Wednesday, January 5. 2011
I am preparing 3 lists of 15 books: picture books, children's books and young adult books. Like Susan, my emphasis is on fiction, but there will be some non-fiction books as well. There's no poetry to speak of. And like Susan, I consulted friends and colleagues and my personal reference library (particularly The Dromkeen Book of Australian Children's Illustrators for the picture book list and Maurice Saxby's 3 volume history). However, the final decisions are my own. I'm looking forward to the discussion that may follow.
Remember—these are not lists of the best, or best-selling, or most beloved or even most highly awarded books. They are not a survey of the most important or Best-Beloved authors and illustrators, although I anticipate that many of them will make an appearance. It is a list that, if you read them all, would go some way towards an understanding of, in addition to what Susan has noted, the preoccupations Australian children's literature, and what those preoccupations say about Australian childhood and adolescence (or perhaps our adult perceptions of and ideas about Australian childhood and adolescence). The books are organised chronologically.
The final things to say was that this was an extremely difficult task. Here is the picture book list: the children's and YA lists are still to come (because I am still working on them!). Have at me!
(Also—please note. This is a very long post!)
15 Australian Picture Books Everyone Should Read
1. Karrawingi the Emu by Leslie Rees and Walter Cunningham (ill) (1946)
This book was the winner of the first Children's Book Council Book of the Year awards, and so is worth kicking off this list for that reason alone, but it is an early example of our interest in indigenous animals as a subject for children's books—especially picture books. (As we'll see, this interest persists to the present day.) Karrawingi is just one of around a dozen of these nature stories by Rees and illustrated mostly by Cunningham (with some other significant illustrators such as Margaret Senior also involved in the series). The books use fictional techniques to tell stories of Australian animals who are characterised but not anthropomorphised—they remain true to their animal nature, and the stories were carefully researched, as their purpose was as much to educate as to entertain. These days we'd classify it more as an illustrated chapter book than a picture book, but putting it in the picture book list is an opportunity to recognise the importance of the creators of these books to Australian children's literature, writer Leslie Rees and especially illustrator Walter Cunningham. Jeffrey Prentice credits Cunningham for changing the format of the Australian children's picture book. Walter Cunningham was also an art teacher, and married one of his students, Noela Young, who herself went on to become one of our most important children's book illustrators (sadly not represented on this list, so yay I can mention her here!).
2. The Quinkins by Percy Trezise and Dick Roughsey (1978)
There's a big gap of years between the first and second books on this list, and when I was doing my research, I was interested to note how few Picture Book of the Year awards were given by the CBCA through the 50s and 60s. I'm not well educated enough to know what might have been going on in printing technology/industry that might have contributed to the relative dearth of picture books, but I'm curious enough to wonder why they seem like drought years for the format.
Anyway, all of that aside, it seemed necessary to include one of the picture books by the Roughsey/Trezise team. Working in the modern picture book format (pioneered by Cunningham? Any picture book historians out there?), the intention of Trezise and Roughsey (Aboriginal name Goobalathaldin—from the Lardil language group of Mornington Island) was to preserve traditional, non-sacred stories (suitable for children) via the picture book format. I think it's safe to say that for at least one, if not more, generation of Australian children, the Trezise/Roughsey books were their first (and in some instances highly dramatic!) experience of authentic Indigenous stories. They are also really beautiful!
3. Mulga Bill’s Bicycle AB "Banjo" Paterson, Deborah and Kilmeny Niland (ills) (1973)
Several suggestions were made that I include picture books of classic Australian poems: Desmond Digby's beautiful Waltzing Matilda (I have been lucky enough to see the original illustrations of this, held in the State Library of NSW—they are TINY!), The Man from Snowy River illustrated by Annette Macarthur-Onslow (which gives me the opportunity to mention her classic Uhu, which, alas, didn't make the final 15), and I'd also add Andrew McLean's gorgeous My Country (Dorothea Mackellar). I settled on Mulga Bill's Bicycle for a few reasons. First of all, children will have a good chance of meeting these other classic Australian poems without the picture books, beautiful and important as they are, whereas Mulga Bill is these days not so well known outside of the picture book. Secondly, Mulga Bill is a lovely example of the peculiarly Australian take on the—well, not exactly tall tale, but something close to it. It's a typical Aussie bush ballad, a sort of mix of adventure and cautionary tale, full of outrageous over AND understatement and rueful good humour. So I think it's not only a classic of the Australian funny-bone, but it's also illustrated by Kilmeny and Deborah Niland, daughters of writers D'Arcy Niland and Ruth Park (look for her in the children's list). Saxby says of the Niland twins that "Before Julie Vivas they established a wide-eyed, idiosyncratic humorous approach to children's book illustration".
