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

Saturday, 14 January 2017

What will you pick?

Maureen takes a great idea, InkyBINGO, and provides inspiration to help you adapt it to your own reading needs.
Have you liked the CBCA Tasmanian FB page? If not, you won’t have seen a recent post shared from Inside a Dog, the State Library of Victoria’s YA page. It was called InkyBINGO:  a way to help people choose something fantastic to read. It may be outside one’s comfort zone, but a great way to choose new books over the holidays.
It got me thinking, which of course was the whole point. What would I choose for each of the sections? Which of the options would I change? So, my thanks to Inside a Dog and because I read more than just Young Adult, I want to include something for picture books and Younger Readers. But also my apologies for manipulating their idea.
However, rather than telling you what I would remove, here’s my list of topics I would consider including. What topics and their titles would you keep and what would you want to change? What would you choose for each of the options?
  • The best picture book of 2016
  • My favourite illustrator
  • Great for me, but not all reviews agreed
  • Don’t judge a book by its cover
  • New (to me) author
  • Information book spectacular
  • Suggestion from someone else
  •  A book which references new areas: music, art or other authors
  • e-book
  • Humour
Which of the covers I have shown here fit which section? Have fun exploring your own and let us know what you would change or add as well as what you would choose for any section.
Happy reading!
Maureen Mann
Retired teacher librarian and avid reader


Saturday, 7 January 2017

Reading wish list for 2017

Do you have a 2017 reading wish list? Penny is starting hers and already facing dilemmas in making her first choices. So many good books to select from!

Here we are at the beginning of another year. The various festive celebrations have come and gone and life for most of us, is slowly returning to normal.

Like many of you I have plans and projects in mind for 2017, and I intend to find more time to read in 2017. Fortunately, one of my Christmas gifts was a Petrarch's Voucher so I picked up a copy of  their Summer Reading Guide and trawled through it with great interest, thrilled to discover that no less than seven pages are devoted to books for young people!

So, what to choose?

Well, one definite is The Ice-Cream Makers by Ernest van der Kwast & Laura Vroomen which is set in Italy and is a 'dazzling novel about an Italian ice-cream dynasty, tradition, ambition, and the sensation of lemon sorbet melting on your tongue.'  But since my voucher will only cover the cost of two books, I now have a dilemma.

I love crime thrillers, so do I choose Magpie Murders by Anthony Horowitz or The Wrong Side of Goodbye by Michael Connelly? But I also love sci-fi, so young adult titles Gemina by Amie Kaufman & Jay Kristoff and The Diabolic by S J Kincaid also hold great appeal. I read a lot of non-fiction too and Evolution: A Visual Record by Robert Clark is also a contender; as is the brilliant Wonderlands: The Illustration Art of Robert Ingpen.

Imagine having all these books to choose from. May we all have such dilemmas in 2017!

Penny Garnsworthy
Freelance writer

Editor’s note:
If you have read any of these, why not give Penny some advice – or share a “must read” title on your wish list.

Saturday, 17 December 2016

Tassie Books for Christmas

Join Lyndon as he celebrates a wonderful source of Tasmanian fiction and a means to support local talent.

We’re one week out from Christmas, and if you’re anything like me you still have a couple of gifts to get. You forgot someone, or what you were searching for was sold out, or - worst of all - you are suffering from a terrible case of the I don’t knows.

In that instance, when crunch time arrives and browsing shops in our spacious island state suddenly feels like being trapped on a crowded train somewhere on the mainland, the Celebrate Tasmanian Books and Writing Facebook group, now known as Tassie Books This Christmas, might be a lifesaver!

Nina Matthews (2012) Flickr CC
Tassie Books This Christmas highlights the great work of writers established and emerging all around the state. What more thoughtful present than something local, that will mean an enormous amount to the recipient as they read about their home (or your home!) and will also mean an awful lot to local writers who so desperately need our support to keep doing their wonderful work? In most cases within the group you can contact and purchase from writers directly, who are happy to personally send their work to you, and often even offer an inscription or signature to go with it. There are picture books, children’s novels, non-fiction, adult fiction, coffee-table books and even anthologies. Without spinning the commercial too hard here, it really does feel like there is something for everyone being written in this place.

