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

Saturday 4 April 2020

Help! I need a book. Now! #1

Oh no, the library doors have closed, at school and in the town, and you and your children’s reading choices have been exhausted. Join Nella Pickup and Jennie Bales over the next two weeks and tap into their collective wisdom to discover some great resources to build your virtual reading libraries and expand literature options in the household. This week the focus is on some general sites plus reading material for younger readers. Next week Young Adult offerings will be in the spotlight.
Diggersaurs Explore! by Michael Whaite.
Available @ Libraries Tasmania as an ebook.

If your family’s book collection is starting to be read out, here are some options for you.
For Tasmanian readers – if you are not yet a member of Libraries Tasmania, you can sign up online. Start at the home page  and head to Become a member today and then scroll down to the eLibrary link to get set up, find guides and start browsing. 

The library subscribes to Story Box Library which is a great resource for video readings. It holds an excellent collection of predominantly picture books, written by Australian and New Zealand authors. You can search for Story Box Library items in the catalogue. 

If you live elsewhere, connect with your public library to access wealth of electronic reading material. Don't forget to check your school library and contact the school library staff to learn about ebooks and audiobooks that may be available through the school portal that many students will be accessing for their daily learning.
Authors and Illustrators
Check out your favourite author or illustrator online.  Some you may not have come across yet include:

Some publishers and organisations have YouTube channels often with published authors and illustrators reading aloud their picture books

Characters and Series
Explore favourite characters and book series. 
Visit Jenbales Pearltress site for a collection to choose from.

Free to access collections
Audible is offering free stories for kids  – in a range of genres and grouped by interest level: Little Listeners, Elementary, Tween and Teen. You can listen to these directly online with no login required.
Storyline Online has recordings of many books being read aloud along with supplementary activities for each book.
Free Children’s Stories Digitised stories organised in collections: 3-5, 5-8 and 8-10. Stories are presented in video format, short and simple tales, often with a moral or message to be inferred.

Support for home schooling
For parents searching for books to add to the library or for some background knowledge in the titles that students are reading then take the time to investigate our Australian publishers. Most have regular newsletters and provide activity pages and/or teacher notes on many of their publications.  
  • Allen & Unwin Teachers Resources is just one example.   Check out CBCA Notables https://cbca.org.au/notables-2020 to find Australia’s best publishers and investigate from there.
  • Another great literature support is Reading Australia which includes reviews and curriculum linked teacher resources on many books.
  • The Little Big Book Club, based in South Australia, has been providing activities based on picture books for those aged 0-5 for 15 years. It’s well worth a look and there is a good chance that you have some of these titles on the bookshelf at home.
  • Why not ask isolated family members to read your children’s books via one of the many apps available; if possible, serialise by reading a chapter a day.
  • JB on not Just Books: @WWW - a collection of videos and occasional games grouped by curriculum subjects with several sub pages to explore.
Sea Museum. The Voyage to Van Diemen's Land. 


And to wrap up - Scholastic Australia shares two posters and a timely reminder for all of us on good hygiene practices.
Nella Pickup, retired librarian, reader, member of National Executive - International Board of Books for Young People/IBBY Australia Inc
Jennie Bales, retired teacher librarian, CBCA Tasmania Committee Member and Social Media Coordinator (i.e. the blog editor)
Editor’s note: If you can add to this list for younger readers please post a comment. Save suggestions for teenagers for next week.
Advance notice for a 7 April start: Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff are reading from Aurora Rising and running Q & A sessions starting this week on 7 April. Check Amie’s Instagram site @amiekaufmanauthor  to read the news on this: We're kicking off a readalong of Aurora Rising on April 7th, hosted by @misterkristoff and me! One way or another we're going to spend time with you! AND you can participate from anywhere in the world! Each week we'll read a chunk of the book, and then @misterkristoff or I will run a Q&A in our stories for 24 hours! Each section will steer clear of spoilers for what's to come, so if you've never read the book, now's the moment to join in!” Or read what Jay has to say about this Aurora Rising Read Along.  


  1. Alison Lester is reading a book a day on her FaceBook page @fishcreekgallery

  2. Dr Sue Pillans, author of The Great Barrier Thief reads her book aloud. https://youtu.be/OLC2JfS9VtE