Summer 2011

Announcing the retirement of Dr. Andrea Deakin and the final issue of the Deakin Newsletter. 

Dr. Andrea Deakin is retiring! 
Thank you and farewell messages to Andrea 
New Beginnings! University of Alberta announces The Deakin Review of Children's Literature!

Picture Books
Picture Books-Non-Fiction
Fiction-Young Adult
Folktales and Legends
Featured Websites (Cumulative)

Dr. Andrea Deakin is retiring!

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Thank you and farewell messages to Andrea

With very mixed emotions Okanagan College Library announces the retirement of our long time friend, colleague, mentor, and generous spirit - Dr. Andrea Deakin. With Andrea's retirement we also announce the publication of the final Deakin Newsletter of Children's Literature (Summer 2011).

Thank you Andrea! You have been a friend, a supporter, and a reviewer of children's literature in Canada for over five decades. In the process you have created at Okanagan College a one of kind children's collection of outstanding works in memory of your late husband Dr. Dr. Barry Deakin (The Dr. Barry Deakin Collection of Children's Literature). I remember in 1991 when a half a shelf of award winning children's books from your private collection appeared in the PZ section at the Salmon Arm Campus Library. Over the twenty years we have watched this half shelf grow to almost twenty bays of children’s works---from the classics to Canadian to the Commonwealth and beyond. The collection has supported and will continue to support Okanagan College courses in children's literature, ESL, early childhood education, fine arts, ASE, ABE, literacy and history. Countless titles have traveled far and wide as interlibrary loans to other academic institutions in Canada. As well, the collection has delighted children of all ages in our multi-campus communities from Okanagan College students and staff and their families to community borrowers and teachers and teacher-librarians in the region!

Happily, the Deakin legacy of promoting children's literature in Canada is not ending with your retirement, but will carry on in an exciting new adventure! The University of Alberta is creating the new Deakin Review of Children’s Literature---a fortuitous development and another wonderful tribute to your contribution to the promotion of children’s literature in Canada. We look forward to the launch of the first issue of this new scholarly journal in the near future (please read on).

We wish you the best Andrea and we will miss you and our close affiliation with you via the Deakin Collection and The Deakin Newsletter. We will always be in touch and look forward to your insights on new titles and your regular visits to the Shuswap/Okanagan from your home in Alberta! The best to you and your family in your well-deserved retirement (which will include I am sure even more reading of wonderful children's literature and beyond!) 

Thank you Andrea!    Jennifer Sigalet, Vernon Campus Librarian, Okanagan College and one of many Deakin Newsletter team members

Please see original feature article
Dr. Andrea Deakin (May 2004) and back issues of the Deakin Newsletter

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A message from Ross Tyner, Director of Libraries, Okanagan College
"I’m feeling at a loss for words, much like Christopher Robin does near the end of The House at Pooh Corner: “And by and by Christopher Robin came to an end of things, and he was silent, and he sat there, looking out over the world, just wishing it wouldn't stop.”

The Deakin Newsletter has been part of Okanagan College Library since 2004 and part of my life – professionally and personally – since 2005. Not only did I spend countless hours between 2005 and 2009 putting Andrea’s labour of love onto the web, but the number of times I referred to its authority when shopping for books for my children, relatives and friends is also countless – a great example of a symbiotic relationship! But the College Library’s relationship with Andrea predates the Newsletter, to at least 1991, when she began donating books to what would become the Barry Deakin Memorial Collection, now numbering more than 6,000 titles. Despite the end of the OC-Andrea Deakin collaboration on the Newsletter, Andrea continues to donate top quality children’s books to the Library, for which I am very grateful. I am saddened by the Library’s loss of this invaluable publication, but heartened by the fact that, unlike Christopher’s adventures with Pooh, it won’t stop, but will continue in the capable hands of the University of Alberta Libraries.

Thank you, Andrea, for sharing your insight with Okanagan College and places beyond, and for allowing us to be part of it.

