The most popular books of the year, written by Australian authors.
We’re rounding up the most-purchased Penguin books for children and teens in 2021. While some international titles clearly have Australia’s heart – including the Diary of a Wimpy Kid series, Awesome Friendly Kid series, The Very Hungry Caterpillar, Wonder and of course, Peppa Pig – the favourite books made by Australian authors for Australian kids included . . .
For the third year in a row, Bluey takes the cake. There are now over 27 Bluey books and combined they have sold over 2.8 million copies. The top three most popular Bluey books in 2021 were The Pool, Where’s Bluey? and Big Backyard. We can never have enough Bluey, so enjoy these free Bluey activity pages too!
Mem Fox has written over 40 books for children and is a superstar of the picture book genre. Both Ten Little Fingers and Ten Little Toes, illustrated by Helen Oxenbury, and Where is the Green Sheep?, illustrated by Judy Horacek, were crowned as Australian favourites again this year. Warm and joyous, these two remain popular picks to gift new parents and their tiny tots. If you’re also a fan of these sweet titles, don’t miss the Where is the Green Sheep activity pack, or Nicole Alexander reading Ten Little Fingers and Ten Little Toes and Richard Harris reading Where is the Green Sheep? on YouTube.
Kissed by the Moon by Alison Lester
Part poem, part lullaby, this gentle story celebrates the power of wonder. First published in 2013, Kissed by the Moon is a household favourite and comes in paperback and board book editions, or as a gorgeous book and snuggle blanket box set.
Lynette Noni is Australia’s #1 YA author, and her thrilling new fantasy series has taken off! The first two books, The Prison Healer and The Gilded Cage, were released in 2021 and shot straight to the top of the bestseller lists. Make sure you read them both before the hotly-anticipated final book, The Blood Traitor arrives in June 2022.
Author and entrepreneur Zoë Foster Blake first made herself the queen of comedic picture books in 2017 with the release of No One Likes a Fart, illustrated by Adam Nickel. Since then, Zoë has created more funny books for families including the sequel Fart and Burp are Superstinkers and a joyous role-flipped bedtime story, Back to Sleep, illustrated by Mike Jacobsen. All three of these stories made it into the list of bestselling Australian books in 2021. A special mention to the latest tall tale that is sure to make you giggle: Scaredy Bath, illustrated by Daniel Gray-Barnett, which released in November 2021.
Gracing the top ten for the second year in a row is Terry Denton’s Really Truly Amazing Guide to Everything, a hardback filled with fun facts, Terry’s iconic illustrations and a whole lot of laughs. Read an extract to get a taste! Also, keep your eyes peeled for the next Terry Denton activity book, Terry Denton's Bumper Book of Silly Stuff to Do, out January 2022.
House of Hollow by Krystal Sutherland
House of Hollow was the YA thriller-horror that had us all on the edge of our seats! Nominated for both the Indie Book Awards and Goodreads Choice Awards 2021, this chilling story is not one we’ll forget in a hurry. Watch the book trailer to catch the creeps!
Morris Gleitzman’s award-winning and bestselling series was made complete this year with the release of the final book, Always, in September. The first book in the Felix Collection, Once, was released in 2005 and has become an Australian classic – not only for children, but people of all ages – and has sold over 150,000 copies.
Don’t Forget by Jane Godwin and Anna Walker
Sometimes, we all need a little help to remember the truly important things in life – offering a smile, dreaming, hoping and imagining. The timely Don’t Forget was released in April, right when we all needed it most. Watch the read aloud video with Jane Godwin or take a look behind the scenes in this Meet the Creators video on YouTube.
Friday Barnes 9: No Escape by R.A. Spratt
Look who’s back! Genius detective Friday Barnes is finally out of jail and returning to high school in Friday Barnes 9: No Escape. There’s just one problem – she’s now sworn off all detective work, but the crimes won’t solve themselves . . . R.A. Spratt’s gripping and funny series will have middle-grade readers begging for the next story (which, by the way, comes out in 2022 as Friday Barnes 10: Undercover).
A special mention to John Flanagan’s Ranger’s Apprentice series, as well as Jacqueline Harvey’s Alice-Miranda and Kensy and Max series, Belinda Murrell’s The Golden Tower and Melina Marchetta’s Zola series. We have such an array of fantastic Australian authors and can’t wait to see them grow as we continue to #shoplocal in 2022.
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