We were delighted to kick off the school holidays with the launch of Herman and Rosie by Gus Gordon. It's always such a pleasure to meet an author who's work you adore and find out they lovely people too. And the very charming Gus didn't disappoint. Herman and Rosie was officially launched by Leigh Hobbs. We just HAD to share some pictures of the day.
Leigh Hobbs, officially launching Herman and Rosie. Leigh told us all how Gus first showed him Herman and Rosie over dinner one night and as soon as he read it he immediately offered to launch it (which, Gus confided was his plan all along). Gus told us all about the extensive research he did on New York, including a 'research' trip (oh, the tortured life of a writer!).
Gus chats with the effervescent Jackie from My Little Bookcase.
Gus with one of our favourite local authors; Jen Storer.
Signing, signing, signing...
Clare Beaton has a rather unique illustration style; she creates beautiful pictures using vintage fabric, buttons, braid and sequins. She says she finds inspiration in all kinds of old fabrics: "Old aprons are a favourite source of wonderful patterns." She hand stitches the fabric together making delightful scenes which are then photographed and used to illustrate books, gift cards and accessories. Sometimes the text is hand sewn into the pictures too. Because of the bold, colourful and simple nature of her designs, they are often used in books for very young babies especially nursery rhyme books.
She was brought up in the North of London, where she still lives and has her studio. She studied graphics and illustration at Hornsey School of Art, after she graduated she began working at the BBC as an illustrator for children's programmes, where she stayed for 8 years. She has three children, all of whom are now grown up.
Above is a picture of Clare's studio (we daresay she tidied it up for the picture) and a beautiful teddy bear's picnic scene.
Below is origianal artwork she did for a range of cards available in the UK and a bag she designed for a range of cosmetics (Neal‘s Yard beauty products) in Japan.
Here is a great Youtube clip of Clare and her daughter talking while they make Christmas decorations.
And here is a clip of Fingermouse, the character from Fingerbobs, that Clare talks about making in the above video, which was her daughter's claim to fame at school. Frankly, to an outsider this show seems somewhat bizarre. Much like Shirley Strachan in Shirl's Neighbourhood, the presenter; Yoffy doesn't translate as well to modern audiences. Although beards are making a come-back, happily we can't say the same for men wearing neckerchiefs. It was 1972 and we think maybe you had to be there to get this one....
See Care's website here.
Gus Gordon is an Australian author illustrator who lives in Sydney. His books include My Aussie Dad, A Day With Noodles and number of books in the Aussie Bites series including Haggis McGregor which was written by Jen Storer and illustrated by Gus. And of course he is also the creator of one of our all time favourite characters; Wendy, that super lovable, high flying, stunt chicken of humble origins. I have given more than one grown up friends a copy of Wendy to remind them of how extraordinary even the most seemingly modest can be.
Now, Gus has brought us two new eccentric individuals. Meet Herman and Rosie, two lonely New Yorkers with a love of music. They seems destined to be together but, somehow keep missing each other. Both of them suffer set backs and loneliness but find the strength to keep going. This is a touching look at resilience, the power of music and finally friendship.
Gus will be joining us at The Little Bookroom on Saturday September 22 to tell tales and sign copies of Herman and Rosie. Herman and Rosie will officially be launched by Leigh Hobbs of Mr Chicken Goes to Paris fame.
Gus has a fantastic website which you can view here.
If you can't make it on the day, but would still like to get a signed copy, please pre-order at our online shop and click the link that says: "Add a note to your order" leaving details of who you would like Gus to adress the book to.
We were delighted to have the charming Anna Walker launch her brand new book; Peggy at The Little Bookroom on Saturday 1st of September. Anna brought the real Peggy along for the afternoon so she could claim her share of the glory too.
Here are few pictures of Peggy getting ready for her big moment. Being a very sensible chicken, she was careful to check everything was in order before her guests arrived. She made sure that no one would go thirsty, the glasses were well polished and the flowers were fresh.
Although Peggy was obviously the star of the show, it was Anna who got to read the book; which seemed only fair, given that she wrote it. She is a very softly spoken woman and with so many people there to meet her (and Peggy), Anna had to use her biggest voice to be heard over the adoring crowd. Children and grow-ups alike were charmed by the adventure of the brave little chicken that finds herself unexpectedly in the big city.
Here is Leesa, the owner of The Little Bookroom enjoying a quiet moment with Anna.
Jess and Lesley, waiting to meet Anna and have their book signed.
Anna, hard at work; there were so many people wanting books signed that we were worried about her writing hand. After all, we are looking forward to many more books in the future.
One of Anna's beautifully signed copies of Peggy.
September 5th is Indigenous Literacy Day! We have made a selection of some our favourite early childhood books.
Who are The Indigenous Literacy Foundation and what do they do? First of all, we should give a huge shout out to fellow bookseller Suzy Wilson from Riverbend Books in Brisbane! Suzy heard that there were some kids in Australia that didn't even SEE a book until they reached primary school. As a booklady of the highest quality, naturally, she was outraged. She started a fundraising campainge which grew to become The Indigenous Literacy Foundation.
