Welcome to the blog of the Tasmanian branch of the Children's Book Council of Australia!

Sunday, 22 April 2018

Fremantle Literature Centre celebrates 25 Years in 2018!

Coral Tulloch, our very well-known Tasmanian author-illustrator, has frequently been involved with the Literature Centre in Fremantle, which is celebrating its 25th Anniversary this year. She tells us about her experiences and some of the celebrations so far.

Twenty-Five years is an anniversary in any language, and in the language of the celebration of literature it is a milestone that deserves recognition. If you have been fortunate enough to attend any of the events at the Literature Centre in Fremantle, Western Australia, (formerly the Children’s Literature Centre) you will have been richly rewarded.

The Centre exists because of the passion of Lesley Reece and has been the heart of many celebrations through these years, including extraordinary exhibitions, festivals, lectures, school visits, conferences, professional development, youth literature days, travelling authors and illustrators, touring exhibitions and teacher support.  Along with a fabulous bookshop, it is a residency that has not only housed visiting authors and illustrators, their families and friends, but also been the home to so many friendships and collaborations that have ended up on our bookshelves.

I was fortunate enough to be taken to the Centre and introduced to Lesley by Ann James 20 years ago, on my way to Antarctica.  Ann was staying at the Centre and I jumped at the opportunity to stay with her whilst the other voyagers waited for the call to board the Aurora Australis, from a hotel down the road. I loved the Centre instantly and the enthusiasm of Lesley and her incredible staff. Frané Lessac and Mark Greenwood held a dinner for us at their house and introduced me to many people, and the first of many great dinners. 

Several years later, Lesley saw me giving a talk on Antarctica, and the largest exhibition (in space and time) was planned. Apart from material on the book, both non-fiction and fiction, there were polar pyramid tents and stuffed huskies…along with the mice at night trying to attack the ration boxes of chocolates! 

It was also at the Centre that I met the incredible people that are AISWA (Association of Independent Schools Western Australia). I have travelled widely in Western Australia and overseas for school visits and conferences both through the Centre and with AISWA and I have the most wonderful family of friends who have challenged me, supported me, nurtured me and encouraged me throughout the years.  It is also through the Centre that I have met some of the most wonderful people within our industry, who have become some of my closest friends.

But it is not just me. They give everything to support us all as creators and give the same support to teachers to share with their students and colleagues.  This has sparked so many ideas and so many collaborations - incredible and close friendships.  There is no other place like this in Australia.

Just over two years ago, at dinner one night, Mark slid his hand into his pocket and pulled out three stones - all meteorites, two magnetic. Mark’s storytelling is both legendary and addictive, and I was hooked.  He then took me to his work-room, a room I had walked past so many times over the years…but the door had always been shut.  Before me was a cavern of stones, some brilliant, some with the dust of millions of years clinging to them, sharp, beautiful, craggy and musty, too rare to hold, too fabulous not to!  We had left Terry (Denton) and Frané lingering over melting desert, for what seemed hours, and our book was born, The Book of Stone.*

I had planned to come over to work with Mark on our (now contracted) book, and happily, it coincided with the Twenty-fifth celebrations on April 6 and 7.  Luckily I was to be there anyway and so was Boori (Monty Prior) - also there for school visits. Many authors and illustrators were to be a part of the celebrations, including a great open mic night for us and the Centre’s staff and board of directors – culminating in a fabulous free (ticketed) open day for families, where many of us gave presentations.

It was an opportunity for us to get together again and also the opportunity for Lesley to inspire and encourage us to give thoughtful and inspirational presentations.  Lesley asked Mark and me to present with regard to our current collaboration.  It is rare to be given the opportunity to share a collaboration at this stage, fascinating for us and for anyone interested in books.  Lesley promotes these interesting ideas, often pushing boundaries, believes in creators and with this behind you – both presenters and audience alike are always inspired.  

