On this page, you can read something about our themed book discussions, and access book lists from the meetings.
Owls in children’s literature, compiled September 2017.
Working Dogs in children’s literature, compiled December 2017.
Grandparents in children’s literature, compiled May 2018.
Afterlife in YA novels, compiled June 2018, by Sophie Masson.
Giraffes in children’s books, compiled September 2018.
Michelle Wheatley from Reader’s Companion bookshop brought some new titles for the November 2017 meeting to look at. See what these were here .
Below are earlier compilations – mostly from 2015.
September 5: Myths, legends – Sophie Masson co-ordinating
Sophie’s approach for the theme was to showcase several books of myths and legends indicating how they have been treated over time. Well known and loved tales have been retold many, many times.
Titles used as examplar:
Roger Lancelyn Green. (c1958, 2002). Tales of the Greek Heroes. Illustrated by Alan Langford. Harmondsworth: Penguin.
Green has also written The Luck of Troy, using similar treatment.
Cheryl Evans and Anne Millard. (1987). The Usborne Book of Greek and Norse Legends. London: Usborne.
Anne Ross. (1986). Druids, Gods and Heroes from Celtic Mythology. Illustrated by Roger Garland. London: Hodder & Stoughton.
Saxby, Maurice. (1997). The Millennium Book of Myth and Story. Illustrated by John Winch. Alexandria: Millennium.
Dubosarsky, Ursula (2014) Two Tales of Twins from Ancient Greece and Rome. Illustrated by David Allan. Armidale: Christmas Press.
Depictions of Indigenous people in children’s books, May 2, 2015 – co-ordinator – Heather Fisher
Heather brought a number of books from the NEGS library to illustrate the theme. She noted that there are difficulties with books in this ‘genre’ in part because the majority of readers are non-indigenous, and also because most modern indigenous people live in towns or cities and there is little representing urban aborigines. Heather said she felt the books that worked best among the ones she brought were those that built a bridge between indigenous culture and general readership.
Sophie also noted that most books do not address the role of non-indigenous people of a non-Anglo background vis a vis indigenous peoples. “Dominant culture issues” compound some of the difficulties with these books. Another point noted was that although the indigenous children that Sophie has worked with have excellent imaginations and are fascinated by supernatural things, there do not seem to be a lot of books that mention these.
Among the books brought to the meeting were a number of well known authors: Percy Tresize, and Dick Roughsey, Sally Morgan, Ian Abdullah, Bronwyn Bancroft, Nadia Wheatley, and Elaine Russell. Also books from Magabala Books.
Patricia Wrightson’s Song of Wirrun trilogy, as well as her Rocks of Honey, Nargun and the Stars and An Older Kind of Magic were mentioned.
Also noted were the interesting choices of terms in alphabet books with an indigenous theme (“My Nana is nearly ninety”)
Sylvia brought a reader series from UNE library called Indij Readers which is a reading series produced in NSW in 2007 consisting of three series of books, a CD and Teachers Guide. Topics in the readers are aimed at indigenous children of various reading levels. Some titles include Our Dingo, Ernie; The Min Min; The Haunted Billabong; Locked Out!; Ninu Last Journey.
Historical perspectives in children’s fiction, March 15, 2015: – Fiona McDonald co-ordinator
Fiona and Sophie each brought titles to share. We opened by discussing what ‘historical perspectives’ actually means. It could mean historical fiction, non-fiction for children, time slip stories. Fiona had generally considered it to be ‘historical fiction’. Most of the books brought were titles those present had read and enjoyed as children. Below is a list of books brought to share by those present. Most were in Puffin editions. Sophie ventured that historical fiction as a genre began in France with the work of Jules Verne, Victor Hugo and Dumas.
Earliest examples: Charles Kingsley’s Hereward the Wake,
Robert Louis Stevenson’s Kidnapped,
Jules Verne’s Michel Strogoff,
and the works of Captain Marryat
Burton, Hester – Beat of the Drum
Cooper, Susan – King of Shadows
Dickinson, Peter – The Kin
Forester, C.S. – Hornblower Goes to Sea
Garfield, Leon – Black Jack
Devil in the Fog
Greenwood, Barbara & Collins, Heather – A Pioneer Story
Harnett, Cynthia – The Wool Pack
Heppel, Griselda – Ante’s Inferno
Mclean, Allan Campbell – The Hill of the Red Fox
Pearce, Philippa – Tom’s Midnight Garden
Peyton, K.M. Flambards (series)
Seraillier, Ian – The Silver Sword
Speare, Elizabeth George – The Witch of Blackbird Pond
Sutcliff, Rosemary – Armourer’s House
Eagle of the Ninth
Treece, Henry – The Burning of Njal
Hounds of the King
Road to Miklagard
Walsh, Jill Paton & Kevin Crossley Holland – The Emperor’s Winding Sheet
Wordhound, Anglo Saxon Stories for Young People
Kevin Crossley Holland – Dead Moon
The Callow Pit Coffer
Welch, Ronald – Knight Crusader
Westall, Robert – The Machine Gunners
Wilder, Laura Ingalls – “Little House” series including The Happy Golden Years
Willard, Barbara – A Cold Wind Blowing
Comic books revisited: February 7, 2015
All present brought examples to show and discuss.
It was noted that the comic book/graphic novel format has a differing history and level of acceptance as literature in other countries with manga and anime an important genre in Japan. In France the b.d. (bande dessinnee), as comics and graphic novels are known are also very popular. The role of comics in newspapers in the past was noted, with Mandrake the Magician, The Phantom and Prince Valiant mentioned.
Sophie brought several examples of French b.d.s including
Herge – various Tintin titles, as well as
The Valley of the Cobras, a title by Herge that was not a Tintin title, with hero(ine)s Jo, Zelle and Jocke, and a biography of Herge in the b.d. style:
Fromental, Bocquet, Stanislaus and de Mille (1999) Les Aventures d’Herge.
Ewing, Garen (2009) The Rainbow Orchid. Egmont. (Adventures of Julius Chancer)
Henry, Leo & Stephane Perger (2010) Sequana, le Guetteur Melancolique. Emmanuel Proust Editions.
Le Honzec, Rene (1991) Histoire de Bretagne. Tome I – Les Origines. Reynald Secher. (10 volumes in series)
Other titles included:
Briggs, Raymond The Snowman and Father Christmas
Cali, David & Vincent Pianina (2013) 10 Little Insects.
Conan Doyle, Arthur (2005) Sherlock Holmes, plus great titles of ghosts, pirates and mystery. Tom Pomplun, editor. Eureka Books.
Davies, Tristan & Nick Newman (1997) Wallace and Gromit and the Lost Slipper. Hodder & Stoughton.
Schultz, Charles – various Peanuts books