Les Ellenor, English Professor, retired
Andrea Deakin has been a family friend for thirty years, and a valuable colleague at Okanagan College, where she enriched arts courses with her wisdom. Having her wonderful collection of books in the Salmon Arm library benefitted all students of Children’s Literature. When we gave workshops on books, publishing, and storytelling at various schools, children were delighted to meet and listen to Andrea. As an international reviewer she knows and appreciates almost every children’s book; she is a walking google!

Star and Debbie and Andrea

A message from Star MacGregor, Campus Library Assistant, Okanagan College
"Dr. Andrea Deakin is so special -- to OC and me! Here are some reasons why:

Since 2004, Dr. Andrea Deakin has shared her wealth of knowledge about Children's Literature in the Deakin Newsletter of Children's Literature, which has readers world-wide. The newsletter is wonderful. It is well written and researched, as well as informative. I'll really miss proof-reading each issue before its publication on the web.

Since the early 1990s the Salmon Arm Campus Library of OUC, and now OC, has been the recipient of thousands of books of Children's Literature from a very broad base of countries, but most especially Canada. The collection only contains books of above average quality, award-winners and many classics.

Dr. Andrea Deakin has greatly influenced my personal reading selections, which has allowed me to share wonderful books with so many others, both through my work in the library and in the larger community.

But most of all, just knowing this warm, generous woman has been a true inspiration.
Andrea, with love, I thank you for everything. I'm sure our friendship will continue for many years."

A message from Debbie Turner, Salmon Arm Campus Library
Well, Andrea, it’s been quite a ride! Books, books, books; all shapes, sizes, genres and enough reading for so many lifetimes. Each one’s a jewel and the collection’s so engaging; if only I could read them all. As I write the mock orange is blooming and I have you to thank for that as well. We think of you often and enjoy the times we get to chat and visit with you again. Thanks for the memories.

A message from Debbie Idzan, Salmon Arm Campus Library
Over the last decade and a half, Andrea Deakin has been a wonderful friend to me and to Okanagan College. Two or three times a year, I have had the ultimate pleasure of opening several boxes of the most delightful children's books imaginable. The work involved in preparing these books for our library shelves has always been a labour of love. Sometimes it would take a week or two to get the books shelf ready, but I have to admit that was largely because I could not help reading them as I worked on each one. Andrea always provided lovely personal notes commenting on themes, illustrations, authors or each book's intrinsic value to the collection. Andrea's generosity goes beyond the donation of thousands of dollars worth of children's books. She has graciously shared her knowledge and love of literature, history and art with us all, delighting us with many personal stories and anecdotes. Andrea's friendship and patronage has been a lovely gift, treasured by us all at the Salmon Arm Campus Library.


New Beginnings! The University of Alberta announces the NEW Deakin Review of Children's Literature

A message from Robert Desmarais, Head, Bruce Peel Special Collections Library University of Alberta

The University of Alberta Libraries is delighted to have the blessing of Dr. Andrea Deakin and the Okanagan College Library to assume all responsibilities of the eponymous “Deakin Newsletter”, which will be renamed “The Deakin Review of Children’s Literature” and will be mounted on a University of Alberta Libraries webpage as an open access ejournal in mid-July ( Dr. Deakin has earned her reputation as one of the great champions of children’s literature and we are greatly honoured that she has given us this wonderful opportunity to launch a new journal in her honour. The reviewed books will be catalogued and processed as a non-circulating special collection, which will be made available to researchers upon request in the reading room of the Bruce Peel Special Collections Library. An enthusiastic team from the University of Alberta Libraries is now in place to take up the fine efforts of Dr Deakin now that she will be retiring from her successful book reviewing career. Of course, we welcome her advice and guidance and we hope that she will continue to submit reviews to the new journal whenever she feels inspired to do so.


Picture Books

Ones and twos Ones and Twos
By Marthe Jocelyn and Nell Jocelyn

Tundra Books 2011

One bird on a nest with two eggs, one little girl with two legs, brings us to two little girls on one bench as we follow them through their day accompanied by the robin we first saw. Throughout the book young children are introduced to things that are single or that around them in pairs. One cloud rides above two kites; one crust from their bun yields two crumbs for the robin.

