April 2012 Events

Sunday, April 1st, 2012

Click on event name for more information

13th Annual Chicago Latino Book & Family Festival~ ongoing until Apr 1, Cicero, IL, USA

Sun Gallery’s Twenty-third Annual Children’s Book Illustrator Exhibit~ ongoing until Apr 7, Hayward, CA, USA

Ilustarte: 5th International Biennial Exhibition of Children’s Books Illustration ~ ongoing until Apr 8, Lisbon, Portugal

40th National Book Fair and 10th Bangkok International Book Fair~ ongoing until Apr 8, Bangkok, Thailand

The Writer’s Union of Canada’s Annual Writing for Children Competition~ submissions accepted until Apr 24, Canada

Exhibit: The Illustrators Curated by Julia Donaldson~ ongoing until Apr 28, Newbridge, Ireland

Pratham Book’s Retell, Remix and Rejoice Contest~ submissions accepted until Apr 30, India

Picture This: 90 Years of Storybook Art~ ongoing until May 6, Wenham, MA, USA

Frances Lincoln Diverse Voices Children’s Book Award 2013~ submissions accepted until Dec 31, 2012, United Kingdom



National Poetry Month~ Canada and USA

School Library Month: You Belong @ Your Library~ USA

International Children’s Book Day~ Apr 2

Storylines Margaret Mahy Day~ Apr 2, Auckland, New Zealand

Winner Announced in School Library Journal’s Battle of the Books~ Apr 2

Telling Tall and Tiny Tales~ Apr 3 – 29, Dublin, Ireland

LibrAsia: Second Asian Conference on Literature and Librarianship!~ Apr 5 – 8, Osaka, Japan

Art, Children’s Literature, and the Environment: Art and Photography from Green Earth Book Awards~ Apr 6 – June 10, Salisbury, MD, USA

National Library Week~ Apr 8 – 14, USA

Salisbury University’s Children’s and Young Adult Literature Festival: Read Green~ Apr 10 – 14, Salisbury, MD, USA

National Bookmobile Day~ Apr 11, USA

45th Annual Fay B. Kaigler Children’s Book Festival~ Apr 11 – 13, Hattiesburg, MS, USA

National D.E.A.R Day – National Drop Everything and Read Day~ Apr 12, USA

Support Teen Literature Day~ Apr 12, USA

28th Annual Virginia Hamilton Conference on Multicultural Literature for Youth: Voices, Visions and Verse~ Apr 12 – 13, Kent, OH, USA

The Federation of Children’s Book Groups’ 2012 Conference: Worlds Within Words~ Apr 13 – 15, Bradfield, United Kingdom

Young Poets Week~ Apr 15 – 21, Canada

London Book Fair~ Apr 16 – 18, London, United Kingdom

Young Alberta Book Society Presents: Wordpower~ Apr 16 – 20, Fort McMurray, AB, Canada

Border Book Festival~ Apr 19 – 22, Mesilla, NM, USA

Book Bash! Children’s Literature Festival~ Apr 21, Toronto, ON, Canada

World Book Night~ Apr 23

Sharjah Children’s Reading Festival~ Apr 23 – May 2, Sharjah, United Arab Emirates

MASC Young Authors and Illustrators Conference~ Apr 25 – 27, Ottawa, ON, Canada

Creating an Authentic Cultural Voice with authors Donna Jo Napoli and Mitali Perkins~ Apr 26 – 28, Honesdale, PA, USA

International Conference -Building Cultural Bridges: Integrating Languages, Linguistics, Literature, Translation and Journalism into Education”~ Apr 26 – 28, Almaty, Republic of Kazakhstan

Stranger in a Strange Land 2012 – A Children’s Literature Conference Organized by Graduate Students of the University of British Columbia~ Apr 28, Vancouver, BC, Canada

Children’s Literature Council Spring Workshop – Serving Children With Autism: Literature, Libraries and Learning~ Apr 28, Pasadena, CA, USA

The Foundation for Children’s Books Presents: What’s New in Children’s Books~ Apr 28, Boston, MA, USA

Albany Children’s Book Festival~ Apr 28, Albany, NY, USA

Children’s Day/Book Day – El día de los niños/El día de los libros (Día)~ Apr 30



Fremantle Children’s Literature Centre Exhibits and Programs~ Fremantle, Australia

Dromkeen National Centre for Picture Book Art Exhibits~ Riddells Creek, Australia

Books Illustrated Events and Exhibitions~ Middle Park, Australia

International Library of Children’s Literature Events~ Tokyo, Japan

International Youth Library Exhibits~ Munich, Germany

Newcastle University Programme of Talks on Children’s Books for 2011-2012~ Newcastle, United Kingdom

Seven Stories (the National Home of Children’s Books in Britain) Events~ Newcastle Upon Tyne, United Kingdom

Discover Children’s Story Centre~ London, United Kingdom

Events Sponsored by The Center for the Book in the Library of Congress~ USA

The Eric Carle Museum of Picture Book Art~ Amherst, MA, USA

The National Center for Children’s Illustrated Literature Exhibits~ Abilene, TX, USA

Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators Events

Books at Bedtime: two watery Australian titles illustrated by Bronwyn Bancroft – plus an extra!

