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

Friday, 15 September 2017

2017 Reading Challenge continues...

Earlier this year, Nella posted her personal reading list for the year with some alternative and varied selection criteria. She continues to challenge and encourage us to read outside our comfort zones and broaden our horizons. If you can't identify a title for each category then read on for some tasters from Nella's selections. There are some excellent leads for  further great reads from early childhood through to older teens to cap off the year. Are you up to the challenge?

First book in a series
Aussie outback
YA with no romance
Green cover
Set in Tasmania
Mental Health
On your TBR pile
Award winner
Truly frightening
Would make a great movie
400 + pages

Investigate the original range of genres on the 2017 Reading Challenge - A Personal List post.


First book in a series
Six of Crows Leigh Bardugo Orion
Nominated for the CILIP Carnegie Medal 2017. I have a love-hate relationship with series books; thankfully this is part of a duology although I may be tempted by the other books set in the Grishaverse.
Criminal prodigy Kaz Brekker is offered a chance at a deadly heist that could make him rich beyond his wildest dreams - but he can't pull it off alone. Chapters are told from the differing POV of all six heist team members.


Aussie outback
Mrs White and the Red Desert Josie Boyle & Maggie Prewett  Magabala Books


When a group of desert children invite their school teacher, Mrs White, home for dinner to show her why their homework is always grubby, no-one expects what is to come!
YA with no romance
You Don’t Even Know Sue Lawson Black Dog (2013)
Alex is the misfit of a bullying family. He prefers water-polo to rowing; he loves his little sister Mia. Through random flashbacks, we learn how and why Alex  is in hospital recovering from an accident. Heartbreakingly real.



Green cover

Florette Anna Walker Viking
Mae moves from a house with a garden into a city apartment surrounded by cobblestones. Outside Florette, a florist shop, Mae finds a tiny plant growing from a crack between the path and the front wall of the shop. Mae takes it home, plants it in a jar. This is the beginning of Mae’s new garden.
Set in Tasmania
Gaolbird: The True Story of William Swallow Convict & Pirate Simon Barnard Text Publishing
Fantastic story that deserves to be told - truth really is stranger than fiction. William Walker aka William Swallow was an English convict taken to ‘the far end of the earth’, Van Diemen’s Land, in the 1820s...three times.  Illustrated in exaggerated cartoon style.

Mental Health
Girl in Pieces Kathleen Glasgow HarperCollins
Gritty debut novel about the horrors of self-harm and the healing power of artistic expression

On your TBR pile
Everything Leads to You Nina LaCour Penguin Random House
Emi Price is a talented young set designer; she finds a mysterious letter at an estate sale, and it sends her chasing down the loose ends of a movie icon’s hidden life. And along the way, she finds Ava.


Award winner 
Winner Aurealis Awards - Best Children's Fiction 2016
When the Lyrebird Calls Kim Kane Allen & Unwin
While helping her grandmother, Madeleine finds a pair of shoes in a hidden compartment. Wearing these shoes while a lyrebird calls in an old grotto she timeslips to Lyrebird Muse, the grand home of the Williamson family just prior to the Federation of Australia.
Truly frightening
Forgetting Foster Dianne Touchell Allen & Unwin
Forget monsters and aliens.  True fear is found in everyday events. A powerful story of a seven-year-old boy whose father develops Alzheimer’s disease.  Everything in Foster’s life changes, his father starts forgetting things and his mother stops laughing.

Would make a great movie
Mr Romanov’s garden in the sky Robert Newton Penguin 
Lexie lives in a ‘Commission’ apartment, with her junkie mother. Lexie remembers better times with her father —games of pretend camping, taken seriously with map reading and with Lexie given the choice of location (which is always Surfers Paradise). Other residents include the Creeper, an elderly man with a rooftop garden (Mr Romanov) and know-it-all Davey Goodman. The three travel to Surfers Paradise pursued by police.  Sentimental and compelling
400 + pages
Windfall Jennifer E Smith Pan Macmillan

At 416 pages, this just meets the criteria.  Jennifer E Smith’s YA novels (she also writes middle grade books) are heart-warming and generally about first love.  Alice buys her best friend Teddy a lottery ticket for his 18th birthday. He wins. A story of loss, death and Alice’s need to live up to her perceptions of her parents’ selflessness. 


Nella Pickup
Avid reader (and inspiration to us all to...keep on reading)


From the editor: Why not share your alternative suggestions. Under the First in a Series category I have recently read Tokens and Omens by Jeri Baird and am eagerly awaiting the sequel - out next month.

