Three girls reading books outside

Fairfax Corporation, Editor Constance Robertson's daughters reading in garden, Sydney, 1 July

How do you find information about children's books?

Start with the Library Catalogue

  • select the Browse alphabetically tab
  • choose subjects from the drop-down list  
  • Type your keywords in the search bar

Example: Children's Literature, Australian

Selected works:

A series of three volumes by Henry Maurice Saxby:

Australian Children's Books: A Bibliography, in three volumes, authored first by Marcie Muir and then Kerry White. It aims to list every work published, and each entry has a Notes field with mention of special prizes etc. for that publication: 

  • Vol. 1 contains items published between 1774 and 1972
  • Vol. 2 items from 1973 to 1988
  • Vol. 3 items from 1989 to 2000  

For 20th century authors see the seven volume set:

Australian children's fiction : the subject guide by Kerry White (1993) - on open access in the Main Reading Room Reference Collection at RFq A 823.3099282 W585. The 1996 update is also available.

Where can you find information in our online databases?

Find these databases in the National Library's eResources

AustLit: the resource for Australian literature is a key resource for information about Australian writers and writing covering the 1780s to the present. You can find AustLit by visiting our eResources portal and searching for this database under the Browse eResources tab.

  • Select the Research tab at the top of the page
  • Scroll down and under 'More projects' find Children's

These pages cover topics including children's literature digital resources, the Lu Rees Collection and reading in the Victorian classroom.

The Encyclopedia of Children and Childhood: in History and Society: articles on education, parenting, child labor, economics, images of childhood, children's literature, play, toys and games, health, physiology, law, the criminal justice system and social welfare. Search for this database via our eResources portal under the Browse eResources tab.

Registered members of the National Library can access the above databases from home.

The Source a guide by subject to children's literature, poetry and short stories: Available in the National Library Reading Rooms via eResources. The Source is a searchable bibliographic database to children's literature by subject from around the world with an emphasis on Australian and New Zealand books.

Case Study

Information about a favourite author

My parents met Graeme Clifford when I was a young child of about two - circa 1950. He gave me a signed copy of the book The Oyster and the Snail.  How can I find out more about the author?

1. Starting with the National Library of Australia Catalogue, we find two copies of The Oyster and the Snail by Graeme Clifford. There are no other books by this author; it may be that this is the only book he ever published.

2. Graeme Clifford appears in the AustLit database, but it doesn't list any biographical information, and only lists one work produced by him, The Oyster and the Snail.

3. The reference work Australian children's books : a bibliography has Graeme Clifford listed, but again only that one work has been attributed to him. The book was self published, and the illustrator, J. A. Guerin illustrated several other children's books. The book was printed by Morris & Walker in Melbourne.

4. One book review for The Oyster and the Snail appeared in the Argus on 16 Dec 1947. You can read it online here

5. The Australian Electoral Rolls for Victoria and other states have no reference to Graeme Clifford in the late 1940 or early 1950s, so there is no indication that he had another occupation. It may be that 'Graeme Clifford' was a pen name.