Here are a few novel suggestions of books you might like to study in your homeschool from Australia. Why not use this with Any Novel Novel Guide.
Some of this booklist has been provided by Mary Collis from A Living Education
The Silver Brumby by Elyne Mitchell ©1958
Thowra was born on a stormy night, a silver foal ready for adventure in the Snowy Mountains! With his wise mother Bel Bel, and the rest of the herd they evade the man, the Brolga a fierce stallion, and many other dangers. Thowra and Storm, Thowra’s half brother, leave the herd and live by themselves gathering herds of their own keeping them in “the secret valley.” After a while Thowra is ready to become “King of the Cascade Brumbies,” and defeats the Brolga in a thrilling battle. Review by Robert T Age 13
Verity of Sydney Town Ruth C Williams © 1970 (OOP)
At the turn of the 1800 century, in the time of the early settlement of Sydney, Verity Asherton is in the care of Mr and Mrs Flintley while her father is lost at sea. Mrs Flintley wishes for Verity to leave her home, and arranges with the kind hearted Mr and Mrs Staples to look after Verity at their farm near Parramatta. Verity befriends the Staples son, Humphrey and Britter a convict who is helping Mr Staples as a farm hand. When Mr and Mrs Staples are away visiting their daughter, a gang of bush rangers attack the house. Britter, Humphrey and Verity escape into the bush pursued by the bush rangers. After punching two and throttling another they return to the house to find the kitchen half burnt, and Mr Dillon, Verity’s uncle waiting for them. Mr Dillon takes Verity back to Sydney Town and while staying there her father returns. Review by Robert T Age 13
The Long Walk by Kerry Greenwood © 2004
With a depression in 1929, the Wyatt family is barely making ends meet, and when Isabel Wyatt’s mother is diagnosed with TB (tuberculosis) things look dismal. The four children, Isabel, Johnno, Rosie, and Billy are told that they must be separated into homes for children because their mother is unwell. Their father is far away working on the Great Ocean Road, and they have no near relatives. All of a sudden Isabel creates a pretend aunt that they can travel to so as not to be separated. With the help of kind Mrs. Green they start their journey. Along the way they encounter many helpful and some unkind people. After their adventures the children eventually find their father, and the pretend aunt! Review by Robert T Age 13
We of the Never-Never by Mrs Aeneas Gunn ©1908
A sad and humorous true story written by Jenni Gunn about the year she spent in the Northern Territory on a an outback homestead in the middle of nowhere. She falls in love with the Never Never and the Never Never and it's people fall in love with her. She writes with wit and in the third person.The ending is sad. Suggested Age: 12+ Online version here
Seven Little Australians by Ethel Turner ©1894
A family of children live on a property called Misrule. They are mischievous and their father is strict and uncaring at times but they all love each other fiercely. Australian life in this early colonial days, cattle mustering, picnics, boarding schools etc. Warning a very sad ending. Suggested Age: 13+ Online version here
Other Titles by this Author: The Family at Misrule and Little Mother Meg
John of Sydney Cove by Doris Chadwick ©1957 (OOP)
John is the son of one of the officials who arrives with Governor Phillip and the First Fleet. John tells of the adventures and discoveries that are made during the first year in Australia.Other Titles by this Author are John of the Sirius and John and Nanbaree
Read reviews on these books
This is an eye opening story about what it was like to be an aboriginal growing up in the 1960's. This book traces the family history of an Aboriginal family living in Perth. Sally becomes a Christian in her teens and she is a little surprised to find out that she is Aboriginal because she had been led to believe she was from India. The characters in the story have some very unpleasant things happen to them but the story ultimately brings hope.
I am very glad I read this book. I highly recommend it.
Tiger in the Bush by Nan Chancy© 1957 (OOP)
A young girl lives in an isolated part of the Tasmanian wilderness with her parents. One day she sees a Tasmanian Tiger in the bush. Some scientists come for a visit to try to find this rare animal. Suggested Age: 10+
Meet the Lees by G E Logue© 1946 (OOP)
This is the first book my mother ever remembers reading. It is a happy book set after the war when times were tough but people were optimistic. The children aren't perfect but they are fun. It is not a complicated read. Suggested Age: 10+
River Murray Mary by Colin Thiele See a review on my blog
Hills End by Ivan Southall
See a review on my blog
Australia - Allan Fowler
A large print photographic book about aspects of Australia: cities, deserts, Barrier Reef, sheep, kangaroos, beautiful landscapes and the beach. Ages 4 - 8 yrs
My Story, Australian – various authors
Historically accurate fiction written as the diaries of young people at that time in history in Australia. Your teen won't be able to put them down, and I doubt you will either. Ages 11 –16 yrs
Titles in the series:
A Fortunate Life - A.B. Facey
Bert Facey's childhood ended when he was eight years old. That's when his grandmother had to send him away to work for his keep. Growing up in the vast outback of Western Australia, this extraordinary story is about a resilience that will amaze you. Specially adapted for younger readers (but still 152 pages long in smallish print). Ages 10 - 17 yrs
I Can Jump Puddles - Alan Marshall
Alan Marshall contracted polio as a young boy. This story of his plight, his recovery and how he coped with disability courageously, while growing up in the Australian countryside of the early I 900's, tells about the bushmen, the farmers, the tellers of tall tales and the rough riders in a way that brings it all to life. Ages 10 - 16 yrs.
