Children’s Book Council – Book of the Year Awards 2016

It’s Book Week! That means this year’s Children’s Book Council of Australia (CBCA) Book of the Year awards have been revealed!

The shortlist was announced earlier this year, and the overall winners in each category were revealed at a special event yesterday. There are some common themes arising in most of these titles, commenting on some very contemporary issues around the world.

flightFlight, by Armin Greder and Nadia Wheatley won the Best Picture Book. From Nadia’s website: Under the cover of darkness, a small family takes flight in search of a new home. At first it could be happening thousands of years ago, but as the travellers make their way through the wilderness, the unseen dangers are suddenly transformed into the kind of images that are only too familiar from contemporary scenes of war.

mr-huff-anna-walker

Mr Huff written and illustrated by Anna Walker took out the Early Childhood area. From the publisher: Mr Huff is following him around and making everything seem difficult.  Bill tries to get rid of him, but Mr Huff just gets bigger and bigger!  Then they both stop, and a surprising thing happens . . . 

 

soon-gleitzmanIn the Young Readers category, Soon, by Morris Gleitzman was the winner.  From Goodreads: Soon continues the incredibly moving story of Felix, a Jewish boy still struggling to survive in the wake of the liberation of Poland after the end of World War Two.

 

 

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Older Readers category was won by Cloudwish, written by Fiona Wood. Vân Uoc doesn’t believe in fairies, zombies, vampires, Father Christmas – or magic wishes. She believes in keeping a low profile: real life will start when school finishes. But when she attracts the attention of Billy Gardiner, she finds herself in an unwelcome spotlight. Not even Jane Eyre can help her now.

 

All of these titles are available from the Library, and you can see the full list of winners and honourable mentions here.

Classic Graphic: The Moomin stories

moomin_history_tove_jansson-cfb36ad907e5b10ec440f2105589c600                               pee-hoo

Today is the birthday of Finnish author, artist and cartoonist Tove Marika Jansson. Tove was born in Helsinki on 9 August 1914 and died on 27 June 2001 at the age of 86.

Tove Jansson was a member of the Swedish speaking minority in Finland. She was raised by bohemian artist parents, who encouraged a love of nature and an appreciation of diversity in their children. Tove studied art in Helsinki, Stockholm and Paris. Her siblings also grew up to become artists.

Tove Janson is the most widely read Finnish author outside her own country. Shemoomin_by_marzymarrs-d8wj23y received wide recognition for her short stories, novels, picture books, plays and a comic strip. Tove also exhibited paintings and graphic art and was commissioned to create public art works. Although Tove wrote for both children and adults, she is best known and loved for her Moomin stories.

230px-Finn_FamilyIn 1945 Söderström & Co published Tove’s first Moomin story The Moomins and the Great Flood in Swedish. This was followed by Comet In Moominland in 1946 and Finn Family Moomintroll or The Magician’s Hat in 1948.

Tove continued writing about the adventures of the Moomin family throughout the 1950s and 1960s. In 1966 the International Board on Books for Young People awarded Tove the Hans Christian Andersen award, which is the highest accolade that can be given to a writer or illustrator of children’s books.

Following the translation into English of her books Tove was approached by a British publisher to transform her Moomin stories in a comic strip format. In 1954, the famous London newspaper The Evening News started to publish it. In order to allow his sister more time for her visual art projects, Tove’s brother Lars Jansson took over drawing the comic strip from 1960.  It ran up until 1974.

In 1970, Tove ceased writing Moomin stories with the publication of her ninth and last Moomin book Moominvalley in November. She later published a somewhat eerie children’s picture book called The Dangerous Journey in 1977, which is about different characters but takes place in the world of Moominvalley.

Tove went on to write an acclaimed novel for adults, which focuses on the relationship between a young girl and her grandmother who are living on an island. The Summer Book (1972) is her best known work of fiction which has been translated into English. Throughout her life, Tove produced six novels and five books of short stories for an adult audience.

Tove Jansson’s Moomin stories have been adapted for film, the stage, television series, an opera and a theme park. Her books have been translated into several languages.

You can reserve books about Tove Jansson’s life through the One Card Network online. Visit the official Tove Jansson website at http://tovejansson.com/

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CharactersA friend asked me to post about Tove Jansson, so I decided to explore the world of the Moomins, to discover why both children and adults are still captivated by them.

So you may ask, what exactly is a Moomin? Are they really trolls?

