Tuesday, April 27, 2010

30th April Paul Jennings (1943) Sven Nordqvist (1946) Nadia Wheatley (1949)

Sven Nordqvist is a Swedish author/illustrator. I first experienced his work when I purchased Pancakes For Findus for the library. It was published by New Zealand Gecko Press and I had purchased other books of theirs that had been popular in the library so I bought it too. Gecko Press translates and publishes good books from international authors and illustrators where the original book usually isn't written in English. Since this purchase I have learned that there are other books about farmer Pettson and his cat Findus and I have added these to the library as well. The illustrations are warm and humorous and add immensely to the text. It is a fitting book to read on Sven's birthday as in this story Pettson is making pancakes for Findus' birthday!

Paul Jennings is almost an Australian institution! I don't know for sure, but if they were looking for
the Australian author who has sold the most books I think Paul Jennings would be up there on that list. His books are extremely popular with children and libraries. As you can imagine his Rascal books are a huge hit in my Early Childhood library with the beginner readers. Look at Paul's website to see what rascals these dragons can be.

The first Paul Jennings story I ever read to a class was Flutter about a budgerigar going up a vacuum cleaner. It was a huge success with my male poor-readers in Year 5. It had cult status by the end of that year. For those boys it was the start of seeing a purpose for reading, even if it was only to read more Paul Jennings books. For me, Paul Jennings is a reading guru and I was so happy when he published his parent reference The Reading Bug...And How You Can Help Your Child to Catch It. I have used it at parent sessions and if you haven't seen it, you have to check out the cartoons at least.

Nadia Wheatley needs a whole entry to herself. Why is there so much on the 30th April? Nadia is an accomplished Australian author of a wide range of books from amazing novels, such as the historical The House That was Eureka for young adults, inspiring novels such as Lucy in the Leap Year and Five Times Dizzy for primary-school students, picture books such as Highway and Luke's Way of Looking for younger readers. And then to top all of these off she is the author of My Place, which I wrote about on its illustrator, Donna Rawlin's birthday and the co-author of Going Bush, a collaborative project where eight inner-city schools got to learn much more about themselves and their environment. And, if like me, you are a school librarian then you will always read The Greatest Treasure of Charlemagne the King to classes during Library Week just in case they are not convinced about the wisdom and joys of books.

And talking about the joy of books, last year while I was in America I bought a beautiful book called Book Fiesta! I didn't know anything about the author or illustrator. I just loved its vibrancy and exuding joy for books. When I got home I found out that the author Pat Mora had initiated Children's Day Book Day as an annual family literacy event some years ago and that this book is about celebrating Dia, as it is known, an abbreviation of the Spanish El dia de los ninos/El dia de los libros for this event. This day, celebrated on 30th April by libraries, schools and homes in America highlights
the joy of reading in all cultures and in all languages, highly appropriate then to be looking at a Swedish author and an Australian author who both see reading and writing as being integral to life!

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