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    19 Books Australians Who Grew Up In The '90s And '00s Probably Forgot About Until Now

    There was nothing quite like the golden age of library beanbag chairs and designated reading time.

    1. The JUST! series by Andy Griffiths and illustrated by Terry Denton

    Pan Macmillan Australia

    Something about these books just didn't feel like reading. They were fun, had great illustrations and were full of gross fart and burp jokes. What's not to love?!

    2. The Rainbow Fish by Marcus Pfister

    Book cover shows a fish swimming in the ocean with some of its scales sparkling like glitter while the other scales are of varying colour
    Simon & Schuster

    Before we had Nemo, we had our beloved Rainbow Fish. I think this book was about sharing and not being vain, but honestly all I remember is how shiny the front cover was.

    3. Greetings from Sandy Beach by Bob Graham

    Family sits at the bottom of the sand dune with the water in the background as children above them jump off the top of the dune, about to land on them
    Hachette Australia

    This book was an absolute killer. It was so funny and it made you want to be on holiday with this family as they dealt with those loud kids and bikies. A classic pre-summer holiday library loan out.

    4. Wilfrid Gordon McDonald Partridge by Mem Fox and illustrated by Julie Vivas

    A drawing of an older woman sitting on a wicker chair as a kid on a skateboard whizzes around behind
    Scholastic Australia

    We should've all grown up living next to a nursing home! This book taught us about the elderly, about how the mind works and how special friendships can be — no matter who they are with.

    5. The Selby Series by Duncan Ball with illustrations by Allan Stomann or M.K. Brown

    A collection of Selby books laid out on the bed, with one in the fore; it is called "Selby Speaks" and shows both a dog and a man exclaiming at one another
    Hameda Nafiz / BuzzFeed

    There was a point in every young reader's life when they suddenly realised that books didn't stop on the last page. Instead, the stories could be continued in marvellous things called ~sequels~. The Selby Series gave us this realisation and we devoured them until the pages were thin and Selby was real.

    6. John Brown, Rose and the Midnight Cat by Jenny Wagner

    Book cover shows an old woman in slippers walking her shaggy dog next to a giant tree with a kookaburra sitting on a branch and a wooden fence
    Penguin Australia

    This is simply the sweetest book of all time. I want to live a cozy life with John Brown and Rose so badly! They sat under a pear tree in summer and beside a fire in winter — that's life goals! Even as kids, you gotta admit, they made this life seem pretty appealing.

    7. We're Going on a Bear Hunt by Michael Rosen and illustrated by Helen Oxenbury

    Three kids and their father prance in line across the hill, with the youngest child sitting atop their father's shoulders
    Walker Books

    Playschool is 100% the reason that our generation cannot even read the title of this book without immediately singing it. Honestly, it's a banger. And so is this book. It's got rhyming and problem solving. It's the whole package!

    8. Two Weeks With the Queen by Morris Gleitzman

    An envelope address to "Her Majesty the Queen" is folded into the shape of a paper aeroplane
    Pan Books

    This was the first ever "big kid book" I picked out myself and let me tell you, it shattered my young heart. This book was way ahead of its time. It taught us about gay rights, class warfare and terminal illness, all before we hit high school.

    9. The Saddle Club series by Bonnie Bryant

    Bantam Books

    To all my fellow horse girls/people out there — I see you and I love you. Let's not pretend that we didn't all identify strongly with one of the characters, moulding our young personalities after them. I, personally, was a Stevie.

    10. The Eleventh Hour by Graeme Base

    Front cover of the book shows a bunch of different animals like a swan with a crown, a pig with a captain's hat and giraffes all crowded underneath the title
    Penguin Australia

    I blame our generational obsession with true crime solely on this book. Nothing captured our young minds quite like the mystery of who ate up all the food. Plus, there was a sealed section, so we could figure it out ourselves — absolute genius.

    11. My Place by Nadia Wheatley and Donna Rawlins

    Shows a row of houses and cars on a street with a fake torn off section in the lower left showing grasses and a blue sky
    Walker Books Australia

    This book taught us that we were a part of history and learning that as a kid is the most mind-blowing thing in the world! It told the story of many kids from different points in time, all who lived in one place and it had the most beautiful illustrations ever.

    12. The Where's Wally? series by Martin Handford

    A collection of "Where's Wally" books
    Walker Books

    Remember that feeling of walking your little butt down to the library, ready to find your stripy friend, only to discover that some brat had gotten there first and circled all the Wallys already? Ultimate betrayal. Those kids are probably criminals now.

    13. Sebastian Lives in a Hat by Thelma Catterwell and illustrated by Kerry Argent

    A baby wombat sits snuggled in a woolen hat
    Kane Miller Book Pub

    This book traumatised us and put us back together in mere pages — Shakespeare could never! Sebastian is a little wombat whose mum was killed by a car leading to him being adopted by humans, so that he can one day be returned to the wild. I love this wombat more than anything else.

    14. The Waterhole by Graeme Base

    Cover shows a bunch of animals like a panda, a moose, a tortoise and a tiger all drinking from the same waterhole
    Penguin Australia

    How good was The Waterhole? It had everything we wanted as kids: Counting, puzzles and most importantly, animals. All kinds of animals. We wanted to dive into the pictures of this book and tbh, I still do.

    15. Hating Alison Ashley by Robin Klein

    A collage like front-cover showing two girls and a teacher in the background writing on a chalk board
    Penguin Australia

    Hello to the sassiest book of our early adolescents. This was the blueprint for any attitude our poor parents experienced and boy was it a good read. Then, they went ahead and cast our queen Delta in the movie adaptation to cement its place in all our hearts.

    16. The Rainbow Serpent by Dick Roughsey

    Front covers shows a serpent with rainbow scales curving its way across the book
    HarperCollins Australia

    This book retold the Dreamtime Rainbow Serpent story. As kids, reading it was an important first step in understanding the culture of First Nations peoples — and the absolutely beautiful illustrations made this story come to life like no other.

    17. The Aussie Bites books by various authors and illustrators

    Penguin Australia

    I thought that somewhere out there, it was somebody's job to take a bite out of these books and I wanted that job so badly. This was just a great collection of stories and the library always had tonnes of tattered ones lying around.

    18. Sadako and the Thousand Paper Cranes by Eleanor Coerr

    Cover shows a young woman in traditional Japanese dress holding two paper cranes as real ones fly above her head
    G. P. Putnam's Sons

    Well, well, well if it isn't the first book that thrust us into the horrors of history. Sadako had us making our own paper cranes, questioning our mortality and learning about the consequences of war in one solitary read. Its impact is unparalleled.

    19. And finally, Hairy Maclary from Donaldson's Dairy by Lynley Dodd

    Little shaggy dog walking in front of a wall where the title is written
    Mallinson Rendel Publishers Limited

    Did everyone point to every dog that resembled our favourite shaggy friend and yell "Hairy Maclary" as a child or was that just me? Look, in all honesty, I still do this. Hairy Maclary forever.

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