4. John Brown, Rose and the Midnight Cat Jenny Wagner and Ron Brooks (ill) (1977)
Because we're not all bush babies and ballads. John Brown, Rose and the Midnight Cat is a classic of a different order. Never out of print, it's a story that can be read on many levels—as a simple tale of friendship and loyalty, or on a deeper allegorical level as a story about the coming, and acceptance of death. It was the picture book that taught me how picture books work, about metaphor and allegory and the role of illustration, and about the beauty that can be found in even the darkest of subjects. It's perhaps one of the early example of a type of picture book Australian writers and illustrators have excelled at—sophisticated and accessible, beautiful and slightly melancholic. It's a standard-bearer for excellence and artistic integrity. And while Ron Brooks will get another look-in, this is a great time to remind everyone how important Jenny Wagner has been to Australian children's books, and how prolific and essential she was in the 70s and 80s. (See also The Bunyip of Berkeley's Creek.)
5. Possum Magic Mem Fox and Julie Vivas (1983)
Well, really, you just couldn't leave this one off, could you. Apparently we ARE all about the marsupials. Also, Vegemite. Possum Magic is pretty much unarguably the pinnacle of classy Australiana for kids. The story behind the story is well known by now—multiple drafts (and rejections) of a manuscript originally about mice, until Sue and Jane at Omnibus Books suggested the mice be possums, and voilà—history was made. Also, Mem Fox is, for much of the world, the face of Australian children's picture books. Also—Julie Vivas. Enough said.
To be honest, I wonder if Possum Magic would be published today. We've moved a long way past overt Aussie-isms in our books, by and large—but then, looking back and forward to the two ends of this list, what really distinguishes Possum Magic from Karrawingi or the book at number 15? (No peeking!) And there's little doubt Possum Magic is probably our best-loved children's picture book ever, and likely to remain that way. It makes for an interesting conundrum about our attitudes to our own cultural touchstones, that we cringe at, for example, our losing bid for the FIFA World Cup (surfing kangaroos! Eep!) and yet hold Hush and Grandma Poss so close to our hearts. Whatever, it's a charmer, there's no doubt, and it does capture a peculiarly Australian sense of humour, I think. Plus—Vegemite.
6. My Place Nadia Wheatley and Donna Rawlins (ill) (1987)
Perhaps the best and only picture book that captures our history and the experience of urban Australian kids from a wide range of cultural backgrounds, all in 48 pages. For those readers who don't know the book (and that would be my international readers—surely every Australian interested in children's literature knows this book intimately), each sequence of 2 double page spreads is set at the same address in an inner Sydney suburb and takes the reader back in time ten years, from 1988 to 1788 and the arrival of the First Fleet of convict ships from England. Nadia Wheatley is a trained historian (why do we always say 'trained' historian?!) and the research is immaculate—as is Donna Rawlins' research for the illustrations, which are exquisite in their detail and full of warmth and a sense of time and place. And so they perfectly match, complement and extend Nadia's text. Written in response to the 1988 bicentennial of the white settlement of Australia, it's also an early example of a picture book that brings in the political, but never at the expense of story. A 20th Anniversary edition was published this year with some additional material to bring the historical timeline into the modern day. A timeless classic—every home should own it. Oh, and apparently the second series of the TV show based on the book is under way. Yay!
7. Greetings from Sandy Beach Bob Graham (1990)
Ah! Bob Graham. I confess to the fact that Bob Graham was one of my first author crushes. Early on in my days working with the NSW Branch of the CBCA, when the Awards ceremony was held in Sydney (1991—the year Greetings from Sandy Beach won Picture Book of the Year) a friend of mine and I followed Bob into the auditorium (I think it was at the Opera House), and we giggled like schoolgirls the whole way. He was just so warm and avuncular-looking, like a cuddly teddy bear, and those qualities come through in all of his books. I generally think every new Bob Graham book is my favourite Bob Graham book, but Greetings from Sandy Beach makes this list because it so perfectly captures the Australian family, and the Aussie beach holiday. It's joyful and funny and drenched in sunshine—just the way our country, and the Australian childhood, are at their very best.