I encourage anyone to register for a conference or festival at the Centre. It is a family and one you will feel instantly a part of. Not only will you see wonderful, inspirational presentations, but the presenters are as much a part of the festivities as you are.  It’s a great opportunity to form professional contacts, gain extraordinary professional development and talk with all the presenters informally.

Producing literature can be so incredibly isolating and the time that we can spend together is so valuable.  The books on our bookshelves are a gift in themselves, but often the collaborations and friendship that have bound that book together does not show in the final binding, but in the essence of the background that brings the story to life in the voice of the creators, and the people behind them that have supported them.

 *Coral is currently working on a book with Allen & Unwin and her collaborative work with Mark Greenwood, The Book of Stone, (Walker Books), are both due for publication in 2019. 

Coral Tulloch
Tasmanian Illustrator and Author, guest blogger

Editor's Note: The launch of Coral’s latest book: Bouncing Back was held at Melbourne Zoo on April 3rd with the Threatened Species Commissioner holding both book and bandicoot. She and author Rohan Cleave also created Phasmid: saving the Lord Howe Island stick insect which in 2016 was awarded an Honour Book in the Eve Pownall Award for Information Books category in the Book of the Year Awards. Both titles were published by CSIRO Publishing.

Monday, 16 April 2018

Lest We Forget – Picture Books for ANZAC Day

In the week before ANZAC Day appropriate stories set during the time of what was then termed The Great War help us to understand the hardships that were endured by many brave soldiers, that many children were orphaned and the grief and sorrow many people around the world endured.

Each year in the lead up to ANZAC Day I share a variety of picture books about World War I with my primary school classes during their library lessons.  This includes discussion of the themes presented in the book along with the history and importance of ANZAC day and WWI.
On Tuesday morning last week I took delivery of some new books which included The Little Stowaway – A True Story by Vicki Bennett and Tull Suwannakit (illustrator).  After a quick read through this book I changed my plans for my lessons for the week and instead chose to use this one across the board, which is a big ask for a picture book on this subject. 

Set 100 years ago in France, this story tells the tale of Australian Airman Tim Tovell and the French orphan whom he befriended during the war.  Honore, or Henri as the Aussies call him, provides the first person voice for the story.

The illustrations capture the character of the people involved, showing their warmth and mateship, along with the hardships of facing the war.  These are beautifully juxtaposed with photographs that have been shared by relatives of Tim Tovell, and it is these photographs in particular that make this book really come to life and bring home the message for students that this war really did happen and the people in these stories, though no longer with us, are worth remembering.

The looks of realisation on the faces of the children as I read to them, whether they were 6 or 12 years of age, was a powerful indication to me that this book was really special, and the language used, though romanticised to some degree, gives an authentic insight into the life, hardships and dreams of this small orphaned boy.

In the past, I have used Libby Hathorn and Phil Lesnie’s beautiful book A Soldier, a Dog and a Boy with my older students. This book is about a young boy named Henri who gives his dog to an Australian soldier to take home.  This book has a note to say that there were rumours of a story that a young boy had also been smuggled back to Australia. I was so excited to recognise the link between these two books and wonder if both parties have now read each other’s version.

Whilst there are now so many picture books published on this topic, it is important for us to choose ones that have been well researched, and presented in a respectful and honest way.  My Grandad Marches on ANZAC Day (Catriona Hoy and Benjamin Johnson), CBCA Notable ANZAC Biscuits (Phil Cummings and Owen Swan), and CBCA Award Winning One Minute’s Silence (David Metzenthen and Michael Camilleri) are some of the books that are always at the top of my list. They provoke much thought from the children at an age-appropriate level - the text and illustrations work so well together to enable students to make connections on an emotional level so that they may, at least in part, begin to understand the hardship, tragedy, mateship and bravery that give these stories of war a purpose today.  The Little Stowaway is certainly a very worthy addition to my list.
Which ANZAC themed picture books take pride of place on your bookshelf?

Jessica Marston
Teacher-Librarian (M.Ed), Hagley Farm School (K-6), Tasmania

Twitter: @marston_jessica

Sunday, 8 April 2018

Please sir I want some more!

