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

Saturday 13 May 2017

Combining Book Collections Leads to New Finds

Jackie explores the delights of sharing book collections as a pathway to discovering new titles. Blue Fin is the gem that she has just discovered through her husband's personal library. There’s sure to be more treats to explore!
One of the side effects of sharing a house with another adult is the combination of your separate book collections. For my husband and I this was mostly a positive experience as our tastes in books do cross over in places – so while I have to find room on the bookshelves for the Stephen King and military history collections that don’t enthuse me, I have also been able to find books I do like but haven’t read before (and of course there were a few duplications that were probably inevitable in two people who read at least some of the same authors.) Of course now our most frequently purchased item of furniture since our wedding is always a new book case . . . . but this is a happy outcome even if one day I hope we can progress to a new couch!
One of the real finds was that Norm owned a copy of Colin Thiele’s Blue Fin, which I hadn’t previously read. I enjoyed Colin Thiele as a child but for some reason this particular book had never come my way.
Blue Fin is a coming of age story set in the tuna fishing town of Port Lincoln in South Australia. Snook, at fourteen, finds that everything he tries goes wrong and it seems that he will never earn a place for himself or the respect of his father.
The struggle of the tuna fishermen is clearly portrayed as well as the tragedy that strikes when boats and crew fail to return. It is a hard trade both for the skippers and boat owners as well as the crew. Thiele also portrays the social minefields of adolescence as Snook tries to navigate the shifting currents of opinion at school, at his part time job at the cannery and within his own family house.
When Snook’s father reluctantly agrees that Snook can be part of the crew for his next (and possibly last if he cannot catch enough tuna) trip, neither he nor Snook can imagine how the next week will change both their lives forever.
If you haven’t read Blue Fin yet, it is highly recommended.
Blue Fin DVD cover image
Jackie Gangell

Editor’s note: If you have not had the pleasure of dipping into Colin Thiele’s extensive works, there is a useful bibliography at Equitainment: Author Fact sheet. This site also lists titles reproduced as films.


  1. My 'found' author was Murray Ball and Footrot Flats. After holidaying in New Zealand, the cartoons finally made sense, and I went on to ensure my partners collection was almost completed. #26 sells on e-bay for $100+, and that was before Murray passed on...so I live in hope that I'll serendipitously find one some time in the future.

  2. I also discovered Colin Thiele books as an adult and what a pleasure it was to read his books. Like Flis visiting the area where the book was written gave a wonderful context and deepened my understanding and appreciation the 'real life' struggling portrayed in this book.