The best picture books of 2019

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, music & DVDs of 2019 here.)


All of the Factors of Why I Love Tractors by Davina Bell & Jenny Løvlie

Frankie can’t be deterred from his love of tractors and he patiently explains to his exasperated mother the shining practicality of this magnificent machinery. The gleeful verse zips along accompanied by equally joyful illustrations. Tractors have never seemed more desirable and, of course, their usefulness can’t be denied! For ages 2+.


Baby Business by Jasmine Seymour

Celebrating a traditional welcome for new babies in Darug culture, Baby Business follows the women of a family as they envelop a newborn with love. With gentle words from ancestral songs, the women invoke the laws of their land and offer wisdom for living and dreaming. Imbued with serenity, Baby Business is like a lovely lullaby. For ages 2+.


Lottie and Walter by Anna Walker

Sometimes life can be scary; sometimes you need a walrus called Walter to help you feel safe! If you are a shark in the water, watch out, Walter is there. Scared of the dark? No worries. Lottie is inhibited by imagined and real challenges and this sweet, quiet book follows her as she blossoms, with help from Walter. For ages 2+.


Wilam: A Birrarung Story by Aunty Joy Murphy, Andrew Kelly & Lisa Kennedy

‘Wilam’ means home in Woiwurrung language and this superb book shimmers with beautifully evoked landscapes as it follows the passage of Birrarung (the Yarra River) from the mountains to the sea. The animals and natural world are named in Woiwurrung throughout, so readers can guess and learn (there’s a glossary). This will become an Australian classic. For ages 3+.


Charles Darwin’s On the Origin of Species by Sabina Radeva

This is a terrific introduction to Charles Darwin and his theories on the origin of species, evolution and natural selection. Complex scientific ideas are distilled into easily understood text that is facilitated by superb illustrations. This is wonderful nonfiction for inspiring children’s natural curiosity. For ages 4+.


Don’t Worry, Little Crab by Chris Haughton

Chris Haughton’s books are stylistically gorgeous with delicious colours and a simple, visual eloquence. Little Crab lives in a small rock pool but excitedly ventures with Very Big Crab to the sea. Little Crab’s bravado takes a dive when they reach the edge, but after a big wave finally sends them to the bottom of a varied and colourful sea, timidity is cast aside by wonder. Perfect for 18 months+.


Fashionista by Maxine Beneba Clarke

Fashionista bursts energetically from the pages, it hums with movement, colour and rhythm. The diversity of people, clothes and lives celebrates individuality and passion for life. A wonderful combination of collage and watercolour contribute to the originality of Fashionista and the verse complements the artwork perfectly. For ages 3+.


Madame Badobedah by Sophie Dahl & Lauren O'Hara

Madame Badobedah imperiously arrives at Mabel’s family hotel with a menagerie of pets and many trunks bursting with what Mabel believes is the cache of a supervillain. Naturally, fanciful storyteller Mabel turns her talents to being a spy and a friendship grows where secrets are respected and eccentricities admired. I loved this gorgeously illustrated longer-form story. For ages 4+.


The Tiny Star by Mem Fox & Freya Blackwood

The passage of life is lovingly portrayed by two of our masters of the picture book. The preciousness of family and community is honoured, along with the narrative of a life well lived and truly appreciated. The words and pictures integrate into an organic whole – it’s perfection. For ages 3+.


Our Little Inventor by Sher Rill Ng

The endpapers say it all for this story in which a polluted city finds a saviour in a young girl who has invented a machine to alleviate the problem. Atmospheric pictures provide an ominous setting as intrepid Nell confronts those in power only to be mocked and sent away, yet her persistence wins the day and is ultimately championed. For ages 3+.

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Lottie and Walter

Lottie and Walter

Anna Walker

$24.99Buy now

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