Tagchildren's literature

Mike Lucas and Daron Parton – Let’s Build a Backyard

Lothian Children’s Books, Hachette, Australia, 2022
Designed by Ingrid Kwong

The second in the ‘Let’s Build a’ series, this is a bright, colourful book extolling the virtues of working outdoors together as parent and child and of the joys of nature.

Barbie spoke to Mike Lucas about Let’s Build a Backyard
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Susannah Crispe – Under the Moonlight

Lothian Books, Hachette, Australia, 2022
Text and illustrations by Susannah Crispe
Design: Kirby Armstrong

Under the Moonlight is the first of Susannah Crispe’s books as both writer and illustrator, though she has been illustrator for a number before. It is a gentle story, aimed at putting fear of the dark unknown in its rightful place.

Susannah Crispe talks to Barbie about Under the Moonlight
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Candice Lemon-Scott – Ocean Warriors – The Rise of Robo-shark

Storytorch Press, Australia, 2022
Cover and internals design Flo+Ebb Design
Cover illustrations Mardi Davies

This is a book that will immediately strike a chord with young readers. Not only does it deal with a number of environmental issues with which young folk are deeply concerned, but it is also written in a style which they will recognise as their own speech and writing patterns.

Candice Lemon-Scott talks about Ocean Warriors – The Rise of Robo-shark
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Rhian Williams and Nathaniel Eckstrom – Ten Little Figs

Walker Books, Australia, 2020

Counting, Australian animals and family are the subjects of this book. A young boy finds ten ripe figs on the tree in his garden and immediately thinks they’ll all be for him to enjoy.

Little does he know that other creatures also like figs and nine of them get first dibs. Finally, with the help of his father, he is able to eat the last of the crop.

Rhian Williams tells us about Ten Little Figs
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Tracey Hawkins – The Riddle of Tanglewood Manor

Storytorch Press, Australia 2022
Cover illustration and design by Sarah Davies

The Riddle of Tanglewood Manor combines a number of elements that appeal to young readers. It’s an adventure with two young heroes, siblings Sam and Harry.

There’s a spooky old house, historical characters that come to life via the medium of time travel, riddles to solve and discoveries about the past. There is also the discovery of the nature of bravery and family bonds.

Tracey Hawkins talks to Barbie about The Riddle of Tanglewood Manor
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Storytorch Press grows wings

Canberra publisher launches new books in 2022
First event at Book Cow in Kingston, ACT, on Saturday 29 January 2022 at 3pm

Author Samantha Tidy was inspired by the positive community reaction to her book Our Bush Capital (2020), She decided to re-invest her author royalties from this and her other published books and to open her boutique publishing house Storytorch Press to public submissions.

Samantha Tidy talks to Barbie about Storytorch Press
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Angela Taylor – The Machinery Shed

Self-published, Australia, 2021
Artwork by theillustrators.com.au

On one level this is a picture book made for country kids, especially those who live on working farms. It presents the day to day lives of such children in a way that mainstream picture books and other children’s literature do not, thus acknowledging and valuing their real world experiences.

Barbie talks to Angela Taylor about The Machinery Shed
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Tania McCartney – Plume world explorer

Hardie Grant Explore, Australia, 2021
Design Jo Hunt

Tania McCartney is both author and illustrator of this book, a story which delights in individuality, cultural diversity, travel, an adventuresome spirit, reading, sharing of experiences and the power of the image.

Tania McCartney tells Barbie about Plume world explorer
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Alister Nicholson and Tom Jellett – Cricket, I just love it!

Allen & Unwin, Australia, 2021

This picture book, written by sports journalist and commentator Alister Nicholson will delight many children, not least because it is about something they enjoy and relate to – playing sport with their friends.

It’s illustrated by Tom Jellett in a lively and amusing manner with animated young cricketers of all sorts happily playing the game in school yards, backyards, at the beach and on sports fields.

Alister Nicholson talks to Barbie about Cricket, I just love it!
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Nic Naitanui and Fátima Anaya – Little Nic’s Big World

Albert Street Books, an imprint of Allen & Unwin, Australia, 2021

Biographies by well-known sporting entities have long been part of the big book industry, particularly making an appearance around Christmas. In recent times quite a number of high profile sports people have published children’s picture books such as this one.

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Jennifer Bardsley and Mez Thomas – A Land of Muddy Puddles

Halstead Press, Australia, 2021

This happy picture book reminds us of the joy of simple childhood delights.

Told in the voice of a small boy, it recounts his day from wake up to nap time, observing the beauties of nature in his own backyard on a rainy day – the pond with its fish, droplets falling from a tree, puddles to splash in, the delightful sensation of mud between his toes, a conversation with a friendly frog, a rainbow, the colours of the plants in a sunshower.

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Catherine Meatheringham and Deb Hudson – All Dogs Bark

Windy Hollow Books, Australia, 2021

This charming book is Catherine Meatheringham’s second, and follows the equally joyous My Possum Plays the Drums (Catherine Meatheringham and Max Hamilton, Windy Hollow Books, 2020).

Like its predecessor, it delights in the use of onomatopoeia, a favourite device of children’s authors for engaging both the interest and the participation of young listeners. The author has shared with us the words a number of different cultures and language groups use to denote the sound of the dog’s bark – in English Woof Woof.

Barbie spoke to Catherine Meatheringham about All Dogs Bark
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Amelia McInerney and Adam Nickel – Who Fed Zed?

Allen & Unwin, Australia, 2021

Humour is great way to impart serious messages to readers of all ages and especially to children. This book covers current issues including food allergies and how to respond to them, and the need for the utmost care in reading all labels on foods and chemical products used in the home.

Barbie talks to Amelia McInerney about Who Fed Zed?
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Mandy Foot – Lucy and Copper

Lothian Books, Hachette, Australia, 2021

Artist-writer Mandy Foot has tackled some interesting and important issues in this beautifully presented work.

The surface story is of a little girl growing up and having to stop riding her beloved pony. The application of this to a wider context is clear – we all have to cope with change and loss and to support others as they do so. Lucy’s Pa is a gentle adult figure in the story guiding her through the difficult path to acceptance and the finding of new joy.

Mandy Foot talks to Barbie about Lucy and Copper
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Irma Gold and Susannah Crispe: Where The Heart Is

EK Books, an imprint of Exisle Publishing, Australia, 2021

This book is a perfect example of the capacity of the picture book to both enchant and inform us. Based on the true story of a remarkable relationship between a Magellanic penguin Called Din dim and Joao, the man who rescued him after an oil spill, Where The Heart Is is on first reading  a love story.

Irma Gold and Susannah Crispe talk about Where The Heart Is
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