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

Friday, 1 July 2022

The crit group I didn’t know I needed

With Rita’s Revenge about to hit the bookshops, Lian Tanner shares her writing processes and the valuable insights provided by a team of fellow children’s book writers. What a wonderful process these outstanding children’s authors have engaged in to improve and develop their craft.


Halfway through 2020, that long first year of Covid, I received an email from fellow children's author Deborah Abela. The email also went to Tristan Bancks and Zanni Louise, and contained an invitation to form a small online critique group.


My reply was both enthusiastic and cautious. 'It's been such a confusing year that I'm not entirely sure what I'm working on,' I said. 'But it'd be good to talk to other writers about it.'


As it turned out, this was the crit group I didn't know I needed. And it's been going ever since, with the addition of Sarah Armstrong, who had previously written for adults and was now turning her hand to middle grade.

The book I ended up bringing to the group was Rita's Revenge, the sequel to A Clue for Clara.


Some authors work with their editors from the very beginning of an idea. I've always been the opposite. I never showed anyone what I was writing until I was reasonably satisfied with it, which was usually after at least four or five complete drafts. 


So sending those first chapters to the crit group presented a challenge. It also reinforced changes I had already started to make in the way I write.


With the fantasy trilogies (The Keepers, The Hidden and The Rogues), I plotted in great detail then wrote a first draft very quickly, not going back to correct anything or reread until I got as close to the end as possible. As a result, that first draft was always very rough and needed a lot of work to shape it into a story.


When I wrote Clara, I went about it differently. My plotting was looser, and I wrote the first draft much more slowly, allowing myself to go back and fix things so I didn't end up with nearly as many internal contradictions.


I found that I enjoyed it more. And at the end of that first draft, I had a coherent story.


This fitted well with joining the group. I didn't want to send them my rawest work; what was the point of that? I wanted them to find the problems I couldn't see; the ones I hadn't fixed.


So even though I was nowhere near finishing Rita’s Revenge, the extract I finally sent had been gone over several times, until I was reasonably happy with it. Still, I was terrified that my fellow authors wouldn't like it. 


To my relief, they loved it. 'So endearing,' they said. 'Hysterically funny.' ‘Love the rules about what a duck can and can't do ’. 


But as well as encouragement, they offered informed and intelligent criticism. 'Could you introduce the poetry sooner? It comes a bit too late.' 'It feels as if we don't really get into the story until the second chapter.' 'Can General Ya come in earlier, too?'


This mixture of encouragement and criticism has become the pattern for our zoom meetings. It provides us with a recharge of energy once a month – a valuable thing for a writer. It bolsters our strengths, and helps us shore up our weaknesses. It gives us trust, kindness and honesty, and we all agree that we have become better writers as a result.


We also agree that, although we all have very different writing styles, we love and appreciate each other's work. In fact, that's one of the great pleasures of the group – seeing each story develop and grow.

This year, we all have books out – the first ones since the group started. Sarah Armstrong's Big Magic was the first, published in May. Tristan Bancks' Cop & Robber is coming on July 5, the same date as Zanni Louise’s picture book Pigasus, and my own Rita's Revenge.

And Deborah Abela's The Book of Wondrous Possibilities will be out in August.

I heartily recommend them all. 


Lian Tanner
Author

http://liantanner.com
https://www.facebook.com/liantannerauthor
Instagram: liantannerbooks


Editor’s note: If you are in Hobart next weekend, head down to Hobart Bookshop for the launch of Rita’s Revenge. 11 am Sunday July 10th.

Friday, 24 June 2022

Snapshot 1: The 2022 CBCA Conference

Readers who could not attend the CBCA Conference in person, or as a virtual participant are in for a treat with the first of several posts that bring great moments to life. This week, Lian Tanner, shares some perspectives as both an ‘on the ground’  presenter and a participant.


