Children’s Book Week Short Listed Titles: Reviews

Book weekIt’s August again and that means Children’s Book Week is almost upon us. While for many Book Week is about finding a costume for the school parade, it is also about celebrating some of the amazing authors and illustrators who are creating children’s books in Australia. The winners of six different awards will be announced during Book Week this year. The following sections take a brief look at the shortlisted titles in each category.
book of the yearThe Book of the Year: Early Childhood
My Dog Bigsy is all about noise, while The Cow Tripped over the Moon is a humorous take on old rhyme. Ollie and the Wind explores movement and Perfect is the delightful enjoyment of a day – from sunshine to shoes to secrets to share. Illustrated by Freya Blackwood, who won two Book of the Year awards in 2015, we think Perfect could be Blackwood’s trifecta.

1. Perfect by Danny Parker and Freya Blackwood
Blackwood’s movement filled illustrations demonstrate all the simple ways a ‘perfect’ day can be enjoyed. From sunshine to shoes to secrets to share. Read a review:

2. Piranhas don’t eat bananas by Aaron Blabey
Read a review:

3. Ollie and the Wind by Ronojoy Ghosh
Ollie spends a day interacting with the wind on his lonely island. Is the wind naughty or bored and which toys will the wind like best? In these illustrations it is the waves, clouds, water spray and wind that come to life while everything else is static. Read a review:

4. Mr Huff by Anna Walker
Read a review:

5. The cow tripped over the moon by Tony Wilson and Laura Wood
A new take on an old rhyme.  A humorous record of all the attempts and failures Cow makes to jump the moon with the support of her friends. Not really aimed at the very young, it is still a fun read for pre-schoolers. Read a review:

6. My Dog Bigsy by Alison Lester
Bigsy has so much energy in the morning. Come outside on the farm as Bigsy greets all the animals and have fun with all the noises that are made along the way. The textured cover provides an interesting visual continuity throughout the book. Watch a Youtube trailer:


The Book of the Year: Older Readers
Freedom Ride is likely to be challenging but definitely one to go on the ‘to be read’ list. A Single Stone is an interesting diversion in teen fiction, set in an alternate world that is not a futuristic dystopia, nor magical, nor the usual teen ‘issues’. This category will be a tough pick.

1. The Pause by John Larkin
Read a review:

2. Freedom Ride by Sue Lawson
Read a review:

3. A Single Stone by Meg McKinlay
A rockfall has separated a small village from the rest of the world. This event is the catalyst for social changes and extreme repression in order to survive over the generations in a brutal climate. Read a review:

4. Inbetween Days by Vikki Wakefield
Read a review:

5. Cloudwish by Fiona Wood
While technically not a trilogy, Six Impossible Things, Wildlife, and Cloudwish are all set around the same school with some of same characters whose stories interweave through the books. Read a review:

6. The Flywheel by Erin Gough
The Flywheel is Delihah’s father’s café, which Delihah is struggling to run while her father is away on holiday. Additional challenges include bullies at school, her crush on the girl across the road, and her wayward friend, Charlie. A fun snap shot of contemporary city life. Read a review:


The Book of the Year: Younger Readers
Sally Morgan’s Sister Heart is an amazingly powerful book cleverly crafted in free verse. We recommend it for ages 12+. Molly and Pim is our pick for this category though. It’s a lovely uplifting story.

1. Run, Pip, Run by J.C. Jones
Read a review:

2. Shadows of the Master Star of Deltora by Emily Rodda
Perfect for older fans of Deltora. Read a review:

3. Molly and Pim and the Millions of Stars by Martine Murray
This is fun! Molly has an unusual Mum and wishes she was just normal but when things go wrong she makes use of her non-conventional upbringing. Read a review:

4. The Cleo Stories: A Friend and a Pet by Libby Gleeson
Read a review:

5. Soon by Morris Gleitzman
Read a review here:

6. Sister Heart by Sally Morgan
This novel is written in verse and yet tells the story so skilfully that you forget it is poetry until you come across those lines that truly resonate. What I don’t understand is why this story has been nominated for the Younger Reader category. Yes the language is readable by younger audiences but the topic is emotional and challenging. A young girl is forcibly removed from her family, her culture, her land and her language and is so traumatised by months of isolation that she does not even speak until half way through the book. At this point she has made friends with other Stolen children through the shared experiences of malnutrition, woefully inadequate clothing and the general misery of life in camp. While I don’t necessarily want to shelter younger readers from the reality of the Stolen Generation, I believe this novel would make good classroom study material for upper primary through to middle high school students. Sally Morgan has excelled again. Read a review:


The picture books in this category are not necessarily aimed at junior readers, in fact out of this year’s selection only one is really aimed at younger audiences and even then the main topic is an elephant who steps on a landmine. War is the central theme for most of the shortlisted titles, and while My Dead Bunny is certainly funny, it is also a horror story. The criteria for this category is based on the author and illustrator achieving “artistic and literary unity”.

