Parenting and Children's Books

Should books be replaced with digital versions?

Alison Bradshaw What would our children really be losing if we replaced all books with digital versions in schools and the library became a thing of the past?

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12 young adult fiction books to read this winter

Escape with a good book this winter.

As long as you have a good book you need never be bored. Here are 12 young adult books that teens (and parents - who are we kidding?) can get their teeth into this winter.

John Green on the experience that enabled him to write 'The Fault In Our Stars'

John Green

Celia Walden John Green's bestseller - a teen romance between cancer sufferers - is credited with launching 'sick lit'. Here he talks about why that label frustrates him and his genuine surprise at the book's success.


Why reading the classics with your children matters

Nova Weetman Children are spoilt for choice when it comes to contemporary books but there is something special to be gained from reading that can only be found in the classics.

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How this young adult fiction book helped me bond with my teens

The power of a good book.

Sarah Wayland A good book has the capacity to draw you in and keep you close long after the last words are read but Sarah Wayland discovered it can also bring you closer to your teenager.

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Teenagers stop reading for pleasure as they age

Why do teens read less for pleasure as they age?

LIVIA GAMBLE Once children reach their teenage years the amount of time they spend reading for pleasure decreases sharply, study finds. Is technology to blame?


Captain Underpants' toilet humour encourages reluctant readers

(L TO R) Max Atkinson 9, Will Atkinson 7 and Tommy Atkinson 5 reading 'Captain Underpants' novels at their home in Waverton. 24th April, 2014. Photo: Kate Geraghty

AMY MCNEILAGE The Tales of Dav Pilkey's Captain Underpants books include wicked wedgies, talking toilets, snotty noses and a scantily clad superhero, an unsavoury recipe that has seduced millions of young boys into reading.


Movie trilogy for Harry Potter spin-off, Fantastic Beasts

Harry Potter with a hippogriff called Buckbeak.

Three Harry Potter spin-off movies based on the magical beasts from the books are being penned by JK Rowling.

8 Parenting books that are worth reading

Books every parent should read ...

The Daily Muse There are plenty of brilliant, articulate parents out there who have penned books that will shape your conception of parenthood for the better. Here are eight of them.


Why Flowers in the Attic still haunts us

FLowers in the attic

Tammy Oler Reading Flowers in the Attic was a rite of passage for teenage girls. The novel recognised a deep and abiding fear that has shaped the women of a generation: the fear of turning becoming our mothers.

Books we read as kids make us who we are today


Diana Elliott Take advice from Australia's richest woman and buy a child a book for Christmas.


Get the kids reading this summer

How to get kids reading this summer.

June Factor The popular author and academic, June Factor, guides parents in encouraging their kids to read.


The great cookbook roadtest

Cookbooks review for Christmas.

From novices to kitchen know-it-alls, there's a cookbook for every Christmas stocking this year.


World's most inspirational female role models in one book


Eliza Sarlos Eliza Sarlos wanted her son to grow up respecting and admiring the capabilities of women, spurred on by a lack of resources she created Amazing Babes, a must-read book for children full of some of the world’s most inspirational female role models.


McDonald's publishes children's books as part of Happy Meal giveaways

Happy Meals in the US will come with books published by McDonald's.

NICK GALVIN Fast food giant McDonald's is set to become one of America's largest publishers of children's books when it distributes 20 million paperbacks next month.


The kids are All Right, Vegemite


Geoff Maslen The tradition of children's play has survived despite increased use of television and video games.


Taking risks with Andy Griffiths

Children's Author Andy Griffiths.

Nick Galvin A willingness to take risks with gross-out humour has made the children's author a hero to younger readers - and a villain to some parents.


Banned book should be taught in schools

Christopher Bantick.

Christopher Bantick The story of sex between a teacher and her student is worth discussing.


Plenty of kidding around


Stephanie Owen Reeder enjoys some seriously funny picture books.

The darker side of children's books

Catcing Fire

Sarah Macdonald When should parents start introducing concepts of cruelty, poverty, death and disaster in literature?