There is more to observe, for, at the base of each picture, a strip of items pertain to the experience above. At the bottom of the park page lays a row of two ice cream cones, two pears, two hot dogs, and so on. Obviously children will guess that this is where the girls had lunch. Two other children at the side of the page hold strings which, over the page, are attached to the two kites. One sweep of the park, packed with little figures, allows children to identify the friends by what the reader has already observed. Is that robin cheating a little? It seems to be pointing at them with its beak. At the end of a busy day two little girls sleep in one bed and one robin protects two newly-hatched fledglings in one nest.

A little picture book which at first glance seems so straightforward is packed with discovery and experience portrayed in Marthe Jocelyn and daughter Nell Jocelyn's detailed and colourful collages. There is much here to stimulate, to entertain and to share.


Every Single Night Every Single Night
By Dominique Demers
Illustrated by Nicholas Debon

Groundwood Books 2011

Simon cannot settle to sleep until his father comes and recites their bedtime ritual. Gently his father draws the covers up bit by bit, saying the words that put the world to sleep.

His father begins in Africa where the lions roar, setting the baobab trees a-quiver, and one by one the animals go home to their dens and lairs. Then, in the Caribbean Sea, the sea horses, fishes and dolphins join in one last dance before gliding away to sleep. Now it is the icy Tundra with caribou, wolves and deer, and then the Americas with their Canada geese, eagles and loons. Now the world is asleep, his father tells Simon, but the boy protests that his father has not finished, so, lastly, the world of the imagination is laid to rest under a fairy spell, and Simon sleeps.

A lilting imaginatively poetic text is accompanied by Nicholas Debon's richly coloured, sweeping illustrations. These are full of movement and pattern, contrasting with the much more static portrait of father and don. The combination results in a beautiful and dramatic depiction of a bedtime ritual that ends in the violet peace of the quiet bedroom.


Louis the Tiger Louis the Tiger Who Came From the Sea
By Michal Kozlowski
Illustrated by Sholto Walker
Annick Press 2011

One morning, bright and early, Ali and Ollie are woken by " a beastly snore" coming from the garden outside. After a little exploration they find a great tiger, lying stretched out asleep in the garden , like a great kitten.

The tiger is soaking wet, well, there can only be one explanation. He must have come out of the sea. First things first, though, he must be fed and given a name. Armed with both, the tiger makes his way into the house, lies in front of the fireplace, and goes to sleep, just like any sensible home-claiming cat.

Tiger becomes something of a problem. How to get rid of him? However between them the family come up with a very creative plan, and the tiger swims away.

Young children will enjoy the absurdity of the situation and the inventive solution the whole family contrive.

Sholto Walker's lively illustrations add another dimension to the story, for the almost cartoon depiction of the human figures are contrasted with the realism of Walker's tiger. Who is in whose story? There is a deal to think on here.


Merci Mr. Dash! Merci Mr. Dash!
By Monica Kulling
Illustrated by Esperança Mello

Tundra Books 2011

Mister Dash may be a blend of breeds, but he is certainly a gentleman at heart. He lives a sedate and ordered existence with Madame Croissant, greeting the customers that visit her gift shop during the day, and enjoying a gentle snooze at her feet while she examines her stamp collection at night.

However Sundays bring Madame Croissant's rambunctious granddaughter, Daphne, a wild work of nature. Usually Mr. Dash manages to escape to the park to read the newspaper, but one Sunday he is too late. From a dignified quiet companion he becomes a living toy as Daphne seizes him, destroys the comfortable arrangement of his deluxe doghouse, sprays him with cold water from the hose, and puts him in her red wagon. He escapes, but Daphne rides her wagon down the hill at furious and dangerous pace.

Mr. Dash flies to the rescue, proving himself gallant and thoughtful, a true knight combining courtesy and courage. We hope Daphne has learned a lesson in this witty salute to common courtesy and thoughtfulness for others.


Mama Why Mama, Why?
By Karma Wilson
Illustrated by Simon Mendez
Simon and Schuster 2011

A little polar bear looks up at the night sky and keeps asking his mother, "Mama, why?” She tells him that the moon is there to say goodnight, to bring dreams from stories the stars know, but still the cub wants to know "Why?" until, at last, he falls asleep in his mother's arms.