8. Window Jeannie Baker (1991)
I mentioned in my post about Ruth Park's death that it's an interesting phenomena that outsiders are often the best observers of a country and its society and culture, and I think the English-born Jeannie Baker is a really good example of this. Jeannie's picture books have not only captured our landscape, flora, fauna and natural environments perhaps better than any non-indigenous illustrator, but with books like Window and its follow-up Belonging, she also captured the social and cultural life-cycles of Australian families, city and the bush. And in her most recent book, Mirror, she also places that Australian experience in a broader world context. Plus—those extraordinary collages. I've been fascinated by them for 20 years, and I've been lucky enough to see a little of Jeannie's process, and I am still utterly bamboozled by the patience and focus creating these works of art requires. Anyway, I could have picked any of Jeannie's books for a slot on this list, but I really like the way Window follows the life-cycle of a child and her home. It echoes My Place in that regard—perhaps there's something about our relatively short history that encourages and requires us to interrogate it in the intimate way these books do, piece by piece. (Discuss!)
9. Tjarani Roughtail Gracie Greene and Joe Tramacchi, Lucille Gill (ill) (1992)
When I was in Ireland on my Churchill fellowship, and young girl in a school in Dublin asked me if children in Australia learnt bilingually, as Irish children do. With a little probing, I confirmed that she meant, did Australian children learn the Indigenous language alongside English? Well, it set me back on my heels a bit. I explained to her that there wasn't a single Aboriginal language, but more than 200 (many tragically now lost), but privately I realised that even if there had been a single Aboriginal language, there'd be no political or social will to introduce bilingual education in this country. That young Irish girl had a better understanding of the value of bilingual education than any one of our politicians.
And so we turn to books...
Tjarany Roughtail is a landmark in Australian children's publishing. It is a collection of Dreamtime stories of the Kukatja people of north-western Australia (the Kimberleys), told through text, illustration and diagrams that explicate the complexities of Aboriginal culture, law and kinship connections. It's also a bilingual text, with the stories and other information presented in English and Kukatja. And, like all of the books on this list, it's beautifully written, illustrated and designed. From Magabala Books, our leading Indigenous publisher.
10. My Farm Alison Lester (1992)
Consensus from my friendly advisors seemed to be that I should include Magic Beach on the list, or Ernie Dances to the Didgeridoo, or Are We There Yet?—all of which could happily have taken a slot, but I'm going for My Farm instead. (Bob Graham already had the Beach Book position sown up.) But there had to be an Alison Lester, and My Farm is as lovely an evocation of the country childhood as you could hope to find. (Plus! Cats on horseback!) Although we're actually a largely urban, coastal people, we hold the country dear to our heart, and the country childhood is an important sub-genre of our picture books.
11. Fox Margaret Wild and Ron Brooks (ill) (2000)
Margaret Wild is, I believe, our most accomplished picture book author by far. She's a rare writer who is both prolific and whose work is always raising the bar for others to try and meet. Fox may be her masterwork: it's an extraordinary and uniquely Australian fable of friendship, trust and loyalty. Married with Ron Brooks' raw, powerful illustrations, it's a breath-taking, emotional journey into the heart of darkness, and hope—all set against the unforgiving landscape of the Australian outback. We all know that the picture book is an art form—Fox takes it to a whole other level. (I was privileged to be working with Margaret at ABC Children's Books when she was writing Fox, and read it in early drafts, so I have a very strong personal affiliation to the book—but that's not why it's here. It's here because it's brilliant.)
12. A is for Aunty Elaine Russell (2000)
Speaking of Margaret Wild, A is for Aunty is a book that she conceived when we worked together at ABC Children's Books in the mid-90s—but I am sure she would agree that the resulting picture book is all Elaine Russell's work. This alphabet book draws on Elaine's childhood growing up on the Aboriginal Mission at Murrin Bridge in outback NSW, and so both complements and stands in contrast to those earlier-cited country childhood picture books. Now, for a picture book of this quality that depicts a contemporary urban Aboriginal childhood and I'll be very happy indeed. (And remember the gorgeous fold-out poster-sized sip jacket on the original hardback edition? What a treat!)