So if things are desperate, I recommend joining the group and taking a look. And if you’re all done with your shopping, perhaps consider joining the group anyway! After all, summer reading is just around the corner…

And all that remains is for me to say that I hope you have a splendid transition into the New Year, full of long, well-lit nights of reading.

Merry Christmas!

Lyndon Riggall
Author. @lyndonriggall
Editor's note: Seasons greetings to all our readers. We trust that the new year brings a plethora of books and favourite reads to help brighten your world.

Saturday, 10 December 2016

Under my Christmas Tree

Nella provides some great titles that she bought for Christmas gifts and they should inspire, amuse and enthral kids of all ages. Some of these may not end up as gifts for others but will sit under her tree and then slip onto her bookshelf!

For younger readers
The Fabulous Friend Machine by Nick Bland, Scholastic. 
Popcorn is the friendliest chicken at Fiddlestick’s Farm, until she finds a Fabulous Friend Machine (mobile phone) in the barn.

Home in the Rain by Bob Graham, Walker Books.
As Francie and Mum drive home in the rain, Francie seeks inspiration for the name of her new baby sister.

Somewhere Else by Gus Gordon, Penguin.
George Laurent, the cap wearing duck/baker is far too busy to go anywhere with his friends. Or maybe it’s because he can’t fly. With illustrations reminiscent of Herman and Rosie, have a sneak at all the details, courtesy of the the author.
For readers 9+

Elizabeth and Zenobia by Jessica Miller, Text.

Elizabeth and her father are moving to his childhood home after her mother leaves them for a more ‘adventure-filled’ life. Zenobia, Elizabeth’s 'not-an-imaginary best friend', goes with them. Then Elizabeth stumbles on a mystery. 

A Most Magical Girl by Karen Foxlee Piccadilly Press. 
Set in Victoria London. Annabel Grey has been brought up as a proper young lady but when she is sent to live with her aunts, she discovers she’s magical.  Aided by Kitty, a street urchin, she struggles against a villain who plans to take over the world with dark magic.

The Smuggler's Curse by Norman Jorgensen, Fremantle Press.
When his mother “sells” him to the infamous Captain Bowen of the Black Dragon, Red Read’s life becomes an adventure filled with smugglers, pirates, and dastardly and murderous Dutch imperialists.  Thrilling though maybe not for the squeamish.  

Young Adults

The Bone Sparrow Zana Fraillon, Lothian.
This one has been out a while and made awards list in the UK. Subhi was born in an Australian immigration detention centre after his mother and sister fled their home country. Life behind the fence is tough and violent. One night when he can’t sleep and is wandering the camp, Subhi comes across a young girl – she has shoes, a backpack, a torch – she is from Outside.

Gemina by Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff, Allen & Unwin.Second in the Illuminae Files. Continues the struggles of Hannah (the Captain's daughter) and Nik (criminal family) on board a space station. Sci-fi at its best. Watch the video for an intro to Book 1: Illuminae.

Words in Deep Blue by Cath Crowley, Pan Macmillan.
After moving away and losing touch with her friends, Rachel Sweetie returns to town. She is working at Howling Books, grieving for her brother Cal, and trying not to be in love with Henry Jones.

For thriller loving adults

Tell the Truth, Shame the Devil by Melina Marchetta, Viking.
Bish Ortley, a suspended policeman, finds himself the British liaison in the aftermath of a bomb attack on a bus full of students including his daughter. And there’s a link to a notorious terrorist attack of the past.

For other gift ideas, try the CBCA eStore for beautiful cards by Feya Blackwoodor support your local Tasmania authors with ideas for Christmas at Tassie books.

Nella Pickup

Saturday, 3 December 2016

The CBCA Nan Chauncy Award: Call for Nominations

Call for Nominations for

From the late 1950s until the early 1970s, Nan Chauncy was one of the most esteemed children’s writers in Australia. She distinguished herself by winning the Australian Children’s Book of the Year three times, had three titles commended in the following seven years and gained international recognition, including receiving a Diploma of Merit in the Hans Christian Andersen Award (Eastman, B. 2000; Lees, S. & Macintyre, P. 1993; Niall, B. 1984).

In recognition of the writer’s significance in the history of literature for young Australians, CBCA instituted the Nan Chauncy Award in 1983. The Award is currently conferred biennially.
The CBCA Nan Chauncy Award has been created to honour a person who has made an outstanding contribution to the field of Australian Children’s Literature over a period of years. Such a person could be an editor, publisher, teacher, librarian, bookseller, researcher, lecturer, author, illustrator, etc.