The mother bear becomes very creative in her extended answers and that gives the illustrator, Simon Mendez, an opportunity for some lovely, dream-like illustrations in which the bears appear at times to be caught up in the immensity of a soft glowing night sky, until coming sleep finds them curled together back on earth. He has captured the love between the mother and her cub and the tenderness with which the mother accompanies her child on an imaginative journey. There is real magic to be shared in many of his scenes.


Red Wagon Red Wagon
By Renata Liwska
Philomel/Penguin Books 2011

Lucy has a new red wagon, and she wants to play with it at once, but Mother suggests she uses her wagon to go to the market for her.

This definitely does not sound like fun, but Renata Luiska turns the chore into a very witty and delightful interplay of brief text and accompanying illustration. "It was pretty heavy" shows Lucy pulling a wagon full of squirrel and hedgehog, with a helpful push from behind from rabbit. Riding the wagon downhill in heavy rain becomes a sea voyage with rolling waves. The market is transformed into a circus, and the wagon becomes a train, and then a rocket ship, before the vegetables are safely delivered and Lucy free to play.....only the journey has been a little exhausting.

This is a delightful, subtle and funny picture book with so much to observe and enjoy woven into an apparent simplicity of text and illustration.


Picture Books-Non-Fiction

Capturing Joy Capturing Joy: The Story of Maud Lewis
By Jo Ellen Bogart
Illustrated Mark Lang.

Tundra Books paperback 2011 (first published 2002)

This is a paperback reprint of a book first published in 2002, a celebration of the life and work of Maud Lewis.

Maud Lewis suffered juvenile rheumatoid arthritis and had birth defects that meant that the severe arthritis in her hands was complicated by hunched shoulders. Life was very difficult for her for, when her parents died, she had to make her own way. This story begins with her applying for the job of housekeeper for a lonely man, Everett Lewis, only to marry him and set up in a tiny house with one small room and a sleeping loft, no electricity or indoor plumbing.

But Maud had courage and a love of painting- the one creative capacity left to her by crippled hands. She applied paint straight from the tube, never mixing colours- a task to complex for her disablement. She had only completed Grade Three, but that had been enough to hone her understanding and perception of the world she experienced. With very basic materials she produced, with vigour and bright colour, the everyday scenes around her, the "primitive" style bringing that world vividly to life.

Jo Ellen Bogart brings to children that gift of colour and vigour and the life that both influenced it and made its bright and lively paintings all the more extraordinary. What Maud Lewis achieved, despite all her circumstances, speaks clearly of an artistic gift that would not be suppressed. It brings to mind the gifted children's author, Rosemary Sutcliff, author, amongst other books, of The Eagle of the Ninth, who developed Still's disease at the age of two and lived her life crippled in body but creative in mind.

Jo Ellen Bogart's portrait gives children a powerful picture of both the artist and her world, helping them to see the things that influenced her as an artist. Mark Lang's drawings are pictures of the real everyday events which inspired the accompanying paintings by Maud. This is a book which not only brings Maud Lewis to life for young readers, but which also inspires the young artists among them.



My Story The Secret War My Story: The Secret War: A Second World War Girl`s Diary
By Jill Atkins
Scholastic Canada 2011

My Story is a series of novels that introduce young readers to history through the adventures of youngsters caught up in historical events. The Secret War, the latest in the series, takes readers back to 1939 and the beginning of World War II.

Sophie Ridel is thirteen and lives in a village in Normandy. When the story begins it is still June and we have a picture of normal life in the village. As the months go by Sophie's accounts of daily life become more and more filled with references to Hitler and the possibility of war. Despite the outbreak on September 3rd 1939 there is not much immediate impact on her village, but she hears on the wireless the accounts of the German Army's advance across Europe.

Now the war directly affects the village, her brother joins the Resistance and finally Sophie herself is drawn into a plan by the Resistance to save a young Scottish soldier, wounded in the attempt by the 51st Highland Division to escape the Germans by embarking from St. Valery en Caux, a small fishing port east of Le Havre. The plan is to attempt to smuggle him out of France and into Spain.

