About Story Mama® Children's Books

Our  Mission Statement:

  • To provide you with a beautiful range of parent recommended, high quality Picture books for children age 0-9
  • To advocate that parents should read aloud to kids every day.  
  • To provide you with world class customer service and quick delivery 

Who is Story Mama®?

A Message from Debbie Hatswell (Founder & Director)

Debbie Hatswell

photo credit Janine Eastgate Leader Newspaper

As a child, I could often be found finishing off a Nancy Drew novel or a Famous Five story under my doona with a torch, long after I was supposed to have turned off the light. Books were always the way I wound down after a busy day; reading was what I did to relax and where I looked for answers to the things I didn't know.

Exploring foreign countries and meeting interesting characters through books also gave me a burning desire to see the world, which I was lucky enough to do after university. Travel guides then became my new book fetish. I poured through the pages of exotic sites and imagined myself in each of them.

When the call to come home was too strong to resist, I thought I ought to put my degree to some use. I worked my way up the ranks at one of the big 4 Aussie banks, and enjoyed running a team and a business unit. By 2012 though, I began to struggle. Fighting with ferocious mother guilt left me feeling conflicted and unfulfilled.  So I embraced my inner corporate-drop-out and joyfully jumped on the entrepreneur bandwagon. 

Coincidently it was at this time, when shopping for picture story books for my toddler and gifts for his little friends, that the picture started to form in my head about what I wanted to do.  I found myself constantly frustrated by the fact that children's books were not displayed or categorised by age. It made sense to me that they should be and I wondered why it wasn’t happening.

•   I wanted to buy picture storybooks the way I bought clothes and toys - by clearly understanding the age appropriateness of each title.

•   I wanted to make sure I was getting value for money - buying just the BEST picture books that had been recommended by other mums, that other kids loved and that would demand to be read again and again. 

•   I didn’t have time to trawl through thousands of titles - I wanted to know only about the best ones, the must-haves, the must-reads by each age group.

I knew that storybooks were more than just funny pictures and made-up stories.  Books help drive a message home for kids and reinforce life lessons. So I wanted to be able to easily access the best picture book titles that touched on milestones or issues as my toddler was approaching or dealing with it. I wanted to be able to access the best books about getting a big bed, the top storybooks about toilet training and the best picture books about becoming a sibling. 

So after much thought, I cobbled together my desire to be my own boss, call myself a CEO (that’s fun!), have truly flexible hours and solve my children's book buying issues. This is how Story Mama® was born.

I was sadly given the opportunity to test my theory that picture books can help kids deal with difficult situations and prompt questions way too soon. We were devastated to lose my beautiful Dad to Pancreatic Cancer just after Story Mama® was launched. I found myself researching books that dealt with death and grieving as a way of preparing myself – and ultimately my child - for the inevitable. They helped me have a conversation with my then 3 year old that his "Grandy" had gone. It meant I had the language to continue to talk about the situation in an age appropriate way, prompted by picture books in the subsequent months. 

My little boy is now 6 and I have spent many, many, many hours reading him awesome picture books. I have equally grand plans to continue to encourage his love of books and stories. He has started his own reading adventures by learning to read this year. It is such fun seeing the look on his face when he realises he can read a whole storybook by himself!

In November 2014 I was proud to be appointed to the National Board of the Children's Book Council of Australia. This association helps me keep abreast of authors and new literature, as well as happenings in the children’s literary market. It means I can deliver service and value well beyond just the physical book to Story Mama® customers.


What makes Story Mama® Different to Other Online Bookstores?

Our Stock List

Story Mama® has put a lot of effort into researching and collating our title lists. We offer only the picture books and junior fiction that we love and are most likely to appeal to your children and grandchildren. We have delved into publisher and newspaper children’s bestseller lists, literary websites, library forums, visited specialist child book stores and dusted off award lists by the Australian Children’s Book Council, the Caldecott and Newberry medal winners and other International awards. We have read blogs, viewed recommendations and asked lots of questions of other mums. We strive to offer those children's books that have been read and loved by generations, but also to capture new gems. At Story Mama® we are all about quality not quantity.

Our Quick Review

We apply a Story Mama® rating to each children's book, giving it a score for being fun and interesting to read aloud, pretty to look at, engaging, whether it has an “again?” factor and extra points for a good message, lesson or heartstring tug. Of course reviews are always subjective and sometimes controversial! We welcome reviews from our readers at any time – it’s easy to submit them to the Story Mama® site.

Story Mama® hereby promises that our unique quick book review will never be longer than the book itself!

So, are you ready to save yourself some time and effort and get the best children’s books on your shelves?   Start Shopping at Story Mama®

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