Australian Children’s Literature

The first book written for Australian children can be traced back to A Mother’s Offering For Her Children (1841) by Charlotte Barton. She wrote the book to entertain her children, but also to earn money to take care of them after running from her ex-husband, their stepfather, in an effort to keep them safe from his rages. This story is recounted in The River Charm by Belinda Murrell, one of her descendants, who writes historical time slip novels for children, including The Locket of Dreams, The Ruby Talisman, The Sapphire Star, The Forgotten Pearl, The Ivory Rose and the latest, The Lost Sapphire. Up until the publication of Charlotte Barton’s book, Australian children had read the same stories as children in Britain, and still did up until the end of the Second World War. The end of this war heralded a call for children’s stories in Australia, and the formation of the Children’s Book Council of Australia, and speciality bookstores.