Special Mention: The Shack
13. Papunya School Book of Country and History 2001
This extraordinary book has won more awards than you can poke the proverbial at, and everyone well-deserved. It details the history of the Anangu, people from five language groups who came to live together (after being dispossessed of their own lands) at Papunya, where one of the most important and influential Aboriginal art movements developed over time. The Papunya School itself is grounded in the Aboriginal way of learning, and this holisitic approach to educating the whole child is replicated in the way this unique book explores history, culture, Language, Law and Country. The book was put together with the support of Nadia Wheatley and Ken Searle, with contributions come from adult and child members of the Papunya School community; text and illustrations in standard English, Aboriginal English and two Indigenous languages; illustrations, maps, diagrams and photographs all combine to tell the story of the Anangu. It's a revolutionary approach to picture book design, content and collaboration: would it had led to a revolution in education! Ah well—see my comments about political will and bilingualism. It did, though, lead to Nadia and Ken running projects with children across Australia where they bring the children to write and illustrate stories and observations about their own environment. One such project led to the book Going Bush, which deserves its own Special Mention here.
14. The Arrival Shaun Tan 2006
Shaun Tan has been the brightest star in the firmament of Australian children's picture books in the past decade. Not to say that he's the only great new artist to emerge, or that the "old hands" aren't continuing to make important contributions to the field, but I think it's fair to day that no picture book writer or illustrator has received the public attention and critical success that Shaun has—both here and internationally. And while Shaun Tan didn't invent the sophisticated, intellectually and emotionally challenging picture book for older readers, he certainly has made his own definitive mark on the format with books like The Red Tree and my personal favourite, The Lost Thing*, and his collaborations with John Marsden and Gary Crew (whose own ground-breaking The Watertower, illustrated by the late and sorely missed Steven Woolman, certainly opened the gates for the publishing of this type of picture book). Shaun notes that he doesn't specifically create his picture books for a child reader, but given the format he works in, that's how his books are generally received. I'd go a little further than that and say that while his books can be read and enjoyed by people from late childhood to Advanced Age, there is definitely something very child-like and child-friendly in his characters, and his stories, and their somewhat eccentric world-view, that ensure his books are not mere gate-crashers at the party, but welcome and treasured guests. (A bit like Eric, really.)
The Arrival was something else again—a wordless narrative about the migrant experience, so deeply relevant to and resonant with so many Australians (all of us, actually, bar the Indigenous peoples, if you go back far enough, which is actually not all that far at all...). The book is presented in the graphic novel form at a time when the graphic novel had hardly raised a ripple with Australian readers (outside die-hard genre fiction fans) much less Australian publishers. And it picked up so many awards, no-one could dare overlook it, even those who with predictable bluster spluttered about a wordless text winning literary prizes. I think history will prove—has already proved—that Tan is not an artist who will be quickly forgotten, and The Arrival may be the best Australian book of the decade. Bar none.
15. Diary of a Wombat Jackie French and Bruce Whatley (ill) 2007
And so we wind our way back to where we began—with a beloved Australian animal, the wombat. Actually, like emus, wombats aren't always that people-friendly (and nor, must I add, are emus marsupials, which I might have inadvertently suggested earlier in this Very Long Post, that they were...). I wrote earlier about our ambivalence to Australiana in our books, our dislike of a coy, retro iconography that suggests we're a nation stuck somewhere in about 1986, back when Paul Hogan was still that funny bloke who was a painter on the Sydney Harbour Bridge.
But the fact is we are a nation of extraordinary flora and fauna, and it would be nonsensical to pretend otherwise, and a desperate act of cultural vandalism to excise them from our collective imagination.