On the weekend of June 10/11, in the depths of a very cold Canberra winter, teachers, librarians, writers and illustrators gathered together for the 14th National Conference of the CBCA. The theme was ‘Dreaming with eyes open…’

There were many highlights, including the Saturday night dinner where Jackie French and Bruce Whatley spoke about the writing and illustrating of Diary of a Wombat (which is being honoured with an Australian Mint coin to mark its 20th anniversary), and Margaret Wild was presented with the third CBCA Lifetime Achievement Award. 


One of my personal highlights was the Friday night BookFest. A bit like speed dating, it showcased the work of 21 authors, who had three minutes each to present their latest book in a way that would excite and entertain the conference delegates. It was a great format, fast moving and fun, with a drum roll between each author.


Another favourite was listening to illustrators Dub Leffler, Bruce Whatley and Tania McCartney talking about their work, showing examples of how they work, and discussing the highs and lows of illustrator life.


And then there was the hilarity of Stephanie Owen Reeder, Sami Bayly, Claire Saxby, Gina Newton and Nicole Gill sharing stories about why they write and/or illustrate non-fiction books about animals, how they got into the field, and their unlikely adventures in the pursuit of their craft.


... The Great Debate: Fantasy vs Reality

But many would agree that THE highlight (or at least the funniest part of the weekend) was Sunday's Great Debate, a battle over which was better: fantasy or reality. The brief given to the debaters? To be entertaining. (And no bloodshed.)

© The Great Debaters - 2022 CBCA Conference

Moderator Deborah Abela introduced the debate with humour and razzmatazz. Then it was on.


I was up first, for Team Fantasy. I began with the complaint that Team Reality had been allowed to bring in as many props and visual aids as they wanted – chairs, tables, bits of paper. Even microphones! All we’d asked for was one measly orc, and it wasn't allowed. 


I pointed out – in between jokes – that fantasy teaches kids that they can change the world. And that it can illuminate and reflect real-world problems. Because the very best sort of fantasy is about the things we care about; friendship, struggle, love, courage, hope.


Sue Whiting was next, for Team Reality. She spoke with passion about the fact that realistic fiction shows us what humans are made of, and that there is some powerful magic right there. 


She also pointed out that it celebrates all kinds of backgrounds and races and families, a representation that is long overdue. To my dismay, I found myself nodding agreement as she spoke.


Then Kate Temple, for Team Fantasy, stripped the magic from well-known novels to show how hollow they would be without it. Her examples were all hilarious, but my favourites were probably Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone and Alice in Wonderland.


The former, with the magic removed, became 'an orphan boy in foster care goes to boarding school and finds he is quite good at hockey'. Alice became 'a girl falls asleep on a river bank. Later, she wakes up.'

The final speaker was Pip Harry, a last minute substitute who nevertheless did Team Reality proud as she pointed out the magic in everyday life: cicadas emerging from their shells, the moon, laughter, the ocean, music, art, the connection between friends.


There were two unexpected visitors at the end of the debate. Gandalf arrived to support Team Fantasy – a masterstroke, we thought. But then Oliver Twist came creeping up to the podium to ask for more, on behalf of Team Reality.

It was an hour of creativity and laughter, with a great reception from the audience. Their eventual vote was evenly split, at which Sue Whiting pointed out that books were the real winner!


Lian Tanner
Author

http://liantanner.com
https://www.facebook.com/liantannerauthor
Instagram: liantannerbooks


Editor’s note: I agree 100% - the debate was a winner - a riveted audience joining in the hilarity. And yes, books may have been the overall winners but personally, I think that fantasy won on the day!

Saturday, 18 June 2022

Being Seen: Why Modern Picture Books Matter

Selecting and sharing books for children can be a challenging exercise as we try to ensure a balance of views and perspectives that is also shaped by own experiences and preferences. Lyndon Riggall provides food for thought as he raises some of these issues to consider the importance of incorporating contemporary children’s literature into the mix. 


