Alison Lester : One Small Island

At a recent SLAV conference I was fortunate to hear Alison Lester speak about her latest book One Small Island (Penguin).

Alison engaged in a conversation with Laura Harris of Penguin Books to help us understand the inspiration behind her career as an illustrator and author.  It followed very neatly from a presentation by Sue McKerracher who spoke about the National Year of Reading (NYOR).  Alison is an ambassador for NYOR and her book Are we there yet? is the feature book for the 2012 National Year of Reading.  Her discussion with Laura focussed the book she wrote in collaboration with Coral Tulloch One small island  and a very special preview at her forthcoming title Sally Scott goes south.

The picture book One small island was written by Alison Lester and Coral Tulloch. Together they bring the history of this amazing speck of land called Macquarie Island found in the vastness of Southern Ocean between Australia/New Zealand and Antarctica to life. It is the story of how this remote and precious World Heritage Site has been affected by human interference.  The island has a unique ecosystem and humans have caused a lot of damage since the island was first visited by humans. Today there is a battle being fought to restore it.  

The beautiful illustrations in the picture book were put up on a large screen in the auditorium for us to admire and they were very eloquent. We all left the session wanting to buy a copy of the book and all of us are very interested in what will become of Macquarie Island.

If you want to hear Alison talking about the book herself you can go to ABC Radio National’s Life Matters site where, on the 1st of August, they aired a great interview with her about Macquarie Island and her book.



YA and children’s Literature – podcasts

There has always been a steady readership for John Marsden’s Tomorrow, when the war began series. After the publication in the early nineties the  initial very high interest levels in this series has settled to  remain constant until this year. There can be no denying that a film can breathe new life to a novel as it has done in this case.

 The film version of Tomorrow, When the War Began was released in cinemas during the September school holidays, and Pan MacMillan have re-published the series of novels, with new cover designs.  

There are obvious advantages for authors to have their novels made into films but in the translation from book format into screen format there will inevitably be some compromises made and that can sometimes be difficult for the author.

This was the subject of a broadcast on the ABC Radio National’s The Book Show on 19th. of October. The discussion by John Marsden about his story being filmed and “put out there’ to a whole new audience makes for a very interesting podcast that can be downloaded for later listening or sharing with classes. The way the characters look and behave in the film, the violence the screen and the visual images of the hitherto unknown enemy are just a few of the items covered by JM in this 17 minute interview. Apart from general interest in the books it would be good for students who are contemplating creating book trailers to hear John Marsden speak about the differences between the two mediums.

Another podcast worth listening to was the ABC’s Life Matters program where author and illustrator Graeme Base discusses the inspiration for his latest beautifully illustrated book, The Legend of the Golden Snail. In this podcast he talks about drawing on his childhood sea voyage to Australia as inspiration for the story about an epic sailing adventure, with some big lessons in life for a boy called Wilbur. If you visit the Graeme Base’s site you will also find trailers for the title.