Reading books aloud to children stimulates their imagination and expands their understanding of the world. It helps them develop language and listening skills, and prepares them to understand the written word.

Somebody's Land: Welcome to Our Country, by Adam Goodes and Ellie Laing
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Join Centre Director Rachel, from SDN Pyrmont, for a narration of a story about the Aboriginal roots of Australia. 'Somebody's Land: Welcome to Our Country' is written by Adam Goodes and Ellie Laing and illustrated by David Hardy.

Some Brains, by Nelly Thomas
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Join Early Childhood Educator David, from SDN Surry Hills, for a story celebrating neurodiversity.

The story 'Some Brains' written by author Nelly Thomas reminds us of the beauty in the different thoughts, ideas, and coping mechanisms that we, as individuals, experience each day. The ways in which each of our brains work are what make us all uniquely different. 

My Family Lunch, by Jen Blyth and Kerrie Taylor
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Celebrate Auslan Day with us by following along with a special Auslan story narrated by SDN Hurstville Centre Director, Amanda.

In the story "My Family Lunch", written by Jen Blyth and Kerrie Taylor, a character named Jamie takes us through a lunch with her family using signs about food, family members, and more.

Be Exactly Who You Are! by Laura Geh
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An empowering tale that reminds children to be exactly who we are, no matter what kinds of things we like and enjoy. Written by Laura Geh and narrated by our SDN Service Enquiry Team member, Melissa, who has a background in early childhood education and care.

Family Ever After, by Justine Ablett
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Embrace the spirit and diversity of families together with us via a reading from our SDN Hurstville Centre Director, Amanda.

"Family Ever After" by Justine Albett, is a story about a mouse named Mo and his newly-adopted chick who together create and celebrate a wonderfully diverse family.

Day Break, by Amy McQuire
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Day Break is a powerful story written by Amy McQuire, a Darumbal and South Sea Islander woman from Rockhampton in Central Queensland. It is told from the perspective of a young Aboriginal child, following their family's journey back to country on 26 January.

This narration is brought to you by our educator Kate, from SDN Linthorpe St, Newtown.

Grug and his first Christmas, by Ted Prior
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Written by Australian children's author Ted Prior, this is a cheerful story about a character named Grug who learns about Christmas for the very first time.

Along with its colourful illustrations, this is the perfect tale for getting children into the Christmas spirit.

SAFE Book series, by NSW OCG
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The Office of the Children’s Guardian (OCG) has developed a series of four children’s books known as the SAFE series.

The series has been developed as a tool to introduce the concept of personal safety in a non-confrontational way to children under the age of six.

Our SDN Hurstville Centre Director, Amanda, narrates all four books in the series below.

1. Sam the safe explorer


Sam the safe explorer looks at how children recognise safe and unsafe spaces. Its purpose is to help
children recognise how they feel in places - if they are scared or upset, even in familiar places.


2. Andie learns the undies rule


Andy learns the undies rule is a non-confrontational way of explaining to children how the parts of their bodies covered by their underwear are private. The book reinforces the rights of children to say ‘no’ if they feel uncomfortable.

3. Fiona finds five heroes


Fiona finds five heroes promotes the concept of children having a support network of five people they can turn to if they are feeling sad, scared or upset. It aims to undermine the use of secrecy that many abusers rely upon and also helps children understand there are always people they can turn to for help.

4. Eve listens to her feelings


Eve listens to her feelings and teaches children to recognise when they are feeling sad, scared or upset and shows them that it is fine to communicate these feelings. The book helps children build confidence so that they have a voice and a sense of empowerment.

The Feeling Series, by Tracey Moroney
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The Feelings Series is an 10-part book collection, written and illustrated by Trace Moroney.

This series is designed to help children better understand their feelings and how to identify, manage and express them in an appropriate and acceptable way.

The full series contains, "When I'm Feeling..."

  1. Jealous
  2. Disappointed
  3. Love
  4. Scared
  5. Angry
  6. Sad
  7. Kind
  8. Lonely
  9. Nervous
  10. Happy

SDN Hurstville Centre Director, Amanda, narrates some of the series for us below.

1. When I'm feeling Angry


2. When I'm feeling sad


3. When I'm feeling kind

Puff, the Magic Dragon, by Lenny Lipton and Peter Yarrow
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For Book Week 2022, we bring you the fantastical story of "Puff, the Magic Dragon", by Lenny Lipton and Peter Yarrow.

This book contains rhythm, rhyme and repetition to tell the wondrous tale of one dragon's adventures.

Narrated (and sung) by SDN Hurstville Centre Director, Amanda, who is also dressed as the incredible Puff, the Magic Dragon!

