It’s that time of year again – time for 2011 Boomerang Books survey, their Christmas advent calendar count-down, and the time when I traditionally reveal my lack of knowledge of Australian literature.
This time it’s kids’ books exposing my ignorance. Boomerang have compiled a list of 85 of the most-loved Aussie Kid’s Books and are looking for responses to help them decide on the most popular kid’s books for a literary countdown from 1 December until Christmas Eve. Their criteria for working out the popularity is pretty simple – the survey just asks did you read these books yourself or read them to children.
Have you happy memories of reading Australian books as a child or reading these books to your own kids and grand-kids and other assorted ankle-biters? If so, get over to our website and take the survey and you’ll be in the running to pick up $500 worth of books.
It’s a bit embarrassing – I have only caught from from last year’s survey which revealed to me that, out of 120 of Australian authors’ best known titles, I had read not even enough to get a pass rate. I’ve spent a bit of this year catching up on them only to find that this year’s exam will be on kids’ books where my knowledge is still severely lacking. I may not have read so many of these famous Australian kids’ books – I’m not sure why Cuddlepot and Snugglepie are so beloved or why a wombat would keep a diary – but if nothing else this lengthy list of books I have missed will give me something to browse next time I call over to one of my friends with small kids, and hopefully a few ideas for gifts to bring them when I go.
I do at least have an excuse. I grew up in Ireland so many of the books are a mystery to me but I was chuffed to realise that I did recognise a few of the titles, from Shaun Tan’s moving Arrival to Ruth Park’s Playing Beatie Bow. In fact, one of the books was a childhood favourite of mine – Elyne Mitchell’s Silver Brumby series. Her beautiful descriptions of the wildlife and landscape of the Snowy Mountains was one of the reasons I ended up (nearly fifteen years after picking up the book in Cork, Ireland) booking a ticket to Australia to see the country for myself.
The moral of the story seems to be that reading Australian kids’ books makes them move to Australia a few decades on. Something to be careful of when you are sending books to less than beloved nieces and nephews over-seas perhaps. You could send them something from New Zealand perhaps? Close enough to see occasionally, far enough that they don’t call in twice a week.
If you want to take part in deciding Australia’s most popular children’s novels, and possibly win $500 in Boomerang Bucks to spend on the site, you can find the survey here. (If you worried your memory might need a jog, you can review the book cover images here first.) The survey closes at 5pm AEST on Wednesday 30 November 2011. Get ready to reminisce and click here to enter the competition.