Who should teach our kids to read?

Make reading a daily ritual with your kids ...

Josefa Pete The responsibility is often put on teachers but parents play a vital role in fostering a love of reading in their kids long before they walk through the school gates.

Out the gate and off like a rocket


Tom Hunt Hairy Maclary - the one from Donaldson's Dairy - lay for years as no more than a sketch in a book of ideas.

Goonies inspired Columbus' first novel


KATIE CARLIN Kids don’t have to travel far for an action packed adventure these school holidays; they simply have to open up Chris Columbus’ first novel, House of Secrets.

Gwyneth's ingredients for the good life


Elaine Lipworth Gwyneth Paltrow talks to Elaine Lipworth about the health scare that prompted her latest cookbook, her young family, and why she has scaled back her acting career.

Turning children in to readers

Children's Book Festival

AMY GRAY With the Children's Book Festival underway this weekend, we find out what books famous authors read to their own children.


Mother of boys tells of lessons learned


Lisa Salmon Hannah Evans is a MOB three times over. And as a MOB - Mother of Boys - she has come to the conclusion that bringing up boys "is like dealing with dogs".

Books to chase kids' worries away


Stephanie Owen Reeder delves into picture books that deal with childhood fear.

Inspiring books for girls


AMY GRAY With Christmas around the corner, there are a host of present types we all dread for our girls but there is one gift that gives more than the others.

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How not to be the perfect mother


Sandy Smith Put away your Gina Ford and Dr Spock - there's a sh*tty mum side to us all.


JK Rowling leaves 'Door ajar' for Potter world

JK RowlingRowling.jpg

Robert Dex JK Rowling has left "the door ajar" for a return to the world of Harry Potter but said there would be no more books about the young wizard.

Stories that go 'bump' in the night


LINDA MORRIS One night, while drawing the curtains on her apartment windows, Deborah Abela saw her one and only ghost. In the pitch black, kneeling on her bed, she saw a face. Her beloved but frail nanna had died five or so years before but there she was, younger and watchful.

Harry Potter banned by Christian school

Harry Potter

Alison Branley Medowie Christian School has defended a decision to ban witches and warlocks from its annual book week parade and the Harry Potter series from the school library.


A childhood full of books


CYNTHIA BANHAM What a perplexing time to become a new parent. The latest popular books on the subject say that unless you are French you probably are bringing up your child to be a lazy, selfish brat.

Top five tips to get your child reading


Whether your children are just starting to engage with books or you're struggling to find a book to interest your older child Dymocks has some tips on how to foster a love for reading in your kids.

Finding her way through the fog


KATIE CARLIN There are some stories that stay with you long after you finish reading them. They are usually the ones that make you stop and take stock of your life. My Life in a Pea Soup by Lisa Nops is one such story.

Discovery and adventure in your own backyard


KATIE CARLIN Do you have an inquisitive nature lover in your household? Well the Australian Backyard Naturalist is the book for them. Full of interesting facts, stories and projects to help kids learn and engage with the animals, birds and insects living in their own backyard.

Building bonds that won't break


Emily Anderson Many a parent has lamented the fact that children don't arrive with manuals but building a relationship with your child that encourages, secures and guides them in the right direction is possible.

'Wild Things' writer dies at 83

Maurice Sendak

Maurice Sendak didn't think of himself as a children's author, but as an author who told the truth about childhood.

Top EK reads


Today is national Drop Everything and Read (D.E.A.R) day and to celebrate the Essential Kids team took a trip down memory lane to bring you our favourite childhood books.

Girls have been hungry for this revolutionary heroine

Dannielle Miller

Dannielle Miller If sales of the books and early movie tickets for the new teen fiction series The Hunger Games are anything to go by, it seems teen girls are starved for a heroine with real fire.

The rules of attachment


Carmen Michael A new book has criticised hands-on parenting techniques, but are they simply a rational response to a rapidly changing and competitive world?

Cool characters

Stay in the good books

Full page illustration from A Bus Called Heaven

FRANCES ATKINSON We up some summer children's titles from top Australian and international talent.

