And, thank goodness, books continue to be published, read, and loved.
Reading has been described as the perfect lockdown-in-COVID-19-activity. In these difficult times, it is worth reminding ourselves, and our students, that:
“Reading is an act of civilization; it’s one of the greatest acts of civilization because it takes the free raw material of the mind and builds castles of possibilities.” —Ben Okri
- The CBCA has announced its winners for 2021, and you can find all these and the shortlisted books here. These can all be bought online. They are well worth buying, as we will read and re-read them, introducing new students to the characters, adventures and the worlds of our favourite books.
Don’t forget the Storybox Library, affiliated with CBCA, for stories online, read by people we know.
- The U.S.-based ‘A Mighty Girl’ Book Club has listed their best books for 2020; great ideas for the girls and boys in our lives. Organised in categories including ages, characters, and interests.
Meanwhile, across the ditch:
- The New Zealand Book Awards for Children and Young Adults were announced on August 11, 2021
The winner of the Margaret Mahy* Book of the Year Award is Charlie Tangaroa and the Creature from the Sea (by T K Roxborogh, illustrated by Phoebe Morris, Huia Publishers).
It is a ‘uniquely New Zealand’, story and includes ‘many themes that resonate in today’s culture.’ Maori terminology is included.
The judges were impressed by the diversity of characters and their authenticity, and also by the inclusion of a character with a disability. They felt that this added depth to the story while not being the focal point, as did the underlying issue of humans disturbing the natural environment.
I think it sounds like a good one for us to read too.
Another that appeals is the winner of the Elsie Locke Award for Nonfiction. Egg and Spoon: An illustrated cookbook (Gecko Press):
From basic cooking skills such as boiling an egg, chopping an onion and knowing when a cake is cooked, the novice home chef can go on to produce complete meals and desserts. The judges praised the varied and thoughtful content of the book.
Children’s Book Council Australia
The Book Week theme for 2022 has been announced! Watch the video here. Jasmine Seymour, published by Magabala Books, is the guest artist. Nominations are open for 2022 books, if you already have a newly-published book you think deserves recognition.
Primary English Teaching Association Australia
- PETAA’s Leading with Literacy Conference 2021 – Powerful practices for all learners, 15th–16th OCTOBER 2021, live (or on-demand). Highly skilled and knowledgeable presenters and keynote speakers. Great opportunities for developing the currency of our knowledge.
This has been made necessary because of the obvious – we have no real idea of what the situation will be in a week, let alone in October.
Program details available here.
- Units – PETAA’s online units for working with some fabulous books are available at their website. The following have been prepared for Indigenous Literacy Day on September 1, but are suitable for any time.
Wilam: A Birrarung Story, by Aunty Joy Murphy, Lisa Kennedy, and Andrew Kelly (Years 2-3)Bindi, by Kirli Saunders (Years 4-6), written in free verse, and set in Gundungurra Country, which includes Goulburn, Bathurst, Picton and the Blue Mountains.
Strangers on Country, by David Hartley, Kirsty Murray, and Dub Leffler (Years 5-6); 19th century factual incidents when Indigenous peoples have assisted white people in in danger.
There is also an excellent resource titled Building a library of diverse literature to support librarians and teachers.
AIS Conference and online events
- The annual AISNSW English conference will offer a range of workshops that focus on the evolving continuum of learning and the enrichment of the teaching of English in our classrooms. 27/10/2021, close of registration 26/10/2021
- Writing Across the Curriculum K-6 Online Learning Experience – Teachers will examine strategies to enhance writing instruction. From 15/09/2021, closing registration 14/09/2021 – Online.
*About Margaret Mahy (1936-2012)
When Margaret Mahy was born, four books for children were published in New Zealand.
Mahy was influential in changing the landscape of children’s literature in her homeland – one of the most prolific of authors … Her output includes poetry, picture books, works for older children, teenage novels, television scripts and stories for magazines and newspapers.
Some of Mahy’s books will be familiar:
- The Great Piratical Rumbustification (1978) – party time.
- The Man Whose Mother Was a Pirate (1972) – dreams of running away to sea
- Pillycock’s Shop (1969) – a strange story about a boy wrestling with his responsibilities.
- The Boy Who Was Followed Home ((1975) – by a hippopotamus, then more and more …
Mahy won numerous international awards, and her books have been translated into many languages. The Margaret Mahy Playground in Christchurch, constructed after the 2011 earthquake and named in her honour, is described as the largest playground in the Southern Hemisphere.
- TV has produced a thirteen part, half hour, family mystery thriller based on the book “Kaitangata Twitch”. (Watch the promotional video ‘Kaitangata Twitch’). The series was shown on SBS in 2020, and is available to watch on Enhance TV. Contact them firstname.lastname@example.org
- ‘A tall long-faced tale’ – about Margaret, her characters, her work.
“A children’s story that can only be enjoyed by children is not a good children’s story in the slightest.”
Attributed to C.S. Lewis