While it is always exciting to see children’s books making national headlines, it can be concerning when it isn’t necessarily for all the right reasons. Consider David Koch, two weeks ago on Sunrise, announcing to a guest, “You’ve made me feel guilty… I give all of the grandkids a copy of Possum Magic on their first birthday—I’m now a bad grandfather!”


What Koch is responding to is a study conducted by Edith Cowan University’s Helen Adam and Laurie J. Harper, in which they visited Australian and American schools and looked at the most popular books being read to children. It will be of no surprise to readers of this blog that these collections of most-loved texts often included books like The Rainbow Fish, The Cat in the Hat, The Very Hungry Caterpillar, and Rosie’s Walk… beloved classics from the last century which have stood the test of time and whose popularity has endured for good reason. The researchers had two points of contention with the overall landscape of the books currently being shared in modern classrooms: firstly, that they very rarely represented humans at all, and secondly, when they did, it was often a limited portrait of society that lacked cultural diversity and which reinforced stereotypes of gender and failed to reflect a spectrum of abilities.


A few highlights from the data included that the books surveyed reinforced traditional gender constructs and roles 85% of the time, and that across the schools they visited there was never any expression of trans or non-binary characters. While schools in the United States were a little more successful in offering multicultural narratives, it was noted that most of these texts were in storage and brought out primarily for special occasions or to bring further attention to cultural festivals or events. According to Dr Adam, around 25% of Australian children would “very rarely see someone like them or their family represented in a book.” 


David Koch, of course, is not a bad grandfather for buying his loved ones a copy of Possum Magic, an indisputably masterful picture book. The classics are classics for a reason: they resonate with readers and they offer opportunities for connection across the generations. Teachers, parents—and for that matter most of us when given the opportunity—will reach for what we know, and, more importantly, what we know works. The reason that censorship of such beloved writers as Dr Seuss and Enid Blyton is so offensive to so many is not about the appropriateness of the text itself (which often, to be honest, could often use a little airbrushing), it is the fact that someone is tampering with an experience that has been so central to our own journey, and a journey that we feel has done us no harm. Teaching texts in context and questioning them is a key part of the solution to this, but the latest criticisms run deeper. These kinds of studies don’t merely challenge individual texts and writers, they question the wider morass of literature and what we have traditionally regarded as good reading for young people.

Let me state, categorically, that it is my feeling that we have a more important battle to prioritise here, which is not what books children read, but more crucially the question of whether or not they actually read at all. A child reading The Cat in the Hat or The Very Hungry Caterpillar should not be said to be making a mistake when the very act of reading itself is—I believe—an inherent good in almost every circumstance. Nostalgia is a potent and sometimes dangerous influence on our choices, but I also have to be careful of my own hypocrisy... I bought my goddaughter a copy of Possum Magic before she was even born, and I am not quite so foolish as to publish a blog claiming that we all need to move on to reading only diverse contemporary texts while my Goodreads page is quietly announcing that at the same time I'm halfway through a re-read of Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire.

The kinds of accusations made by this study are, of course, reflective of why the CBCA even exists in the first place. Looking at this year’s shortlist, it is obvious that a classroom with the wisdom to select these texts for sharing with its students would dodge many of the criticisms levelled by Adam and Harper in their study. Across their totality, both picture books and novels in this year’s awards—subtly and overtly—explore experiences of immigration, Australia’s First Nations community and living with a diverse gender and sexual identities. Put simply, if parents and teachers don’t know where to start when it comes to broadening their school’s selection of literature, this is one answer to how it might be easily done.

A few years ago I attended a panel on “intersectional” literature—that is, narratives that explore multiple angles of diversity. A panellist asked all of us, “When did you first see someone you recognised as being like you in a story?” For me, it was almost immediately upon being able to read. For others, it took much longer. For an even smaller group of people it has never happened. My latest children’s book is about a magpie and a kookaburra… animal characters abounding. I love the classics, and I certainly share them with the young people in my life, but I also agree completely with the findings of Adam and Harper’s study. Life, teaching and our book collections are all about balance, and offering children diverse stories has two wonderful outcomes: it shows the broader community of children the reality and value of these stories, and it allows those who will recognise their own lives in those narratives to feel seen.