Saturday, 9 September 2017

Creativity with Nature

Join Coral Tulloch, Tasmanian illustrator and children's book creator, on her mission to bring students and the natural world together through an innovative Natural Pedagogy program in Western Australia.

I have been so incredibly fortunate for many years now to have been asked to go to Western Australia to work at schools for the Association of Independent School of Western Australia (AISWA). Apart from the many school visits I have done with them – covering a broad span of schools from the long established to the tiny and low ICSEA, from community schools in remote areas, to bustling inner city - and schools specifically for disengaged students to the most interesting community schools –  each time there has been so much for me to learn, apart from what they believe I can deliver and bring to both the students and teachers. Each time they have challenged me incredibly.

This time I was nervous! Sure, I’ve been asked to do early childhood before, but it’s not my area of expertise, and I was nervous. But I also knew that AISWA have faith in the people they bring across and believe we can achieve the outcomes they desire. Even after all these years of being with them, I was still shaking at the concept of three days working with four year olds!

My role this time was to work in Nature Pedagogy with early childhood. Our first stop was at Margaret River Independent School, (one I had worked with previously and loved), to help them create a work that would be saleable to the public for their Nature Trail associated with their school.
We  set up an art studio for them, and worked on various mediums before settling on the concept of a b/w map, to be rolled like a scroll, for people to add their own experiences to and to colour in. The photo that is attached is before the Noongar names of the plants have been added. The back of the scroll contains the Noongar seasons and explanation of the plants and their usage.

The second week, I went to Heritage College in Perth and worked with 4 year olds, going to their bush school outing, collecting and then interpreting what we had found. Also working with various materials in scientific drawing. A challenge for me to see the four year olds, concentrated and loving the interpretation of each object that caught their attention. They felt and smelt and drew and painted the natural world, translating in both realism and abstract.


We also set up an art studio for them to continue with their work. But I think some of the things they loved the most was making paint with the pebbles, dirt and water from the creek, embossing paper while it was wet in the bush, hunting out strange and beautiful forms and shapes and making their own paints back at school with everyday items, such as turmeric, five spice, mud, and salts.

I thank AISWA for getting me out of my area of comfort, for extending my abilities and confidence and joy in this engaging project. I received the same back from all of the gorgeous children and engaged teachers that I was so privileged to work with.

Coral Tulloch
Children's illustrator
FB: www.facebook.com/cloudyseas

Saturday, 2 September 2017

Review: All the Light We Cannot See

Leanne Rands has recently finished reading a book that she enjoyed so much that she had to write a blog post. Enjoy the post and maybe dash out and get hold of a copy to read yourself.

All the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr
Recently l had the pleasure of reading this book for the first time and was amazed at the depth of my emotional response to the plot and plight of Marie-Laurie and Werner. I particularly enjoyed the intriguing manner in which Anthony Doerr deftly interweaves the lives of Marie-Laurie and Werner, encapsulating the theme that against all odds people should try to be good to one another. It is not surprising that All the light we cannot see was the 2015 Pulitzer Prize Winner in Fiction.
Doerr skilfully uses a variety of metaphors and vivid, often challenging descriptions to engage the reader. Ten years in the writing, All the Light We Cannot See is a magnificent, deeply moving novel from a writer “whose sentences never fail to thrill” (Los Angeles Times)
Anthony Doer talks about the inspiration and investigation
underpinning the story.

The Plot
Marie-Laure, a French girl who has been blind since the age of six lives with her father in Paris near the Museum of Natural History, where he works as the master of its thousands of locks. To help her navigate the local neighbourhood he father builds a perfect miniature so she can memorise it by touch and find her way home. When she is twelve, the Nazis occupy Paris and so they flee to the walled citadel of Saint-Malo, to live with her reclusive great-uncle, bringing with them the invaluable and dangerous jewel from the museum. Meanwhile, in a mining town in Germany, the orphan Werner, enchanted by a crude radio, becomes an expert at building and fixing these new instruments. This leads him to the brutal academy for Hitler Youth. Later he is assigned to locate the radio communications for the French resistance and eventually realises the human suffering his intelligence causes. At Saint-Malo, the lives of Werner and Marie-Laure converge with unexpected consequences.
For those who have not had the pleasure of reading this brilliant novel l would recommend that you find a copy and immerse yourself as soon as possible.
Book trailer introducing the novel: All the Light We Cannot See

Leanne Rands

President CBCA Tasmania