August 2

The hills are alive…(with book creators!)

emily

Emily Rodda

Well, the mountains really, are alive with many Australian children’s authors and illustrators – and many of them came together last week at the (inaugural) Blue Mountains chapter of the CBCA at the Carrington Hotel. They gathered together with many bibliophiles, such as teachers, teacher librarians, publishers and others interested in promoting children’s literature; and in particular, with a local focus.

Actually, there has been a CBCA chapter in the mountains in the past so this was more of a revival – boosted by the enthusiasm of those who attended. Authors old and new, included Emily Rodda, Tohby Riddle, Margaret Hamilton and, illustrator Freya Blackwood, who has three books shortlisted for the 2015 Children’s Book of the Year Awards. Sadly, James Roy, Stephen Herrick and Stephen Measday were unable to attend at the last moment. Perhaps, we will see them next time.

It was a time to applaud the achievements of these creative Blue Mountains residents, and gather to chat with them and those who promote their fabulous books.

Freya Blackwood

Freya Blackwood

Quotes about the night included:

  • It was a fabulous event. 
  • Wonderful to see so many people passionate about children’s literature! Looking forward to many more.
  • Special evening and wonderful atmosphere. Always a pleasure to match the minds with the works!

Aptly held in the Library venue of the Carrington Hotel – warmly panelled in wood and offers a large open fireplace, comfortable lounge seating, it was well worth venturing out into a cold winter’s night to join the literary soiree. One of the joys of such meetings is to chat with book creators, hear what inspires them, to find out their future plans and also hear how passionate they remain about getting kids to enjoy reading at each and every level!

Tohby Riddle

Tohby Riddle

 

Of course, no such evening is complete without the purchase of books, (thanks to Megalong Books for attending), and the compulsory signing and discussion of books with these fabulous book creators.

 

August 8

Homeless – Friday Brown by Vicki Wakefield

friday brownShe had escaped from home – and why not? After all, everything she ever knew was meaningless now her mother was gone. So she was running –  “trying to escape memories of her mother and the family curse.”

After spending all her years in the countryside, Friday Brown ends up homeless in the city. While she was with her mother, wherever the two of them were together – that was home. But now alone, she determined to find herself a place to be.

Through a series of events at a railway station, she develops a friendship with a strange and silent young boy. With Silence, she then comes under the wing of Arden, who along with the smouldering Malik, leads a small band of homeless kids with a Dickensian lifestyle in inner Sydney.

Belonging has always been hard for Friday. With her mother, she would traipse around the countryside – moving on when things became too stressful or demanding. From an early age, she knew the signs of an impending move – when the money ran out, or her mother was out of favour with her current employer.

After her mother’s death (presumably due to her family curse) Friday decides to run. But why is she really running away? Is life going to be any better, homeless, in the city?

Slowly, Friday adjusts to a chaotic life, with some unusual ‘housemates’ – but she is never quite comfortable with everyone, or with life in the city. Technically, they are homeless, squatting in an abandoned building till disaster strikes.

Change takes the dischordant group to the countryside, where Friday’s past gives her the strength and courage to take a stand and, occasionally, to take the lead. Relationships are tried and tested, and all in Arden’s ‘family’ discover different things about themselves and others. Instinct and cunning – are they enough to help Friday survive? Who is friend and who is foe? And what about her family curse?

Some surprising and tragic events throughout.

Selected for CBCA awards this year – it would definitely be one of my choices! What do you think?

For more reviews, see Inside a Dog or GoodReads

May 29

Have you read…?

Have you started reading any of the books nominated for the CBCA Older Readers Awards for 2012? The list includes several past winners – Ursula Dubosarsky, Michael Gerard Bauer; past shortlist nominee – Scot Gardner; and authors noted in other literary awards, for both young adult and adult books – Bill Condon and Andrew McGahan, new to YA awards, Robert Newton.

The list below (from the CBCA website) includes links to publishers’ websites for enticing summaries about each book.

 

Author

Title

Bauer,
Michael Gerard

Ishmael
and the Hoops of Steel

Condon,
Bill

A Straight Line to my Heart

Dubosarsky,
Ursula

The Golden Day

Gardner,
Scot

The Dead I Know

McGahan,
Andrew

Ship Kings: The Coming of the
Whirlpool

Newton,
Robert

When We Were Two

 

# Which one would you give the top award?