Thursday, September 2, 2010

Podcast - Children's Book Week

Children's Book Week is an annual event that is celebrates, not very surprisingly, children's books. For me, it used to mean getting dressed up. Not in a sparkly dress kind of way, but getting dressed up as a character in a book.
Here's a photo of me dressed as the Queen of Hearts, from Lewis Carroll's Alice in Wonderland


Children's Book Week is organised by The Children's Book Council of Australia and this year was the 65th. That makes it the longest running children's festival in the entire country. Happy 65th, Children's Book Week.
    Prizes are awarded in various categories to authors of childen's books. I remember when Victor Kelleher won for Master of the Grove. That was in 1983, the same year that Pamela Allen's Who Sank The Boat won the award for Best Picture Book. It is hard not to get nostalgic when reading the lists of the winners from when I was little- the lists have made memories tumble back into view. Memories of the corner of the school library I liked to read in, the embossed golden stickers on the prize winning books, how reading made me feel then - and I feel warmed to write that reading still does the same thing.
    My Mum taught me how to read before I went to school - she is very proud of this - and I am so grateful to her for the time and energy spent. Thanks Mum - you set me on a career trajectory at age four.When I meet parents who talk about their child's love of reading I feel so relieved for the parents and excited for the child - so many worlds and so much learning awaits.
    When you listen to this post's podcast you will hear these young people talking about "all the secrets that you never find out til the end," "the words and the enjoyment of reading," "the exciting adventures" and "imagining things that usually don't happen - and "that you can get included in someone else's life" - they're talking about books and reading in their young lives.
They're reading Deltora Quest, Diary of a Wimpy Kid, the perennial Harry Potter, Septimus Heap - new and exciting writing for young people that I've not read. They're also reading Christobel Mattingley, who I read and loved. It's glorious to think that the charts for their reading lives are created as they go - and that no two are the same, though there will be many similar passages - as well as some profound divergence.
oh - and here are this year's winners.
PS A massive thank you to Emma, Renee, Jess, Jess, Lilly, Hannah, Maggie and April - for being so generous with their reading lives - and for starring on Edge Radio's Book Show:

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