Jill Atkins skilfully depicts the village and village life, expresses the character and strain of the Phoney War, and builds the tension and excitement as Sophie, now fourteen, becomes involved in the work of the Resistance.


Kat Incorrigble Kat, Incorrigible
By Stephanie Burgis

Atheneum/Simon and Schuster 2011

Kat is a lively intelligent twelve-year-old with two older sisters, Elissa and Angeline, who have just entered society ( it is 1803), a foolhardy brother, Charles, who has gambled the family into debt, a quiet reserved clergyman for a father, and a Step-Mama who finds them all difficult and unmanageable. Kat's late mother practised magic, her sister Angeline explores magic and plays with it, but, in one extraordinary experience, Kat discovers her own enormous magical ability- a difficult thing to deal with at twelve.

However Kat has courage and imagination and is ready to learn- for she must save her sister Elissa from her sinister fiancé, Sir Neville, protect Angeline from causing chaos with her experiments in magic, and generally rescue the family while exploring and perfecting her talents.

This first novel in a series is a witty and imaginative exploration of magical possibilities written with energy, inventiveness and skill. So it is not always quite true to period, it is true to the essence of the best magical mayhem. I trust the next two novels will live up to the wit and imagination of this one.


Fiction-Young Adult

The Second Trial The Second Trial
By Rosemarie Boll
Second Story Press: 2010

Rosemarie Boll practices family law, and this knowledge and experience adds a great deal to this story of a family pulled apart by abuse.

The first part of the book, The First Trial, introduces us to the family - the lad, Danny, who finds it difficult to believe that his father is dangerous, the younger sister, Jennifer, who is quiet and clings to her mother, and Danny's mother who has, at last, brought charges of abuse against her husband. The trial is detailed with the input of the various players- lawyers, police, care workers, judge and participants - all clearly and realistically in play.

We see the trial from Danny's point of view, shock at his father's sentencing and disbelief and uncertainty at the family's need to re-locate. He is sure all can be put right. He loves his father for he has only ever had a good relationship with him.

The second part of the novel, The Second Trial, deals with the family's relocation- their identity changed, moved from Edmonton to Winnipeg and new schools, new home, new neighbours, new names and new backgrounds. They have to make a complete break with grandparents, there must be no way that their father can be able to contact them. Still the father finds a way to hurt them, and Danny takes out his frustration and his inability to understand the whole situation by trying to fit in with the "strong" boys and joining a bullying group at school.

It is an unexpected friendship that helps him to balance his outlook on his new life and at last allows his little sister to show him how she, too, was afraid of Daddy.

This is a realistic portrait of family abuse which also explains the assistance that is available to abused women and their families; but it is much more. It is a sympathetic, thoughtful picture of the physical and psychological trauma these families go through, even with solid help from the professionals whose job it is to help them. After all, they all feel deeply betrayed. Danny wants to make things right with his father because his relationship with his father was good in the past. It takes a deal of sorrow and frustrated anger for him to realise that not only his mother was afraid of his father, that his little sister was too, and that even now their father is ready to hurt.


Fanatics Fanatics
By William Bell

Doubleday Canada 2011

Fanatics brings Garnet and Raphaella back together again in a tense chilling tale of the past breaking through into the present.

Garnet has finished his apprenticeship as a cabinetmaker and is looking for a location to set up shop, a search that puts him in touch with Mrs. Stoppini, owner of a large house north of town. The coach house looks perfect, but there is a catch , for although the lease is exceptional, there is a further condition. The library of the house has been damaged by a small fire which took place when the late Professor Corbizzi died in the room. In exchange for the lease on the coach house, Mrs. Stoppini asks for him to repair the damage and make a necessary inventory of the library.

With the help of Raphaella, Garnet sets to work, but what is the meaning of the ancient objects he finds in a secret cupboard? What is the source of the feeling of dread that permeates the room, of his nightmares? With a physical link to the present, fanaticism from the past materializes dangerously in the present as in fire, and dread of fire, a fanatic from the past seeks revenge in the present.

William Bell has given us another gripping novel, linking the drama of the past with the present through a material object spurred by a passionate determination for revenge. His people are real, engaging and complex, and here he has given us a very interesting character in Mrs. Stoppini, adding to the richness of the story both by her relationship to the past, and her growing sympathy for the young people in the present.