This week Maureen shares with us a groaning board covered with old and new stories about our appetite for that truly special treat that is cake…

Cake that is, not just any kind of food! We’re fortunately not like Oliver Twist and most of us have a wonderful surfeit of good food to eat. Cake for many of us – young and old alike – is an important part of our lives. And so it is in books. I am again temporarily back in Canada, so my suggestions have a North American flavour, though not exclusively.

Chocolate Cake by Michael Rosen and Keith Waldron.
Told in the first person, Rosen describes his young self’s midnight feast in the kitchen when he thinks he’ll just taste a crumb but ends up eating all the remaining cake as he tries to ‘tidy it up’. Quiet Rosen humour brings out the consequences of his actions and shows the need for honesty when found out. Waldron’s illustrations are a wonderful complement to the verbal text.

I Really Want the Cake by Simon Philip and Lucia Gaggiotti.
Mum’s note says not to eat it … but how can you resist such a wonderful creation? The rhymes are part of the fun, and we see how the temptations take over until the narrator has to find a replacement cake. How hard can that be? Gaggiotti’s illustrations reflect the child’s increasing obsession. Great fun.

Whopper Cake by Karma Wilson and Will Hillenbrand
Grandad only bakes whopper cakes but this one is over the top and includes 86 eggs, bags of flour and sugar, mixed in the back of a pickup truck and then crazily baked there too on a trip to town. Totally preposterous and great fun, it’s a book made even better by a realistic recipe at the back.

Mitzi Tulane Pre-School Detective in What’s that smell? and The Secret Ingredient by Lauren McLaughlin and Debbie Ridpath Ohi
Mitzi is a three-year-old detective, with a slightly older voice but it works. She uses her senses to investigate things happening in the house. What’s That Smell? is about working out it is her birthday and it’s her cake which has been baked. There’s a small weakness for me in this story in that Mitzi doesn’t seem to know that she’s about to turn 4 but otherwise it works. Secret Ingredient is the investigation Mitzi and her friend Max undertake when Dad bakes muffins and Max suspects that Dad’s added vegetables to the mixture. Great use of science and scientific terms. Ohi’s illustrations are from a child’s perspective.

Cake by Sue Hendra and Paul Linnet
Cake is excited that he has been invited to a birthday party but loses some of his enthusiasm when the candles on his head begin to burn! The humour comes from the reader’s understanding of the unfolding events.

Baking bliss! Baked Desserts to Make and Devour by Jen Besel.
Though this is produced for the North American market it does have a conversion chart for US to metric weights, measures and temperatures. Many of the recipes use packet cake mixes which can be found all over the world, and there are some scrumptious looking recipes, not only cakes. Pity there isn’t an advisory note about children needing supervision when using the oven or cooktop.

Clever Jack Takes the Cake by Candace Fleming and G. Brian Karas
Jack wants to go to the princess’s party but has nothing to give her, until he sells the family’s bare possessions (without parental agreement) to make a cake. On the way he must bargain with the cake to bypass the obstacles in his way. He arrives without anything to give the princess but tells her the story instead. A fairy-tale picture book for early childhood about bargaining, bullying, a quest and determination.

Splat the Cat Takes the Cake by Amy Hsu Lin
I love Splat the Cat and this is no exception though it probably appeals more to young readers than to their parents. Splat enters a baking competition to try to win a replacement television after the family television set broke. Typically Splat doesn’t go about it the easy way.

And let’s not forget some old favourites:

There’s a Hippopotamus on Our Roof Eating Cake by Hazel Edwards
It was great to re-read this after an absence of some years, and it’s stood the test of time. The hippo on the roof can do all the things which the child herself can’t do. Great view of family dynamics and imaginary friendships.

A Piece of Cake by Jill Murphy
All the members of the Large family have been trying to lose weight and become fitter, but Granny sends a cake as a present and they all decide to break their diets. This classic picture book may not be sending the best health messages to children, but it would be a good starting point for discussion.

I hope you have found some new titles here. Which are your favourite books about cakes and baking? Which recipe book works for you and your family?

