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

Saturday 26 October 2019

The Travelling Workshop

Julie Hunt and Dale Newman have been visiting schools to share their work and inspiration with Tasmanian school children. Discover some of the imaginative and engaging activities that children have participated in and the powerful  mentoring these award winning children's book creators provided.

During Book Week, artist Dale Newman and I had the rare opportunity of travelling and working closely for days on end as we visited schools around Tasmania.

If a picture book is a conversation between words, images and the spaces in between, our journey was something similar. I see it as a week-long storyboard, the roughs for a comic strip in which children and book creators collaborate to create the beginning of multiple stories.

Squint - inspired by St Helen's District School students;
illustrated by Dale Newman
Our workshops evolved along the way and included live drawing, map-making and the creation of promising characters. Here’s Squint, a pavement artist invented by Grade 4/5 students at St Helens and drawn up by Dale under their instruction. He’s either an orphan who lives on the street or else a wealthy boy with a secret life who goes home each night to his family mansion. The students continue their various versions of the story after the workshop ends.  

A highlight of the week was the CBCA High Tea at Devonport. High winds and wild weather provided us with a power outage which made for a cosy atmosphere – candles, torchlight and no powerpoint (literally!).

The days were full of talk, stories and pictures and the after-school conversation would have continued into the evening if Dale had not been busy working to meet her deadline for our next book, Shoestring – The Boy Who Walks on Air. It was lovely going to sleep to the sound of drawing, the charcoal pencil moving across the page, and exciting to wake in the morning and see another finished illustration.
Dale Newman illustration for Shoestring - The Boy Who Walks on Air

Thank you to CBCA and the schools for inviting us!

Julie Hunt
Children's Author
W: http://www.juliehunt.com.au/

Dale Newman
Children's illustrator and artist
W: http://www.dalenewman.com.au/

Editor's Note: I was one of the privileged and highly entertained guests at the Book Week High Tea. What a memorable and delightful candlelit evening it was with both Julie and Dale sharing their inspiration and talents.

Saturday 19 October 2019

Connecting to Culture: Indigenous Literacy Foundation

Dive into culture this week as Patsy highlights some of the significant work of the Indigenous Literacy Foundation and the quality publications available.

The Indigenous Literacy Foundation is a ‘not-for-profit charity which respects the unique place of Australia’s first people and draws on the expertise of the Australian book industry’. One example of support you can offer is by engaging in the Great Book Swap to celebrate reading and raise funds for remote communities. 

You can find out more about this organisation on Indigenous Literacy Foundation website website. It is a registered charity so donations made are tax-deductible, and I have been a monthly donor for some years now. The website is very attractive and informative with an online shop with lots of reasonably priced objects, not just books, to buy to suit all ages, so have a look, now that Christmas is getting near…..

Not long ago I received in the mail a copy of Deadly Sisters of Worawa, published in 2018 by the Foundation. Did I know anything about the Worawa Aboriginal College before I read this book? No, nothing at all…..

I felt ashamed of my ignorance and wondered how many schools have copies of this book and other ILF publications, all of which are listed on the website, in their libraries.

Some things have changed in my lifetime. When I was attending a primary school in country Queensland in the 1940s, we students knew there was a school for aboriginal children somewhere in the local area, but our only contact with the pupils there was on sports day, when all the local schools took part.

In the 1970s when I lived in country New South Wales, at least the local school was attended by all children in the area, indigenous or not…..

Now in the 21st century still more change is required to attain educational equality for all Australians. We are taking baby steps in this direction, but much is still required. So have a look at your school library – what Indigenous Literacy Foundation titles are available for your students to read and consider?

Patsy Jones
Retired librarian, retired teacher & avid reader of children’s literature

Editor’s note: A timely post to support the 2019 International Year of Indigenous Language – with some excellent examples in the ILF shop.

Saturday 12 October 2019

Audiobooks - They speak for themselves!

A recent conversation with a colleague who suggested that listening to a book provided an inferior literary experience, has spurred Jennie to celebrate the exciting, expanding, and enticing developments in the production and publication of recorded books. Are you a print reader or an audio listener – or a bit of both? Read on and embrace both sides of the fence!

Stories have existed long before recorded history and the art of storytelling has evolved to embrace multiple media and formats in print and pictorial forms. However, the oral tradition continues to engage us (thank goodness!) and has been enhanced with technological developments over the last century. From radio broadcasting to serialised popular literature recorded books may have evolving formats – vinyl, cassette, CD, MP3 and eAudio – but the underlying principal remains the same – the joy of listening to a good story.

Jon Scieszka, prolific author and vocal supporter of kids and reading, quite rightly argues that audiobooks add a fun dimension to reading. 