Any child’s library should have a selection of books that the people who care about them love and want to share with them, a selection of books that are fun and foolish (with perhaps even a few non-humans thrown in), and a selection of modern stories that challenge their perception of understanding of the world around them and encourage them to grow in their recognition of others. We owe it our children to keep bringing these new stories into the limelight…


After all, that’s how we make the classics of tomorrow.


Reference

Adam, H., & Harper, L.J. (2021) Gender equity in early childhood picture books. A cross-cultural study of frequently read books in early childhood classrooms in Australian and the United States. The Australian Educational Researcher, https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s13384-021-00494-0


Lyndon Riggall is a writer and teacher living in Launceston. Along with illustrator Graeme Whittle, he is the author of the picture book Becoming Ellie, and can be found at http://www.lyndonriggall.com. Lyndon’s latest book, Tamar the Thief, was written for the Tamar Valley Writers Festival and released for free on their website. It can be found at https://www.tamarvalleywritersfestival.com.au/storytelling/


Friday, 3 June 2022

Michael Rosen

Prolific and popular author, Michael Rosen, became seriously ill with Covid early in the pandemic and has written of his experiences. Join Maureen as she talks about his two recent publications – one for adults and one for children - that provide a recount of his illness, recovery, resilience and support from others in overcoming his illness.


Two of my recent reads have been the books which tell the story of Michael Rosen’s hospitalisation, early in the pandemic, with Covid, and then his long on-going road to recovery. The first was Many Different Kinds of Love: A Story of Life, Death and the NHS. This powerful and moving account in prose poems written by Rosen during and after his recovery, combined with the diary kept by his nurses while caring for him and enhanced by Chris Riddell illustrations. The second was the picture book for children which focusses on Rosen’s gruelling recovery period as he learned to walk again after weeks in an induced coma : Michael Rosen’s Sticky McStickstick: The Friend who Helped me Walk Again illustrated by Tony Ross. 

Both books have many elements of humour, emotion, gratitude for the dedicated NHS staff (but as relevant for hospital staff all over the world), while also questioning the UK government’s response to the pandemic. They’re well worth a read.

Michael Rosen - Many Different Kinds of Love: A Story of Life, Death & The NHS


Sticky McStickstick by Michael Rosen, illustrated by Tony Ross | Book trailer


Michael Rosen has long been one of my favourite authors, with his quirky humour and insight. My journey with the recent books prompted me to explore his webpage --  https://www.michaelrosen.co.uk/ What a wonderful range of material to delve into. There’s lots to encourage kids to write poetry and stories. Why don’t you investigate the 21 pages of video links with Rosen telling stories. I got distracted so many times!!


His Books page -- https://www.michaelrosen.co.uk/books/ -- lists his published titles, many of which I had forgotten about, or hadn’t heard of. I’m off to put ‘holds’ at my library on some of them. Which do you most remember? Which is your favourite? Rosen’s complete bibliography will help jog your memory. My earliest is Mind Your Own Business, published in 1974, but met at many stages in the years in between. There are lots from the 1980s when he seems to have had a burst of publications.  


Michael Rosen was the UK Children’s Laureate 2007-2009.


Do yourself a favour and have a look. You’ll be amazed at what you might find – for your young readers, for your older readers, or just for yourself. And don’t forget his Covid journey ones.


Maureen Mann
Retired teacher librarian and avid reader


Editor's note: for those not familiar with Rosen's work, a great place to start and share with your kids is his video channel: 
https://www.youtube.com/c/MichaelRosenOfficial/featured

Friday, 20 May 2022

‘Decodable and Authentic’ – what does this actually mean?