Top 10 books for children 3-5 years, as recommended by SDN Pyrmont
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This top 10 books for children ages 3-5 years has been lovingly put together in collaboration by children and educators at SDN Pyrmont.

1. The Invisible String by Patrice Karst

A powerful story about the connection between loved ones, even when apart. This book is particularly wonderful for children experiencing separation anxiety, grief or bed time worries.

2. Every Family is Different by Maureen Eppen

This book celebrates the diversity of different families and the one thing that links them all- love.


3. Piranhas Don’t Eat Bananas by Aaron Blabey

A fun, funny story that young children find hilarious about a piranha named Brian who loves to eat fruit, much to the disgust of his friends.

4. Day Break by Amy McQuire

Written from the perspective of a young Aboriginal child this story follows a family as they journey back to country on January 26.

5. Big Rain Coming by Katrina Germain

This story, coupled with stunning illustrations by renowned artist Brownwyn Bancroft, follows a family over the course of a week as they await a storm and find ways to cool down in the heat.

6. Pig The Pug by Aaron Blabey

Preschoolers love this story about a dog that doesn’t like to share, and the trouble he finds himself in. There are several great books in this series.

7. Change Starts With Us by Sophie Beer

Bright, captivating illustrations accompany the messages in this book about all of the small actions we can take to care for our world.

8. Finding Our Heart by Thomas Mayor

A picture book written for young children which explains The Uluru Statement From The Heart.

9. Who Sank the Boat by Pamela Allen

A fun story about a group of animals who decide to go for a row in the bay. Children love the repetition and the anticipation of guessing who sank the boat. This story is also a great springboard for science and mathematics learning around concepts such as capacity, floating and sinking.

10. Our Home Our Heartbeat by Adam Briggs

A beautiful book written in response to Archie Roach’s Took the Children Away. This book celebrates the power and bright future of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children. It also references the achievements of high profile Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people across many sectors of society including music, sport and politics.

Top 10 books for children 0-3 years, as recommended by SDN Pyrmont
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This top 10 books for children ages 0-3 years has been lovingly put together in collaboration by children and educators at SDN Pyrmont.

1. Hairy Maclary From Donaldson’s Dairy by Lynley Dodd

Children love the rhyme and repetition in this classic story about Hairy Maclary and his friends out for a walk. There are several wonderful books in this series.

2. The Very Cranky Bear by Nick Bland

This humorous book follows a moose, a lion and a zebra as they try to find ways to cheer up a very cranky bear. There are several books in this series that young children love too!

3. We're Going on a Bear Hunt by Michael Rosen

This book is a classic for a reason! Young children love the repetition and the build up of anticipation as the story progresses. This book is also a great springboard for dramatic play as children can go on their own bear hunt, mimicking each of the obstacles that the family move through in the book.

4. Where’s Spot by Eric Hill

A classic lift the flap book! Young children love the interactive nature of this book as they try to find that cheeky puppy Spot.

5. When You’re Going To The Moon by Sasha Beekman

This is a lovely book about the power of children’s imaginations and the seemingly limitless opportunities that the world offers young minds.

6. The Magic Hat by Mem Fox

This book uses rhyme, repetition and humour as a magic hat wreaks havoc on a small town, turning people into different animals along the way. It is a fun story to read aloud.

7. You’re a Big Sister/ You’re a Big Brother by David Bedford

These books are perfect for preparing a young child for the arrival of a new sibling. They use humour to highlight the realities (both good and bad) of life with a new baby in a way that empowers the big sibling-to be.

8. Rudie Nudie by Emma Quay

This cheeky (mind the pun) story highlights the joy and adventure that can be found in an everyday routine.

9. Love Makes a Family by Sophie Beer

This book uses bold, colourful illustrations depicting diverse families to discuss the different ways that our families show us love.

10. Time for Bed by Mem Fox

Say good night to each of the baby animals as they settle in for the night. A perfect bed time read.


One, by Kathryn Otoshi
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This book, titled "One" by Kathryn Otoshi, helps children learn about numbers, counting, and colours in a fun way.

It also teaches them about accepting each other's differences and how it sometimes just takes one voice to make everyone count.

Read by David, Early Childhood Educator at SDN Surry Hills.

My Mum's the best, by Rosie Smith
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Looking for a short and heartfelt story that's perfect for Mother's Day, other family days and simply any ocassion to tell Mum you love her? You've found it here!

This story contains different reasons for why 'My Mum's The Best', and is wonderfully written by Rosie Smith. It also features beautiful illustrations by Bruce Whetley that will excite animal-lovers, big and small.


