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

Saturday 26 August 2017

School Book Week Escapes

Book Week is always a time of great celebrations, good fun and collegiality in schools as they delve into selected short list titles, get carried a way to new places via displays and activities and immerse themselves in stories. It is a delight to share some of the highlights in schools in Tasmania. Many thanks to institutional and individual members who have shared the Book Week experiences with us.

Hagley Farm School | The Friends School - Primary | Mackillop Catholic College | Glenora District School | The Friends' School - Secondary | St Brigid's Catholic School

Hagley Farm School
Jessica Marston, Teacher Librarian

Book Week at Hagley Farm School (K-6) is spent celebrating the shortlisted books and our love of children's literature. We have:
Creative challenge linked to the shortlist, this year our theme was birds. Children are invited to create a bird for display in the library 
Library lessons with our "buddies"; we display and discuss past winners and shortlisted titles;  
Vote for our favourite shortlisted books which are read during library lessons in the weeks leading up to Book Week. This year our favourites were Chip (K-2) and One Photo (3-6).

Book Parade for the whole school, where we parade with our "buddy classes"

The Friends School - Primary Campus
Sharon Molnar & Catherine Duffett, Teacher Librarians, Margaret Jennings, Library Technician

The Display: We photocopied the book covers and created the letters with the paper, and photocopied templates of things that fly onto paper that had book pages on the other side. The whales were made by Margaret Jennings. The blue sky is made from plastic table-cloths from Shiploads!
The Books: The short-listed books were available to borrow. We also had photocopies of the front covers, with blurbs on the back, so staff and students could still “see” the short-listed titles and reserve them if they were out.

The Action: 
A few years ago, we decided to try a different format for our Book Week assembly. Instead of having a “dress up as your favourite book character parade” (with the inevitable non-book characters, characters from books the students had never read and non-participation by upper students) we asked each year group to choose a short-listed book, author or illustrator; or a non-short-listed Australian book, author or illustrator and present an assembly item of 5 minutes or less. It has been a huge success and, while a few have said they prefer the old parade, the overwhelming majority of parent and staff feedback has been that this is a much richer and more meaningful celebration of Australian literature.

The students dress up in accordance with their year group’s item, and create the (usually simple) costumes in class. The item often fits in with the unit of inquiry they are currently studying (e.g. this year’s Year 4s did “Tom Appleby: Convict boy” because they’re looking at the first fleet). With this year’s theme, each item began with one student saying “Escape to...” and another holding up a sign relevant to their performance. They then put the sign on a book easel at the front of the stage, and began their performance. All the performances linked to the theme and showcased the work of our wonderful Australian authors and illustrators!

Mackillop Catholic College

Tricia Scott, Teacher Librarian & Trudi Fielding, Library Technician

The Display: Walking up the stairwell into a great escape with vibrant displays.
The Books: Inspirational student art featured in the displays. Spellbound and Mechanica being two titles that particularly intrigued.

St Bridgid's Catholic School
Display featured different spaces to escape to.
Mechanic activity was extremely popular as a makerspace challenge.

Glenora District School
Laura Shoobridge, Assistant Principal and staff
Activities: Art and craft activities investigating shortlist titles and other books were popular.

Book Week Character Parade: Students and staff dressed for the occasion with great hilarity.

The Friends School - Secondary Campus
Katie Stanley, Teacher Librarian & Nicole Parums, Library Technician

Book Week Display: Escape to Everywhere theme building on the Book Week poster and whale, the shortlisted titles were immersed within sea and foam - and whales!
Activity: Students created bookworms in the library during the lunch times.

Saturday 19 August 2017

Book Week 2017 kicks off in Tasmania - BOTY Awards and Gala Dinner

Part 1: Book of the Year Awards Ceremony at Government House

Friday 18 August heralded the long awaited announcements of the winners and honour books for the Children's Book Council of Australia's Book of the Year Awards announced at Government House by Her Excellency the Governor in prestigious and historic surroundings.

After being formally welcomed on entry, guests moved past strategically placed displays of the shortlisted titles in each category to be seated in the ballroom. What a lavish and fitting setting for this prestigious event.

After a warm welcome from Governor Warner, The Chair of the National Board, Professor Margot Hillel announced the shortlisted finalists, followed by the Honours and Winners in each category. The results can be viewed on the CBCA Website.

The ceremony was concluded by a presentation from the Outhouse Legends representing Jordon River Learning Federation located in the northernmost suburbs of Hobart. These talented young artists recited Julia Donaldson's 'I opened a book' followed by an energetic countdown, lead by the performers, to mark the official start of Book Week - a joyful and vociferous conclusion to a prestigous ceremony..

