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

Friday 30 July 2021

Through the Eyes of Children: Publishing during a Pandemic

Since Covid 19 swept the globe young people have undergone change and uncertainty in their lives as well as building resilience and finding much to celebrate. Join Victoria Ryle as she explores the power of giving children the opportunity to voice their view of the world and provide inspiration and hope to us all.

© Diya, age 5. Smiling and Not Smiling
Our Boroondara Bubble Book,
Kids' Own Publishing, 2020

I just looked back at a blog post written for this space this time last year– about two new publications. All Emotions Allowed Here… a notebook for children in Tasmania in the time of Coronavirus and for young people, How can I find normal when I’m living in a social tragedy were created by a group of artists working within their bubbles to capture children and young people’s thoughts in the time of the Coronavirus. Little did I think I would be back on the same theme a year later. Now, I am thinking about the effects of lockdown on children – particularly at the moment in Sydney. Last year I recall an urgency to publish these quickly while still relevant, releasing the first in May 2020! Thankfully, in Tasmania we remain a Covid free Island for the time being, but I am reminded of the impact elsewhere by the recent arrival of a parcel from Melbourne. 

Kids’ Own Publishing sent me three topical books:  Our Boroondara Bubble Book: Stories of how we got through lockdown in 2020, a delightful and uplifting collection of the things that really matter in this strange time. This project with Boroondara Library Service was led by award winning author Trace Balla, who published her own bubble book, The Heart of the Bubble during lockdown. Kindergarten children shared their thoughts too. A group of young children worked with artist Nikita Hederics to create Through my window: Lockdown in Boroondara through kindergarten children’s eyes, observing that “Mum has a person on the screen and is having a meeting”. Something we are all too familiar with now. Meanwhile children at Mayone-bulluk Kindergarten created In 2020… noting alongside new pandemic related habits of hand sanitiser and masks, that “I learnt to brush my teeth”. Good to know that normal life prevails!

© Harry, age p. Piggybacking.
Our Boroondara Bubble Book,
Kids' Own Publishing, 2020

Back on the island, still awaiting a launch, Hobart Library’s forthcoming publication to celebrate their new Book Cubby space – for books by children, is Little Joys – An adventure to find your joy! A book by children from South Hobart and Campbell Street primary schools, Tasmania. About children finding small moments in life that bring joy as the world adapts to new realities arising from the pandemic, this will be available in libraries across Tasmania soon. Of the hundreds of small line drawings created for the book, one of my favourites is “sunrise with clouds”, something that gives me great joy through the depths of winter.

No doubt the next year will bring fresh insights into the creative minds of children and young people– including through a partnership to publish three more zines with young people on what matters to them most as they face a fast changing world.

Victoria Ryle is a PhD candidate researching co-publishing books with children at the University of Tasmania. She co-founded Kids’ Own Publishing Partnership in Ireland in 1997, and founded Kids’ Own Publishing in Melbourne.

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