1. Ride, Ricardo, Ride! By Phil Cummings and Shane Devries
Read a review:

2. Flight by Nadia Wheatley and Armin Greder
Read a review:

3. My Dead Bunny by Sigi Cohen and James Foley
A seriously scary picture book. Not for bedtime!
Read a review:
Watch the book trailer:

4. One Step at a Time by Jane Jolly and Sally Heinrich
Read a review:

5. Suri’s Wall by Lucy Estella and Matt Ottley
Read a review:

6. And the Band Played Waltzing Matilda by Eric Bogle and Bruce Whatley
Watch a book trailer here:
Listen to Eric Bogle’s song here: 


Having kept stick insects at home and chased all the cute little hatchlings around my kitchen, out of lego constructions and disentangled them from the curtains, I’d have to pick Phasmid as my favourite.
Clare Wright’s We are the Rebels featuring women on the goldfields is a great choice for secondary school readers.

1. Phasmid: Saving the Lord Howe Island Stick Insect by Rohan Cleave, Illustrations by Coral Tulloch
Watch the book trailer:
Read a review:
Or watch a Lord Howe Island Stick insect hatching:

2. The White Mouse: The Story of Nancy Wake by Peter Gouldthorpe Read a review:

3. The Amazing True Story of how Babies are made by Fiona Katauskas
Watch an interview with Fiona Katauskas:
Read a review:

4. Lennie The Legend: Solo to Sydney by Pony by Stephanie Owen Reeder
Read a review:

5. Ancestry: Stories of Multicultural Anzacs by Robyn Siers & Carlie Walker
Browse the book online (pdf):

6. We are the Rebels: the Women and Men who made Eureka by Clare Wright
Read a review: 


This award was established to encourage “new talent in the field of Australian childrenʼs book illustration”.
To find out more about the Crichton Award and previous winners, follow this link:

1. The Underwater Fancy Dress Parade illustrated by Allison Colpoys Read a review here:

2. The Cat with the Coloured Tail illustrated by Dinalie Dabarera
View some of Dinalie Dabarera’s illustrations:

3. My Gallipoli illustrated by Robert Hannaford
Read a review with links to teacher’s notes here:

4. Fish Jam illustrated by Kylie Howarth
Read a review:

5. Meet Weary Dunlop illustrated byJeremy Lord
Read a review:

6. Kidglovz illustrated by Dale Newman
A graphic novel about a child musical prodigy.
View some of Dale Newman’s illustrations:

Article by Melina Healey
Images Sourced from:

2016 Gawler Poetry Competition Junior Section Winning Entries

gawler poetry 2016The winners of the 2016 Gawler Poetry Competition were recently announced at a ceremony in the Reading Room of the Gawler Public Library. The entries in the Junior Section were all of a high standard and all entrants will receive an award. Below are copies of the winning entries. Please click on each poem to enlarge.

Congratulations to all entrants.


First Place Identity Poem (Through the eyes of a person with dementia) by Eden Smyth

by Eden Smyth (First Place)

by Alexandra Goodwin (Second Place)

by Alexandra Goodwin (Second Place)

by Lauren Cugley (Third Place)

by Lauren Cugley (Third Place)

by Levi Nusbajtel

by Levi Nusbajtel (Highly Commended)

by Logan Hunte (Highly Commended)

by Logan Hunte (Highly Commended)

Winning entries for the Youth and Adult Sections of the competition will be published here over the next week. If you are interested in the complete list or would like to access winning entries of previous competitions, please go to our library pages at >Library>Library Programs>Writing Events.

Children’s Preschool Storytime

This week’s Children’s Preschool Storytime theme is: HOMES
Join us tomorrow at the EVANSTON GARDENS LIBRARY and enjoy stories, rhymes, songs and a simple craft to take home.
No need to book, just come along and join in the fun at 10:15am
We would love to see you there! #storytime  #earlyliteracy


Blossom Possum Abroad: Book-ended

Where else would a step into Digory’s wardrobe lead me but on a book trail?
So I was only a little bit surprised to see this sign in one of the back streets of Belfast. Of course I had to get a closer look.
Belfast 4I started to feel a little like Dorothy on the Yellow Brick Road…
‘Yes Xanthe, I realise the bricks are red …and yes, I do understand this is a wall, but I am after all a Ringtail Possum and climbing is what we possums do.’
Belfast 5I was certain that if I got to the sign, we would all be transported to a library – and everyone needs a library fix!