So thank goodness for Jackie French, who lives cheek-by-jowl with the damn beasties and brings them to us, in books like Diary of a Wombat, in all their glorious nonsense, chutzpah and unavoidable cuteness, with great dollops of humour and a down-to-earth lack of sentimentality. She and Bruce Whatley sync together beautifully in this book and others, and if Diary of a Wombat isn't the funniest Australian picture book ever written, I reckon it's got to be in the top whatever. It's down-the-pub humour, mums-over-the-back-fence humour, kids-in-the-playground humour. And there's nought wrong with that.
So that's my 15 picture books to read if you want to get a handle on Australia culture and childhood via the picture book. And here are a few extra mentions that you really ought to read if you want to be Very Well Read in Australian picture books. The rest is up to you—see you in the comments!
Special Other Mentions:
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Wonderful post Judith! I'm getting all verklempt remembering reading many of these to my kids There's a few there that I didn't know about and I think I may just have to track them down now.
Great list! I have read all these - except for 'Karrawingi the Emu' and 'Tjarani Roughtail' - due to being a lifelong reader, an English teacher when there was a big push to use picture books for visual literacy and Aboriginal themes, as well as being the the parent of a 4 & 7yo.
I would add a couple though:
1. 'The Rabbits' by Marsden and Tan
2. 'The Magic Beach' by Alison Lester
Mark Latham had one thing right, the parents of this country need to read three picture books each night to their kids.
Thanks for the comment. Magic Beach does get a mention, just not a slot. I didn't include The Rabbits because I think it can be a highly problematic book in that it's take on colonialism can equally be read as a critique of migration. I know that was not the intention of either creator, but French-Australian children's author Sophie Masson once published a very strongly worded critique of the book that has stuck with me ever since. Perhaps we are yet to see the truly great critique of colonialism in picture books—or perhaps it's just not the best format for it?
I think 'The Rabbits' has a multiplicity of readings and it is highly unusual for a picture book, unique actually! Controversial choices are good for dialogue but I think the Marsen and Tan collaboration on this book just marvellous.
Judith, what I like so much about Greetings From Sandy Beach is its understatement. This is a book that leaves so much room for the child to fill in all the possibilities around the family's interactions while on holiday. In her own way, Elaine Russell has a kind of elegant understatement too. Perhaps it really is a case of 'what we leave out' that makes Australian picture books identifiable.
On the theme of extraordinary flora and fauna, I find it impossible to go past Leaf Litter by Rachel Tonkin. A work of such patient application, detailed observation and clever storytelling.
Thanks, Mike—you've probably spent far more consistent time in recent months thinking about what makes an Australian picture book than I have! And I would add that I wrote this with all my picture books still in boxes, so there was a fair bit of reliance on memory going on. So I really appreciate your comments.
And also, thanks for bringing up Leaf Litter. We have some marvellous natural illustrators—I am struggling to remember the name of the Queensland artist who does beautiful factual picture books about our native wildlife (she did one about birds of prey nesting in a Brisbane office building...) and also Kim Michelle Toft.
You are referring to Narelle Oliver's books, including Sand Swimmers, Leaf Tail, Home and most recently, Fox and Feathers.
Oh, thanks, Trish! Had a total mental block on her name. Could see the pictures... I really need to finish unpacking!
Thanks for this Judith ... great stuff. Would it be possible somehow for you to look at my picture book:- "My Feathered Friend Magoh Magee" It is a true story with frequent flights of fancy. I would love to hear from you. Thanks
Unfortunately, Geraldine, I don't do very much reviewing on the blog these days. However, if you send me the publication details I can request a review copy at work and we can pass it on to some young readers for their thoughts.
What a great list, judith. That would have benn terribly difficult. I know you mention it, but i think Bunyip of Berkeley's Creek deserves a spot to itself. Though I don't know what I'd take out - you make the case for each of your choices pretty convincingly.
Seriously good list, Judith, and I know how hard it would have been to whittle. Purely for the record, I would suggest 'Are We There Yet?' (Alison Lester) to complement 'Possum Magic' and 'Requiem for a Beast' (Matt Ottley) to add to the mix given your criterion of 'understanding Australian culture'. I'm quite fond of Roland Harvey's 'To the Top End', too for its sly humour.