The recipient of the Award must be an Australian citizen, no matter where resident, or a person who has been resident in Australia for at least five years.
The recipient need not be a member of a Branch of the Children’s Book Council of Australia.

Financial and Life Members of CBCA may nominate eligible people. All nominations must be on the official form, obtainable from the Children’s Book Council of Australia Branches and the National Board. Nominees must be living at the time nominations close.
Nominations close on 31 March, 2017.

If you have any queries, please write to:

The Coordinator, CBCA Nan Chauncy Award,
Level 2, State Library of Queensland,
Stanley Place,
South Brisbane. 4101.

Entry forms and advice to nominators are also available from your Branch office, the National Board and the CBCA web site:

Jenni Connor, Nan Chauncy Award coordinator
Editor's note: Nan Chauncy is dear to the hearts of Tasmanian readers and CBCA members as Chauncy Vale is located in the island state and is the source of inspiration for many of her stories. The following list of previous blog posts about Nan and this award are presented chronologically, starting with the most recent, for those who like to know more about this remarkable writer.
27 September 2015 A place to call home
30 March 2015 Nan Chauncy Award

Saturday, 26 November 2016

Life membership bestowed upon Patsy Jones

Members attending the 2016 CBCA Tasmania Annual General Meeting celebrated the untiring dedication and contributions of Patsy Jones.

Patsy Jones has given unstinting service to the Children’s Book Council of Australia (Tasmanian Branch) Inc. for many years. She has filled the roles of State President, Treasurer and Merchandise Manager with distinction and demonstrated exceptional leadership in the organisation. 

Despite her initial reluctance, she performed the role of president with commitment and energy, and always strove to include and foster those people who were not necessarily school-based professionals. This has been advantageous to the organisation, as the role of the teacher-librarian/literature specialist in schools has diminished.

Patsy is one of those volunteers who contributes well above and beyond the requirements of any role to which she commits.

She annually takes on the executive responsibility for the successful Southern Readers Cup, procuring prizes, securing judges, contacting schools, convening meetings with participating schools and compiling questions and the collation of data on the day. 

In the National Year of Reading, Patsy organised events for librarians, teachers and parents and read stories to pre-schoolers in a southern supermarket.

In the Year of Celebrating Nan Chauncy in Tasmania, Patsy initiated and supported collaboration between CBCA and the State Library (LINC) system, establishing a valuable and relevant relationship for the future. 

She coordinated the Launch of the Year of Nan Chauncy at the Allport Library and Museum of Fine Arts, assembling and installing the first of the Nan Chauncy travelling suitcase displays at the Hobart City Library. 

Patsy then travelled throughout Tasmania, at her own expense, to attend every one of the displays in small and regional libraries, as well as participating in both screenings of They Found a Cave in the south and north west of the state. She located one of the cast from the film, coordinating his attendance at the Hobart and the Devonport events, enriching the literary and film experience for all. 

Predictably, Patsy arrived early and left late for the Nan Chauncy Oration in June, offering a willing, practical hand to ensure the function proceeded smoothly. At the final event at Chauncy Vale, Patsy, typically, was there from the beginning to the end, setting up, placing signs for entry and helping and advising throughout a long day. 

On her own initiative and using her considerable expertise, Patsy researched, composed and arranged printing for the informative print brochures distributed at the events, effectively promoting CBCA Tas. as well as the beloved author.

Similarly, with the 2016 CBCA Tas. major set of events, Hidden Stories at Moonah Arts Centre in September, Patsy has been on hand to undertake a myriad of tasks to support CBCA’s work in relation to this important public initiative.

As Branch Treasurer, Patsy operates with extreme diligence, preparing detailed financial statements for meetings and the annual audit and ensuring that branch funds are appropriately invested. She has recently arranged to change the accounts to a bank with a sustainable approach and a stronger community orientation. 

The role of Merchandise manager is a very time-consuming one, requiring the pursuit of merchandise and payments and repeated efforts to keep CBCA ‘customers’ happy. Patsy fulfils these duties with impressive patience and persistence.