Maureen Mann
Retired Teacher-Librarian and Avid Reader

Sunday, 1 April 2018

Graphic Novel Memoirs for Teenagers

Leanne presents a fascinating overview of biographical graphic novels that present a range of perspectives on this sub-genre.
Graphic novels, as all high school teachers and librarians know, are very popular with many teenage readers. These novels tell stories through a combination of prose and pictures or “sequential art”.
When cartoonist Art Spiegelman received a Pulitzer Prize in 1992 for Maus, his graphic memoir about the Holocaust, his work achieved critical attention and elevated the status of this literary genre. Over recent years other memoirists have used the graphic novel format to chronicle their lives and the lives of others, sometimes combining their artwork with photos, journal entries, and other real-life mementos.
Graphic novels reflect the modern propensity to digitally share our lives through social media, enhanced through the merging of text and visuals.
'Adding visual elements to a memoir allows readers intimacy with the author that is impossible to achieve with words alone. We get to see through their eyes, to feel what they felt, and many authors exploit that perspective to showcase their particular distorted worldview — anxieties can be personified and magnified, or small kindnesses wreathed in heroism.' (Molly Lynch, 2015, Mashable Australia)
These elements, combined with a fast moving and engaging plot, explain the resurgence and growing popularity of graphic novel memoirs.  The following examples present a range of compelling topics in a creative style that will be entertaining and enlightening for teenagers (and many adults too).
 Persepolis: The Story of a Childhood  by Marjane Satrapi    
Marjane was raised in Tehran, the daughter of Marxist activists. She witnessed the Islamic Revolution of 1979 and lived with the many contradictions of daily life in Iran. Satrapi’s story is a wise and gripping account of a precocious childhood impacted by a tumultuous chapter in her country’s history.

For the first 18 years of her life, Ramsey Beyer lived in “a tiny little farm town called Paw Paw.” A lifelong artist and punk music aficionado, she left home to attend art school in Baltimore and experienced a blinding flash of culture shock. She chronicles her first year of college through a collection of pictures, journal entries, and lists, which helps her to redefine her concept of home.

Hyperbole and a Half :Unfortunate Situations, Flawed Coping Mechanisms, Mayhem, and Other Things that Happened by Allie Brosh                                                                                                 
Fans of Allie Brosh’s wildly popular blog love her honest portrayal of living with depression and dogs as a recluse in her bedroom in Bend, Oregon. The book consists of brief vignettes and comic drawings about her life as she shares her struggles, triumphs, and everyday observations. In Bill Gates blog (gatesnotes) he describes her style of humour as; “funny and smart as hell … Her timing and tone are consistently spot on. And so is her artwork. I’m amazed at how expressive and effective her intentionally crude drawings are.

Tomboy   by Liz Prince   Liz Prince was born an utterly relatable tomboy, and from the time she was old enough to form an opinion she rejected traditional gender roles and all things ‘girlie’. A cross-country move when she’s six results in her being subjected to ostracism and bullying that lasts into her teens and is depicted through simple black line drawings. But, when she meets a group of friends who celebrate their individuality and accept her as she is, she finds the sense of community she’s been missing. This memoir about navigating the challenges of ‘growing up’ is funny, heartbreaking and poignant.                                                                                                                                             

Amazing Fantastic Incredible: A Marvelous Memoir  by Stan Lee, Peter David, and Colleen Doran                                       
This beatifically illustrated memoir is based on the life of Stan Lee, the master of the Silver Age of Comics and creative force behind such legendary characters as Spider-man, the Incredible Hulk, and the Fantastic Four. This memoir tells the history of comic books, his 75-year career with Marvel and pays tribute to the great artists he collaborated with.  It is funny, touching, and discrete with a balance of egotism and unexpected humility.

Suffragette by Sally Heathcote, Mary Talbot, Bryan Talbot and Kate Charlesworth

This is the memoir of one woman who joined the campaign for equal rights for women during a tumultuous period of modern British history. Sally Heathcote and her collaborators give the reader an insight into the pivotal events, historical characters and the violence and hardship they endured for their cause. The book suitable for older teenagers.

