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

Monday 13 July 2015

Busman’s Holiday Reading

Attending conference/literary events (in this case Reading Matters) is one of the best incentives to reduce my TBR pile. 

Sally Garner is prolific yet each book is in a different style or genre. Her newest YA book since the dystopian Maggot Moon; The Door That Led to Where, is a blend of mystery, historical fiction, time travel and modern gritty contemporary life. AJ is a lost, aimless yet intelligent, school leaver whose friendship with his mates Slim and Leon sustain him when his mother rejects him.
Jared Thomas’s Calypso Summer had sat on my shelf for so long, it’s sun damaged. The novel starts slowly. Calypso is a cricket loving young Nukunu man masquerading as a Rastafarian who gradually comes to terms with his identity and his culture.

In Erin Gough’s Flywheel, 17 year old Delilah runs her father’s café while he is overseas. She loves the flamenco dancer in the restaurant across the road, has a wonderful platonic relationship with the wealthy romantic Charlie and has a misunderstanding with her best friend Lauren.

In Sara Farizan’s
If You Could Be Mine, we meet Sahar, an intelligent and ambitious teenager in love with her best friend Nasrin. Being gay is illegal in Iran. The Iranian government sees transgender people as a mistake made by God and so government sponsored gender reassignment surgery is common. I found the two girls totally unlikeable yet somehow Farizan made me want to read more of her work.

Other Reading Matters highlights include hearing about the interactive making of the wonderful TV series Nowhere Boys (watch the series trailer) and talking to Claire Saxby, whose new book My Name is Lizzie Flynn: A Story of the Rajah Quilt should be in every Tasmanian library. 

Evocatively illustrated by Lizzy Newcomb, the Rajah Quilt was made by some of the women convicts aboard the convict ship Rajah which arrived in Hobart on 19 July 1841. The quilt was presented to Lady Franklin the governor's wife. The quilt was lost for many years and is now housed at the National Gallery of Australia. This wonderful book recounts an important story in Tasmania's history. More importantly we see a glimpse into the lives of women and children convicts.

On another leg of my holiday I visited the Colin Thiele exhibition at the Lu Rees Archives and accompanying lecture 'Colin Thiele: His Work and Legacy'. A video recording can be accessed and viewed on the Lu Rees website.

Nella Pickup
Reader and former librarian

(Editor's note: Apologies for inconsistent layout - no solution can be found!)

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