The Children’s Book Council, Tas. Inc. has been very fortunate indeed to have Patsy Jones as a generous, wise and experienced mentor, friend and contributor with a strong commitment to the organisation, to reading and literature and to community service in the broad and significant sense.

Jenni Connor and Judy Moss

Sunday, 20 November 2016

‘Spot’light on Italy

Jennie recounts the latest chapter in her quest to add an Italian version of a Spot adventure to her bookshelves.

For long-time readers of this blog, this is a continuation of a journey – the collection of Spot books in the languages of the countries I visit. The processes of acquiring these titles is as much fun as reading and sharing them when I get home. If you want the background on my international collection dip into the archives and read Spot the difference and Spot the difference: The next chapter.

This treasure hunt began on the east coast of Sicilia in Catania and traversed across the island – Syracusa, Agrigento, Trapani and Palermo – surely the capital would have a copy! No, not a Spot to be seen. Armed with an iPad for this expedition, misunderstandings were eliminated (and the fun of barking like a dog in the middle of a bookshop was obsolete) as Google translate made it all a little too easy. So we searched for “libro illustrato” by the ‘autore’ Eric Hill. Mind you, without capital letters, this translates into ‘collina eric'.

So in Sicilia we did not find a single copy of the beloved Spot. However, we did find some fantastic bookshops and it was heart warming to see that these ranged from corporate chain stores to small village home-owned stores. The Italian bookshop is alive and well – Read all about it! Much was familiar – the children’s section was usually to the back or upstairs – coffee shops (with biscotti and pasticceria!) were often present with many familiar titles and popular authors translated into Italiano. L'Albero (The Giving Tree) by Shel Silverstein and Un Libro (Press Here) by Herve Tullet were present in most shops, and the latter was purchased, packed and brought home just to press my buttons.

Fairy tales made up a significant part of the children’s collection and included mass produced version – Disney being a favourite – alongside beautiful renditions – the one that grabbed my attention was a version illustrated by Rebecca Dautremer (now added to my collection, in English).

To continue the journey and the treasure hunt, from Sicilia we had a briefer sojourn on the mainland – Salerno to explore the Amalfi Coast and Napoli, and then to Roma. In and out of bookshops we went and it was in Roma that the quest was completed, in the largest store of the Feltrinelli Libri e Musica chain.

So now I have an Italian Spot sitting on my shelves next to a number of other foreign language picture books – a wonderful journey to remember as I dip into Spot va in Vacanza – how fitting!

Jennie Bales
CBCA Tas Social Media person, adjunct lecturer with Charles Sturt University, teacher librarian in the past, and lover of travel and children’s books.

Saturday, 12 November 2016

Is it worth reading?

With the wealth of quality children’s and young people’s books available today it slightly surprises me when someone wants their children to read authors like Enid Blyton. I was reminded of the power of nostalgia when I heard a young mother who had bought her children some of the “Famous Five”  books say she was most disappointed to find the stories were much less vivid than they  seemed to her as a s child.
As an 8 year old (in the late 1950’s) travelling on the SS Strathnaver from England to Australia I had three quarto volumes of Enid Blyton - the First, Second and Third Enid Blyton Books. They were probably the only books I had to read so I devoured them and they made an impression. However, even in my tender years, some of the stories left a bad taste.
The one that even now springs to mind is the story of the bad apple. In this tale Granny had five boys helping her store apples and instructs her good little grandson George not to store any apple with any blemish. However he ignores an apple with a small blemish and this apple rots and turns its neighbours bad. Granny is asked to look after another boy Sammy who is described as sly and deceitful; she refuses saying he is a bad apple and would turn the other boys bad. Read the story 'Grannie's Bad Apple' online in The Second Enid Blyton Book.
Even then, I found this story obnoxious. I could not accept that that Sammy was irredeemably bad and he was going to adversely affect four others.
Now I understand the underlying class attitude. I know from reading Robert Thouless’ classic work on logic in argument Straight and Crooked Thinking that this is an argument by analogy that fails simply because boys are not apples. Imagine what Sammy will turn out to be as an adult if he is treated as rotten as a child.
Stories frame our confirmation bias; i.e. we tend only to accept evidence that fits these biases. It is not trivial or “political correctness’ that we critically asses that the books we give our children are worth the reading.

Richard Pickup
Retiring president CBCA Tas Branch