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

Friday 23 August 2019

Nan Chauncy Award – a Book Week celebration

Maureen Mann shares the highlights of the Nan Chauncy Award and presentation to James Moloney at the 2019 CBCA Book of the Year Awards. Living at Chauncy Vale in the southern Midlands, Nan Chauncy holds a special place in our hearts as her books created a strong sense of place that connected both the Tasmanian landscape and the indigenous inhabitants. 

Well done to James Moloney who was announced as the recipient of the 2019 Nan Chauncy Award. This biennial award honours individuals who have made outstanding contributions to Australian Children’s literature.
The Nan Chauncy Award was created in 1983 in recognition of her input to children’s literature and to continue to acknowledge those who have been significant contributors.
The Award has two parts: a citation written by the judges (this year from Tasmania, ACT and NSW) and a commemorative plaque, traditionally a box made from Tasmanian timbers. I was delighted, as coordinator, to have one of my favourite authors recognised by the judges – and no, I had no say in the selection process.
James and Karen Moloney
Here is this year’s citation:
The recipient of the 2019 CBCA Nan Chauncy Award for outstanding contribution to Australian children’s literature is James Moloney.
A multi award-winning author and passionate advocate for children’s literature, James has encouraged generations of young people, especially boys, to read for pleasure. His commitment to the children's literature industry in Australia is further demonstrated through his participation on the Australia Council and in his advocacy for Public Lending Right and Education Lending Right.

James is more than a creator of excellent children’s literature. He is a passionate advocate for literacy and encouraging children to read. His investigation of the importance of building a reading culture amongst boys and active engagement with young people in a variety of settings has influenced many children by his attendance at literature festivals, school workshops and public library programs, as well as his writings aimed at helping parents. As writer-in-residence in schools he has not only influenced young writers to “respect language and its ability to shape and change lives” while also demonstrating this skill through his own writings, but also the participating educators.

Since the publication of Crossfire in 1992, James’ has published more than forty books, and many of his titles have been recognised through awards and shortlists. His most recent publication The Young Vikings, is included in the 2019 CBCA Notable Books.  He has demonstrated his understanding of young readers: his successful titles range from those for beginning readers through to more sophisticated older teenagers. His influence and impact in encouraging young people to read can be traced beyond his writing career to his time as a Teacher Librarian.

To quote James himself, “The novel is a powerful means of communication in Australian culture.” Through Dougy, Gracey and Angela, James brought insight into the lives and experiences of Aboriginal young people and into the lives of many young Australians.  As a non-Aboriginal writer, he said, “Writing about it, exploring it through story is a valuable way of encouraging intellectual discourse…thinking, discussing, arguing, becoming self-aware and moving, ever so slowly, towards understanding.”

James Moloney - acceptance speech
-James has willingly committed time to encouraging literacy and reading beyond his paid author duties, continually demonstrating his responsiveness, generosity and outreach to others. He has been Quiz Master at Queensland CBCA Readers’ Cup events. He has undertaken online book-gigs to help students in small regional schools, over the last twenty or so years. All papers to do with his writing career have been donated to the State Library of Queensland.

Several of his books have been translated into French, Korean, Lithuanian and Dutch, spreading Australian cultural concepts and proving that many of his themes are universal: family, love, belonging, body image, rites of passage, mateship/friendship, identity, disability and racial issues. His peers hold him in high esteem. As his nominator said “Over four decades, Moloney’s contribution to children's literature has been fundamental to framing an Australian identity. His work is ground-breaking in reflecting race and masculinity. His sense of place and depiction of Australia as character has allowed young readers to identify with this truly unique Australian landscape.”

And the judges concluded with: James Moloney is indeed a very worthy recipient for the 2019 CBCA Nan Chauncy Award for his outstanding and committed contribution to Australian children’s literature.

Have a look at James’ own website to see just how many books he’s written. http://www.jamesmoloney.com.au/index.html Do you have a favourite?
Leanne Rands (CBCA Tasmania President, James Moloney,
& Margaret Hillel (CBCA National Chair)

The next Nan Chauncy Award will be made in 2021 but it’s not too early to start thinking about who you might like to nominate for this prestigious award. You can view past recipients on the CBCA website.

And we mustn’t forget the Book of the Year Awards which were announced at the same function on Friday in Melbourne. If you haven’t already seen them, here’s the link to the list of winners and honour books. https://www.cbca.org.au/winners-2019  Congratulations to all concerned, especially to Daniel Gray-Barnett, Tasmanian-based winner of the Award for New Illustrators.

Maureen Mann
Nan Chauncy Award Coordinator

Editor's note: There are several posts collated on our blog about Nan Chauncy, her books, Chauncy Vale and the award. 

Friday 16 August 2019

Northern Primary Readers' Cup - Celebrating Readers

Schools in and around Launceston have been participating in readers’ cup challenges since 2002. Anne Donnelly shares the highlights and tensions of the recent primary school competition, with the secondary event scheduled for September.
By 4pm, on the 26th June, Summerdale Primary was buzzing with excitement and tension as fourteen schools from around Northern Tasmania gathered for the 17th year of competition in the Inter-school Readers’ Cup. It’s a highly successful competition thanks to the hard work of staff at all the participating schools.
The event began with the Extra Challenge, set by Nella Pickup. This year’s book was Ada’s Violin by Susan Hood. The groups had ten minutes to write down the character traits that helped Ava to overcome her challenges and reach her goals. It’s an impromptu challenge which the students and teachers only find out when the judge presents the challenge, although the winning teams read the book beforehand.
After the added excitement of a reporter and photographer (Examiner article), the quiz commences. The students had spent several weeks reading a total of 6 books in preparation for this challenging segment of the event. As always, the quiz questions proved tricky for some but Glen Dhu scored well with 43.5 and Summerdale did a great job, scoring 48 from a possible 54! The books were:
The Legend of Spud Murphy / Eoin Colfer                                              
Parvana / Deborah Ellis                                                         
Help Around the House / Morris Gleitzman
The Last Elephant / Justin D’Ath                                         
Storm Boy / Colin Thiele
Meet Banjo Paterson/ Kristin Weidenbach

There was a short break in the library where students had a light meal which was provided by Kings Meadows High School before we all met in the Community Hall. Parents arrived from 6pm and Nella talked about the work on Ada’s Violin, where four schools, Scotch Oakburn, Glen Dhu, Riverside and Perth had excellent scores of 9.
To a packed house of parents, grandparents, friends and school communities we started the Creative Presentations. It’s always amazing to see the variety and depth of responses that are displayed by the groups when they are given the opportunity to reflect on the issues and emotions of the books that they have been reading. There were a large number of plays but we were also entertained by debates, dance and movies. Parvana and The Legend of Spud Murphy were popular choices for Creative Responses but it was great to see East Launceston recount the life of Banjo Paterson in their performance.
Not surprisingly, Nella and her fellow judges, Patrick Fleming and Marissa King, had a difficult task. Three schools, East Launceston, Invermay and Riverside had perfect scores of 18. After the scores for all three sections were tallied, East Launceston was third, Glen Dhu second and the winners of the perpetual trophy were Summerdale Primary.
This year we were lucky enough to be able to present all the teams with shortlisted books thanks to the generosity of the CBCA Tasmania.
Here are the winners!
Summerdale Primary School Readers' Cup team.

Anne Donnelly
Northern Primary Reader’s Cup Coordinator

The Northern Primary Readers’ Cup has been supported by CBCA Tasmania and the Education Department through the Federal partnership grant. Books and prizes from the Short List & Notable Book Week titles were provided to participating schools.