Wednesday, February 8th, 2012

For me, it was a case of love at first sight, the first time I came across Bronwyn Bancroft‘s artwork. So in this Books at Bedtime post I’m going to highlight three titles all by different authors but illustrated by Bronwyn. The first two fit neatly into our current Water in Multicultural Children’s Books theme; and the third provides an accent to it with its Alice Springs desert setting – no, not a lot of water there…

First up is Big Rain Coming, written by Katrina Germein (Clarion Books, 1999). The text is snappy and there’s plenty of expansive detail in the illustrations to pore over with a child. Everyone, but everyone is waiting for the rain to come, from Old Stephen, to the kids; from the dogs to the frogs. The clouds gather, and still they wait, right through each day of the week, until finally, on Saturday, it rains. It won’t be long till the child you share this book with knows the words by heart and is jubilantly shouting out the last couple of pages before you get a look in! My favorite illustration: the children swimming in the blue/green billabong, surrounded by tall pink flowers – gorgeous!

Next is Malu Kangaroo: How the First Children Learnt to Surf written by Judith Morecroft (Little Hare, 2007), which again is a finely tuned synthesis of word and image. Malu the Kangaroo boldly tells the people, “I will show you how to play with the ocean.” And then he shapes and polishes a piece of wood into a surf-board. As he tells them how it will feel to surf, Bronwyn’s illustrations underscore the joyous lyricism of Malu Kangaroo’s words, with birds soaring and dipping into the surf, fish flying, and dolphins leaping. The patterns and swirls that have their roots in aboriginal art, coupled with Bronwyn’s characteristic bright pallette are simply (yes I am going to use that words agian!) gorgeous. My favorite illustration: the birds that ‘sweep and fly’, breaking up the horizontal bands of sand, surf and sky.

And lastly, Ready to Dream written by Donna Jo Napoli and Elena Furrow (Bloomsbury Children’s Books, 2009). Young artist Ally’s Mamma is taking her to Australia for the first time. At Alice Springs, Ally meets Pauline, an artist who, with just a few gentle words each time, teaches Ally to get closer in her art to the animals and nature she sees and experiences on her excursions. In their last meeting they draw together in the sandy earth, and Ally’s reaction shows that, in Pauline’s culminating words, she is “ready to dream”. There is much for young people to ponder in this gentle story that will appeal especially to budding artists – and there’s no doubt that they could be trying their hand at something in Bronwyn’s style as a result. My favourite illustration: Ally throwing high the stone on which she has painted a kangaroo, so that it can hop free.

Cinderellas: a multicultural play

Thursday, October 15th, 2009

Last week I volunteered to drive students in my son’s class to a local theatre to see Cinderellas. This wasn’t the regular run-of-the mill Cinderella play though, so instead of just dropping the kids off, I purchased a ticket for the show. Put on by ABC Let’s Act, this production presented the story of Cinderella as told in four different traditions: Walt Disney’s, the Chinese, the First Nations and the Korean versions. Did you know that there are over 300 versions of the story of Cinderella throughout the world?

The young cast did a wonderful job of telling the story of four Cinderellas from four different cultures and proved that Cinderella can indeed have brown eyes and black hair! It truly was a multicultural experience with aspects of traditional Chinese theatre, a Korean fan dance, Tae Kwon Do martial arts and the singing of a sacred First Nations song that has been passed down from generation to generation. Director Mandy Tulloch says she wanted to ensure that each version of Cinderella was shown in a manner that was true to its respective culture:

Advisors were consulted to make sure the play was as culturally responsible as possible. In the segment from China, we utilize the traditional method in Chinese theatre where the audience is asked for permission for the performance to take place. We also have the property men as well. For the First Nations piece, we were granted permission by the local elders for the performance to take place. They also blessed the show and worked with us on the music and mask making. In the Korean segment, which was written specifically for this show, you will see an authentic Korean Fan Dance performed by kids as well as award winning Tae Kwon Do artists.

Multicultural versions of Cinderella abound in children’s and young adult books too. To get a sense of what’s out there, check out our blog posts Globe-trotting Cinderella and Bound by Donna Jo Napoli and Books at Bedtime: Fairy Tales (2); and read this review of Abadeha: The Philippine Cinderella, which forms part of our current focus on the Philippines…

Letting Her Hair Down

Thursday, May 1st, 2008

Caribbean RapunzelIn her recent New York Review of Books survey of contemporary Rapunzel interpretations, novelist Alison Lurie points out both how enduring and how flexible fairy tales are. Rapunzel is in vogue these days. Lurie gives all the relevant details of Rapunzel’s recent manifestations and offers lots of pithy observations, but the article doesn’t include links to the books themselves. So here they are; read Lurie’s article and check these out!

In the young adult novel Golden: A Retelling of “Rapunzel”, one of Simon and Schuster’s fairy tale retelling series, this one by Cameron Dokey, the poor girl’s tower-length locks are an infuriating nuisance. The Tower Room by Adele Geras (Harcourt Paperbacks) is set in a 1960’s English boarding school probably modeled on the school Geras (and Princess Diana) attended. One of Donna Jo Napoli’s series of retold tales, Zel (Puffin) is set in 16th century Switzerland. Sugar Cane: A Caribbean Rapunzel (Hyperion) is a picture book by Patricia Storace, “lavishly illustrated” by Raúl Colón. (Here’s a PaperTigers gallery of illustrations by Colón!) Letters from Rapunzel (HarperCollins) is a teen novel about a girl who sees the myth’s relevance in her own life and re-names herself Rapunzel; here’s a 7-Imp interview with author Sara Lewis Holmes. Barbara Ragasky’s Rapunzel (Holiday House), with much lauded illustrations by Trina Schart Hyman, may be out of print but is available online. Lynn Roberts’ Rapunzel: A Groovy Fairy Tale (Abrams), says Lurie, appears to be set in 1970’s New York.

The long hair, the witch, the tower, the inadequate jealous mother, the adopted child and adoptive parents, the rescuing prince–the themes of Rapunzel have been re-told for our times with great verve and vivacity, and Alison Lurie’s thorough and entertaining perspective is not to be missed.