Fear not, the Moomins are not your average ugly, stupid trolls lurking in the mountains or under bridges, lying in wait to catch their next meal. The Moomins are cute, kindly fairytale characters who are plump and white and resemble hippopotamuses! They are intelligent, literate and make their home in a tower in Mooninvalley, living alongside a host of eccentric characters.

Tove’s stories are full of lighthearted humour. Her simple and colourful ‘retro’ style illustrations will appeal to children. She cleverly parodies many different concepts in her Moomin stories, from becoming famous, vanity, the theatre, the legal profession to buying unnecessary modern kitchen gadgets.

Young Moomin or Moomintroll, as he is known in the original Swedish version, is a sweet-natured, brave and somewhat naïve character, making his way in the world. Moomin lives with his close knit family, his mother Moominmamma, father Moominpappa and girlfriend Snorkmaiden.

Moomin familyThe Moomin family is always ready to embrace new experiences, meet new people and welcome them into their home.

Moonminpappa enjoys reading and philosophising. Moominpappa’s romantic view of himself leads to all sorts of grand plans such as moving his family to a lighthouse so he can write a grand novel. The more practical Moominmamma takes pride in her home and loves her garden. She prefers to live simply but comfortably.

Moominmamma is skilled at making others know that they may not have made the best decisions, without making her family feel bad about themselves. Her serenity helps us to realise that everything will eventually turn out okay. However, Moominmamma is not immune from falling into the trap of keeping up appearances and competing with her neighbour Mrs Fillyjonk!

Pretty Snorkmaiden is a dreamer. She and Moomin are devoted to each other.  However, she can be insecure, overly concerned with her Snorkmaidenappearance and with getting Moomin’s attention. The adopted Little My causes chaos in the Moonmin household but she is perceptive and brings other characters down to earth with her sharp observations.

Tove Jansson’s work is original and surrealOn their numerous adventures, many of the characters that The Moomin family encounters are of indeterminate species. For example, at first glance Too-Ticky appears to be human, until you notice her strange birdlike feet. The fearless Little My is so small she can fit incharacter_mymble_familyto the pocket of her half-brother Snufkin. She looks remarkably like her mother, older sister Mymble and her seventeen younger siblings. A ghost who haunts a lighthouse resembles a sausage with legs!

The Moomin books teach us about the importance of family and friendship and about accepting others for their uniqueness. They value living a simple life, staying close to the beauty of nature and just being happy. The Moomins are always ready to help other characters, as everyone is important and needs a purpose.

You can borrow the Moomin stories and graphic novels (which comprise episodes from the Moomin comic strip) across the One Card Network. Tove Jansson’s work has also been adapted to bring her characters to younger readers, through a series of new picture books. Search the catalogue online, or enquire next time you visit the Library. Why not also visit the official Moomin site: https://www.moomin.com/en/

And yes, I could be hooked.

Our Slouch Hat Soldiers on show

Brothers in Arms

They served the same cause,

Fresh-faced boys departed,a new breed of diggers returned,

toughened by violent events.

They knew what was expected of them,

battle savvy,

they backed each other,

fought off insanity with humour,

got the jobs done.

 

They witnessed events

no one should see,

did things they’d rather not talk of,

fought battles

long after they had ended.

And in this chasm of hell

A special breed of mateship grew.

Second World War 1939 – 1945.  Robert John Jarrad, Page 47, Slouch Hat Soldiers Generations at War, an Echoes Downunder publication, 2014.

Robert John Jarrad speaks about his poety at the Tea Tree Gully Library.

Robert John Jarrad speaks about his poety at the Tea Tree Gully Library.

When local retired engineer, military gunner, artist, didgeridoo player and writer Robert John Jarrad launched his first book of poems Slouch Hat Soldiers – Generations at War at the Tea Tree Gully Library in March 2014, there was standing room only.

Accompanied by illustrations from by internationally acclaimed military artist Barry Spicer, Robert’s collection of poignant war poetry focuses on Australians who enlisted when their country called.  Robert based his poems mainly on the powerful stories and images told to him by his nineteen relatives – including his father and grandfathers – who had enlisted and served in World Wars I and II, and in the Vietnam War. As we hear in his poem Brothers in Arms, Robert’s poems give us an insight into the harsh realities of war, but he also describes the mateship between soldiers and how they used humour to cope with their dire situation.

Robert hopes reading his poems may help a new generation of Australians to understand what it was like to go to war and how those who served were prepared to give their lives for their homeland that they loved. Moreover, they came back forever changed by their experiences.

