Children’s Book Week – Old Worlds (2020 WA Notables)

Children’s Book Week is coming next week.

The theme is Old Worlds, New Worlds, Other Worlds and the Children’s Book Council of Australia (WA Branch) wanted to celebrate Old Worlds by focussing on the WA creators, and publishers, who were part of last year’s Notable lists.

In the lead up to 2021 we are celebrating (albeit belatedly) our amazing WA writing and illustrating talent from the “old world” 2020 CBCA Notables whose achievements were somewhat overshadowed by the pandemic, the cancellation of many events and the unprecedented deferral of CBCA Book 2020 from August to October. 

In recognition of their work and with generous funding from the Department of Local Government, Sports and Cultural Industries, Lotterywest and Healthway, promoting the Go for 2 & 5 message, the CBCA WA Branch has created 4 short videos that showcase 2 authors each, plus 4 social media tiles that we’d love for you to share widely on your social networks and in your schools and libraries. Although they reference books which were published last year these are timeless recordings designed to have wide appeal and long-lasting relevance.

WA has some amazing writing and illustrating talent and it’s often reflected by the number of local authors and illustrators who make it to the Notables list for the Children’s Book Council of Australia Awards each year and 2020 was no exception!

Meg McKinlay

Let Me Sleep, Sheep by Meg McKinlay and illustrated by Leia Rudge

As Amos tries to sleep, fluffy white sheep appear before his eyes. To get rid of them, he’ll need to count them. But first he needs to build a fence…

Read David’s review.

Catch a Falling Star by Meg McKinlay (also available as an ebook and an ebook)

It’s 1979 and the sky is falling. Skylab, that is. Somewhere high above Frankie Avery, one of the world’s first space stations is tumbling to Earth. And rushing back with it are old memories. Things twelve-year-old Frankie thought she’d forgotten. Things her mum won’t talk about and which her little brother Newt never knew. Only does he? Because as Skylab circles closer, Newt starts acting strangely. And while the world watches the sky, Frankie keeps her own eyes on Newt, because if anyone’s going to keep him safe, it’s her. But maybe this is something bigger than splinters and spiders and sleepwalking. Maybe a space station isn’t the only thing heading straight for calamity.

Meg Caddy and Julia Lawrinson

Maddie in the Middle by Julia Lawrinson (also available as an ebook and an ebook)

Maddie Lee is in year six, and she feels ordinary and dull. Her best and oldest friend Katy is head counsellor and aiming at an academic scholarship. Maddie doesn’t have anything that is hers, anything that is special. Enter a mysterious new girl, Samara. Samara is pretty, calm and before long is in the popular girls’ group. Maddie wants more than anything else to become friends with her. But when she does finally engineer a friendship of sorts, Maddie realises that Samara has a secret. When Samara enlists Maddie to raise money to keep her family from being separated, Maddie finally feels important and needed. So when Samara asks her to go one step further and start stealing, Maddie makes a decision that will have consequences beyond her imagining.

The Devil’s Ballast by Meg Caddy (also available as an ebook and an ebook)

Anne Bonny was eighteen when she ran away from her violent husband, James, into the arms of pirate captain Calico Jack Rackham. Now she’s ensconced aboard Jack’s ship Ranger, passing as a cabin boy and playing her ruthless part in a crew that is raining down mayhem and murder on the ships of the Caribbean. But James Bonny is willing to pay to get his “property” back. And pirate-hunter Captain Barnet is happy to take his money. The Ranger is a fast ship: Anne might just be able to outrun Barnet. But can she outrun the consequences of her relationship with Calico Jack?

Sally Morgan

Little Bird’s Day by Sally Morgan and illustrated by Johnny Warrkatja Malibirr

A simple, universal story of a day in the life of Little Bird as she sings the world alive, flies with Cloud, travels with Wind, nestles with Moon and dreams of flying among the stars. Sally Morgan’s beautiful words and Johnny Warrkatja Malibirr’s sensitive artwork combine to make this a beautiful, distinctive publication with global appeal. Johnny infuses his illustrations with his fine-art aesthetic, his traditional motifs and a quirky sense of humour.

Bren MacDibble and Holden Sheppard

The Dog Runner by Bren MacDibble (also available as an ebook and an ebook)

‘We’re gonna starve if we stay here,’ Emery said. ‘If we’re gonna go, best go now.’ And he said it like going was something easy. Like all we have to do is walk away. Ella and her brother Emery are alone in a city that’s starving to death. If they are going to survive, they must get away, upcountry, to find Emery’s mum. But how can two kids travel such big distances across a dry, barren, and dangerous landscape? Well, when you’ve got five big doggos and a dry-land dogsled, the answer is you go mushing. But when Emery is injured, Ella must find a way to navigate them through rough terrain, and even rougher encounters with desperate people…

Invisible Boys by Holden Sheppard (also available as an ebook and an ebook and another ebook)

An emotional tale of identity, sexuality and suicide derived from personal experience about three teenage boys who struggle to come to terms with their homosexuality in a small Western Australian town. On the surface, nerd Zeke, punk Charlie and footy wannabe Hammer look like they have nothing in common. But scratch that surface and you’d find three boys in the throes of coming to terms with their homosexuality in a town where it is invisible. Invisible Boys is a raw, confronting YA novel that explores the complexities and trauma of rural gay identity with painful honesty, devastating consequences and, ultimately, hope.

Read Michaela’s review.

Briony Stewart and Karen Blair

Trouble in the Surf illustrated by Briony Stewart, written by Stephanie Owen Reeder

Tells the true story of how young Charles Kingsford Smith was rescued on Bondi Beach by early life savers. Includes information at the back about the formation of surf life saving clubs and Kingsford Smith’s life.

When Billy Was a Dog illustrated by Karen Blair, written by Kirsty Murray

‘Can I please, please, please have a dog?’ asked Billy. ‘Would you walk it every day and wash it if it got dirty?’ ‘I would, I promise!’ said Billy. Billy wants a dog. He really really really wants one. Billy’s parents aren’t so sure. So one morning, Billy takes matters into his own paws.

Kelly Canby and Mike Speechley

Rodney by Kelly Canby

All Rodney ever wanted, all he had ever dreamed about, was to know a life among the treetops.

The Gift by Mike Speechley

The house across the road looks abandoned, but Rosie knows someone lives there. She decides to give her mystery neighbour a gift – something different, something unusual, something surprising. Something her mum would have been proud of.

Read Jessica’s review.

Magabala Books

Based in Broome, Magabala Books publishes Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander authors, artists and illustrators from all over Australia.

Check out all of the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander created books with our 2020 NAIDOC CBW highlight.

Cooee Mittigar: A Story on Darug Songlines by Jasmine Seymour and Leanne Mulgo Watson

‘Warami mittigar. Hello friend. We welcome you to Darug Country.’ Cooee Mittigar, meaning Come Here Friend, is an invitation to yana (walk), on Darug Country.

Young Dark Emu: A Truer History by Bruce Pascoe

Using the accounts of early European explorers, colonists and farmers, Bruce Pascoe compellingly argues for a reconsideration of the hunter-gatherer label for pre-colonial Aboriginal Australians.

Baby Business by Jasmine Seymour

Baby Business tells the story of the baby smoking ceremony that welcomes baby to Country. The smoke is a blessing – it will protect the baby and remind them that they belong.