Deadly Deadly
By Julie Chibbaro
Atheneum/Simon and Schuster 2011

"Can a girl get work fighting death?". Prudence is fascinated by the struggle against pain and disease. Although she attends a school designed to prepare her to work in an office or run a home, a school her mother has made sacrifices to send her to , her heart is set on sciences, on investigating disease, her concern and interest fed both by the hours spent assisting her mother, who is a skilled midwife, and by a book her father had given her before he set off for war. Now her mother's letters are returned to her , marked "Missing in the Field" and she has concentrated on working hard to give Prudence the best education she could afford.

Suddenly fate steps in. Prudence takes a job as an assistant in a laboratory and finds herself caught up in an investigation. Every week people are falling ill with typhoid, yet there appears to be no obvious source. Mr. Soper, her employer, is intent on his enquiry while Prudence follows him, taking notes. While she watches and writes, she learns. The investigators suddenly find a common thread, a cook who has worked for many of the families yet is well herself, Mary Mallon, known later to history as Typhoid Mary.

Julie Chibbaro's story blends real and fictional characters in a gripping story of a medical study which is also a compassionate and understanding account of Prudence's fascination with investigative medicine and a thoughtful account of her "growing up" in the pressure of the enquiry.


Stones for my Father Stones for My Father
Trilby Kent
Tundra Books, 2011

For many the Boer War is a forgotten war, wiped from memory by 1914-18 and 1939-45, yet it took thousands of lives- Boer lives, African lives, British and Commonwealth lives. It was reported by Winston Churchill and was part of the lives of Conan Doyle and Gandhi.

The Boers were descendants of Dutch Calvinists and other European Protestants who went to the Cape of Good Hope during the 17th and 18th centuries, when it was under the Dutch East India Company's administration. They were the early settlers of the Transvaal and Orange Free State.

In 1806, after the Napoleonic Wars, the Cape Colony became British. The Boers, opposed to the liberal policies of the British, which included the freeing of slaves, left on a Great Trek to rural areas of southern Natal.

The British then recognized the independence of Transvaal and the Orange Free State. The new republics committed themselves to apartheid. In October 1899 war broke out between Britain and the independent Boer Republics.

Corlie is the daughter of a Boer farmer who has taught her that God gave Africa to the Boers. Life is different in a harsh land. Her mother treats her with unkindness and contempt, saving her love and care for Corlie's two younger brothers. Yet, Corlie loves the land and finds companionship and acceptance with her African "matie" or playmate, Sipho, who had been gifted to her at birth. Her other great support, her father, has just died, and now the British, the Khakis, are coming, destroying farms and forcing the Boers to flee the land.

The mother, refusing to surrender, takes her family and slaves to join a laager, a group of Boers hiding in the bush with their families. Corlie's laager is discovered, and she and the others are sent to an internment camp. Here, half-starved, thrown out of her own tent by her mother, Corlie must
find a way to survive.

Woven into the main story are two other themes, one the story of a Canadian soldier fighting with the British Empire Force who slips into Corlie's life, the other - the question of Corlie's mother's brutal and uncaring treatment of her only daughter, a child she seems to loathe without reason. It is Corlie's courage, sense, and powerful desire to survive that brings her through an experience which tests her in every way in this powerful and thoughtful novel.


 Folktales and Legends

Sindbad 1 Sindbad in the Land of Giants Sindbad's Secret
Sindbad    Sindbad in the Land of Giants   Sindbad's Secret

     Sindbad's Secret

           Sindbad in the Land of Giants

By Ludmila Zeman
Tundra Books 2011 Paperback

I remember long ago interviewing an historian and explorer who had sailed from Oman to China, testing the probability of the mythical story of Sindbad's voyages. He told me then that Sinbad was still so vivid a part of the culture that some spoke of him as if he were still alive. Certainly the stories of the voyages of Sinbad are amongst the best known tales from The Thousand and One Nights.

