coming out of this young country was not very plentiful or valued very highly.

Throughout high school this trend continued - all the books I studied were predominantly from the
UK - Bronte, Austen, Shakespeare - The Thirty Nine Steps, Wuthering Heights, Pride and Prejudice, Hamlet to name just a few.
Poetry was similar but along with Blake, Wordsworth, Lear,  Byron, Shelley etc a few Aussies made the grade - Kath Walker who goes by her Aboriginal name -  Oodgeroo Noonuccal - nowadays, the iconic Dorothea Mackellar whose  I Love a Sunburnt Country is probably the best known Australian poem ( to Aussies anyway ) as well as Banjo Patterson and Henry Lawson.

Is it any wonder that I longed to see the places in England that I had spent my younger years reading about.

But today things are different.

When I left school and started to study Teaching I was enthralled by the books produced by Australian authors for Aussie children. A lovely Teacher-Librarian colleague guided my reading of some wonderful Australian authors. Books full of fun and irreverent humour, with great storylines.

Australian children still read lots of books from other countries but we are finally valuing the wonderful children's literature that comes out of our country more and more.



  1. I think Canada is much like Australia. We have only started valuing our own authors in the last 30+ plus years. The "Anne" books were my only Canadian reading until my last year of high school. Now there is more Canadian content in the schools and Canadian authors are more valued. The only Australian author I know that I have read is Colleen mcCullough and maybe JoJo Moyes(not sure if she is British). Thanks for making me think about this.

  2. How interesting. I couldn't name a single Aussie author or book! I had lots of secret seven and famous five books when I was a child, I'd love to re-read them now!

  3. I grew up reading all those English books you mentioned. That might have had a lot to do with the fact I was born at a time when UK immigration to Australia was at it's height too.

  4. Great post Helen, thanks for your comments. Love Suex

  5. I never heard of any of the younger books/authors you mention. We had Nancy Drew, the Bobbsey Twins, and the Hardy Boys here in America. The older ones though .. perhaps this is why England holds such a draw for me (couldn't possibly be the Beatles). I wish there was more cross over.

  6. I don't know any children so I don't know what they read but I know I loved to read things that didn't relate to my own life as a not-too-well-off edge-of-small-town and rather unhappy child. Enid Blyton was a favourite - always about very middle class southern English children in the countryside or at the sea getting into all kinds of fantastic scrapes. I liked' My friend Flicka' and there was a book about brumbies I liked. Animal stories too, and I had no animals. Definitely I seem to have liked things that took me away from what I knew.