Belfast 6We arrived at this library in the cultural centre of Belfast. It’s the oldest library in Belfast and the last subscribing library in Northern Ireland. I wasn’t sure what a subscribing library was at first, then Xanthe’s mum told me that people pay to use the library – that it wasn’t free like in South Australia. I must say I was a bit shocked about having to pay to use a library ’cause I don’t have any money (unless gumnuts count), but then Xanthe’s mum explained that the Linen Hall Library uses its money to collect rare Irish and Local Studies materials and hosts many free cultural events. It’s also free to enter (and we did) and the staff are very helpful – I would have to say possum-friendlies!

Belfast 7Here I am checking out the general collection in the Linen Hall Library. All very nice but what I really wanted was something more my age: I am after all a young possum, even if I sound ‘wise beyond my years’  -which is what Mummyposs advised when I left our tree-nook:
‘Travel safely and be wise beyond your years Blossom,’ she said.

Xanthe, her brother and I were very excited when we found the Children’s Library but Xanthe’s mum and dad seemed really excited to find there was a coffee shop right next to it! Guess who went where.
Belfast 8

Although I have been having a great time… looking at all these familiar books and thinking of my Mummyposs was making me feel hungry for home, so I wasn’t too upset when I found myself at the next stop…
Dublin AirportDublin airport. We had begun our trip home. Aer Lingus… what a lovely way to start our trip home with an airline that has a shamrock as its emblem!

Our last stop before arriving at Adelaide Airport is the Dejavu Airport.
‘Not the
Dejavu Airport Blossom!’ said Xanthe. ‘It’s the Dubai Airport!’
‘I’m pretty sure you all said Dejavu Airport.’
‘That just means we’ve seen it before – in French. Trust me, it’s Dubai,’ said Xanthe’s brother.
Dubai AirportHere I am at Dubai Airport heading for home. I’m so excited, I think I’ll take a leaf (and not eat it) out of Dorothy’s book and close my eyes, wiggle my whiskers, curl my tail and say ‘There’s no place like home. There’s no place like home. There’s no place…’
Photo 4-08-2016, 5 05 50 PMIt worked! I opened my eyes to find myself at the front desk of the Gawler Public Library. Amazing!
Photo 4-08-2016, 5 05 38 PM…but then, I always knew that books can transport you any where, any time.

It’s good to be back even though it has been a wonderful trip with Xanthe, her brother Oli and her parents Phil and Melinda.
Kennedy FamilyThey are really wonderful possum-friendlies – the best!
I will miss them but a
fter 4 and a bit months jet-setting plus my early travels down the hills to my adopted library in Gawler, it’s been nearly six months since I first set off from my tree-nook in the Adelaide Hills. Now what I need is a Ringtail Familyposs fix. I need my mummy – for just a bit…

I know you’ll all miss me but don’t worry about me ’cause…
Photo 4-08-2016, 5 06 20 PM(1)…’I’ll be back!’



Gawler Poetry Competition: Winners Announced

gawler poetry 2016

The winners of the 2016 Gawler Poetry Competition on the theme Identity were announced this morning. The Award Ceremony was held in the Reading Room of the Gawler Public Library and was hosted by the Friends of Gawler Library. Results for each category were:

Junior Section

Highly Commended
Levi by Levi Nusbajtel
Logan by Logan Hunte

Third Place
Mirror Me Inside by Lauren Cugley

Second Place
A New Page by Alexandra Goodwin

First Place
Identity Poem (Through the eyes of a person with Dementia) by Eden Smyth

Youth Section

Highly Commended
A change of Heart by Nakai Bvunzawabaya

Third Place
Identity by Kate Hughes

Second Place
The Moon by Katilyn Whitfield

First Place
The Imprint of Humanity by Brooklyn Thomas

Adult Section

Highly Commended
Outlander by Jenny Toune

Third Place
Pond Life by Jeff Guess

Second Place
ID by Bruce Greenhalgh

First Place
Attitude by Virgil Goncalves

The winning entries will be published here and on our library website throughout August. A small booklet has also been produced and will be available for loan from our library collection shortly.

Library staff would like to congratulate all winners.