I should be so plucky


Stephanie Peatling No damsels in distress, the adventurous girls in children's books inspired the first flush of feminism in Stephanie Peatling.

Welcome to your child’s brain


LAKSHMI SINGH The authors of a new book "Welcome To Your Child’s Brain – From in Utero to Uni" have one message for parents who wallow in guilt about their style of parenting - “Take a deep breath and relax.” Fretting over small aspects of parenting or over scheduling kids with activities aimed to “improve” them will not necessarily make them more successful.

Super tips to uncover your supermum persona

frustrated mum

KATIE CARLIN For everyone who feels their supermum title is hanging by a thread, that is to assume it ever existed in the first place, there is still hope.

Down time

Why lazy parents make happy families

Generic pic of a woman asleep in a hammock, holiday, vacation, relaxation, sleeping, sleep.

A new book advocates hands-off parenting for the entire family's sake.

For kids or not for kids - that is the question

Nicki Greenberg

Carolyn Webb The winner of one of Australia's top children's book awards says her book is not for young children.

Children's book awards controversial results


The Children's Book Council of Australia has sparked controversy in the past for its choices in the Book of the Year Awards.

Cartoon families are driving me to distraction

Andrew Daddo

ANDREW DADDO The car in front of me has two kids, a dog, cat, tennis-playing mum and surfing dad. It's a cute-looking family in a cartoonish kind of way.

Lunch with Andy Griffiths

Lunch with Andy Griffiths at Shakahari.

Lindy Percival He might write like a ratbag, but the fart jokes and food fights are all in his imagination.

Your mother, yourself

Mum thumb

Alyssa McDonald Is it our own flaws that we hate most in our mums and daughters?

Children's literature not just kid's stuff

Zoe Walton

Linda Morris Eight years ago, Random House Australia sent a 12-year-old schoolboy a manuscript from a new name in children's fiction. The publishing house wanted feedback for The Ranger's Apprentice.

Publishers tap into the experience of youth

From the mouths of babes ... aithor Belinda Murrell has made the most of young reader input, including her own daughter Emily, seated right, with Hannah Piggott.

Linda Morris Young reviewers are helping shape book covers and even marketing campaigns.

Setting your child up on the right reading path

Parent reading with child

Jo-Anne Dooner Introducing early reading skills at home is vital!

Kylie Orr's blog

Parenting with a hangover: someone get me a bucket

Kylie Orr

Kylie Orr I’ve been pregnant and/or breastfeeding since Adam was a boy, so I struggle to remember the last time I overindulged with alcohol. The memories of hangovers, however, stick like barnacles on my brain.

Kylie Orr's blog

Ever get sick of saying “no”?

Kylie Orr Let's face it: "No" is convenient. It is fast. It is less disruptive to what I am in the middle of and deceivingly simpler than making a well thought-out decision. I often wonder if my kids will grow up thinking I was "Captain No" closely followed by the Fun Police.

Kylie Orr's blog

Would you pack up and move overseas?

Travel with children

Kylie Orr A friend of mine has just accepted a job in the UK. He is bundling up his wife and two young children and taking the plunge. Another friend is off to Kenya with her husband and three young boys.

Kylie Orr's blog

You couldn't pay me enough to be a celebrity mum


Kylie Orr Would you like to be a celebrity mum? Do you empathise with the caged bird existence they lead?

Kylie Orr's blog

Pocket money or slave labour?


Kylie Orr The opportunities to teach our children the value of money through pocket money seem too important to ignore; how to save, smart expenditure, living within their means (haven't quite learnt that one myself yet), sharing money by donating to charity, and the finality of spending.

Kylie Orr's blog

Dreading "Daddy day" - overly ambitious stay-at-home dads

Dad and daughter

Kylie Orr Twelve months ago my husband had a mini crisis. He was sick of working like a dog, running his own business. He wanted more time to wade through his home projects list and play a more active role in raising our young family. Nothing new to the modern family dilemma.

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