August 18, 2008

Book Week 08

In honour of Book Week 2008 (where we celebrate the best of Australian children's books) I decided to share some of my favourite Australian children's books.

A great picture book is anything by Alison Lester. In particular Magic Beach, Imagine and Are We There Yet?

Alison Lester writes simply and succinctly, with a beautiful sense of rhythm. Her pictures are so sweet and full of detail - perfect for pouring over again and again.

I don't know many mid-primary age books, at that time in my life I was (rather unfortunately) addicted to The Baby Sitters Club and The Saddle Club. I can't think of many short chapter books I use to read.
I do quite like Libby Glesson and she writes some nice short chapter books, especially Hannah plus one and Hannah and the Tomorrow Room. I love how she is able to get into the mind of a young child without being sentimental.

My favourite Young Adult Fiction book by an Australian would have to be Borderland by Roseanne Hawke. It's a trilogy about a girl, Jamie, who returns to Australia in her teens after growing up as a missionary kid in Pakistan; through the books Jamie must learn how to reconcile her life back there and here new life here in Australia (Hmm, I wonder why I relate to this book . . .). Roseanne Hawke is an absolutely beautiful writer, and I love the fact that even though this is written from a Christians world view there is nothing explicitly Christian about it so that it can be sold in secular book shops and read in public schools.

Do you have any favourites?


Katie said...

I love kids books!
Picture story books I love anything by Mem Fox - especially Possum Magic,and Koala Lou - Wombat Stew (always forget the author) and Where the Wild Things Are by Maurice Sendak.
I find mid-primary tricky too, but I remember loving Paul Jennings, and I know he has now done some short chapter books, as well as his classic short stories.
Young Adult, well, I love young adult... Anything by Tamora Pierce, and both Does My Head Look Big in This? and 10 Things I Hate About Me by Randa Abdel Fattah - about Muslim girls growing up in Australia. I could go on for hours here though....
I'll definitely be looking into Borderland too... in fact, I think you've just given me an idea for my bookclub!

Erin said...

Yay, a kindred spirit! I could easily go on for hours about picture books :) I love that I have an excuse to collect really great childrens books (I will need a collection when I start teaching)I think wombat stew is by Marcia Vaughan

I remember reading Paul Jennings too - but I didn't get his humor; though I think many boys love his books which is great. Morris Glitzmen is also good.

Does my head look big in this? has been on my reading list for ages, I really need to pick it up soon. Some other great young adult books are Mahalia and Little Wing by Joanne Horniman - they are heart breaking but really sweet , about a girl struggling with post-natal depression and how the father steps up to look after the baby.

Katie said...

I'm a teacher too, which might explain why I like picture books. One I keep in my teaching kit (I'm a CRT) is Katie and the Big Brave Bear by Hermann Moers. I had to have it because it has my name in it, but it's great to read to kids.
I do get Paul Jennings humour, but he also wrote some really touching stories. One book in particular (though I don't remember which one) definitely leant more towards touching than humourous, and it's those stories I remember best. I remember Morris Gleitzman too now that you mention it. Also, Noel Streatfield wrote some great books (Ballet Shoes, Ballet Shoes For Anna, White Boots). And L.M. Montgomery - I never read the Anne books, but love Emily of New Moon and her series. Oh, and don't forget Enid Blyton - Magic Faraway Tree, Famous Five... Hmm, I guess there's lots more!
You should definitely read Does My Head Look Big In This? It covers some great stuff about balancing religion and culture with fitting in with modern Australian society, plus a lot of issues you women face with their families and society.
Since my local library system has five copies of Borderland (I need four) I am definitely going to make it the next bookclub book - it is my turn to choose and I was totally stuck, so thank you!

Erin said...

Glad to help :)

I adore Noel Streatfield - I still enjoy reading Ballet Shoes

Katie said...

Did you know they made a movie of Ballet Shoes? I think it was made for TV. It had Emma Watson (of Harry Potter fame) in it. It's been a long time since I read the book, but I think they mangled it pretty badly.