A Roland Harvey is a welcome addition to the list—thanks! And thanks also for raising Requiem for a Beast—one of those sophisticated older readers picture books I mentioned, and well worth the additional mention.
as I was reading your list, I was just agreeing with everything! Fantastic, and it must have taken ages!!
you have 6 of my favourites there. I love Fox and I could read anything by Alison Lester. I would probably put the Oath of Bad Brown Bill and Barrenjoey because those were the ones I loved as a little person ... There's a few I haven't read there too so I will seek them out. They have a great jeannie baker exhibition at melbourne museum at the moment - awesome Thanks for this list - it made me think.
I don't know Barranjoey, Simmone—so off to look it out. As for the Jeannie Baker exhibition, I worked very closely with Jeannie on the education kit for Mirror, which is when I had the opportunity to observe her creative process. It is a lovely exhibition, I agree. And fancy Bad Brown Bill being a favourite of yours—I do hope Steve is reading this! (And some kindly publisher who might bring it back into print?!)
Hi Judith - this an excellent list, as are your comments. Can I just put in a word for the non-Anglo Australians though? You deservedly have a great selection of Aboriginal stories, but aside from Shaun Tan's The Arrival (which is not really for littlies) there isn't really much else representing our wonderfully vibrant multi-culture. I would love to see more Asian, African, Indian, and European characters represented in Australian picture books, as these days one in four Australians are born overseas and it would be great to see this reflected in our literature. This is not a reflection on your list but on Australian publishing in general and while this is changing in YA, it is still sadly lacking in picture books. However, that's just MY particular soapbox!
Oh, Sally, thank you so much for raising this. Outside of Indigenous publishing, we do seem to have so few non-Anglo picture book artists and writers, don't we? There's Di Wu, of course, so a good time to mention Rebel, which while set outside of Australia does capture that anti-authoritarian aspect we like to think is at the heart of the Aussie character. Junko Morimoto, of course, but I am not sure her books reflect much about Australia, beautiful and important as they are overall. I do think, though, that our illustrators (in particular) are very good at representing the diversity of Australian society. You couldn't imagine a book like First Day or Our School Fete or Guess the Baby without a mix of cultures being represented. And we can think back to Donna Rawlins and Morag Loh's Tucking Mummy In, which depicts, without mention, a multi-racial family (Anglo mum, Chinese dad), which was of course based on Morag's own family. But absolutely no argument that we need greater diversity in our picture book creators. Now, now to achieve it?!
Excellent list Judith. The first book was the only one that was unfamiliar. Love all the others. Picture books are my favourite format and appeal to all ages. Alison Lester's book brings back many vivid memories of growing up in the country. I still remember the bit about hypnotizing the chickens. I love Narelle Oliver's books especially the lino cut illustrations. I think my favourite was Best beak in Boonaroo Bay. Morag Loh is also a favourite. Really loved The Kinder hat and another of hers, Grandpa and Ah Gong. When I was a kid is my favourite of Rachel Tonkins books.
And Sally's picture books, of course! Fang Fang is a beautiful Australian character.
What a fabulous post, Judith, tremendously enjoyable. I can't wait to see your other lists when they're ready!
I'm ashamed to admit that I didn't know anything about My Place till the TV series so I certainly can't claim to "know it intimately"; however I plan to rectify this sad state of affairs soon...
Happy to say that I was familiar with most of the others though.
Fantastic list - brings back so many memories - must ensure that these are in the grandchhildren's libraries
Judith, what a wonderful list. I want all these books! One of my son's favorites when he was a toddler was an Australian counting book, published in the US by Kane Miller: One Woolly Wombat
An enjoyable list to pore over, Judith. I'm eagerly awaiting the children's lit top 15.
Whilst maybe you wrote this with an Australian audicence in mind, I, as a non-australian, really appreciate it too. I've read 3 of the books on your list but would love to get hold of the rest. Thank you for all the effort you took in creating this - I'm looking forward to the next two lists.
On behalf of non-Aussies, I heartily thank you for this list. I've long had a love affair from afar with Australia, due in large part to books/movies such as "A Town Like Alice" and other Masterpiece Theater shows. My mother's supper-club has an Australian story-teller as a member, who continues to feed my love.
I ran across Diary of a Wombat in a used bookstore and just had to get it for my girlfriend's then-baby boy. In addition, I found a pattern for a knitted wombat that I also made and sent along. I've added a few of these books to my Amazon wishlist, and can't wait to read them myself.
