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Article  •  14 January 2021


Australia’s top 10 kids’ books of 2020

Here are some of the best selling books of the year.

Reading provided comfort for so many of our kids and teenagers in 2020.

Although there have been countless incredible books by international authors that rocked Australian shores – Diary of a Wimpy Kid 15: The Deep End, Rowley Jefferson’s Awesome Friendly Adventure, The Unadoptables, as well as classics by legend Roald Dahl, the celebration of Spot's 40th birthday and more – we’re excited to highlight the amazing work put out by our local Aussie talent.

Here are Penguin’s 10 most popular Australian children’s books of 2020.


1. #BlueyBooks

Australia’s favourite heeler family, and little Bluey fans everywhere as a result, had an absolutely stellar year! Not only did Bluey: The Beach win the ABIA Book of the Year Award – the first children’s picture book ever to do so – but we also saw the publication of a whopping 12 Bluey books between January and December. Wackadoo, indeed!


2. Where is the Green Sheep? by Mem Fox and Judy Horacek

It wouldn’t be a top reading list without a little Mem Fox, and as per usual, Where is the Green Sheep? remains a forever favourite. Gorgeously illustrated by Judy Horacek, Green Sheep is an iconic Aussie picture book kids have come to adore. Bring the story to life with the plush and book box set, featuring a cuddly green sheep!


3. Ten Little Fingers and Ten Little Toes by Mem Fox and Helen Oxenbury

Another Mem Fox favourite is a gorgeous book for bubs and little ones – Ten Little Fingers and Ten Little Toes. Available in paperback and board book, this sweet story is a celebration of babies and all the happiness they bring to people living in countries all over the world. Warm, joyous and endearing, this is a must-have addition to any tiny tot’s bookshelf.


4. Back to Sleep by Zoë Foster Blake

A roaringly funny picture book that flips the script on bedtime? Sign us up! Zoë Foster Blake’s Back to Sleep was published in October, and since then has skyrocketed up the charts due to its hilarious take on the parent-child dynamic. In this book by the author of the wildly popular No One Likes a Fart, all Finn wants to do is go to sleep – but Mummy and Daddy keep waking him up at every opportunity! Will Finn ever get back to sleep?


5. Kissed by the Moon by Alison Lester

Another complete classic we’re not surprised to see on this list is Kissed by the Moon by author-illustrator Alison Lester. This beautiful story has resonated with parents and young readers since it was first released in 2013. Perfect to lull little ones off to sleep with its melodic prose, Kissed by the Moon is now available in a gorgeous snuggle blanket and board book set in addition to the original hardback.


6. Terry Denton’s Really Truly Amazing Guide to Everything by Terry Denton

Beloved funnyman Terry Denton truly hit the nail on the head in 2020 with his eponymous Terry Denton’s Really Truly Amazing Guide to Everything – a book of weird and wacky facts accompanied by laugh out loud commentary. Whether you’re 8 or 80, if you’re eager to learn about new things in a memorable and engaging way, this book will not disappoint.


7. Once by Morris Gleitzman

Perhaps one of Australia’s most prolific and celebrated storytellers for children, Morris Gleitzman has written a whole host of amazing books – but none as popular as the first book in his Felix series, Once. Read by kids across the world, this gripping and often heartbreaking tale of a child’s life ripped apart by the Holocaust has received many awards and accolades. We’d consider this one essential reading for any avid reader aged 10 and up.


8. Ranger’s Apprentice the Royal Ranger 4: The Missing Prince by John Flanagan

Will and Maddie are BACK in the latest thrilling instalment of the Ranger’s Apprentice Royal Ranger series by bestselling author John Flanagan. It’s no secret that the Ranger’s Apprentice universe has a huge fandom, and we wouldn’t be surprised if their dedication had something to do with this book’s rapid success! In Ranger’s Apprentice the Royal Ranger 4: The Missing Prince, we see our fearless rangers head into the unknown to locate and save the prince from an evil baron’s wrath . . .


9. What Zola Did on Monday by Melina Marchetta

We're excited to add to this year's top-selling list an all-new series from one of Australia’s most adored authors, Melina Marchetta. Melina turned her hand to junior fiction in 2020 with the Zola series, about a little girl and all the mischief she gets up to! What Zola Did on Monday is warm, inviting and beautifully illustrated by Deb Hudson, making it the perfect book for newly independent readers.


10. Who Sank the Boat? by Pamela Allen

This classic from the 1980s is still filling Australian homes with joy today. Who Sank the Boat? follows the story of a cow, donkey, sheep, pig and tiny little mouse who decide to go for a row in the bay one sunny morning. If you love Who Sank the Boat?, don't miss this hilarious read aloud video by Paul Kelly.



An honourable mention goes to Australian children's author super star, Jacqueline Harvey, who has multiple titles in the top 100 from her two bestselling series, Alice-Miranda and Kensy and Max. The unofficial 11th spot in our countdown is awarded to Alice-Miranda in the Outback, in which our fearless young protagonist ventures to rural Australia to help a family friend on the farm and discovers many mysteries to solve along the way.


What was YOUR favourite book of 2020?

Bluey: Big Backyard Bluey

Based on the hit ABC KIDS TV show!

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