My Brother, Otto, by Meg Raby
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We are so excited to bring this story from one of our incredible team members at SDN Beranga Autism-Specific Preschool. Gianna, an educator from Beranga's Emu Room, reads us the story of "My Brother Otto".This heart-warming picture book tells the story of Piper and her little brother Otto, who is on the autism spectrum. Children are able to listen to this and learn more about what autism may be like, the unique strengths they may have and what true love and acceptance for autistic children looks like.


The Colour Monster, by Anna Llenas
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The colour monster is a book about emotions, providing children of all kinds a creative and fun way to explore the many feelings they may experience.This story is narrated by our lovely Occupational Therapist, Mariam. In her therapy, Mariam loves providing collaborative support to children with self-regulation, emotional regulation,  behaviours, toileting, school readiness, and more. 


Emily Loves to Bounce, by Stephen Michael King
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This narration of "Emily loves to bounce" is brought to us by one of our Speech Pathologists, Roslyn. Ros is passionate about supporting families to develop their communication and social children’s skills, during their daily routines and interactions.She uses Key Word Sign and gestures to tell the story of Emily, an energetic young girl who loves nothing more than to bounce around! Key Word Sign is one way we use to as support the communication of children with communication needs, especially autistic children who may be non-verbal.


Whoever You Are, by Mem Fox
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Join us and SDN Hurstville Centre Director Amanda, in closing off Harmony Week with a reading of "Whoever you are", illustrated by Leslie Staub and written by Mem Fox.

This is a lovely story which recognises our differences yet also our acknowledges our similarities 'wherever you are, whoever you are all around the world.'






Birdie and the flood, by Andrea Murray
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Nicole Barclay, SDN's wonderful Centre Administrator Team Leader, reads us 'Birdie and the floods' by Andrea Murray and Anil Tortop.
This story helps children understand the impacts of floods, via the story of Birdie and Mr. Frog, who must leave their homes during a terrifying flood. After the flood they are frightened and sad until their friends and others come to help.
We hope that this story gives anyone experiencing (or who has experienced) the devastation of flooding some momentary relief and hope for the future.
Friends, by Eric Carle
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SDN Mosman's Centre Director, Georgia, takes us through a heart-warming story about two friends who move apart but eventually find a way back to each other.

Written by the creator of the all-time classic, 'Very Hungry Caterpillar', this story may provide comfort to children learning to deal with moving away from friends.


Lanterns and Firecrackers, by Johnny Zucker
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'Lanterns and Firecrackers' is a story about Lunar New Year customs, traditions and celebrations. Enjoy this narration by Amanda, Centre Director at SDN Hurstville.

Story written by Johnny Zucker and illustrated by Jan Barger.

I'm Australian Too, by Mem Fox
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Amanda, Centre Director at SDN Hurstville shares a wonderful reading of "I'm Australian Too," written by Mem Fox and illustrated by Ronojoy Ghosh.

Jack's Funtastic Day, by Angela Barrett
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Enjoy an adventurous story about Jack and his fun-filled day.

Story written by Angela Barrett and read by our Early Childhood Teacher Fay, at SDN Hurstville.

The Australian 12 days of Christmas, by Heath McKenzie
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Sit back as Amanda from SDN Hurstville sings the story of a very Australian Christmas.

Thank you Heroes - Michael Emmerson and Patricia Hegarty
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Amanda from SDN Hurstville reads a story thanking our essential workers.

Room on the Broom - by Julia Donaldson
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Amanda from SDN Hurstville reads children’s favourite Room on the Broom- dressed as a witch!


Kindness Makes Us Strong, By Sophie Beer
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Join Senior Educator Elyssa, from SDN Hamilton Street in Bathurst, for a story reading of ‘Kindness makes us strong’ by Sophie Beer.

This is a book that shows the way kindness helps build friendship and community.

One Little Dinosaur, by Pip Williams
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Count along with SDN Ngallia educator Princess, as she follows the adventure of a growing number of dinosaurs.



Spot goes to the Park, by Eric Hill
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Follow Spot's adventures in the park, read by SDN Ngallia educator Princess.

Macca the Alpaca, by Matt Cosgrove
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Follow the adventures of Macca the Alpaca as he discovers that size doesn’t really matter. Read by Carolyn from SDN Hamilton Street in Bathurst.

Tiger Days, by M.H Clark
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Enjoy a reading of Tiger Days written by M.H Clark, shared by Sara, educator at SDN Lady McKell.

This is a wonderful book to recognise emotions through storytelling. Through reading stories that focus on emotions, children are able to recognise their own emotions and they will come to see that no matter how they act or feel each day, they are always accepted as themselves. 

