The following books were launched at the Children’s Book Council of Australia Conference which I attended recently, and will be well worth a look when they come through to us shortly.
I’m still awake still by Elizabeth Honey and Sue Johnson
Wish I had this when my children were sleep-defiant toddlers. It even comes with a CD of sleep-inducing (yeah, right) songs. The book was launched by the authors in their pyjamas and sounds like lots of fun. The story goes: Fiddy is wide awake at bedtime. He sings a rainbow pyjamas song, and goodnight to his gumboots and monkey, but he’s still awake. The possum outside knows how to rest, and the big friendly bear, but Fiddy needs the song about the planets before he can close his eyes.
Genesis by Bernard Beckett
Like Phar Lap, this one is from our side of the ditch, but it was great to be there for its Ozzie launch. Bernard Beckett’s short speech to launch the book was quite possibly the most dynamic and entertaining part of the whole conference. This is a must-read title. I was pleased to hear that it is also being launched into the adult market, and justly so.
The Pumpkin Eater from Pondicherry by Bruce Atherton
This is a book I could have quite easily dismissed as being more scatological humour told in (shock, horror) rhyme. However, the author read it out loud and thwarted my prejudices. It really is well-told and very funny. The toilet humour is in context and not overdone. I think this will work well as a read-aloud to 5-7 year olds.
A Rose for the ANZAC boys by Jackie French
The launch of this title followed an empassioned speech by Jackie French on the subject of historical fiction, in which she spoke about the capacity for historical fiction to not just tell us the gritty truth, but to also show us the joys, hope and what is possible in life despite of severe hardship. She spoke of it empowering children to know about the past and to know what can be survived and achieved.
Quizzical by Leanne Davidson
Originally this was a self-published title, but after its great success in schools, Five Mile Press have published it and are due to publish its follow-up title Money Bags next year.
Not launched, but coming soon:
Another title to watch out for is John Marsden’s novelised version of Hamlet which will come out in September. I was lucky enough to be given an advance copy which I really enjoyed, perhaps because I found it to be the lazy man’s way of reading Shakespeare!