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Necessary Conversations
Important Works for Social Learning
(Status : Public)
Coordinated by AustLit Team
  • Anxiety and Depression

    Living through a pandemic is stressful. And, although scientists are still assessing the extent to which COVID-19 and the accompanying lockdowns and isolation have affected mental health. (One study, a summary of which was published in The Lancet, estimated an increase of 27.6% in depression [an additional 53.2 million cases] and a 25.6% increase in anxiety disorders [an additional 76.2 million cases] worldwide) Hypervigilance, excessive busyness, difficulty in regulating emotional reactions: they are all common reactions to the unusual pressure of life in a pandemic.

    Although Australia is reaching vaccination targets, re-opening theatres, and shucking masks, the anxiety and depression that has been triggered during two years of pandemic life won't go away immediately. And for children and young adults, who are returning to school after long periods of remote learning or perhaps even for the first time, these can be difficult emotional states to manage even at the best of times.

    This Necessary Conversation gathers together books relating to anxiety and depression, not specifically within the COVID-19 pandemic, for pre-school, primary school, and high-school readers.


    The colours of the tiles below are chosen from the 'Lowered Anxiety' colour scheme created by SchemeColour user Vanessa (available here).

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      Picture Books

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      Children's Fiction

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      Young Adult Fiction

  • LGBTQIA+

    LGBTQIA+ and queer are umbrella terms for those who identify with sexualities beyond hetero- (attraction for the opposite sex or gender) or gender identities beyond cisgender (gender identity matches their sex assigned at birth). This exhibition focuses on both fiction and non-fiction that explores and/or features those within the LGBTQIA+ community, as well as creators themselves within the community. 

    The works listed within this exhibition contain expressions of non-heterosexual sexualities and non-cisgender identities, and creators that identify as such. Hence, some subjects often associated with the queer community have been excluded, such as drag queens and gender roles. We encourage you to search the database for other works on the topics of gender and sexuality.

    You may also be interested in exploring AustLit’s Diversity in Australian Speculative Fiction: Sexual or Gender Diversity.


    This exhibition was written and researched by Masters of Information Studies student Rebecca Lilley. Rebecca is passionate about diversity within literature and the publication of diverse authors. She runs the website bec&books which discusses these topics and reviews literature with diverse representation. 

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      LGBTQIA+ - PICTURE BOOKS

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      LGBTQIA+ - CHILDREN'S

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      LGBTQIA+ - YOUNG ADULT

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      LGBTQIA+ CREATORS - FICTION

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      LGBTQIA+ CREATORS - NON-FICTION

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      LGBTQIA+ - FILMS/TV

  • Diverse Communities

    This Necessary Conversation casts a slightly wider net than some of our previous lists. If you’ve ever thought of exploring AustLit on the subjects of ‘diversity’, or ‘belonging’, or ‘community’, then these lists represent some of the picture books, children's and Young Adult fiction that you might find.
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      Diverse Communities - PICTURE BOOKS

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      Diverse Communities - CHILDREN'S

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      Diverse Communities - YOUNG ADULT

  • Neurodiversity

    The term ‘neurodiversity' was first used widely by people on the autism spectrum, and then came to be applied to other neurodevelopmental conditions, including ADHD, dyslexia / dyscalculia / dyspraxia / dysnomia, and Tourette syndrome. It has also been applied to what otherwise are called mental health conditions, including bipolar disorder, schizophrenia, and obsessive-compulsive disorders.

    These lists focus on the earlier application of the term to describe people on the autism spectrum, living with ADHD, and with dyslexia et. al.

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      Neurodiversity - Picture Books

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      Neurodiversity - Children's Books

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      Neurodiversity - Young Adult

  • Further Reading

    Some further reading on Neurodiversity:

    [Note: Madeleine Ryan’s A Room Called Earth is not listed in this Necessary Conversations series because it is intended for adult readers.]

  • Activism

    From school climate strikes to the ongoing Black Lives Matter movement, Necessary Conversations: Activism features picture books, Children's and Young Adult fiction that cover environmental protests, land rights, suffragettes, disability rights, and anti-war protests. If you're looking to inspire and inform the next generation in the classroom or simply want a bedtime story with substance, you're in the right place! This series ties in, and in some cases overlaps, with our previous Necessary Conversations: The Environment. You might also be interested in checking out our 'Climate Activism' section within our Climate Change in Australian Narratives project or explore all works on Activism published as a picture book, Children's or YA fiction. 

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      ACTIVISM - PICTURE BOOKS

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      ACTIVISM - CHILDREN'S fiction