Leanne Rands
President of CBCA Tasmania



Sunday, 25 March 2018

When writing children’s books, it pays to go the extra mile…

 Claire Saxby is well known for her non-fiction picture books on historical figures and Australian animals. Koala, illustrated by Julie Vivas is on the Notables list for this year’s Eve Pownall Award – the Shortlist is released on Tuesday March 27.

Claire Saxby has been writing for children for about 20 years. She has nearly fifty books in print with more in production.  One of her books was read on Play School.  Claire travels around Australia to research her books as much of the best information comes from libraries, family stories, newspaper archives and museum exhibitions. Claire has featured in award lists including most recently the Bangkok Book Awards.

Claire recently visited Launceston as a guest speaker at the Lunchbox Lecture series organised by Friends of the Library Launceston and Launceston LINC. Claire spoke about and read her two Tasmanian stories My Name is Lizzie Flynn (illustrated by Lizzy Newcomb) and Bird to Bird illustrated by Wayne Harris. 
Claire’s research, her quest to go the extra mile to base her stories in truth, has provided her with serendipitous discoveries that add richness to her stories.  Lizzie is based on 13-year-old Scottish convict Rose Ford transported to Tasmania on the ship Rajah.  A chance remark that some convicts would have been very unhappy to be making a quilt for a wealthy woman while the sewers, convict women, had nothing, led to the creation of Martha. 

Hearing that convict bunking was removed from a ship, made into a weaving loom and then into a lean-to kitchen was the impetus for Claire’s recently published picture book Bird to Bird. This history of Australia in 170 words is Claire at her poetic best. Claire is a fascinating speaker, so if an opportunity arises to hear her, grab it. 
Tasmanian readers might be interested to know that the picture of the hut in this story is based on the Reg Wadley memorial hut.  (There are many pictures – perhaps the best is here.)

 Nella Pickup, Avid Reader and Retired Librarian

Saturday, 17 March 2018

CBCA favourites from the Notables list

Tania provides her personal insights into some of the recently announced CBCA Notables for 2018.

With the CBCA long list having been announced recently, I was really thrilled to see my primary school library had the greater proportion of the titles, many of which had come through my standing orders supplier but quite a few which I had already identified at being on my hit list of “must get” books. So I thought I might talk about a couple of those.

Whatcha Building? written by Andrew Daddo, illustrated by Stephen Michael King.
This first came to my notice because it is illustrated by Stephen Michael King, and he is one of my absolute favourites. I love this story of a quirky boy who finds a way to reach his goals using imagination, politeness and persistence. And I love to watch the growing friendship between Davey and builder Bruce. Plus the illustrations are amazing! The large double spread page with the juxtaposition of real items used as a backdrop to the cityscape is very powerful and a fantastic jumping off point for children to use every day items in new and imaginative ways.

Koala Bare written by Jackie French, illustrated by Matt Shanks.
What a fun way to explain to children that koalas aren’t bears! Already classes have heavily used this book when they are studying Australian animals and it is fast becoming a favourite. The way the main character romps through the book destroying the myths that he is a bear and the havoc he causes by demonstrating his reasons why he’s not a bear are hilarious and resonate with the reader. This is a fun fiction title to use when studying Australian animals as a bit of light relief.

Nomax written and illustrated by Shannon Horsfall
As the owner of a dog who shares quite a few of Max’s traits, I loved this book immediately.  And I really enjoy the gentle joke on the last page as Max is so perplexed that the name on his dog bowl isn’t Nomax, which according to him is his name. Fun illustrations and engaging text will have the children giggling along.