Most people would be aware that there is a disparity between
the life expectancy of indigenous and non-indigenous Australians but, did you
know there is also a huge difference in the literacy skills of these two
groups? The Indigenous Literacy
Foundation aims to change that. There
are number of reasons for this disparity and there for there are many different
ways to tackle the problems. The
Indigenous Literacy Foundation has two main programs;
“Book Supply” focuses
on getting books that are culturally relevant and appropriate into 230 remote communities
around Australia. This could include
stories about fishing, hunting and the natural environment.
“Book Buzz” is a gift of 12 specially-chosen new board books
given to specific children and families to keep. Again, these stories are culturally appropriate
and can be in the first language of the child.
The Indigenous Literacy Foundation also supports and funds
many smaller community based programs.
These include running playgroups in remote areas, translating books into
Andy Griffiths is one of the Indigenous Literacy Foundation's Ambassadors, as part of his work he visits remote communities, runs writing workshops for children and as a result he has edited a collection of this writing called, 'The Naked Boy and the Crocodile'.
Please get behind this wonderful campaign!
Father's Day is fast approaching, so we thought we'd suggest a few of our favourite books about dads to help you decide on the perfect gift this year.
Anthony Browne's My Dad is a great choice for dads that are fond of a dressing gown and a laugh. "He's alright my dad. My dad isn't afraid of ANYTHING, even the big bad wolf." This is how most children see their dads.
Dads who are Star Wars fans will love the humour of this very cheeky look at fatherhood: Darth Vader and Son by Jeffrey Brown.
Don't leave the grandpas out! Anna Walker has delightful options for dads and grandpas of toddlers.
Dads A Field Guide celebrates the many personas and forms of dads: "Nerdy dads. Rock'n'roll dads. Work dads. Holiday dads. Hairy dads. Bald dads. But the best kind of did is... My dad!"
We know that in this day and age, there are so many varied and complex family situations and that Father's Day can be an emotional minefield in some households. But with this social change, there is also an ever broadening range of children's books covering the many aspects of fatherhood.
No Kind Of Superman by Danny Parker and Matt Ottley is an extremely honest look at one dad's feeling of inadequacy and his wish that the world (and himself) were as good as his son deserves. We dare you to read this line without crying: "There's lot's I'd change - lots I wish was different. But not you. You are the light in my life".
The Little Bookroom would like to introduce you all to our new favourite chicken: Peggy and of course her creator; Anna Walker. First, I must say I am absolutely besotted by Peggy. This chicken rekindles all my secret childhood dreams of growing up to become Barbara from The Good Life, but that's a story for another time. The Little Bookroom is delighted to be hosting the launch of "Peggy" on Saturday September 1st at 4pm.
Anna Walker's simple and impecable illustrations have a quiet joy that translates perfectly into this consummate model of chickenhood. Peggy likes to play outside every day, until one day a gust of wind sweeps her up on an adventure all the way to the city. The city just happens to be our very own Melbourne. Peggy sees all sorts of things she's never seen before and it's very exciting. Eventually, Peggy decides its time to go home, but that's easier said than done, when you are a small chicken in a big city.
You might know Anna's other books. She has written and illustrated a whole series about a little zebra called Ollie, who finds joy everywhere he looks. She has also created 'Froggy Green', 'Funny Face' and 'I Don't Believe in Dragons'.
As well as writing her own books, Anna has collaborated with a number of prominant Australian authors including Jane Godwin and Emma Quay. As well as the Friends For Keeps series with Emma Quay, Anna has also illustrated; 'The Miggy Tree' by Karl Yeomans; 'Santa's Aussie Holiday' by Maria Farrer, 'Little Cat and the Big Red Bus' written by Jane Godwin; 'All Through the Year' written by Jane Godwin; a follow up to 'All Through the Year' which is called 'Today We Have No Plans' by Jane Godwin is due out later this year.
We asked Anna a few questions and we were extremely pleased that she took time out of her very busy day to answer them:
LBR: I know you have said that you loved Beatrix Potter as a child especially Jemima Puddle Duck but, were there any Australian picture books that captured your imagination?
AW:'Oh yes, I loved 'Aranea' by Jenny Wagner illustrated by Ron Brooks. Another favourite was of course, Snugglepot and Cuddlepie by May Gibbs and Blinky Bill too!
LBR: Do you remember a favourite teacher or librarian that helped or encouraged you creatively?
AW: My favourite librarian was my mum! When I was very young mum worked at a local library and we often spent time together choosing books to read. Both my parents and wider family encouraged my love of reading and drawing.
In Grade 3, I had a teacher 'Mrs Smale' who read the class 'Where the Wild Things Are', and we made 'Wild Things' from big cardboard boxes. I remember being sooooo excited. I could hardly believe I was so lucky!
LBR: We love your Ollie series and it seems to really strike a cord with toddlers, what do you think it is they love about Ollie?
AW: The idea for the Ollie books began when my daughter Olive was two, and sitting halfway down the stairs singing to herself. I wrote down 'My name is Ollie. I love to sing.'