An update to the Australian Curriculum (Version 9) has some interesting developments. Emma Nuttall provides a snapshot of one important addition that celebrates the value of quality literature to inspire young readers in their literacy development. 


‘read decodable and authentic texts using developing phonic knowledge, and monitor meaning using context and emerging grammatical knowledge’ (Australian Curriculum, version 9.0)


Is anyone else as excited as me about the inclusion of this content descriptor in the updated Australian Curriculum - English? This simple change in the Foundation and Year 1 curriculums has been greeted with great joy! Authenticity and accessibility in texts is fundamental to building strong literacy skills, as well as a passion for, and understanding of literature.


I’ve chatted here before about the gratitude that I feel towards authors for the wondrous and wonderful texts available. And I continue to be both amazed and impressed by the quality of texts available to be utilised to build both language comprehension and word recognition skills. 


As an educator, I get to ignite that passion for literature – I see that as an incredible opportunity that I feel most grateful for (I’m very grateful today, writing this, aren’t I?). Don’t get me wrong though, that opportunity also brings with it great challenge and responsibility. The responsibility of teaching a child to read is one that I take very seriously. The responsibility of enabling a child to experience the joys of reading is one that I take equally seriously. In order to do both, with our earliest of readers, we must provide them with exposure to rich, authentic and engaging texts that speak of wonder and sadness; mystery and joy; danger and excitement, as well as texts that children can access themselves from the beginning of their reading journey. And preferably, both.


What I have noticed recently is the availability of quality texts that are not only decodable and therefore accessible to our earliest readers, but also begin to introduce these concepts of awe and wonder in storytelling. We talk about decodable texts, as being texts that the reader can work out for themselves, using their knowledge of words and language. Now it remains obvious, that when the written text is independently accessible to a very early reader, it may not (and arguably can not) be as inspiring as books such as We Are Wolves (Katrina Nannestad, 2021 CBCA Book of the Year Awards Shortlist Book) or There’s No Such Thing (Heidi McKinnon, 2021 CBCA Book of the Year Awards Shortlist Book) due to the very nature of the literacy skills that our earliest readers have at the outset of their journey. 


But, fear not, we can provide these excitable young readers with both. Books that are decodable AND books that are authentic and engaging. And with this balance of provision, we will continue to see children that are as excited by their growing ability to access texts themselves, as they are about literature itself!


Emma Nuttall
Teacher, Literacy Coach, avid reader and parent of readers 

Friday, 13 May 2022

Book Week 2022 - SUN Project for Student Voice & Choice

An exciting new Book of the Year (BOTY) activity is being offered throughout Australia in 2022. 18 Tasmanian Schools have been accepted to take part in the Shadow Judging of the Book of the Year Awards. This project is called the SUN Project and the ethos of the program is that Young Voices are Welcome Here.


In Term 1 schools were invited to submit Expressions of Interest to participate in the Shadow Judging Project. 11 Tasmanian schools are being funded as a result of the successful CBCA National application to the Federal Government RISE program, which supports the reactivation of the Arts sector. An additional seven schools are being funded by the Department of Education/Federal Government Book Week Grant currently operating through CBCA in Tasmania. There are 115 funded schools throughout Australia and there will be many more schools participating as Self Funded groups.


BOTY judges have in recent years judged only one category of the Awards. Similarly, schools have nominated the one shortlist category they wish to judge. There is no limit to the number of students participating in each school, but only one set of votes per school group can be submitted. Each school will receive a complimentary copy of each of the six titles in their chosen category. Students, guided by their in-school facilitator and supported by a CBCA Tas mentor, will judge the entries against the same criteria that CBCA Judges use, and complete the same process that CBCA BOTY Judges complete: 

  • read the title, 
  • assess it against the 8-10 criteria
  • rank the titles 
  • discuss the title with the other Shadow Judges in their team 
  • reach a consensus for the Winner and Honour titles
  • submit their results

These 18 schools will receive the login to a website of resources, funding towards a Creator visit, and a login to Storybox Library.