Escape from Botany Bay - Gerald & Loretta Hausman
The Gallipoli Story - Patrick Carlyon
This story digs past the myths to explore the lives and choices of men - soldiers, politicians and generals alike - who were caught up in this WWI battle far from home. More documentary than the story of one man. Children's Book Council of Australia Short-Listed Book. Ages II - 17 yrs.
The Girl with No Name - Pat Lowe
One of the best books I have read of the tension between aboriginal and white Australian culture today. Set in the Kimberleys (northern WA), Matthew becomes lost while camping and is rescued by an aboriginal girl, out on walkabout with her family. So begins a remarkable friendship. Matthew learns the different way aborigines see life and some of the prejudices white Australians have because of misunderstandings.
Ages 7 - 14 yrs
The Switherby Pilgrim - Eleanor Spence
This Bethlehem book is a tale of the Australian Bush. Miss Braithwaite knows there is no future in England for the ten orphans she has gathered together in the 1820's. Her plan is to take up a landgrant in Australia. Here we see each child emerge with hope and personal dignity. Ages 9 - 17 yrs
Stowaway - Karen Hesse
A story of a boy who stows away on the Endeavour headed to the South Pacific and, in doing so, is with Cook when Australia is discovered by the British. Exciting. Ages 8 — 15 yrs
Nights In The Sun - Colin Bowles
Sam, 14 years old, is being prepared by his father to take over the Sun, the Broome movie theatre, when he retires. It is 1926 and Sam has little interest in such a mundane life. He dreams of being like the cowboys he sees in the movies - he wants to be a hero. Should he become a pearl diver like the Japanese who populate Broome at the time and die so frequently, or a policeman like the father of the girl he wishes he could take out, who boldly stops the inter-racial riots that start between the Japanese, the Philipino luggers and the Chinese? Set in this tough chunk of Asia in Western Australia, amongst the pearl divers and the ocker Aussies who frequent Broome, this is a funny and informative story - I laughed and laughed through it. Note - being a rough place, there are some incidents of coarse language and a few unsavoury comments, fitting with the place and time. Ages 13 - 17 yrs
Soldier Boy - Anthony Hill
The true story of Jim Martin, the youngest Anzac. Jim went to Gallipoli aged 14. His story has been put together from letters he wrote home and the memories of those who knew him. Includes photos from Anzac Cove. Ages 10 - 17 yrs
Aboriginal Spirit - Binmila Yunupingu & Mikayngu Mununggurr
A beautiful black and white photographic book explaining in large print the customs of traditonal peoples of North East Arnhem Land. The roles of men and women, food, ceremonies, stories, crafts, hunting and much more. Ages 5 - 13 yrs
I stumbled on this little beauty. A father goes into the New Zealand gold fields and makes a find. When he comes home sick his son goes to find the gold. Great courage is required by the boy and he finds great comfort in his fathers's bible.
Suggested Age: 10+
Six Little New Zealanders by Esther Glen
© 1917 (OOP)
This title is a parody of The Seven Little Australian. Ester Glen was a contemporary of Ethel Turner. This book is written with good humour and a little cheek. While reading it I had a few laugh out loud experiences. It is about a family who go to live on a farm with their bachelor Uncles.
Comet in the Sky by Phyllis Johnson © 1985
Is a true story about May a girl of 11. It is set in 1909 around the time of Haley's Comet. The story tells about life on a bush farm in New Zealand. The story is full of adventure and challenges. We read it as a read aloud and all enjoyed it.
The Drover's Road Collection - Joyce West
A Bethlehem book of three adventures set in New Zealand. The author grew up in remote country districts of New Zealand and writes stories about warm family relationships and countryside adventures. Three complete books: Drovers Road, Cape Lost and The Golden Country. Ages 8 - 15 yrs