Last Thursday night was the launch of our first #picbookbc chat on twitter and what a chat it was! We were blown away by your support and excitement and loved sharing the experience of our first chat with so many passionate picture book lovers and hearing all your insightful comments on Aussie picture books. I’m sure those who took part will agree that their list of picture books to read has grown thanks to the chat! For those that missed it, our first chat was on the theme ‘Aussie’ picture books and featured our guest author Damon Young , author of ‘My Brother is a Beast’.
We shared our earliest memories of Australian picture books and the authors that stood out in our memory from our childhood. Lots of fond memories of stories read with parents and time spent pouring over picture books from the library and our own collections. Popular choices were books by Mem Fox – Possum Magic, May Gibbs – Snugglepot and Cuddlepie, and Alison Lester – Magic Beach. Other popular choices were the classic Little Golden Books and Blinky Bill books by Dorothy Wall.
It was a struggle to narrow down our favourite authors and picture books as we all realised that we’re certainly blessed with a diverse range of Australian picture books that not only capture the Australian way of life but also our unique flora, fauna and style. What we loved about our favourites were their different styles of illustrations such as Jeannie Baker’s use of mix-media collages, the way they told their stories, the way they made us feel and the rhyme & rhythm of the words. These were also the elements we believed made up a good picture book. How surprising, right?
But what makes an Australian picture book unique? According to our participants, it’s about our people, fauna, flora, indigenous culture, humour and world view among other things. Our land and culture gives us a unique view point and landscape to share and this is evident in the illustrations and stories of our picture books whether it’s directly about Australia or not.
Although people often talk about what the future of the physical book being bleak and if it’ll be taken over by technology and electronic versions, the #picbookbc community feels strongly that the Australian picture book industry is here to stay whilst embracing the advantages of technology. The sharing of a physical picture book creates a tangible connection and experience for users that can’t be replicated with technology. However as highlighted in the chat, technology can be used to share these experiences with those we previously couldn’t. Technology allow us to share and read picture books over video chat or interact with stories through things like Tumble Book Library. It is also changing the diversity of content of our picture books.
The last part of our chat was question time with Damon Young! It’s certainly an interesting and rewarding experience learning about how illustrators and authors meet, why they write and where the ideas for their picture books come from. The inspiration for Damon’s book ‘My Sister is a Superhero‘ came from his desire to share superhero stories with his daughter but found these were few and far between for younger audiences, so he decided to write his own!
This was just a snap up of the chat and the great ideas shared on the theme. I encourage you to check out the rest of the chat particularly the question time with Damon Young as it was impossible to share all the great questions and answers we had! For the full chat check out Storify: https://storify.com/picturebookbc/aussie-picture-books-picbookbc
Our next chat will be Thursday 6th April at 8pm AEST. If you haven’t already read our welcome post on how the chat works so you can join in on the fun next time! Stay tuned for details of our next theme and guest by subscribing to the blog and following us on Twitter at @picturebookbc!
We look forward to seeing you then!