The CBCA BOTY Winners will be announced on Friday, August 19 at noon. The SUN Project BOTY Winners will be announced on Friday, August 26. The participating students will have the double excitement of seeing which books the BOTY judges have chosen in comparison to their choices; and then how their choices have fared, against the consensus of the other Shadow Judging groups.

It’s not too late for other schools to be involved as self funded applicants in this project. Please visit the CBCA SUN Project website for information and to apply. 

CBCA Tas Merchandise offer can be accessed from our webpage and applications for CBCA Tas Membership and information about membership benefits are also available on our webpage.


Felicity Sly

Prior to her current position as Teacher Librarian at Don College, Felicity Sly spent 25 years as a Teacher Librarian in primary schools situated on the West and North West Coasts; and is a 2022 CBCA Committee Member and Treasurer.

Friday, 6 May 2022

Living the Dream

Excited to see conferences back on the 2022 agenda, Jennie spruiks the CBCA National Conference and a program to capture the imagination. You don’t need to dream if you attend!


The CBCA 14th National Conference is scheduled for June 10 to 12 – just a month away. The theme for Book Week and the conference, “Dreaming with your eyes open…”, is both enchanting and captivating – so many dreams can be realised through the pages of a book AND engagement with like-minded children’s literature enthusiasts. Have you looked at the program and considered attendance? 

Conferences have always been the icing on the cake in regard to professional growth. Traditionally these have been face-to-face events where attendees are immersed in a feverish buzz of excitement, provocations, affirmations and expanding horizons generated by the conference organisers, key notes, presenters, attendees and the trade – customised goods selected to entice us all to open our wallets (and slip out the credit card!) with opportunities to meet authors and illustrators and converse with the crème de la crème of our children’s literature creators and their publishers.


If you are ready to take flight and visit Australia’s capital then this conference has much to offer with a fantastic program and a stunning location – with an array of places to visit including many children’s literature related locations to feed the frenzy. However, if getting away is too hard, there is an alternative.


A positive outcome of a pandemic and lockdowns (Yes - they have prompted progress in professional learning) is that
a) most of us are now familiar with and comfortable connecting virtually and
b) organisations have lifted their game in offering quality virtual experiences that allow participants to connect from anywhere in the world and be part of the grand experience.
Admittedly virtual attendance does not generate the same buzz or hype generated during the social events, but it does provide access to the program! This conference offers a Live Stream Registration – a less expensive option with no added costs in regard to travel and accommodation and no major wardrobe and packing decisions to weigh you down!


“Dreaming with your eyes open…” offers a rich and varied array of speakers and discussion panels that explore the theme from many perspectives. Tasmanian presenters include Nicole Gill and Lian Tanner and they are well placed to explore the strong environmental theme that is threaded throughout the program and that has caught my interest. My curiosity has also been piqued by the session: ‘Opening up the big conversations through books’ with contemporary and important topics on neurodiversity, empathy and resilience and racism to be explored. Children’ literature again in the forefront of dealing with contemporary issues and concerns to connect and engage young (and older!) readers


Have a look at the program and consider your options if your curiosity has been provoked – you never know – I might ‘see’ you online or hear of your sojourn to the ACT after the event.


Jennie Bales

CBCA Tas Social Media Coordinator

Saturday, 23 April 2022

Personal narratives of children’s lived experience – in books

An interesting extension on previous work from Victoria Ryle, informed by her doctoral studies, that explores the importance of providing migrant and refugee children with opportunities to share their stories.