Penguin Random House Audio (2015, March 16). Audiobooks equal seriously FUN reading [Video file]. Retrieved from https://youtu.be/VtHhltV2Ifg

Knapton (2019, August 19) reports on recent research undertaken by Deniz, Nunez-Elizalde, Huth & Gallant (2019) that created and compared reading and listening semantic maps. The findings identified the same cognitive and emotional brain stimulus from both experiences. These findings indicate that for either delivery mode the brain processes information similarly. Reading and listening are not so far apart! And listening to a story is not an easier option than reading. This is supported by reading expert, Daniel Willingham, author of Raising Kids who Read (2015) who contends that listening to an audiobook is not cheating.

 Willingham does discuss the value of prosody – the rhythm, stress, and intonation of speech – that may aid comprehension. In today’s multimedia world audio storytelling takes this to new levels with many examples of multiple voices, and varied accents to add richness, variety and a sense of place. A striking example of the power of multiple voices is evident in the production of the three titles in the Illuminae Files written by Amie Kauffman and Jay Kristoff and performed by a host of performers and an orchestra! Get the full story at  Illuminae Series – Performance Masterpiece. 

Accents can add a richness and sense of place to a story. A  recently read favourite of mine, accessed through the Sync Audiobooks for Teens US summer reading program, is The Name of the Star – written by Maureen Johnson and narrated by Nicola Barber. A Louisiana teenager is transplanted into an exclusive boarding school in inner London where a series of “Jack the Ripper” style murders take place. The southern US drawl is tempered with upperclass English and Soho slang – an absolute listening delight. An adult perspective on the joy of immersing yourself in the Scottish burr is explored by Ellen Quint (2019) in AudioFile Magazine's article on the Tartan Noir.

And of course, we can’t bypass the..... (drumroll.....) sound effects. The Illuminae Series post (linked above) gives you insights into possibilities and these are so diverse that they can’t be adequately covered here. However, this is big business and a serious art form that warrants exploration. It has a name: foley (named after sound-effects artist Jack Foley). Foley is the reproduction of everyday sounds to add quality and presence to audio tracks including films, videos and, of course, audiobooks. Watch (and listen to) Penguin Books production on the The Making of the Roald Dahl Audio Books and discover more about this fascinating aspect that adds a rich layer of meaning to the audio experience.
Penguin Books UK. (2013). The making of Roald Dahl audio books [Video file]. Retrieved from https://youtu.be/hIwtAuOpU_g

If you are still concerned about listening and literacy the Audio Publisher Association has drawn together some interesting research captured in this infographic.

© Audio Publisher Assoc. (2019).
How audio promotes literacy 
However, the accuracy has been questioned - check out this post by Sue Toms: Misleading Graphic About Audiobooks.

“We will speak for the books."

"Like the Lorax?"
"The Lorax speaks for the trees," I remind her.
"Books are made out of paper. Paper is made out of trees."
"What about e-books?"
"We can speak for them too."
"Audiobooks speak for themselves." She grins. "Get it?” 
Paul Acampora, I Kill the Mockingbird

Audio Publisher Association. (2019). How audio promotes literacy [Infographic]. Retrieved from https://www.audiopub.org/uploads/pdf/sound-learning_infographic_2019.pdf

Bales, J. (2019, September 27). Illuminae Series – Performance Masterpiece [Blog post]. Retrieved from https://jenniebales.wordpress.com/2019/09/27/illuminae-series-performance-masterpiece/

Deniz, F. Nunez-Elizalde, A. Huth, A. g. & Gallant, J. (2019). The representation of semantic information across human cerebral cortex during listening versus reading is invariant to stimulus modality, 39(39), 7722-7736. DOI: https://doi.org/10.1523/JNEUROSCI.0675-19.2019

Knapton (2019, August 19). End of audiobook snobbery as scientists find reading and listening activates the same parts of the brain [Blog post]. Retrieved from https://www.telegraph.co.uk/science/2019/08/19/end-audiobook-snobbery-scientists-find-hearing-listening-activates/  

Penguin Books UK. (2013, September 13). The making of Roald Dahl audio books [Video file]. Retrieved from https://youtu.be/hIwtAuOpU_g

Penguin Random House Audio (2015, March 16). Audiobooks equal seriously FUN reading [Video file]. Retrieved from https://youtu.be/VtHhltV2Ifg

Quint, E. (2019, August 12). Tartan noir: Discover the rich offerings of the Scottish crime audiobooks [blog post]. Retrieved from https://www.audiofilemagazine.com/blog/tartan-noir-discovering-the-rich-offerings-of-scottish-crime-audiobooks/

Willingham, D. (2016). Is listening to an audio book cheating?. Retrieved from http://www.danielwillingham.com/daniel-willingham-science-and-education-blog/is-listening-to-an-audio-book-cheating

Jennie Bales
Avid book listener
CBCA Committee Member & Social Media Coordinator