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

Saturday 15 December 2018

Great reads for Summer

Looking for some entertaining reading for the family this Summer? Check out Maureen’s suggestions and you’ll be sure to find something to intrigue the kids.

      Christmas Picks

Invisible Jerry by Adam Wallace and Aska 
Great story for allowing quiet retiring people – children and adults – to see that they too can find the right companion.
Kung-fu Kangaroo By Merv LamingtonKung Fu Kangaroo by Merv Lamington and Allison Langton
Chops wants to become a kung fu champion but so much of her body doesn’t allow her to achieve what she wants.
Why I Love Summer by Michael Wagner and Tom Jellett
Focus on an Australian summer – beach, cricket, sprinklers. Mum and dad at home.
  Charlie by Ronojoy Ghosh
Charlie the lion disguises himself by adding a moustache, and now longer makes people afraid of him, so he is able to have a great day out at restaurants, art class, travelling
There’s a Baddie Running Through this Book by Shelly Unwin and Vivienne To
All the animals chase the baddie all through the pages of the book until he is captured by the police force.
Rabbit, the Dark and the Biscuit Tin by Nicola O’Byrne
Rabbit doesn’t want to go to bed so captures the dark in the tin. What are the consequences of constant daylight? The dark finally convinces Rabbit that aa really good part of the day is going to bed and a bedtime story
The Elephant by Jenni Desmond
Wonderful look at this endangered animal, with facts presented in fun and accessible formats using collage, paint and coloured pencil. Adults will love it as much as kids do.
Girl on Wire by Lucy Estela and Elise Hunt
An allegorical presentation of the tightrope we all walk on our journey from childhood to adulthood, and how we are helped by friends along the way. Will engender lots of discussion with young readers – picture book, not for the very young.
Giraffe Problems by Jory John and Lane Smith
Giraffe is so conscious of his neck and tries to hide it. But how can he do so? Tortoise helps him see that he doesn’t need to. Great illustrations from the masterful Lane Smith.
My Little Gifts by Jo Witek and Christine Roussey 
A fun book with flaps to encourage reader involvement but also with a strong message that we can give other people our time and friendship and that these are more important than buying ‘things’.
Dragon Post by Emma Yarlett
Alex doesn’t know how to deal with the dragon he finds under the stairs so he writes letters asking for advice. The replies comes from the fire brigade, the butcher and others who suggests fun solutions. A story of friendship.

Maureen Mann
Retired teacher librarian and avid reader
Image result for christmas decorationA Christmas message from your editors 
Wishing all our readers best wishes for Christmas and a time of peace, friendship and good will over the festive season. On behalf of our readers I would like to also thank our blog contributors from near and far who have so willingly shared their joy of reading and passion for children’s literature to entertain, educate and challenge us at times.
We will be back . . . see you in the New Year!

Sunday 9 December 2018

Window Dressing for Christmas

This week Jennie shares bits and pieces to make Christmas tinselly and shiny to help you all get into the Christmas spirit.

Jolabokaflod; Christmas Book Flood. An Icelandic tradition that would be wonderful to see spread across the world. 

If you are inspired but the notion of jolabokaflod then you might like to explore these 20 Timeless Christmas Books for Kids or this Australian Book List: Australian Christmas Stories.

Last year I posted a series of video Christmas stories and advertisements that readers can still access. Visit Christmas Magic Through Digital Storytelling for a feast of viewing.

Did you know that dogs share Christmas too? This is the Season of Good Dog 108.

I am sure readers remember Corduroy the bear. No bear likes to be left on the shelf. Check out Walmart's Christmas advert - Bring Holiday Magic Home.

An endearing French telecommunication advert is more about connecting to family and traditions than the We Love Technology in the title.

Political and humanitarian statements abound this season - try these three to start some serious discussions with older children - and adults

Say hello to Rang-tan, produced by Iceland Foods condemns the use of palm oil. It has been banned from viewing in Iceland but the company shared to YouTube.

There are a few political digs in Air New Zealand's The Nicest Christmas Ever and some familiar political icons to recognise as the kids on Santa's Naught List call a summit to action positive change.

This final video is not a 'Merry Christmas' message but a sobering reminder that we live in troubled times and is contributed by the International Committee of the Red Cross to present the simplest and most poignant of Christmas messages - The One Gift that Santa Can't Deliver.

 And to conclude - and as promised in the title - some window dressing.

Myer Christmas Windows 2018 - Alice in Wonderland.

Perhaps inspired by the recent Alice exhibition - this is certainly stunning, though the home made video doesn't do it justice it does provide a taste. 

Selfridges take on a musical rock'n'roll theme.

And to conclude with a London Walk -Harrods Lights and Christmas Window Display by Dolce&Gabanna. (It is a 15 minute long 'walk'! with ads.)

Hope you enjoy this year's collation of Christmas glitter.

CBCA Social Media Coordinator 

Saturday 1 December 2018

The Valentine Series by Jodi McAlister

Jodi McAlister engaged a large audience of teenagers and adults at the Tamar Valley Writer’s Festival, and many of us expressed an interest in following through on this series and bought copies of Valentine on the spot. Carol Fuller shares her response to this new YA series.

This is where Australian Twilight combines with teen Fifty Shade of Grey to create a steam roller story that drips with horror, romance, teenage slick speak and suspense. And kicks off a compelling series for TA readers.

Valentine, the first in McAlister's lates series, is a horror, fairy story that develops at a fast pace, much like the thought streams that run through Pearl’s head. Pearl is the protagonist; a feisty, clever, scheming seventeen-year-old who acts, speaks, thinks, dreams and whatever.…like any real teenage girl just completing HSC… I suppose. It’s a long time since I occupied that space and social norms and behaviours have changed so much. Jodie McAlister is much closer to that stage in life and is able to create young characters that ring very modern, true and realistic.

McAlister is able to build romantic tension between the protagonists, Pearl and Finn while all around them inexplicable awful, gory events occur. The fairy mystery poses questions about who and what and why which keeps the story line gripping and suspenseful.

This series has so much happening on so many levels making it is easy to identify something that will appeal whether it be horror, romance, teen angst, mystery, magic and more.

The first book, Valentine stands alone but the reader will most certainly be eager to take up the second book, Ironheart to find out what happens to Pearl and Fin and their close circle of friends.  Similarly at the end of Ironheart the reader just wants more.  But that volume isn’t out yet. Can’t wait! … and watching out for the February 2019 publication of Misrule.

Carol Fuller
Past CBCA Awards judge.