CBCA – promoting Australian Children’s literature

Link to CBCA Book Week details

Can you recall what you read as a young child?

  • Was it suited to a young child?
  • Was it age-appropriate?
  • Was it something you understood?
  • Was it from an Australian author?

At a recent Blue Mountains CBCA gathering in the school holidays, I was reminded of how far Australian children’s literature has come over the years. We were lucky to have author Libby Gleeson speak at the dinner function.

Libby, who has been writing children’s literature for 35 years, reminisced that we were not always blessed to have such a great amount ‘children’s literature’ from Australian authors. And, that writing quality books for younger age groups has also been a much more recent development.

How fortunate are young readers now? There are so many quality books for 0-5 year olds!

However, the abundance of children’s books about – some far cheaper and in greater supply than others – may sometimes mean it is hard to find the best. This, of course, is where the CBCA is invaluable. Since its inception in 1945, it has been fundamental in promoting children’s books of high literary and artistic quality, and in fostering a vibrant community of Australian authors and illustrators of children’s literature.

Our Vision is to be the premier voice on literature for young Australians and to inform, promote critical debate, foster creative responses, and engage with and encourage Australian authors and illustrators to produce quality literature. Through these efforts, we are nurturing a literate, educated and creative society. (from CBCA website – https://www.cbca.org.au/about)

As Children’s Book Week (17 – 23 August 2019) nears, schools and libraries are keenly aware of the CBCA (preparing book parades, competitions and all kinds of literary promotions). Through out year, this community is also involved in lots of professional activities – it doesn’t all just happen in Book Week!

For those who would like to see this furthered locally, you can vote for the Blue Mountains branch of the CBCA to gain funding from My Community Project. It is looking for a grant to support a Blue Mountains Festival of Children’s Literature in 2020. For details (and to vote) go to: My Community Project. Please have a look and make your vote count for children’s literature! (Note: Voting ends 15/08/2019)

Dyslexia-friendly books

It’s great to see publishers and libraries responding to the needs of the community – currently including in their collection new books catering to readers with dyslexia.

I came across this at my local library recently – a display of books which were published to meet the needs of those who struggle to read due to dyslexia. Using a special font and layout, the books are part of a trial collection of dyslexia-friendly titles.

As seen here, they include some newer Adult Fiction releases, and JF & YA fiction too (e.g. Catching Teller Crow, reviewed here earlier, and one of the CBCA Shortlisted books for 2019). You can view a list of titles on the BMCC catalogue – completing a search for “dyslexia-friendly books” will provide the list.

Do you know anyone who would benefit from this idea? Maybe even try one of these books yourself, if it meets your need?

It is being trialled at the Blue Mountains Council Libraries. Obviously, it would be great for the library to have some feedback – especially so that they can meet any expected demand for these titles! (just be aware that the books are a little thicker than some, due to layout demands, but they still hold some wonderful stories…)

I wonder how many other local libraries are likely to try this out themselves? Maybe ask at your local library if BMCC is not near you? Spread the word!

Note: Blacktown City libraries also have dyslexia-friendly titles, including PRC titles.

New dog, new tricks – re-launched and better than ever.

insideadog-largeAfter 5 years in existence, one of the fantastic sites followed by ‘CrewsReviews’ has reinvented itself – the Victorian State Library re-launched its much loved youth literature website Inside a Dog on March 8.

As reported by Tye Cattanach – on the Book Gryffin

Inside A Dog now offers some incredible tools for teachers and students alike. For those teachers wanting an online ‘bookshelf’ for their kids, or better still, wanting to start an online book club for students, you need look no further than this. Designed to be as user friendly as possible, the applications for the use of this site are varied and many.

There are entire pages dedicated to book clubs, book trailers, engaging literacy ideas, literature circles, book reviews, writers in residence, (a unique feature giving your students an opportunity to ask writers questions in the comments), to name but a few. 

 As a student or independent reader you can also:

– find great reads (new releases)

contribute reviews (let authors know what you think)

– read about how authors are inspired (why they write, how they write and what inspires them)

– follow a writer in residence (monthly insights into the writing process of a featured published author)

– discuss the latest young adult literature (with other kids your age, not just adults…)

– enter all sorts of competitions

– vote for the Inkys (book awards counting student votes!)

– and more…

This is one of the most inspiring sites for news on new Australian literature for young adults, maintained by the State Library of Victoria, with the interests of youth at heart.

Their motto still rings true: Outside of a dog, a book is man’s best friend. Inside of a dog it’s too dark to read. —Groucho Marx