Thursday, July 8, 2010

New Aussie Children's Books - July 2010

Because there are so many wonderful books being published all the time I thought I might do a regular review of recently released children's books that I think are worth reading. They will usually be Australian books available from good bookshops at the time I write the post. They will generally be available in the USA and the UK as well, even if only online, but overseas readers of this blog may sometimes have to wait a month or so after the post to see the books on sale through major online stores.

Each issue will be broken into four sections, 'Picture books', 'Junior fiction', 'Independent Readers' and 'Non-fiction'.  I'll generally choose 1 or 2 books in each category.

1. Picture Books (0-6 years)

Because You Are With Me, Kylie Dunstan

Kylie Dunstan won the Children's Book Council of Australia Award for Picture Book of the Year in 2009 for her brilliant book 'Collecting Colour'. Her latest picture book tells the story of a special relationship between a father and his daughter. The little girl can do anything as long as her Dad is there. She can walk down a dark hallway when she knows her Dad is there, she can even look a tiger in the eye if her Dad holds her hand. The predictable text and beautiful illustrations support each other perfectly. Dunstan uses collage made from Nepalese lokta paper with great effect. She is a very talented author and illustrator.

The Important Things, Peter Carnavas

This story tells of the special bond between a mother and her son Christopher that grows stronger as they struggle to cope with the loss of their husband and father.  Both mother and son try to cope in different ways, but eventually face up to each other's feelings and work together to deal with their loss and live a new life together. The story shows the importance of remembering, shared bonds that strengthen relationships and the joy of a special relationship between a mother and a son.

2. Junior Fiction (6-9 years)

Billie B. Brown: The Soccer Star, by Sally Rippin, illustrated by Aki Fukuoka

Billie B. is an independent young woman who stands up for what she believes in, sticks up for her friends and has her own special 'style'. Billie has many adventures. In the first book in the series 'Billie B. Brown: The Bad Butterfly' the central character wants to be a famous ballerina, but perhaps not in the role she has been given; perhaps a swap of roles to something more suitable will help? Other titles include 'The Soccer Star', 'The Midnight Feast' and 'The Second-best Friend'.   

The short 44-page format and simple texts make this suitable for younger readers. Younger girls (aged 6-9) should love them.

3. Independent Readers (10-13 years)

Mosquito Advertising: The Parfizz Pitch, by Kate Hunter

It's school summer holidays and 14 year old Katie Crisp has time on her hands after another unspectacular term as far as grades go. But she has talents as yet undiscovered.  When she discovers that a well-known family soft drink company (Parfitt's) is being taken over by a major corporation that will leave her mother unemployed, she decides that it's time to use some hidden talent. With some friends, pocket money and lots of creativity, she sets out to save the company and her Mum's job.

3. Non-fiction

Making My Place, by Nadia Wheatley

This book that tells the story of how the book 'My Place' by Nadia Wheatley Donna Rawlins (see my previous post here), was turned into the television series of the same name (here). This recently aired on Australian television. Wheatley explains the evolution of the series from the book and takes the readers through all stages of the film making, including script writing, casting and direction, costumes and make-up and then offers an analysis of the plot and characters. There is also a set of free teachers' notes available (here).

Somme Mud, by Private Edward Lynch, Editor Will Davies

This is a fascinating true story, which follows the war experience of a group of young men who set out from Sydney in 1916 to fight in the 'Great War' in France. The main character and the other enlisted troops at the centre of the narrative are fictionalised, but all other elements portray their real life experiences. Edward Lynch who returned from the War and became a teacher tried to publish the manuscript in the 1930s but was unsuccessful. After his death family members succeeded and it was published for adults in 2006. This new book is edited by Will Davies and is an abridged version for teenagers.  It offers a graphic insight into the horrors of the Western Front. It incorporates archival photographs as well as photographs of the sites today.  It will interest boys aged 11+.

Other Posts on Literature

For all my posts on Children's Literature use the site label (HERE)


Le Loup said...

Good post.

Trevor Cairney said...

Thanks LeLoup, glad to know that you're still out there.