Boy written by Phil Cummings and illustrated by Shane DeVries
What a delightful read with a lovely message about differences being strengths and how a different point of view on a problem can give a whole new perspective. The artwork is engaging, making the Viking village come alive, although there are some additions that make you smile…cacti? In a Viking village? I really love the double spread with all the characters pointing fingers at each other, each blaming the others. Children will really identify with this and hopefully take the message away that good communication and understanding of differences are good tools in conflict resolution.
Phil Cummins reading Boy

Exploring Soils: A Hidden World Underground written by Sam Grover, illustrated by Camille Heisler.
I saw a pre-publication review of this book and just knew it would be a fantastic addition to our primary school library. And it is! The lovely soft illustrations bring the garden and its processes alive, showing readers how soil isn’t just something we walk on but a microscopic world that we depend on for a huge variety of things. Once again, this is a great title to read to classes to increase their science understanding.
Dr Sam Grover talks about and shares her book on soils

Did you have some favourites on the long list?
Now all we have to do is wait with bated breath to see which books make the shortlist.

Tania Cooper
Library Technician
Ulverstone Primary School

Saturday, 10 March 2018

A review of The Cruel Prince

This week Pennii Purton shares her response to a recent read of Holly Black’s latest young adult addition to The Folk of the Air trilogy. Find out about The Cruel Prince in this review.

The Cruel Prince - author Holly Black  

Series: The Folk of the Air
Released January 2018
YA novel

Of course I want to be like them. They're beautiful as blades forged in some divine fire. They will live forever.
And Prince Cardan is even more beautiful than the rest. I hate him more than all the others. I hate him so much that sometimes when I look at him, I can hardly breathe…

What is the book about?
Jude is the daughter of the runaway wife of a Fae general who murdered her mother and the man she thought was her father. The general, feeling obligated to raise the children, brings Jade and her sisters to a Fae land in the heart of the forest, brimming with monsters and wolves on the prowl, and raised her like a trueborn child of Faerie, despite not having a drop of faerie blood.

Jude grew up learning to keep her head down and pretend the fear away. She endured the contempt of the Fae, swallowed her fear and saw it through. She was the human girl who got pushed to the sidelines and always treated as an afterthought, when all she really wants is to belong.

Jude didn't fit into the boundaries they gave her. She didn't fit and the moment she stopped wishing she could and held onto the lingering bitter urge to make them all hurt, she learned that being ruthless in the face of great terror was her best revenge for being made to endure it.

The Cruel Prince is a delightfully dark, twisty novel containing drama, action, surprises, nastiness and the tiniest hints of romance. Then you get to the spying, secrets, betrayals, side-switching and just when you think you love a character, a plot twist comes along and you wish the character would vanish; and then you love them all over again. All the characters are complex and slightly flawed and nobody can be trusted.

I absolutely love this novel, the ending didn’t disappoint with a climax full of surprises and has left me desperate for the second book in the trilogy, The Wicked King, (due 2019). I can’t wait!!!

Pennii Purton
Library Technician, Reece High School

Friday, 2 March 2018

Big cats: Predators under threat

This week Jennie hones in on the plight of the world's magnificent felines to identify books that will help children appreciate, respect and care about the big cats that roam the world. 

To highlight and educate people across the world the United Nations World Wildlife Day celebrates and raises awareness of the world’s wild animals and plants. Each year March 3 heralds a year long campaign.  In 2018 the spotlight is on “Big cats: Predators under threat”. Today and throughout 2018, take the time to introduce young readers to these graceful felines and build awareness of the threats they face.  Literature provides a wonderful medium to introduce the diverse range of feline predators, inspire awareness and initiate conversations with young readers. Many of the selections below can be accessed through your local library – why not make a pledge to explore big cats throughout the year.
William Blake’s classic poem ‘Tyger tyger’ provides a wonderful springboard and the video and musical rendition of the poem captures this powerful feline in all its glory.

In the Lion – James Foley
A young boy visits the zoo with his family, only to find an enormous lion is swallowing everything and everyone it can. Only the boy has the courage to stand his ground and stop the lion. Repetitive text and the expressions of Richard encourage young readers (and listeners) to join in and predict the outcome on each double page spread.  Great fun for preschoolers and youngsters but also an opportunity to discuss what a healthy lion should be eating!

