Australian Nature Stories
Using nature stories as a part of your child’s education is such a valuable and enjoyable experience.
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. Nature stories open up that world of nature to a child. 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 nature stories that were inspiring, educating and very Australian.
I want to share some of Australian Nature Stories for kids that I have found. These stories are stories about the animals as they are found in nature . They are not silly personified stories.
Australian Nature Story Collection. These charming stories from Amy Mack’s Bushland Stories and a range of other classic nature writers will teach about Australian habitats,ecosystems, the life cycle of insects and birds, changes to plants over the seasons, the devastation of bushfires, the importance of nature conservation, and the splashes of waves on a beach. I’ve picked out the best of these collections (and left out the boring ones).
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 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:
Nature Study – Australian Calendars
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)
- Bushland Calendar by Amy Mack. Join the author as she spends a year studying Australian nature in 1909.
Amy Mack also wrote The Wilderness a nature story for adults that might be good in the highschool 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!
- Australian Backyard Astronomy by R Bhathal and J Bhathal