Hi everyone, this is such a great list. I am the Marketing Manager at the State Library of Victoria and just wanted to let you know that we have an exhibition of many of the original pieces of artwork from some of these books. You can view it at slv.vic.gov.au/look
Great list Judith - almost exactly what i would have come up with. Maybe Shy the Platypus instead of the emu one by Leslie Rees. So glad you included Tjani Roughtail which has always been a favourite of mine. Do not go around the edges is the best one on the Stolen Generation, i think. YOu've included most of my other favourites in your extra ones! Thanks for this! Virginia
I just finished Window and My Place. I had seen My Place before. It is a wonderful book for looking at, but less of a book for a read-aloud. I have seen Possum Magic and love the pictures, but I can't remember a thing about the story. My favorite, favorite, favorite is Diary of a Wombat. Gorgeous pictures, good read-aloud - and wombats, though smelly, are seriously cute.
Lovely list, thanks. Just thinking too about modern suburban lives: An Ordinary Day (Libby Gleeson and Armin Greder); and Wilfrid Gordon McDonald Partridge (Fox and Vivas). Cheers.
"In the land of the talking trees" by Michael Noonan -a gorgeous fantasy about a soldier in WW2 lost in PNG and saved by fuzzy wuzzy fairies (sadly out of print)
AND "Derek the Dinosaur" - by Mary Blackwood where love triumphs over toughness.
Dog in, Cat out is ridiculous..try reading it at storytime lol
I'd prefer Animalia (Graeme Base)and Looking for Crabs (Bruce Whatley)
Thanks for the book list! I think fiction books are one of the best ways to understand culture. It helps us to understand certain trends in the society and an insight of how children grew up in Australia. Books also reflect values of the Australians. These books are easily available in bookstore all over the world and on online-platform. The usually comes in printed format and e-copies. I have noticed that some of these books are translated into other languages and printed by printing companies in other parts of the world.
I buy my books from:
Gleebooks Sydney Australia
Flying Pig Books Vermont USA
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Thanks for the book list! I th ink fiction books are one of t he best ways to understand cul ture. It helps us to und [...]
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Hi Anna, I can get a messag e to Gaye on your behalf. C heers, Judith
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Hi, i found this blog and was wondering is there any possibi lity to contact Gaye direct??? If there is one, please [...]
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Unfortunately, Geraldine, I do n't do very much reviewing on the blog these days. However, if you send me the publi [...]
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So, I came across this article whilst browsing Google. Anywa y, I attend this school and it is truly fantastic to s [...]
Geraldine Goretti Hallahan about 15 Australian Picture Books Everyone Should Read
Sat, 17.03.2012 14:17
Thanks for this Judith ... gre at stuff. Would it be possibl e somehow for you to look at m y picture book:- "My Fea [...]
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Thu, 15.12.2011 13:37
Hi, Judith, I;'m late in re ading this -- but I'm going to cut out the Steve Jobs quote from a prinout of your d [...]
Yvette about To beguile many, and be beguil’d by one.
Sat, 03.12.2011 09:43
What a terrific story. These s tate schools are doing terrifi c things. Through the dedicati on of the teachers and t [...]
mezzo g about 15 Australian Picture Books Everyone Should Read
Fri, 02.12.2011 21:01
"In the land of the talking tr ees" by Michael Noonan -a gorg eous fantasy about a soldier i n WW2 lost in PNG and sa [...]
Tristan Bancks about Goodbye, and thanks for all the Apples
Wed, 16.11.2011 08:18
Hey Judith I really enjoyed y our Apple journey. Our school had Apples, too. My wife, a de signer, banned me from P [...]
Ruth Starke about Whither the Children's Book?
Sun, 13.11.2011 12:43
A very late comment, since I f ound your comments reproduced in the Sep. Bookseller and Pub lisher, Judith. I've bee [...]
paul timbiti about Narrative Theory and Children's Literature
Wed, 12.10.2011 04:50
I am a masters student of chil dren's literature at Makerere University in Uganda, East Afr ica. I must say the comm [...]
Charlotte about Timecatcher by Marie-Louise Fitzpatrick
Sun, 02.10.2011 23:22
this sounds great--on my list it goes!
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