Since the launch of Slouch Hat Soldiers – Generations at War, Robert Jarrad has toured around Australia, speaking to community groups about his book. He has been invited to several Centenary of Anzac events. In 2015, Robert’s poems, selected from his book Slouch Hat Soldiers-Generations at War, were performed at the Australian War Memorial’s ‘Of Words and War’ Anzac Centenary poetry event.

Now Robert’s literary achievement has been honoured once again. Some of his poems will feature prominently in the upcoming Wish me luck – an Anzac Centenary photographic exhibition, which pays tribute to South Australia’s World War II veterans. The exhibition is showing from 9 July to 11 September, in the Flinders University City Gallery, located within the State Library of South Australia on North Terrace.

Vale Clifford Brice

‘Poster boy’ for the Wish Me Luck exhibition, Vale Clifford (Cliff) Bryce sits aside his portrait.

Curated by Sharon Cleary (Veterans SA) and Louise Bagger (AIPP), the Wish me luck Exhibition has grown out a special nationwide project, which began on Anzac Day 2015. The Australian Institute of Professional Photography (AIPP) photographed Australia’s surviving World War II veterans, many of whom are now in their late nineties.  In South Australia 1050 portraits were taken over a seven month period.

Veterans SA is partnering with AIPP, Flinders University Art Museum and Atkins Photo Lab to present 100 photographic portraits of those who served in the Navy, Army, Airforce and Medical Corps from SA during WWII. Entry is free.  The Flinders University City Gallery is open Tuesday to Friday from 11am – 4pm and Saturday and Sunday from 12 – 4pm.

A series of public talks will accompany the ‘Wish me luck’ exhibition.  Come and hear Robert reading from Slouch Hat Soldiers on Sunday 4 September at 2.00pm at the Flinders University City Gallery.   RSVP essential to 08 8207 7055. Copies of Slouch Hat Soldiers – Generations at War, will be available for sale.  Part proceeds of all book sales will benefit Legacy.

Bob Jarrad Wish Slouch Hat SoldiersYou can also borrow Slouch Hat Soldiers – Generations at War through the One Card Network. Search the online catalogue or enquire next time you visit the Library.

Discover more about Robert Jarrad and his acclaimed book Slouch Hat Soldiers.  You can also explore the 100 Years of Anzac website.  Read more about the Wish me luck exhibition and Robert’s poetry reading.

All about Roald Dahl and The BFG

Work experience student Verona is an avid reader and has always loved the stories of children’s writer, Roald Dahl. In this blog post, she shares her travel tale, when she and her son visited the Roald Dahl Museum in England.

Who has seen the new movie The BFG? I haven’t yet but it’s high up on my list of things to do. When my son was little (he’s 13 now so I’m not allowed to call him little anymore) he loved reading Roald Dahl’s books. He has read every one of his children’s books. We started off reading them together and then as he got older he read them by himself. It renewed my love for his stories. We even got to visit the Roald Dahl Museum & Story Centre on a family trip to England.

The Story Centre is in a town called Great Missenden and it is where Roald Dahl lived for years and wrote many of his stories.

BFG

This is a picture of the outside of the Story Centre.

Roald Dahl

Inside the Story Centre there is a replica of the chair that Roald Dahl sat in to write all of his books.

It was here that my son got his copy of The BFG. The BFG, like many of Roald Dahl’s children’s stories is darkly comic and includes ‘gross topics’ that were often not written about. They include offbeat and imaginary characters. Roald Dahl often portrays the adults in his stories as cruel and the language he uses can border on inappropriate and this often appeals to children. You might then be wondering about the suitability of his books for your younger children. I would recommend starting with some of his lighter books such as The Enormous Crocodile or Fantastic Mr Fox and reading them together with your child but with anything, you as a parent have the best idea of what they will find amusing and what they will find too scary or dark to read.

With the movie The BFG in cinemas at the moment, now is a perfect time to explore not only the book of The BFG, but also some of his other stories. TTG Library has many of his stories and they are available in books, audio books and some DVDs. The library has an old animated movie of the BFG available on DVD to borrow.

Roald Dahl’s books are over 40-50 years old but they are still enormously popular today. The library has multiple copies of all his popular stories but you might need to place a reserve on the one that you want to borrow so that you don’t miss out.

Come into the library to have a look at not only the collection of Roald Dahl books but others that are similar in style.

100th anniversary of Victoria Cross award

Saturday 23 July marked the 100th anniversary of former Redwood Park local John Leak being awarded the Victoria Cross.

John Leak

Private John Leak. There is a framed photograph of Private Leak in the Tea Tree Gully Civic Reception.