Other books we recommend that talk about emotions are:

  • In My Heart by Jo Witek  
  • The Feelings Series by Tracey Moroney  
  • Feelings; Inside my heart and in my head by Libby Walden  
I Do It, by Andrew Daddo & Jonathan Bentley
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Amanda from SDN Hurstville shares a reading of 'I do it' by Andrew Daddo & Jonathan Bentley.

It's the Bear, by Jez Alborough
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Amanda shares a reading of one of her favourite stories. 'It's the Bear' by Jez Alborough.

Things I Love about Family, by Trace Moroney
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Amanda shares a reading of a wonderful book, 'Things I love about my family' by Trace Moroney.

Top 10 books for children 0-2, as recommended by SDN Paddington
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Reading books to children stimulates their imagination, expands their understanding of the world and it’s great for future literacy skills. Reading is great fun for children, but these top ten recommendations from our infant and toddler specialists at SDN Paddington make reading aloud fun for adults too.

1. Brown Bear What Do You See? – Bill Martin Jnr/Eric Carle 
This book has rhyming verse, repeats important verses and has attractive illustrations. The full package!

2. That’s Not My… series – Fiona Watt/Rachel Wells
The sensory aspect of this series is very appealing to infants and toddlers. These books are also a great way to introduce reading a series of books.

3. Blue and Other Colours – Phaidon editors
A picture book showcasing colours through the art of Henri Matisse. The bold, colourful and contrasting designs on each page are a huge visual attraction to younger children (0-1 years).

4. Pig in the Pond – Martin Waddell
This book is hilarious! Along with its sense of fun this book supports infants’ and toddlers’ language with repetitive and fun words and short sentences and attractive illustrations.

5. Owl Babies– Martin Waddell
Owls are of great interest to many of our Infants and toddlers and this book combines this interest with their interest in family.

6. My First London Bus – Marion Billet
This was a gift from one of our Paddington families and gave us an insight into a part of their family culture. The simple and effective way it describes life in London really speaks to the 0-2’s age group.

7. Dance – Matthew Van Fleet
We love this book because of its connection to music and dance. Rock out together with the accompanying song that can be downloaded with the book.

8. Each, Peach, Pear, Plum – Janet Ahlberg
A classic read for infants. The rhyme, illustration and peep holes in this book combine to make a favourite for adults and infants alike. This book also engages toddlers with its story relating to what might be similar to their day to day life.

9. Where is the green sheep?– Mem Fox
With the repetitive verse young toddlers will be joining in reading with you in no time! Concepts such as up and down, scared and brave, and near and far, as well as colours and shapes and various others are also introduced.

10. Goodnight Moon– Margaret Wise Brown
The perfect bedtime story! The rhyming text makes it a great choice for younger babies. Toddlers may identify with the bunny's desire to stay awake, but will soon find themselves calm and ready for bed, thanks to the soothing rhyme and description of the bedtime routine.

Top 10 books for preschoolers, as recommended by SDN Paddington
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The preschool years are a period of rapid language development and an excellent time to update your child’s library with books that introduce new words and cater to their interests. Our preschool teachers at SDN Paddington recently sat down to create a list of their top ten books for preschoolers.

1.Beautiful Oops by Barney Salzbeg
Lift the flaps to find out how a mistake can be an opportunity to make something beautiful.

2. How to catch a star by Oliver Jeffers
Beautifully illustrated, this book can be used as a stepping stone to deeper conversations and a trigger for the imagination.

3. Shh …we have a plan by Chris Haughton
A gorgeous picture book about what happens when plans gone awry. Your child will love the humour, repetition and rhythm in this book.

4. The Polar Bear by Jenni Desmond
A beautifully illustrated non-fiction book about the polar bear’s habitat, food sources and life cycle.

5. The Book with No Pictures by B.J. Novak
Any book with the line ‘my head is made of blueberry pizza” is always going to be a winner. This book will have your children (and you) laughing out loud.

6. The Wonky Donkey by Craig Smith
What do you call a three legged donkey? A wonky! The children will love the repetition in this book and you’ll love the humour.

7. The Gruffalo by Julia Donaldson
The rhyme and repetition and twist in the plot make it hard to go past this classic.


8. Bamboozled by David Legge
There’s something a little different about Grandad’s house. Can your child figure it out?

9. How Many Jelly Beans? by Andrea Menotti
A fun and colourful way for children to learn about numbers.

10. Where the forest meets the sea by Jeannie Baker
Take a trip through the forest and imagine how it looked a million years ago in this classic from 1988.

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