Ludmila Zeman wrote and illustrated three books, inspired by her work with her father on his film, Tales of a Thousand and One Nights. Her storytelling is direct and vivid, the action, always carrying the story from one ghastly adventure to the next, is bound to capture the imagination. The directness of the tales is strikingly embroidered with her illustrations, from islands lying in sunset waters with night creeping into the streets of the towns to horrid beasts roaring from caves, the giant Roc filling the sky with Sindbad tied to its claws, or huge, but benevolent, elephants. Each illustration is bordered in traditional style with abstract pattern, or floral edging, or details from the illustrations, making the whole page a strong visual experience for young readers.

All three tales are now available in paperback, ready to capture the imagination of children with text and illustration all over again.



Nearly Nonsense Nearly Nonsense: Hoja Tales from Turkey
By Rina Singh
Illustrated by Farida Zaman
Tundra Books 2011

Stories about Nasrudin Hoja are found throughout Asia. These tales are from Turkey, stories of a mullah whose apparently silly stories contain wisdom of their own. Ten of these tales are gathered together in Rina Singh's book.

Each of the tales has a nut of wisdom in it, if you just give them time to engage your imagination. The obvious conclusion of each tale leaves a sense of enquiry, a possibility, a laugh that has a question mark attached. Or, you can just enjoy them for themselves, they are old enough to have passed the test of time and Rina Singh's retelling skilfully leaves you wondering just a little.

The collection is a delight, both for the storytelling and for Farida Zaman's witty and colourful illustrations.



Scribbling Women Scribbling Women
By Marthe Jocelyn
Tundra Books 2011

The letters of Lady Mary Wortley Montague so intrigued Marthe Jocelyn that she sought out writings by other women, letters, travel journals, diaries, any setting where women had investigated their own and other worlds and had, in so doing, opened up the understanding of, and had even changed, the worlds around them.

In Scribbling Women she has given us a portrait of eleven of them from Sei Shonagon, born in 965 AD, who became servant to Sadako, the first wife of Emperor Ichijo, to Isabella, Mrs. Beeton, Mary Kingsley and Daisy Ashford. Sei served an empress. Margaret Catchpole, banished to Botany Bay, wrote letters back to describe her new home, explaining the difficulties in obtaining and paying for daily necessities. She was so dedicated a nurse and midwife that the maternity ward of Hawkesbury Hospital, Windsor, Australia still carries her name.

Mary Hayden Russell was the wife of a sea captain and left accounts of her voyages with her husband. Isabella Beeton wrote one of the most popular books in Britain- Mrs. Beeton's Book of Household Management - and is known and quoted to this day. Mary Kingsley, limited at first by her proper Victorian upbringing, (she looks so prim in her photograph) set off on her own to explore West Africa. Nellie Bly was a young reporter of indomitable spirit who set off to beat Phineas Fogg, Jules Verne's hero, and encircle the globe in 75 days instead of 80.

Each of the women who defied convention or tradition and attempted something "unladylike", left vigorous, often fascinating accounts of their adventures and experiences. These Marthe Jocelyn has skilfully woven together in a very readable, often gripping account. The tales are intense at times, heart-breaking at times, but always very entertaining and informative.


Case closed Case Closed? Nine Mysteries Unlocked by Modern Science
By Susan Hughes
Illustrated by Michael Wandelmaier
Kids Can Press: 2010

Susan Hughes examines nine mysteries from the past and describes the work of contemporary investigators as they try to solve each mystery, from Egyptian Mummies and lost cities to established populations that have disappeared and a submarine lost without trace.

In each case she examines the historical evidence, introduces us to the contemporary investigators and explains their work and findings. A CAT scan identifies the mummy whose missing tooth has been found in a box sealed with Hatshepsut's seal. A DNA test confirms an identity- and Hatshepsut's mummy has been found. Historian and traveller Tim Severin, builds the reproduction of an ancient raft and voyages to prove if the second century BC monk and explorer Hsu Fu could have sailed from China to North America. Where did the airlines, Star Dust, disappear to in a flight over South America in 1947?

Nine mysteries are explored by investigators from a mix of scientific backgrounds, we meet modern detectives who use their varied scientific and cultural backgrounds to solve mysteries from the past. These mysteries and the techniques used to solve them make for intriguing reading, combining, as they do, ancient riddles and modern technology. Michael Wandelmaier's illustrations clarify with maps and diagram the information given and give vigorous life and form to those involved, people from the past and current investigators.