Cam Jones, CBCA Tasmanian Board member
with Her Excellency the Governor.
A light afternoon tea was served and provided Her Excellency and Mr Warner, guests, recipients, CBCA Board members and judges to mingle, congratulate, check the books and enjoy the occasion and the surroundings. Other student representatives included the winning teams from the Hobart Readers Cup competitions. 
South Hobart Readers Cup Primary Team
 with Gina Newton, author of
Amazing Animals,winner of the
Eve Pownall Award.
Friends Readers Cup Secondary Team
with Trace Balla, winner of the
Book of the Year: Younger Readers
for Rockhopping.

 Mr Warner and Johanna Bell, winner of
the Book of the Year: Early Childhood,
for Go Home Cheeky Monkeys.

Ross Watkins and partner,
author of One Photo, enjoying the event.

Left: A proud father with daughter, Meg Caddy, author of Waer, shortlisted in the Book of the Year: Older Readers.

Right: Owner of the real life Mrs Whitlam, and wife of Bruce Pascoe, author of Mrs Whitlam.

Jennie Bales
CBCA Tas Social Media Coordinator

Part 2: Book of the Year Celebratory Dinner – Hobart Waterfront 

The Tasmanian Branch of the CBCA had the pleasure of hosting the Book of the Year celebratory dinner at the Hobart Function and Conference Centre on Elizabeth Street Pier. Over 100 people attended the function and enjoyed delicious food and a spectacular night view of the harbour overlooking the Derwent River. Chamber music, played by a group of young talented musicians set the scene as guests arrived and mingled.
Our Master of Ceremonies Steve Martin, a CBCA Tasmanian Committee Member and Mayor of Devonport conducted the proceedings. The evening began with an interactive quiz which challenged our knowledge with quirky questions relating to children’s literature both old and new. 

The highlight of the evening was the presentation of the Nan Chauncy Award by Jenni Connor to Mem Fox for her contribution to children’s literature over many years. Mem’s acceptance speech was, as always, entertaining, informative and engaging. She paid tribute to the many other talented and creative people involved in producing her popular books and stated that; “Authors are only 50% of a great picture book”. Mem shared some of her memorable experiences as an author, events from her early life and hilarious responses from her child readers.  She concluded by reading her latest book I’m Australian too and encouraged the audience to join her in singing the last verse of the story to the tune of Advance Australia Fair. As Mem Fox said; “The ending is not the end, the story continues!”

The evening was a wonderful opportunity to meet different authors, illustrators, publishers and award winners, members of the National Board of CBCA, branch and territory members and many other people interested in promoting quality children’s literature at the local, state, and national level in Australia. As Gina Newton, the winner of the Eve Pownall Award said; “it was a magical evening”. 

The evening concluded with a special thanks and appreciation to Nella Pickup for her work in organising the Awards ceremony at Government House, and to Gay McKinnon for leading a stalwart team in executing the dinner.

Leanne Rands
President of CBCA Tasmanian Branch

Saturday 12 August 2017

Five Fun Ways to Celebrate Book Week

With Book Week just ahead of us, Lyndon shares some timely tips on making the most of the literary event - celebrating and making connections with books, reading and readers!

Ah, here we go again! The 19th of August quickly approaches, and for many years now, right back into my childhood, Children’s Book Week has been one of my favourite weeks of the year. I still love spending it zooming from school to school to see what new stories inspire our young people. But there are lots of ways to celebrate Book Week and its theme this year of “Escape to Everywhere.” Here are a few you might not have thought of:
1. Read a Book
Surprise! Who would have thought this might make the list? For a few of our most esteemed and bibliophilic members the shortlist and notables might offer no real surprises, but for the rest of us it’s a wonderful opportunity to let someone else do all of the hard work of uncovering the greatest gems of the last year. And don’t rely on that winner! If you are anything like me you’ll just as likely find your personal top picks somewhere a little down the chain.
2. Give a Book
There is something special about giving away a book. Most of us are far more likely to read (and even enjoy) something that has been put into our hands by someone we love and admire than any list of accolades or author quotes. I keep multiple copies of my favourites for this very reason. One friend, upon receiving one of these sacred tomes, looked almost horrified. “It’s a big deal being given your favourite book,” she said. And she was right. But I still never miss an opportunity to share the stories I love the most.
3. Dress Up
What would Book Week be without dressing up as your favourite character? I can still remember some of the costumes that I wore in Primary School (who could forget the year of Billy the Punk?), and I feel closer to the books because of them. Adults, don’t miss your chance to engage in this tradition. You are never too old to feel like the hero of the story.
4. Get Cooking
When my teacher read us The Lion, The Witch, and the Wardrobe in Grade 3, I had no idea what Turkish Delight was. Like the White Witch herself, Mrs. Ashman brought a small tin into the classroom of thick, sugar-dusted pink Turkish Delight. It changed the story forever, and I have loved Turkish Delight ever since. This year Kylie Howarth’s Chip is one example of a story begging for a food accompaniment. How joyous would it be to read this clever picture book down by the beach, with a steaming parcel of hot chips all wrapped up in shiny white paper? Bliss!

