The best picture books of 2016

Every year our staff vote for their favourite books, albums, films and TV shows of the past 12 months. Here are our top 10 picture books of the year, voted for by Readings' staff, and displayed in no particular order.

(You can find all our best picks for books, CDs & DVDs of 2016 here.)


Ada Twist, Scientist by Andrea Beaty and David Roberts

Ada does not speak until she is three, but once she starts she makes up for lost time by constantly asking questions. She is intrigued by a terrible smell and embarks upon the scientific method to discover its source. Wonderful rhyming text, exquisite illustrations evoking mid-century design and a strong-willed, curious main character make this picture book an absolute stunner.

Angela Crocombe


I am Doodle Cat by Kat Patrick and Lauren Marriott

Doodle Cat is a whole lot of fun to have around! This inclusive story offers a playful reminder for children (and the adults who read with them) to love themselves, accept difference and look out for the silliness and greatness in everything. A joyful and life-affirming read.

Stella Charls


We Found a Hat by Jon Klassen

Staff favourite Jon Klassen returns with another lovely hat book. This one features two shifty-eyed desert dwelling tortoises who find a covetable hat. Two tortoises, one hat, and a great open ending make this book a great family gift, for kids and parents and hat enthusiasts alike.

Georgia Delaney


Cloth Lullaby by Amy Novesky and Isabelle Arsenault

Every now and then a picture book comes along that is perfect in every way, such is Cloth Lullaby. Based on the life of renowned artist Louise Bourgeois, the book explores her art and her inspirational sensitivity with a beauty and lyricism I found exhilarating and moving. Not to be missed.

Alexa Dretzke


Welcome to Country by Aunty Joy Murphy and Lisa Kennedy

The perfect introduction to the traditions and culture of the Wurundjeri people, with simple descriptions of the Wominjeka (welcome) ceremony, totem spirit Bunjil the eagle and the sacred River White Gum tree. Themes of acknowledgement, respect and generosity shine through from Wurundjeri author and Senior Elder Aunty Joy Murphy, and the accompanying paintings by Lisa Kennedy in earthy browns, blues and greens are gorgeous.

Leanne Hall


Home in the Rain by Bob Graham

Another wonderful Bob Graham book celebrating everyday family life. In Home in the Rain, Francie and her mum in their little red car somehow turn a trip on the freeway in pouring rain into an memorable and magical time. For ages 3 and up.

Kathy Kozlowski


They All Saw a Cat by Brendan Wenzel

One cat, so many points of view! As the cat passes all the creatures he knows, each one ‘sees’ it in a unique way. To the mouse it’s a red terror, to the worm a series of vibrations, to the fish a giant set of eyes. A beautiful book to teach children about perception.

Kate O’Mara


Lots by Marc Martin

I may be biased because he painted the beautiful mural in our new Readings Kids shop, but Marc Martin may be one of the best picture book writers and illustrators in Australia. Lots is full of hundreds of strange beautifully painted little collections and facts about well … everything! (Almost.)

Dani Solomon


Ada’s Ideas by Fiona Robinson

This is an empowering and inspiring picture book celebrating the life of a remarkable woman – a creative genius, a century ahead of her time. Ada Lovelace was arguably the world’s first computer programmer, who found poetry in numbers. Her creative pioneering spirit is chronicled with charming wit and humour, the surreal dreamlike illustrations capturing her formidable ingenuity. For age 6 and up.

Athina Clarke


The Journey by Francesca Sanna

The Journey is my favourite book this year. Partly inspired by a true story Francesca Sanna heard while visiting a refugee centre in Italy, this is the emotional tale of the plight of a young family of refugees, yet the overall tone is surprisingly hopeful and vibrant. For age 7 and up.

Alistair Mathieson-Lynn

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Welcome To Country

Welcome To Country

Aunty Joy Murphy, Lisa Kennedy

$26.99Buy now

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