Thursday, July 1, 2010

4th July American Independence Day

Happy Birthday America. It is hard to believe America has been independent of Britain since 1776. Australia seems so young by comparison and we are still not independent of Britain! We are lucky though, we get books from the USA and Britain as well as having our own authors and illustrators. Children in Australia cope well because of this. They recognise vocabulary and spelling specific to America as the books are not always changed for Australian audiences in the same way that Australian books are changed for American audiences. An example of this is Libby Gleeson and Freya Blackwood's book Amy and Louis which won the Book of the Year for Early Childhood in 2007. This is a lovely story about two children who are close friends. They call coee to each other across the park, through holes in the fence and whenever they need each other, until Amy goes to live in America and then Louis misses her and is left wondering if she can hear him as he yells coee to the clouds. This book is published in America as Half a World Away and Louis has had his name changed to Louie, I guess so that Americans know that it rhymes with cooee. I found this out in a library in Boston. I picked up Half a World Away, saw Libby Gleeson and Freya Blackwood's names and immediately thought, why don't we have this book at home? I opened it and saw a story and illustrations that I recognised and realised that it was our Amy and Louis. Then I went on a search for other well known Australian books. The cover is nearly always changed, if nothing else but spelling. I like the Australian cover of Amy and Louis because it is 'placeless'. They are friends, no matter where they are. The American version shows Louis in Australia and Amy in America, with Amy's home certainly looking more prosperous than Louis'. I like that Americans are proud of their country and that they are very loyal to it, but sometimes it is okay to be accepting of difference and take all that is on offer, like we do, bookwise.

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