5. Go on a Field Trip
The Eve Pownall Award for Information Books offers a glorious selection of subjects and ideas this year. From endangered animals to genetics and the life of William Bligh, they open up a world of new knowledge that can be explored further at home or out at the museum… even in the wild. You’ve read Gina M. Newton’s Amazing Animals of Australia’s National Park—why not go and see if you can find them?

Lyndon Riggall (@lyndonriggall) is a writer and pre-service teacher from Launceston. His next work, a play titled “U L G” about life, death, and education, will be performed with Mudlark Theatre as part of the Junction Arts Festival in September.

Sunday 6 August 2017

ASLA XXV: Books, authors and Promotion

Conferences provide participants with varied and engaging experiences. Join Chris as she shares some of the literature related presentations that she experienced at the recent Australian School Library Association Conference.

I recently attended a two-day conference teacher librarian conference held at The Shore School on Sydney’s North Shore, with wonderful views over Sydney Harbour. The school was a wonderful venue, even during the school holidays busy with many other activities. These two days were packed with opportunities for everyone interested in all aspects of library services and management including books and reading, these being the main focus of this post. Even so, it will be difficult to do any of these real justice, all I can do is to make the attempt offering links to promote further reading.

The afternoon keynote on day 1 was given by Paul Macdonald, teacher and owner of the Children’s Bookshop Beecroft, focusing on ‘Challenges and Changes in text/literature’. His address was peppered with titles listed below to illustrate his points and he claims that today there is an increasingly politicised focus on social issues, such as refugees. There is also a strong trend for dysfunctional parents to be represented in fiction - these are books people tend to either love or hate...

In 2011 trends were all about the paranormal, today’s popular books are more about social networking, and books as bibliotherapy. The following titles elicit strong responses in readers and cover many topics that can be deemed controversial…

  • Gabrielle Williams My Life as a Hashtag
  • Cath Crowley Words in Deep Blue
  • Ross Watkins & Liz Anelli One Photo;
  • Patrick Ness Release
  • Benjamin Alire Sáenz Aristotle and Dante discover the Secrets of the
  • Nevo Zisin Finding Nevo
  • John Larkin The Pause.
  • There is a great deal of format changing, both hyper and busy, competing to grab the attention of young readers, who are looking for different styles and genres in their reading. The Librarian can be a guide...

    • Amie Kaufman Illuminae, followed by Gemina with (Obsidio coming in 2018); 
    • Tristan Bancks Two Wolves and The Fall
    • Fiona Roberton Tale of Two Beasts
    • Zanni Louise & David Mackintosh Archie and the Bear
    • Bernardo Carvalho & Isabel Martins Don’t Cross the Line

    See Visual Editions to for a glimpse of changing publishing techniques,

    • Will Storr Selfie: how we became so self-obsessed and what it’s doing to us; 
    • Matt Stanton Funny kid for president
    • Tim Harris Exploding Endings 1- 4 (collections of short punchy stories that attract kids); 
    • Begin, End, Begin: A #LoveOzYA Anthology – stories by Amie Kaufman, Melissa Keil, Will Kostakis, Ellie Marney and Jaclyn Moriarty among others.
    Notable presenters at the Conference included the following under the heading ‘Innovative Ways with Text/Literature’

    • ‘The Power of Influence’ by Tim Harris, whose blog extends his work in other creative directions, such as book trailers and pairing books with music, including Matt Stanton’s Funny Kid for President and Wendy Orr’s Dragon Song.
    • ‘Challenge to represent’ by Will Kostakis whose books include Loathing Lola, (out of print though LINC has a copy), The First Third (shortlisted in the Older Readers’ section in 2014) and an entry in Begin, End, Begin (see above). Will’s latest YA title Sidekicks was longlisted for the INKY awards and has been bought for an American edition by Barnes & Noble.
    • ‘Imagine: A world-renowned National Centre for Australian Children’s Literature’ - Dr Belle Alderman is a passionate leader for this body which started in 1974 as the Lu Rees Archive. Housed in the University of Canberra, it would like a home of its own, and is asking for our support to save our childhood stories.
      We will be hearing from Dr Belle in another blog post later this year.
    This was a fantastic conference with many inspiring speakers to enthuse me. I have come away with a very long list of 'must reads'.

    Chris Donnelly
    Teacher librarian and avid reader.

    Editor's note: One picture book that Chris has not mentioned here but shared with me is Mopoke by Philip Bunting. Brilliant!