A recent article considers personal narratives of forced migration and refugee experience in children’s literature (Tomsic & Zbaracki, 2022). The authors argue for greater understanding of what is added by the children’s voices beyond the stories recounted by adult authors:

Publishing a child’s story validates their voice as well as refuting the more dominant and sometimes stereotypical refugee stories that circulate. […] [A]ll children deserve to share their stories and have their experiences validated and respected. While commercially published children’s literature can provide exposure to some of these issues, children’s actual stories are a distinct and direct means for children to see themselves in stories, as well as to understand what others may have experienced. And this is what children’s literature should embrace as a part of its genre; stories about children, written by children, to share with children. (Tomsic & Zbaracki, 2022, p. 15) 

© Image: Kids' Own Publishing

My doctoral research asks how educators purposefully publish books with, by, and for children. Here, I reflect more broadly on the role of publishing books to address directly important issues that affect children’s lives. Examples from my archive, for example, include children’s experience of homelessness in Ireland; identifying as a member of the Traveller community in Ireland; and the experience of starting school through the eyes of kindergarten and prep children. Sometimes this approach to publishing books tackles big topics from the ground up, such as gender equality by exploring friendship with pre-schoolers to counter future family violence. 


Valuing authentic insights of children, as shared with both child and adult audiences through publishing books has taken central stage in a number of recent projects here in Tasmania. My last blog in this space focussed on lockdown publishing while living in a pandemic. In 2021, the Tasmanian Commissioner for Children consulted with 156 children from across the State working with artists and arts-led approaches, to discover what was most important to children’s wellbeing. This consultation process informed the development of  When I Wake Up I Smile, a picture book guiding Tasmania’s child wellbeing policy and proving an effective communication tool to reach a broader audience attracted to this child’s-eye perspective.


A book in development in Ireland is giving voice to children’s experience of the care system in Ireland, through a book to be published shortly. Now I am involved in a similar publishing project in Tasmania that aims to highlight systemic issues faced by children in out-of-home care and increase understanding of their lives. Who better to understand their needs and priorities than a child with direct experience of out-of-home care? Young participants engage in an editorial process to raise valuable questions: whose book is it? How might space be shared with adults who have valuable oversight of facts and knowledge? Most crucially, who do the young people envisage will read their book and what are the messages this audience needs to hear? 


The point of publishing books with children in such a way is not to have all the answers, not to publish something perfect, but to engage in a genuine process of collective collaboration with groups of children and young people, to take creative risks and present the best book we can within constraints of time and budget.


Reference:

Tomsic, M., & Zbaracki, M., D. (2022). It’s all about the story: Personal narratives in children’s literature about refugees. British educational research journal. 


Children’s books referred to in this article – by children:

Syrian and Palestinian children living in County Mayo. (2018). A strong heart: A book of stories and dreams for the future by Syrian and Palestinian children living in County Mayo. Kids’ Own Publishing Partnership.
Boe, W., Tu Tu, P., Chol, B., Qurbani, H., & Deng, D. (2018). Our world of colour. Kids’ Own Publishing.
From the children of CAN Carlton Homework Club Family Learning Programme. (2014). Our African family stories. Kids’ Own Publishing.
South Sudanese Refugee Children Living in Australia. (2012). Donkeys can’t fly on planes: Stories of survival from South Sudanese refugee children living in Australia. Kids’ Own Publishing.

Stories, memories, jokes and travel tips by Melbourne children. (2004). Kidsown journeys. Kids’ Own Publishing.


Related picture books – by adults:

Del Rizzo, S. (2017). My beautiful birds. Pyjama Press.

Kobald, I., & Blackwood, F. (2014). My two blankets. Little Hare.

Leatherdale, M. B., & Shakespeare, E. (2017). Stormy seas: Stories of young boat refugees. 

Annick Press.

Phi, B., & Bui, T. (2017). A different pond. Picture Window Books.

UNHCR. (2019). Forced to flee: Refugee children drawing on their experiences. Franklin Watts. 

Vass, C., & Huynh, C. (2020). Grandma’s treasured shoes. National Library of Australia. 



Victoria Ryle

Victoria Ryle is a PhD candidate researching co-publishing books with children at the University of Tasmania https://www.publishingbookswithchildren.com/

She is also the co-founder of Kids’ Own Publishing https://kidsownpublishing.com/about/