Never Bored – Board Books for Babies

Little books for little hands to grasp. Big world concepts for small minds to soak up. Board books are often baby’s first introduction to the relationship between sound and words and pictures. They also represent a delightful extension of love between parent and child as their worlds widen. These next few board books ensure these shared reading experiences are both entertaining and memorable.

At the Zoo I See by Joshua Button and Robyn Wells

This is the first in the Young Art board book series by young Indigenous Australian artists. Home grown and little hand worthy, it is a brief but merry parade of animals you might find at the Zoo. Some you’d have to look hard for, like the ‘prowling quoll’ and ‘queenly cassowary’ chicks, others are more immediate and recognisable like the ‘surprised lion.’

Button’s stripped bare text is spot on for toddlers and two year olds but includes some jolly adjectives to keep little minds tuned in and turning. I love Wells’ painted and ink illustrations – expression plus! Collect them all for your 0 – 4 year-olds.

Magabala Books February 2017

The Thank You Dish by Trace Balla

Meal times at our place are often a mixed plate of dedicated eating, distracted concentration and animated conversation. The Thank You Dish draws on these around-table -scenarios as one family sits down to enjoy their meal.

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CBCA Notables 2016

The CBCA (Children’s Book Council of Australia) Notables (or long lists) have been announced today.

The short lists will be announced on Friday 20th May at the national conference which is held in Sydney this year.

I’ve listed my favourites (of those I’ve read) below:  BOOK OF THE YEAR: EARLY CHILDHOOD

As Big as You by Sara Acton
As Big as You by Sara Acton

I interviewed the delightful Sara Acton for the most recent edition of Magpies magazineAs Big as You opens up vertically instead of the usual horizontal format to show height. Sara is one of our new illustrators to watch.

Janeen Brian and Ann James have produced innovative picture books in I’m a Dirty Dinosaur and I’m a Hungry Dinosaur (which I reviewed here). It is hard to go past mud and chocolate icing as illustrative media.

Some other favourites are Perfect by Danny Parker and Freya Blackwood, This is a Ball by Beck Stanton and Matt Stanton and This & That  by Mem Fox and Judy Horacek.

PICTURE BOOK OF THE YEARFlight

Perfect is nominated again in picture book of the year. Other personal favourites are Flight by Armin Greder and Nadia Wheatley. This impressive book seems to be telling a version of the Nativity story but also becomes a refugee story. And there are parallels between Jesus’ early life and that of a refugee. Matt Ottley is long listed twice: for a story of incarceration and hope in Suri’s Wall, written by Lucy Estela and the incomparable Teacup, a refugee story written by Rebecca Young.

Other standouts are Where’s Jessie? by Anne Spudvilas and Janeen Brian (again), Mr Huff by Anna Walker, Adelaide’s Secret World by Elise Hurst and How the Sun Got to Coco’s House by Bob Graham. This is a really strong list and also includes some non-fiction books such as My Gallipoli by Robert Hannaford and Ruth Starke, And the Band Played Waltzing Matilda by Bruce Whatley and Eric Bogle and Platypus by Mark Jackson and Sue Whiting.

THE EVE POWNALL AWARD FOR INFORMATION BOOKS looks particularly strong this year and includes We are the Rebels by Clare Wright, Lennie the Legend by Stephanie Own Reeder, The White Mouse: The Story of Nancy Wake by Peter Gouldthorpe, Atmospheric by Carole Wilkinson, and I could easily go on…

BOOK OF THE YEAR: OLDER READERS My picks are Cloudwish by Fiona Wood, Freedom Ride by Sue Lawson (which has just been shortlisted for the NSW Premier’s Literary Awards), The Beauty is in the Walking by James Moloney, The Guy, the Girl, the Artist and His Ex by Gabrielle Williams (also shortlisted for the NSW Prems) and Inbetween Days by Vikki Wakefield, who I am chairing in three sessions at the upcoming SWF. Meg  McKinlay is listed here for A Single Stone, continuing her run of being long and shortlisted in both YA and children’s awards.

MollyMy pick from a mixed bag for BOOK OF THE YEAR: YOUNGER READERS is Molly and Pim and the Millions of Stars by Martine Murray, which I reviewed here.

Congratulations to everyone who has been long listed. It’s a great honour and shows recognition of your very deserving books.

#ByAustralianBuyAustralian

Cracker 2015 CBCA Short List

ProtectedThis year’s Children’s Book Council of Australia short list is a cracker.

Older Readers

I’ve reviewed most of the Older Reader titles for the Weekend Australian, which means that I think they’re excellent. It’s a superlative list this year. Incidentally, most of these authors are relatively or brand-new published YA writers; and are women, representing the high number of YA Australian female authors published in recent times. The future of Australian YA looks exciting.

I reviewed Christine Bongers’s Intruder with Tristan Bancks’s, Two BleakboyWolves (Younger Readers) here last year. Great to see these Queensland/far north NSW authors acclaimed in the CBCA awards.

Younger Readers

Two Wolves is shortlisted in the Younger Readers category, along with a mixture of other first-time shortlisted authors, including Tamsin Janu for Figgy in the World, as well as names we expect to see such as Steven Herrick, Libby Gleeson and Bill Condon; Bill here with a novel for younger children, The Simple Things, instead of his usual YA. Judith Rossell won the Indies award for her gothic, Withering-by-Sea (see my review) and is deservedly shortlisted by CBCA.

Picture Books

The picture books form a strong list and include some newcomers such as Trace Balla with Rivertime and Michael Camilleri, with his outstanding illustrations for David Metzenthen’s Gallipoli book, One Minute’s Silence.One Minute's Silence

Freya Blackwood is shortlisted three times – here for illustrating Irena Kobald’s powerful Two Blankets. Stephen Michael King is also shortlisted three times, with Glenda Millard’s The Duck and the Darklings in this category.

 

Early Childhood

Stephen Michael King is shortlisted twice in the Early Childhood category; for the simple yet stunning Snail and Turtle are Friends and Lesley Gibbes’s Scary Night. Libby Gleeson and Freya Blackwood appear together twice, here with Go to Sleep, Jessie! and in The Cleo Stories, shortlisted in Younger Readers.

The Eve Pownall Information Books are another strong bunch, with my personal favourites Emu by Claire Saxby and Graham Byrne (we shortlisted Emu’s stable mate, Kangaroo, in the Qld Literary Awards), A-Z of Convicts in Van Diemen’s Land by Simon Barnard and Tea and Sugar Christmas by Jane Jolly and the brilliant Robert Ingpen. Tea and Sugar

It wouldn’t be a CBCA short list without evergreen favourites, Jackie French and Bruce Whatley, Fire; Margaret Wild, The Stone Lion; Alison Lester, Noni the Pony goes to the Beach; and Aaron Blabey, Pig the Pug.

It’s always disappointing for those excellent titles that miss out but many of these have been nominated as Notables. These lists are worth looking at.

Older Readers

Younger Readers (it’s devastating to see what missed out being shortlisted in this category)

Picture Books

Early Childhood

Eve Pownall Information Books

Congratulations, not only to the shortlisted authors and illustrators, but the judges and the CBCA for enabling these outstanding books to be widely acclaimed.