Children's Laureate
Julia Donaldson Children's Laureate

The position of Children's Laureate (a British institution) is awarded every two years to a distinguished illustrator or author of children's books. The idea was originated by two friends - Michael Morpurgo and the then Poet Laureate, Ted Hughes. The Laureate is to be an advocate for children's books and reading.

The new children's laureate has just been announced. She will be Julia Donaldson, author of the popular children's picture book, The Gruffalo. Julia Donaldson has also been awarded the Member of the Order of the British Empire (MBE) on the Queen's Birthday Honours list. 

The past Children's Laureates have been:
1999-2001 Quentin Blake
2001-2003 Anne Fine
2003-2005 Michael Morpurgo
2005-2007 Jacqueline Wilson
2007-2009 Michael Rosen
2009-2011 Anthony Browne
2011-2013 Julia Donaldson


The Patricia Wrightson Prize for Children's Literature
Sophie Masson. The Hunt for Ned Kelly. Scholastic Australia.

New Zealand Children's Book Awards 2011
Picture Book Award and New Zealand Post Book of the Year
Margaret Mahy and David Elliot. The Moon and Farmer McPhee. Random House. New Zealand

Non-Fiction Award
Leon Davidson. The Anzacs on the Western Front. Text Publishing Company. New Zealand

Junior Fiction Category Award
Sherryl Jordan. Finnegan and the Pirates. Scholastic. New Zealand

Young Adult Fiction Category Award
Fleur Beale. Fierce September. Random House. New Zealand

Best First Book Award
Anna Gowan. Hollie Chips. Scholastic. New Zealand



TD Canadian Children's Literature Award

Alma Fullerton: Burn: Dancing Cat Books
Gordon Lightfoot: Illustrated Ian Wallace: Canadian Railroad Trilogy: Groundwood Books
Valerie Sherrard : The Glory Wind : Fitzhenry and Whiteside
Laurel Croza: Illustrated Matt James : I Know Here : Grounmdwood
Erin Bow: Plain Kate : Scholastic

Marilyn Baillie Picture Book Award
Illustrated Matt James: Laurel Croza : I Know Here: Groundwood
Marianne Dubac: Translated Yvette Ghione : In Front Of My House : Kids Can Press
Illustrated Julie Morstad: Caroline Woodward: Singing Away the Dark: Simply Read Book
Illustrated Isabelle Arsenault: Kyo MacLear : Spork : Kids Can Press
Illustrated Bill Slavin: Linda Bailey: Stanley's Little Sister: Kids Can Press

Norma Fleck Award for Canadian Non-Fiction
Susan Hughes: Illustrated Michael Wandelmaier:Case Closed! Nine Mysteries Unlocked by Modern Science: Kids Can Press
Daniel Loxton: Evolution: How We and all Living Things Came to Be: Kids Can Press
Elin Kelsey: illustrated Clayton Hammer: Not Your Typical Book About the Environment: Owlkids
Jody Nyasha Warner: Illustrated Richard Rudnicki: Viola Desmond won't be Budged : Groundwood
Hadley Dyer: Illustrated Marc Ngui : Watch this Space: Designing, Defending and Sharing Public Spaces: Kids Can Press

Geoffrey Bilson Award for Historical Fiction
Jean Little : Exiles from the War: The War Guests of Charlotte Mary Twiss: Scholastic
Marthe Jocelyn: Folly : Tundra Books
Valerie Sherrard: The Glory Wind: Fitzhenry and Whiteside
Martha Brooks: Queen of Hearts: Groundwood Books
Caroline Pignat: Wild Geese: Red Deer Press

John Spray Mystery Award
Allan Stratton: Borderline: Harper Trophy
Jan Markley: Dead Bird Through the Cat Door: Gumboot Books
Marty Chan: The Mystery of the Cyber Bully : Thistledown Press
Y.S.Lee: A Spy in the House (The Agency) Candlewick Press
Norah McClintock: Victim Rights: Red Deer Press 


 June 30, 2011

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