Australian Nature Books & Study Booklist
If you are homeschooling in Australia then Australian nature books can be incorporated in to your science curriculum and geography case studies.
Australian Nature Books
Nature stories educate us about places we have never been and places that we have. It’s geography, science and literature rolled up into one lesson. But a nature story brings with it the literary strength of description with rich metaphors and detailed observations.
We may hear the bellbird singing or trample the crispy fallen leaves but do we really think about these things. Australian nature books open up that world of nature to a child. When they appear as a story they are not fact dissections with a few interesting points; they are stories with characters who take us on a journey.
Through nature stories, children can read about creation and learn to wonder. Someone once said, “Nature is God’s second book!”
The Australian Aboriginal people know about the value of nature stories. They have many dreamtime stories that focus on life lessons or creation.
In the early 1900’s there was a move to educate Australian children about the Australian environment (instead of England). A few authors rose to the occasion and wrote Australian nature books that were inspiring, and educating.
Some other titles I would recommend are:
- Sand Swimmers – The Secret Life of Australia’s Dead Heart by Narelle Oliver.
- Walking with the Seasons in Kakadu by Diane Lucas.
Note: Unfortunately many of these books are out of print (OOP) but you can often access them through your library, second hand book stores and online book stores like books & collectibles.
Australian Nature Books For Study
Here is a list of nature study. I have organised the book list using many of the chapters outlined in the Handbook of Nature Study by Anna Comstock.
The Handbook of Nature Study by Anna Comstock is an American book about nature study. It is often used by Charlotte Mason homeschoolers. It gives a good framework for how to study nature.
However some of the nature study examples in this book cannot be found in Australia. So I have put this list together so you can supplement some of the examples with Australian material.
A good living overall reader for Australian Nature is this online ebook:
Australian Nature Books Used For Nature Study
Here is a list of nature study calendars you can use:
- Gum Leaves and Geckoes – Gould League Nature Diary by Alan Reid (OOP)
- Banksia and Bilbies – Seasons of Australia by Alan Reid (OOP)
- A Bush Calendar by Amy Mack. Join the author as she spends a year studying the area around Mosman, Sydney in 1909. If you are homeschooling in NSW this can be a good case study to use as it tracks the changes in one year in one area. You can also go and see how the area has changed since Amy wrote the book.
Amy Mack also wrote The Wilderness a nature story for adults that might be good in the high school years.
Handbook of Nature Study – Australian Substitutes
- A Bush Calendar by Amy Mack. Here she looks at bird and how she finds them in nature during the year.
- Bushland Stories by Amy Mack The Birds Concert, The Birds Alphabet, The Birds Christmas Tree, The Little Black Duck, The White Herons, The Greedy Shag.
- Spotty The Bower Bird by ES Sorenson (this book also includes Jack the Kookaburra and Bluey the Wren)
- What Bird is That by Neville Cayley
- Lyre Bird!: A True Story by Jackie Kerin and Peter Gouldthorpe
- The Singing Garden by CJ Denis A marvellous selection of Australian bird poems. All online.
- Birds in Mind by Andrew Landsdown Over 200 Australian nature poems
- Another large list of bird poetry to add to you nature journal look at these Australian Animal Poems.
- Kojurrie, The Goanna (from Spotty The Bower Bird by ES Sorenson)
- Snakes & Reptiles of Australia (Nature Craft Australia)
- Shy the Platypus by Leslie Rees – this author wrote quite a few nature titles. All of the books are currently out of print but if you see a second hand book with this author grab it.
- Quiyan, The Possum (from Spotty The Bower Bird by ES Sorenson)
- Mundarda by Belinda Brooker. Pygmy possums in Western Australia (OOP)
- Wombat Down Below by Jill Morris (OOP) A good study on the life of a wombat and his night-time habits.
- Diary of A Wombat by Jackie French. Very funny account of a wombat who lived under the authors house.
- Puggle by Catriona Hoy. A lovely story about a baby platypus (OOP)
- Stellaluna – Beautifully illustrated story about a baby fruit bat. Ages 6 – 11 yrs
- The Wonderland of Nature (includes many insects commonly known in Australia)
- Nature Craft Australia includes seashore
- Bushland Stories by Amy Mack The little Angler and The Tales of Tibbie (Great Barrier Reef)
- A Bush Calendar by Amy Mack
- Bushland Stories by Amy Mack includes The Flower Fairies, The Christmas Bells and the Holly Bush
- Australian Bush Fairies by Jan Wade . Wildflower fairy poems. Very Cute (OOP)
- Australian Wildflower Fairies by Nuri Mass – This is a story styled version of similar to Amy Mack’s flower fairies. Nuri wrote it when she was 18 years old.
- Australian Wildflower Magic by Nuri Mass This is more of a factual book that Nuri did later in her life. It has less fairies and more botanical observations.(OOP)
- A Treasury of Australian Wildflowers by Baglin, Mullins and Hurley (OOP)
- A Field Guide to Australian Wildflowers by Margaret Hodgson & Roland Paine (OOP)
- Australian Geographic Gum Blossom Guide
- A Treasury of Australian Wildflowers by Bagins, Mullins and Hurley. This book includes a chapter on Wattle, Eucalypts and Banksia trees.(OOP)
- Bushland Stories by Amy Mack includes: The Three Heroes –The Oak, Willow and Norfolk Pine (set in Sydney’s Botanic Garden), The Leaf that Longed to be Red and The Story of the Turpentines
- The Gallant Gum by Amy Mack – A bushfire story – very moving!
- Bushland Stories by Amy Mack includes The discontented stream and The Wave (Bondi Beach)
- Australian Backyard Astronomy by R Bhathal and J Bhathal