The stories sprang from her delight in familiar, simple things. There are lots of exciting new things in the world for toddlers to discover, but sometimes the thing they love best is a story and a cuddle and that's essentially what Ollie is about.
LBR: Often your illustrations have a large amount of space on the page around them. It seems as though what you leave out is just as important as what you put in. Do you have a specific concept about letting the pictures have room on the page or does it just happen like that?
AW: Yes, giving the illustrations space to play and retaining a simplicity in design is important to me. I think it is from the books I was brought up on as a child and studying graphic design that I enjoy the tradition of space, and crafting not only the illustrations in a book, but the design and typography too.
LBR: When you pick up other people's picture books what are you looking for?
AW: I am looking for a connection, for my heart to skip a beat. Above my desk I keep a copy of The Picture Book Manifesto – Proclamation
written by a coalition spearheaded by Mac Barnett and Dave Eggers. In the manifesto reads a wonderful line: "A picture book should be fresh, honest, piquant, and beautiful". So true.
LBR: Are there any illustrators that make you say: "I wish I could do that"?
AW: Some of the illustrators that I find myself looking longingly at their work are:
Here is a picture from one of the early drafts for Ollie that Anna was kind enough to share with us:
Anna's awards include:
Best Children's Series Design in the 57th Book Design Awards of Australia for 'I Love to Dance'.
'Little Cat and the Big Red Bus' written by Jane Godwin and illustrated by Anna Walker was chosen by CBCA judges as a Notable Early Childhood Book.
Crichton Award for 'Santa's Aussie Holiday'
And finally here are a few links that you might like to look at to find out more about Anna and Peggy.
Here is Anna's beautiful website:
Here is a youtube clip all about Anna Walker:
Here is Anna's trailer for Peggy:
If you would like to come along to Anna's event at The Little Bookroom, North Carlton on Saturday September 1st at 4pm, please RSVP to email@example.com
Geoffrey McSkimming came to The Little Bookroom's Carlton shop on National Bookshop Day to help us celebrate and to launch Geoffrey's new series; Phyllis Wong. To launch the book in style he needed the help of his lovely (and Magical) friend Sue-Anne Webster, the best lady magician in Australia. Sue-Anne treated us to an astonishing magic show (we have been trying to work it out all weekend).
Phyllis is a young girl on a mission, with the help of her dog Daisy, she must help her friend and solve a mysterious crime. But, it seems like the more she finds out, the deeper the mystery gets! Phyllis draws on all the skills she has learnt and the magic that runs in her family. Her great-grandfather was Wallace Wong, Conjuror of Wonder, before his mysterious disappearance in the middle of a performance in 1936.
To learn more about Phyllis Wong see her website: http://www.phylliswong.com/
With Shaun Tan's blessing we bookshop folk have created a brand new way to discover Melbourne's literary side!
The Passport can be used as a guide to some of Melbourne's best independent bookshops including; Paperback books, Fairfield Books, Book Bonding, Embiggen Books, The Foreign Language Bookshop, The Hill of Content, Jeffrey's Books, The Bookshop at Queenscliff and of course The Little Bookroom.
Not only can you collect one of these adorable passports from any of the participating bookshops, there is also a challenge! Visit six of the listed bookshops, get a stamp and then go into the running to win a Shaun Tan gift pack. You don't even have to buy anything! Just visit any of the shops and they will be happy to stamp your passport.
The competition runs until the 24th of August 2012.
Huge thanks to Hachette Children's Books Australia for their support and Warren Bonnet of Embiggen Books for his stellar design work.
On Saturday August the 11th bookshops all around around will be celebrating National Bookshop Day!
Bookshops have a role in the life of communities. They are meeting places, a quiet refuge in a busy world, a place to discover. There has been a lot of people talking lately about the economics of the book industry but, what they seem to forget is the contribution bookshops make to the soul of a community. Independent booksellers love books. They adore reading and sharing the hidden treasures they find with their customers.
On National Bookshop Day, the 11th of August, The Little Bookroom is celebrating in a big way with two events!
At 10.30am on National Bookshop Day we will be running an all out DINOSAUR extravaganza of a storytime session! Toddlers and parents rejoice! Jeanette Rowe, one of our favourite author illustrators for preschoolers has turned her extremely talented hand to books about dinosaurs! Four fantastic new books all about dinosaurs called Dinosauritis. Each book has a dino story, a dino game, three dino jokes and eight dino facts! And to celebrate we are dedicating a special time to these books and some of our other favourite dinosaur adventures! Get ready to stomp and go dino-crazy!
See Jeanette's website at:http://www.jeannetterowe.com.au/dinosauritis.html
At 4pm on National Bookshop Day Geoffrey McSkimming author of the wonderful Cairo Jim series will be coming to the Carlton shop with his amazing MAGIC show to talk about his new series Phyllis Wong!
To learn more about Phyllis Wong see her website: http://www.phylliswong.com/
All events at The Little Bookroom are FREE but, please RSVP to firstname.lastname@example.org