Private Leak received the highest award for gallantry for his action during the battle of Pozières in France.

He was born in Portsmouth, England in 1892 and came to Australia as a young boy. In January 1915, Leak enlisted in the Australian Imperial Force  and served on Gallipoli.

He next accompanied his unit to France, in time to be thrown into bloody fighting at an intense battle at Pozières. Leak’s solo attack with bombs and a bayonet on a German post stood out.

His citation reads:

No. 2053 Pte. John Leak, Aus. Infy.
‘For most conspicuous bravery. He was one of a party which finally captured an enemy strong point. At one assault, when the enemy’s bombs were outranging ours, Private Leak jumped out of the trench, ran forward under heavy machine-gun fire at close range, and threw three bombs into the enemy’s bombing post. He then jumped into the post and bayonetted three unwounded enemy bombers.

Later, when the enemy in overwhelming numbers was driving his party back, he was always the last to withdraw at each stage, and kept on throwing bombs.

His courage and energy had such an effect on the enemy that, on the arrival of reinforcements, the whole trench was recaptured.’

Later in the war, after his heroic efforts at Pozières Private Leak was severly gassed, but managed to survive and returned to Australia.

After a few jobs, Leak became a garage proprietor in Western Australia, before retiring to Redwood Park South Australia, where he lived and later died.

Leak suffered greatly from his experiences during the war and tried to sell his Victoria Cross medal several times in his life.

Sue’s sticky date pudding recipe

Yum. Sue the chef from Bake & Brew, next door to Tea Tree Gully Library, has given us her recipe for a winter classic: sticky date pudding with creamy butterscotch sauce.

sticky date pudding

A sweet, gooey classic for winter

This recipe is one of Sue’s faves. She developed the recipe as a young chef working at the Four Seasons Hotel in Sydney and contributed it to a community cookbook. She has made it for dessert at several weddings and continues to make it for Bake & Brew customers.

Here’s what you need to do to make sticky date pudding ASAP:

Sue’s Sticky Date Pudding with Butterscotch Sauce

Ingredients

Pudding
170gm pitted dates
300ml water
1 tsp bicarb soda
60gm butter
170gm castor sugar
2 eggs
1/2 tsp vanilla
170gm SR flour
60gm walnuts

Sauce
200gm brown sugar
130gm butter
150ml cream
1/2 tsp vanilla
50ml brandy (optional)

Method
Bring dates and water to the boil. Simmer for a few minutes. Remove from heat and add bicarb soda. Leave to cool. (You could do this the day before serving, and keep it in the fridge).

Cream the butter and sugar, add eggs, vanilla and date mix. Fold in the flour and chopped walnuts.

Bake in a 160 degree oven for 40 minutes until firm to touch. A round 20cm cake tin is ideal, and you can also use individual moulds.

For the sauce, bring all ingredients to the boil and simmer for 2 minutes until cool.

If you make a big batch, you can always can reheat the puddings in the microwave for a sweet treat all week.

Jigsaw puzzles: erasing mental cobwebs since 1760

Jigsaws are good for your head. Fact.

When you put together a jigsaw puzzle, you harness both sides of the brain: the left side of the brain which deals with logic and sequence, and the right side of the brain that deals with emotions and performs tasks holistically. When you use both sides of the brain, it intensely exercises your brain cells and increases brain capacity.

DSC_8996

Staff tackling one of the library’s communal jigsaw puzzles.

The process of completing a jigsaw puzzle is also a form of meditation. Focusing on the same image for a long period can induce calmness and peace in your mind, as your concentration eludes everything else around you.

Chipping away at a jigsaw on a regular basis sharpens your memory and improves your clarity of thought, clearing away mental cobwebs. You can really lose yourself in a jigsaw, just like you do when you read a page turning novel.

London cartographer John Splisbury, is credited with commercialising jigsaw puzzles around 1760 and they have been a hit ever since. Not long afterwards they had the approval from the British royal family, being used in geography lessons for their children. The word jigsaw seems to be a misnomer, as they were meant to be named ‘fretsaws’, after the tools that cut the wooden pieces.

Tea Tree Gully Library has in excess of 200 different jigsaw puzzles. They are all available for customers to take home, without having to formally check them out on their card.

Our jigsaw collection features a range of graphics, including foreign cities, nature panoramas, cartoons and more. There are jigsaws with 100 pieces, and some with 3000. Make your selection on the challenge you’re up for!

You can always contribute to the library’s communal jigsaw table, which is right next to the collection.