Staff Picks for Book Week: 10 Ideas to Get You Ready

August 9th, 2023

If you're feeling stumped this Book Week, we've put some ideas together for you.
A young girl wearing black and white paper magpie wings on her shoulders, a black and white mask on her face and holding a copy of the book Swoop.

Photo credit: Briana Melideo


It’s that time of year again. Costume creation for Book Week can instil fear into the hearts of parents and guardians all over Australia. But don’t worry, we’re here to help! Our staff put their heads together and offered up their top costume suggestions from our books. Keep an eye out for some creative solutions to bring fascinating characters to life.


The magpie from Swoop – Jasmine, Business Development Manager at Double Helix

Cover of 'Swoop', featuring an illustrated magpie happily flying towards the reader surrounded by a floral background.

Swoop by Nicole Godwin, illustrated by Susannah Crispe

In Swoop, Magpie has one job: keep the eggs safe! Learn why these clever, cheeky and charming songbirds swoop in this delightful book.

Possibly the most season-appropriate costume to create for Book Week during Spring (a.k.a. swooping season), all you need is a mask and wings made with cardboard and paper over the top of some black clothes and you have a magpie!

A bonus suggestion from our Books Editorial Manager, Tracey: wear a disguise to deter magpie swooping such as an ice cream container hat.

A spread from the book Swoop showing a range of people dressed in different ways to deter magpies, including ice cream contains, umbrellas, funny headbands and newspapers.

How many different ways can you dress to deter magpies? (Illustration: Susannah Crispe)


The child from Pollination – Tracey, Books Editorial Manager

Cover of 'Pollination', featuring an illustration of a child holding a posy of flowers that are surrounded by a butterfly, a bee, a skink and a sugar glider.

Pollination by Christopher Cheng, illustrated by Danny Snell

Follow along with a child’s day in the garden with their Gran and Pa as they discover how pollination happens in our gardens and backyards, and the importance it has for our environment. Meet the animals involved in pollination and the plants that depend on pollination to produce our fruit, vegetables and even our clothes!

A nice and easy costume: all you need is a cotton t-shirt, overalls and gumboots for working in the garden and learning about pollination. Bonus points for including a pollinated plant as a prop!

An illustration from the book Pollination featuring Gran and Pa with their grandchild in the garden. They're all dressed for gardening, wearing practical clothes and gumboots.

The gardening clothes from Pollination make the perfect easy costume! (Illustration: Danny Snell)


A banana from The Biology of Bananas – Briana, Books Publisher

Cover of The Biology of Bananas featuring a cartoon of a half-peeled banana on a light green background.

The Biology of Bananas by Katie Steckles

The Biology of Bananas takes readers through a 22 biology experiments using engaging examples from the kitchen. Become a Kitchen Scientist by dissecting an onion, decorating a cookie to look like a cell and discovering how gross things like mould help to make delicious foods like yoghurt and bread!

If you’ve got a child who loves their bananas, then how could you go past this costume? Dress head-to-toe in yellow, wear a black beanie and voila, you have a banana!





Microlight Milly from A Shorebird Flying Adventure – Claire, Rights and Special Sales

Cover of 'A Shorebird Flying Adventure', featuring an illustration of Milly on her microlight aircraft surrounded by flying birds.

A Shorebird Flying Adventure by Jackie Kerin and Milly Formby

Milly is inspiring children everywhere as she flies in her microlight to the Arctic Tundra and back. Meet birds who travel phenomenal distances every year and explore their precious wetland habitats and breeding grounds. Discover how amazing and awesome migratory shorebirds are!

Don a helmet, some headphones and binoculars and you’re ready to bird watch! Don’t forget to take along a sketchbook and pencil to draw the shorebirds you come across!





Plastic waste from Oceans of Plastic – Briana, Books Publisher

Cover of 'Oceans of Plastic', featuring the title on a blue background with coral and seaweed below, and a photo of plastic floating in the water above.

Oceans of Plastic by Tracey Gray

In Oceans of Plastic, explore how amazing our oceans are. They are filled with wonderful sea creatures and are essential for a healthy planet. But it’s now estimated that there are more pieces of plastic in the ocean than visible stars in the Milky Way. Readers can learn how to become ocean change-makers in their community to help protect the future of our oceans.

This is a great one for kids who are passionate about protecting our environment. Dress in blue (for the ocean), with plastic bags, milk containers and food packaging pinned on to represent plastic waste.




A Lord Howe Island Stick Insect from Phasmid – Philippa, Journals Editorial Assistant

Cover image featuring an illustrated Phasmid on dark foliage with an island in the background.

Phasmid by Rohan Cleave, illustrated by Coral Tulloch

Phasmid is the amazing true story of the Lord Howe Island Phasmid, or Stick Insect. Believed to be extinct for nearly 80 years, the phasmids were rediscovered on Balls Pyramid, a volcanic outcrop 23 kilometres off the coast of Lord Howe Island, Australia.

Our colleague Philippa finds invertebrates “endlessly fascinating”, and this costume could be exactly that! Craft some antennae on a headband, add stick insect legs to a backpack and your child will be able to camouflage in no time.



Chlamy from The Great Lizard Trek – Jennifer, Senior Marketing and Communications Manager

Cover of The Great Lizard Trek featuring a frilled-neck lizard looking at the sky

The Great Lizard Trek by Felicity Bradshaw, illustrated by Norma MacDonald

Trek through country with Rocky, an ornate dragon, and his lizard relatives in search of a cooler habitat. Readers can learn about the local Indigenous and Western understanding of these changing environments and the animals that live in them.

In the book, Rocky introduces his friend Chlamy, a frilled lizard, who uses her frills to appear big and scary to its predators. Jennifer says, “I feel like some cardboard and paint could get that frill happening.” Time to get creating!



Possum from Tiny Possum and the Migrating Moths – Briana, Books Publisher

Cover of 'Tiny Possum and the Migrating Moths', featuring an illustration of a possum peering out of grassy vegetation at a moth perched upon a yellow flowerhead, with a cloudy night sky above.

Tiny Possum and the Migrating Moths by Julie Murphy, illustrated by Ben Clifford

The mountain pygmy-possum is a small possum that lives high in the Australian Alps and survives on a diet of bogong moths. But Possum’s future is at risk as light pollution, habitat loss and climate change threaten her food supply.

If your school showcases Book Week creative ideas rather than costumes, then how’s this for an idea? Briana’s daughter made a batch of Tiny Possum cupcakes to share with friends. Imagine the conversations about conservation that could be had while eating these!

Cupcakes decorated with face, hands and feet to look like a mountain pygmy possum. Behind the cupcakes is the book Tiny Possum and the Migrating Moths, which inspired the cupcakes.

Decorated cupcakes are a great example of an alternative to a costume! (Photo: Briana Melideo)


Still didn’t find what you needed? Explore the rest of our books catalogue to see if there’s something else that gets your imagination going!

Be sure to tag us on social media at @CSIROPublishing if any of our books inspire your children this Book Week. We’d love to see them!