Hello #picbookbc family, it’s almost time for another chat! This week we’re joined by Peter Carnavas as we celebrate picture books about Sadness!


Peter lives in the Sunshine Coast hinterland with his wife, two daughters, a dog called Florence and a cat named Harry Potter just around the corner from a beautiful rainforest and waterfall. He’s been writing and illustrating books since 2008 when his first picture book, Jessica’s Box came out and before that he was a primary school teacher.


His books have also been made into a stage show, a puppet show and a concert! Artslink produced Sarah’s Heavy Heart as a beautiful stage show (music, dance, and a really big beanbag heart) and they also teamed up with Dead Puppet Society to turn Last Tree in the City into an amazing puppet show.  In 2017, the Toowoomba Concert Orchestra presented The Great Expedition as a concert, featuring music, illustrations and me reading the story.


Be sure to check out the full range of his books and more about him on his website!


Here are the chat questions for our sadness themed #picbookbc chat!

Q1. What’s your favourite picture book about sadness? Share a pic!

Q2. Books about sadness aren’t just tears and crying. What other elements of these books draws you to them?

Q3. Why is it important for bookshelves to include picture books with sad themes?

Q4. Books about grief can help normalise the range of emotions experienced when going through grief and give us empathy for others who are going through the process. Share you favourite and why.

Plus as always there will be plenty of time at the end to ask our guest author Peter Carnavas lots of questions! Woohoo!


We look forward to partying with you ‘picture book’ style on Thursday night the 4th of July at 8pm AEST for another #Picbookbc Twitter chat!

If you haven’t joined one of our chats before and wondering how it works head on over to our Welcome to the #picbookbc Twitter chat post!


March Wrap up!

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!

– Ashleigh

twitter @Ashleigh_CM

‘The rich dessert of Australian Picture Books’

I feel like this blog post doesn’t need much of an introduction. All you really need to know is it is written by the exceptional Peter Carnavas. He is the illustrator of the newly released ‘My Brother is a Beast’ , which he created with Damon Young (yes our amazing guest author at our #picbookbc chat /party Thursday night!).


He has also many picture books to his name and if you haven’t come across any of his beauties….where have you been?! Check them out here…quick sticks! You will thank me.

Thank you Peter for this awesomeness .

We have a ‘Picture book’ party VIP hat with your name on it.


The Rich Dessert of Australian Picture Books

Peter Carnavas

Great picture books are like great pop songs. Undeniably charming, universally appealing. They can cover the grandest of themes – or the silliest – and they initially take just a few minutes to consume. In these storytelling forms, tales of love and loneliness sit comfortably alongside works that seem to have no meaning at all, but simply exist for the fun of it. Both are (usually) bound by a tight structure that has little to do with the art itself: a pop song fits into three minutes for radio airplay; a picture book must fit into thirty-two pages because that’s good for printing. Nobody seems to complain about it, though. Pop songs worm into our heads, set up camp, and stay there for years. So do the best picture books.

Dive into the picture book section of any library or bookshop and you’ll be embraced by the imaginings of the warmest, most caring storytellers. As you flick through the pages and lose yourself in that magic picture book quality – the marriage of words and pictures – you know you’re in the hands of people who care deeply about the world. There aren’t many art forms that speak directly to children and grown-ups at the same time, and in such a wonderful way. We all know the importance of sharing picture books for language development, but the greatest benefit is the way in which picture books bring people together – a parent and a child, or a teacher and twenty-five children. They are designed to be shared, but, of course, there is absolutely nothing wrong with sensible grown-ups poring over picture books for hours, alone (no matter how many strange looks we get).

The best picture books reflect the best parts of ourselves, and the adventures we all travel, big or small. Libby Gleeson and Freya Blackwood depict the most beautiful relationships with just a few lines and a small sequence of illustrations, whether it’s the friendship between two children or between a dog and a chook. Gus Gordon’s picture books feature slightly eccentric loners trying to find their way in the world, as in Herman and Rosie, the tale of a crocodile and a deer eluding and finally finding each other in New York. Reading Tohby Riddle’s books, such as Great Escape From City Zoo or Milo A Moving Story, is like watching a lovely old film. Leigh Hobbs charms us into caring about the most subversive, anarchic characters, like Old Tom and Mr Chicken. Damon Young’s picture book series celebrates the diversity of families through characters ordinary and absurd, the latest being My Brother is a Beast (all illustrated by me – blatant self promotion complete). And Bob Graham slows everything down and reminds us that we have more in common than we think, and that no matter where we live, the same sun falls on every one of us.

I have only picked out a few delightful crumbs from the rich dessert that is the world of Australian picture books. If you have read this far, you are probably already a hopeless picture book addict. If you aren’t, then find a bookshop, order a coffee (they almost always sell coffee), and jump in. Into the picture books, not the coffee.

#picbookbc chat Questions!

Only 3 days to go until the first Picture Book Book Club chat! Lots of excitement here in the #picbookbc camp!

Here are the questions, to help get you prepared! The questions will be going up on the Monday before every chat, so keep your eyes peeled!

Q1. What are your earliest memories of Australian picture books?

Q2. What is your favourite Australian picture book/author and why?

Q3. In your opinion, what elements compromise a good picture book?

Q4. What do you think sets an Australian picture book apart from other picture books around the world?

Q5. With changing trends and technologies, what do you think the future will hold for the picture book industry in Australia?

You will then have time to ask our special guest, Damon Young some questions.

Join in on the fun at 8pm (AEST) on Thursday the 2nd of March!