Goodnight Tiger – Timothy Knapman & Laura Hughes
This quirky, funny bedtime story book is full of jungle animals and surprises. The vibrant illustrations are sure to delight children at bedtime. The animals in Emily's jungle wallpaper can't sleep, and they are bellowing and stomping and growling and keeping her awake! This is a great introduction to a number of jungle animals, including some big cats.

Tiger’s story - Harriet Blackford, illustrated by Manya Stojic
Tiger is a small, strong stripey cub. He lives in the forest in India. He walks quietly on his big soft paws and twitches his long stripey tail. An easy to read introduction to tigers through this playful cub.

I am a Cat – Galia Bernstein
A simple housecat named Simon encounters some bigger cats: Lion, Puma, Panther, Tiger, and Cheetah. Each of the big cats has something to say about Simon not being “cat” enough. According to them, he just doesn’t measure up. He doesn’t have Lion’s mane or Cheetah’s spots. He doesn’t sleep in trees like Panther or climb mountains like Puma. He’s small and fuzzy, not big and strong. But ultimately, Simon shows the big cats that he’s just like them . . . only smaller.

Several titles in the Adventures with… series introduce big cats and share an authentic story about the animal with considerable factual information conveyed through the story line and colour photographs.
Written by Jan Latta, Timba the TigerChipper the Cheetah  and Lena the Lion introduce young readers to three different big cats, how they live and threats they face. Each title also provides information on what we can do to help protect these endangered big cat populations.

The World Wildlife Fund has published a series of short novels for young independent readers. Look out for:
Snow Leopard Lost - Linda Chapman
Set in Mongolia, Emily's dad is helping to set up a new project to help endangered snow leopards in the area. On a half term visit Emily makes friends with a young snow leopard cub, Leo. But not all the villagers are pleased that the leopards are making themselves at home.
Tiger Tricks –Linda Chapman
Emily's mum is being sent to India to take photos of an endangered forest. Emily isn't expecting to meet any wild friends, so is delighted when runaway tiger cub, Bala, turns up! But the local people are less happy

The Snow Leopard – Jackie Morris
A beautifully crafted allegory representing life, death and renewal through the story of a girl’s dreaming and her transformation into a snow leopard and protector of life.  Set against the stunning landscapes of the Himalayas, the superlative illustrations of the nearly-extinct snow leopard offer a message of hope at a time when many of the world's wildest places are being worn away by human beings.

For independent readers Tiger Trouble by Justin D’Ath. Set in New Delhi, Sam and his family are watching big brother Nathan make his international cricketing debut when a young pickpocket steals Sam's backpack. Sam gives chase and runs foul of the boss of a pickpocket gang, who's also involved in the illegal trade of exotic pets, including tiger cubs taken from the wild. When a pair of cubs is to be smuggled through Pakistan to Iran, Sam and the young pickpocket, now his ally, set out in the cause of wildlife conservation to rescue them. Fast-paced action and animal adventures.

Tiger Tiger – Lynne Reid Banks
In this historical fiction novel, two tiger cubs are snatched from their native jungle and shipped to Rome. There they are cruelly separated, and one cub becomes the princess's adored house pet. The other, fiercer cub is trained to become the star performer in Caesar's bloodthirsty circus. Princess Aurelia detests her father's brutal 'sport', but must keep her feelings secret. The only person she can confide in is her slave, Julius, her tiger's keeper. But such a friendship is equally forbidden: should the Emperor find out, his anger would be terrible and his punishment severe. But friendship and love cannot be dictated, and neither tiger nor man is destined for a life in chains. This story is also available in audio for shared listening.

Don’t forget to spend time seeking out non-fiction titles as well. Often with stunning photographs, most contemporary titles also include information about the threats and actions to help preserve these magnificent feline predators. Some non-fiction reviews can be read on JB’s not Just Books blog.

Jennie Bales
CBCA Tasmania Social Media Coordinator, adjunct lecturer for Charles Sturt University in the Med (Teacher Librarianship) course.