Health on the Shelf

Health on the Shelf

‘Health on the Shelf’ in partnership with Libraries Tasmania is a collection of suggested picture and story books for young children and fictional books for young readers. The collection hopes to increase understanding of food, eating, growing up, body confidence, diversity and joyful ways to move bodies through reading. It is a resource for both parents and educators.

Early Childhood and Lower Primary School Age Books

Top tip for parents: Talking and sharing stories with babies and children is important for their development. Don’t worry if your reading’s not the best.

You can give your child a great start by talking, singing, playing and sharing simple books together.


  • use the pictures to tell a story
  • talk slowlyA parent reading a story book to their young child
  • make sounds and use different voices to create fun and excitement
  • point to the pictures as well as the words
  • let children ask questions or guess what’s going to happen in the story
  • let children turn the pages
  • make it fun and an enjoyable time together
  • make some time every day.

Using storybooks, you can talk about:

  • colour and shape using different vegetables and fruits
  • togetherness and sharing through stories about eating as a family and with friends
  • difference by showing how each family and culture does not eat or do things the same way
  • who we are through understanding what we eat is about culture and history
  • how food is grown and prepared
  • looking after the world through exploring food waste and use of water
  • movement through understanding what our bodies can do.

Books about growing, cooking and eating food, colour, shape and days of the week

TitleAuthor About the book
Lunch Denise Flemming A hungry mouse eating vegetables and fruit
The Beastly Feast Bruce Goldstone A group of animal friends sharing a meal
Eating the Alphabet Lois Ehlert All about the ABC's
Growing Vegetable Soup Lois Ehlert All about growing vegetables and making soup to eat
The Hungry Caterpillar Eric Carle Eating different foods and days of the week
Strawberries are red Petr Horacek Explore colour using fruit
Ten Scared FishRos Moriarty and BalarinjiA book about numbers and animals illustrated with Aboriginal images
I Like Fruit Lorena Siminovich About enjoying foods, getting involved in growing foods
I Like Peas Lorena Siminovich About enjoying vegetables, getting involved in growing foods
I’m having a rainbow for dinner Nutrition Australia Encouraging eating different coloured vegetables
Cook it! George Birkett Cooking food
Grow it! George Birkett Growing food 

In the garden

Leslie Bockol
Children enjoying growing and eating fruit and vegetables
Blueberries for Sal

Robert McCloskey

A girl and her mother picking fruit to store for the winter
Kindy kitchen : where fruit and vegies come to life Jessica Rossman Fun and interactive rhymes about food

Handa’s surprise

Eileen Browne Explore cultural diversity through food

Green Eggs and Ham

Dr Seuss Humorous book about trying new foods

I Will Not Ever Never Eat a Tomato

Lauren Child Trying new foods

Gregory, The Terrible Eater

Mitchell Sharmat Trying new foods
What if vegetables were peopleKate WengierCreating fun, positive associations with vegetables
What if fruit were animals Kate WengierCreating fun, positive associations with fruit
At my family tableMandy Dos SantosEating together 

Books about active play and having fun outdoors

TitleAuthor About the book

Grandpa and Thomas

Pamela Allen Going to the beach for a play and sharing a picnic

Dancing with Grandma

Rosemary Nastnak Dancing and dressing up fun with grandma
I Can Do It Jana Novotny Hunter Exploring all the things to do on the first day of preschool

Josephine wants to dance

Jackie French Everyone can have dreams to do what they want

We’re Going on a Bear Hunt

Michael Rosen Using imagination and getting active
Row, Row, Row Your Boat and Ride, Ride, Ride Your Bike Wes Magee Nursery rhymes to encourage active play

Yes We Can

Sam McBratney and Charles Fuge Using imagination to encourage being active
Head, Shoulder, Knees and Toes and Clap, Wiggle, Stretch and Jump Brian Moses and Lisa Smith Being active indoors and using your imagination

Books about looking after your body and diversity

TitleAuthor About the book

Your body is awesome

Sigrun Danielsdottir

Positive body image and body diversity (all ages)
Shapesville Andy Mills and Becky Osborn Body confidence and body diversity

When I’m feeling loved

Trace Maloney About love and friendships

When I’m feeling scared

Trace Maloney Understanding feelings

My Friend Bear

Jez Alborough A book about loneliness and friendship

Round Fish Square Bowl

Tom Skinner Growing up and and fitting in

The First Day

Margaret Wild First day a school
The Very Best of Friends Margaret Wild Friendship and growing up on a farm
Don’t forget the cheese pa Gwenda Smyth General health, road safety messages

The Tooth Book

Dr Seuss About looking after your teeth 
Dora Show Me Your Smile Christine Ricci About looking after your teeth
Maisy, Charlie and the wobbly tooth Lucy Cousins About looking after your teeth
Loving ComfortJulie DillemuthA toddler weaning story
Mama's milk is all gone Ann Pauline VernonBreastfeeding and weaning
Lola's new cousinLuana TowneyA breastfeeding story (Tasmanian author)
It's okay to be differentTodd ParrAbout celebrating difference
The feel good book Todd ParrWhat makes you feel good
My countryEzekiel Kwaymullina illustrated by Sally Morgan.A story of country
The goanna was hungry and other storiesThe Spinifex writing camp with Sally Morgan Friendship and loyalty and a scary goanna
Charlie the CaterpillarDom Deluise and Christopher SantoroFriendship and difference

Young Readers

Reading is an important skill for children to learn. Through books and stories, children can learn about people, places, different ideas and new things to try. This will help them navigate their way through life and problem solve. These books are suitable for young readers.

Books about life and growing up

TitleAuthor About the book
The Short and Incredibly Happy Life of RileyColin ThompsonBody diversity, acceptance and big picture thinking about life (a picture book suitable for upper primary and high school children)
Diary of a Wimpy kid (series)Jeff KinneyA humorous look at growing up and fitting in 
ShortHolly Goldberg SloanA story of self-discovery and the value of role models
Hello UniverseErin Entrada KellyKids helping each other when a prank goes wrong
Hatchet Series Gary PaulsonSeries of books about a boys adventure in the wilderness
Boy OverboardMorris GlietzmanOvercoming adversity to succeed
The first thirdWill KostakisFamily and growing up
The terrible thing that happened to Barnaby BrocketBoyneA story about being different and finding ways to overcome this

Books about being active and having fun

TitleAuthor About the book
Nips IXRuth StarkeSport and multiculturalism
Play like a girl seriesJo StanleyA series of books about girls playing sport like Australian Rules Football

Books about diversity and body confidence

TitleAuthor About the book

Your body is awesome

Sigrun Danielsdottir

Positive body image and body diversity (a picture book suitable for all ages)
Shapesville Andy Mills and Becky Osborn Body confidence and body diversity (a picture book)

Who We Are!: All About Being the Same and Being Different

Robie H HarrisA book about diversity (upper primary)
WonderR PalacioThe funny, sweet and incredibly moving story of Auggie Pullman. Born with a terrible facial abnormality
ParvanaDeborah EllisA story based on real life of a girl growing up in Afghanistan
The Magnificent Toby PlumDeirdre Cowman and Deirdre RyanCelebrating difference and how to stop comparing yourself to others

Link to the Health Kids home pageLink to pregnancy pageLink to Baby pageLink to Early Childhood pageLink to school aged pageLink to Young People's pageLink to the National Guidelines page