Tag Archives: Australian poetry

This is Home: Essential Australian Poems for Children – Selected by Jackie French, Illustrated by Tania McCartney



Publisher:   National Library of Australia

ISBN:   9780642279385
01 April 2019

RRP: $34.99

Why yes, some readers of this blog will already know that not only am I non-fiction nerd since childhood but also a poetry nerd. I openly admit this to the children at school who are sometimes a little (?!) resistant to poetry. Of course, I follow this up by totally blowing them away with the magic, humour and depth of poetry.

As it happens, this new anthology, selected by the amazing Jackie French (all hail!) and illustrated by the gorgeous and multi-skilled Tania McCartney will be EASY to sell to poetry-resistant kids. The contributors included roll out like a ‘Who’s Who’ of Australian children’s literature, both past and present.

From such historic luminaries as Norman Lindsay, Judith Wright and Dorothea MacKellar to contemporary stars such as Meredith Costain, Suzanne Gervay, Meg McKinlay, Andy Griffiths, Shaun Tan  – *gasp* and pause for breath, this is one of the most comprehensive and quality poetry collections I’ve ever encountered for children.

Page after glorious page of amazing verse accompanied by Tania’s iconic illustrations, it is pure joy to hold, read and savour. There have been many anthologies of Australian poetry published for children but I would have to think hard about one that presents both old and new offerings to children with such a contemporary and fresh format.  I know that poetry is, of course, still embedded in the curriculum but children so often seem to be disengaged with the way it is presented to them. I fully believe that this new collection will give children a point of connection and impart the joy of verse.

Sir Walter Scott said “Teach your children poetry; it opens the mind, lends grace to wisdom and makes the heroic virtues hereditary.”

We owe it to our children to not only show them the beauty of narrative literature but the amazing landscape of poetic creativity.

Highly recommended for children and adults from around eight years upwards. This one’s not going anywhere except my own shelves.

Thank you Jackie and Tania – love your work! x

Limelight – Raphael Solli



Penguin Random House

ISBN 9780143793762

September , 2018

Imprint: Puffin

RRP $16.99


Just in case you missed the utter sensation of the youngest winner of the Australian Poetry Slam last year, here is your introduction to amazing Raphael Solli. His performance was viewed on Facebook over 3.5 million times instantly rocketing him to well-deserved fame.

Raphael’s poetry is squarely focused on current issues affecting his generation such as sustainability and social equality, all the while amplifying his uplifting message of hope.

This book features over thirty of his poems and also shares his tips on writing and performing in a way that will engage young readers and inspire them to tackle their own concerns through words and voice. Some introductory chapters explore different types of poetry and clearly defines ‘slam poetry’ a term which may, as yet, be unfamiliar with younger writers.

Whether you are looking at a unit of poetry in teaching or want to encourage your own children to express themselves, this is certainly a very admirable addition to your shelves.

I highly recommend it for readers from around ten years upwards.


Aussie Wildlife Poems for Kids & the Young at Heart- John McColgan/Becky Roberts



Self-published by Becky Roberts, Clontarf, 2014


RRP $24.95

It gives me the greatest pleasure to share this delightful ‘home-grown’ book with you. That’s right, direct to you from Paradise aka the beautiful Redcliffe peninsula; a father and daughter team have produced this tribute to our native fauna, especially for smaller humans. They are, respectively, the granddad and mum of a lovely bubbly young friend with whom I taught here some years ago – and they are a very talented and creative family.

When John McColgan’s children were young, he wrote some poems about Aussie animals for them, wanting to share his love and respect for our fauna. He hoped to have enough for a little book some day but grew discouraged by his efforts and gave it up. Fast forward, to fifty years later when his artist daughter, Becky, persuaded him to have another go. The result is a quite lovely collection of original poems which share the author’s fondness for our native creatures, of all types, and a respect for their attributes, with just a little information, some humour and even warning about some dangers.   All beautifully illustrated with Becky’s skilled and imaginative watercolour (and ink) paintings

As well as koalas and kangaroos, quolls and quokkas, Tasmanian devils and dingos, little fellas like the Bleating Tree Frog are included (I have the most gorgeous big one who lives on my patio!) – and there are two wonderfully whimsical poems about the Yowie and the Bunyip – plus (yes, I know you want more!) a final piece about ‘weather warnings’ from various animals.

Small and I both enjoyed looking at the pictures and sharing some of the poems. Of course, with her new baby blue tongue curled up in her arms, her stand out favourite is The Blue-Tongue Lizard, which begins:

A well-known sight in Eastern states

Is our Blue-Tongue Lizard friend

He’s only seen in warmer months

Well after winter’s end.

You’ll often find him warming up

Basking in the sun

He might look savage, but he’s not

He’s friends with everyone! ….

We also both love The Pelican, as these birds are so synonymous with Redcliffe and we love to play our game of ‘count the pelicans’ as we drive across the bridge, to or from the other side of town.

I believe this is a worthy addition not only to your home bookshelf but for the school library where I can see it being well used for those Units focused on Australian Animals. Children will enjoy the rhymes as well as the illustrations and could ‘springboard’ to writing some poems of their own around their animal of choice.

Well done to both John and Becky on a great collaboration!

Dad & Me

Find the book:

On Etsy

On FaceBook

On Becky’s website PortfolioPics

P.S. I might add that John is about to celebrate his 86th birthday – what a great way to celebrate with a newly published book! John currently lives in lovely Laurieton, NSW.

0652 (1)0654