Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Festival Wrap

I did intend to write this post on Friday, to close our online literary festival as we all head off to enjoy the festive season.  However, marking the achievements of Nelson Mandela seemed more appropriate.

There's been a lot written about Mr Mandela over the last week but here's something that I think ties together so many good things for kids who like stories - an audio book of Nelson Mandela's Favourite African Folktales (Hachette Book Group, 2011).  There are some great readers (including Alan Rickman, better known as Professor Snape to many Harry Potter fans) and, at this time of year when we particularly think of those less fortunate than ourselves, it is important to note that proceeds of the book go to children in South Africa orphaned and impacted by HIV/AIDS.

See also The Big Five for more recommended books about African animals, including Madiba Magic, another book by Nelson Mandela and the books on apartheid-era South Africa recommended by South African teacher/librarians, Marj Brown and Gill Murdoch in this post, Prisoner 44664.

But it is finally summer, the kids are on holidays and I am increasingly distracted so it is also time to thank the many people who helped make this month-long reading adventure so successful before I head off to the beach with a good book or three.  I'll be checking my emails over the next couple of months so feel free to write in with comments, reviews, donations (!!) and other book-related items of interest.

Happy summer, happy winter - if you live north of the equator - and happy reading wherever you are  and whatever the season!


Once again, I've been awed by the generosity of our guest authors in sharing their creative talent and their love of literature with our audience of readers around the world.  Huge thanks to:

Week One: Isobelle Carmody, Meredith Costain, Clare Havens, Erica Wagner (Allen & Unwin);

Week Two: Mark Carthew, Sarah Davis, Donna Hosie, Jacqui Dent (Australian Society of Authors);

Week Three: Anita Heiss, Finegan Kruckemeyer, Cristy Burne, Fiona Inglis (Curtis Brown Australia);

Week Four: Rod Clement, Sean Williams, Emma Allen, Shelley Kenigsberg (Editing in Paradise) and Jenny Stubbs (StoryArts Festival Ipswich). 

I've provided easy links to these guest posts - and those written by our fabulous guest authors in May and June - at the top left sidebar, under the Kids' Lit Quiz links.  You can also find lists of books recommended by our guest authors under the heading, 'Find Great Books' under the links to the guest authors' posts.


I am thrilled to announce the first sponsors for the 2014 Kids' Lit Quiz Australia competition.  Many thanks to the following individuals and organisations:

Jenny Stubbs of the Ipswich Teacher/Librarian Network for the donation of books and other support for the Ipswich heat on 18 February 2014.

Tania McCartney and Susan Whelan of Kids' Book Review for the donation of books;

Lara Wallace and Liz Bray of Allen & Unwin for the donation of books;

Amanda Diaz of HarperCollins Australia for the donation of books;

Rebecca Hamilton and Eve Jackson of Pan MacMillan Australia for the donation of books.

Tina Gumnoir of Penguin Books Australia for the donation of books.

We are about half-way there with book donations for the 2014 Australian Kids' Lit Quiz (we give away a LOT of books as prizes!) so please contact Linda De Silva at readingforaustralia@gmail.com if you would like to donate books (or book vouchers) for keen readers aged 10 to13 years.  We also give out (and so require) books for adults in the audience. Questions are asked between rounds of the Kids' Lit Quiz competitions so children can see that their parents and teachers in the audience are also readers.

The Kids' Lit Quiz is a not-for-profit organisation run solely by volunteers.

More Thanks!

So many people have been incredibly generous in helping me put together this festival of reading.  Particular thanks to the international community of the Kids' Lit Quiz:

Wayne Mills (founder and quizmaster, Kids' Lit Quiz International), Trevor Darwin (United Kingdom), Marj Brown, Gill Murdoch, Isobel Sobey (South Africa), Nancy Davidson (Canada), Dan Donshik (United States of America), Jenny Armitage and Karen Lines (New Zealand) and Jenny Stubbs, Janine Hudson and Nicole Deans (Australia).

Thanks also to:

David Harvey, Susan Bridge, David Mussared, Erica Wagner, Finegan Kruckemeyer, Meredith Costain, Paul Collins, Angela Namoi and Matthew Barnard.

Kids' Book Reviews

A huge thanks to all the kids - in the UK, South Africa and Australia - who contributed reviews during November.  It is very exciting to open my emails and see the wonderful range of books that kids around the world have enjoyed reading.  Anyone who would like to recommend a book to our audience should have a look at the tab, 'Kids' Contributions' under the Reading for Australia header.

A Little News

Here is some information I've recently come across which may also interest you:

Kids Lit Quiz

The competition in the UK (where over 475 teams competed) is now complete and we have our second national champions.  Congratulations to the team from City of London School for Girls who will be representing the United Kingdom at the world final in Cornwall, UK next July.  They join the Singaporean champions, St Hilda's Primary School, as the first two teams to qualify for the world final.

The inaugural heat in Hong Kong is next - on 11 December at the Shek O Country Club from 4pm to 7pm.  If you are curious about the Quiz, come along and have a look.  Interested schools should contact Nick Atkinson at klqhko@gmail.com for more information.

Schools near Ipswich,  Orange, Canberra and western Sydney should keep in mind that it is not too late to join the fun of the 2014 Australian competition.  Please send Nicole Deans an email at kidslitquizaustralia.gmail.com with enquiries or to register your teams.  Registrations can be made up to a week before the relevant heat:

Ipswich:  Tuesday, 18 February
Orange:  Wednesday, 19 February
Canberra:  Friday, 21 February
western Sydney:  Friday, 21 March

2014 Australian Children's  Laureate

I am delighted that Jackie French, one of the first authors to support Reading for Australia, has been named Australian Children's Laureate for 2014.

Here's why Jackie French, a dyslexic author, is a brilliant advocate for children's literacy:

“Every child in Australia needs a book to go to bed with, and a bed to read that book in,” she said. “Every child in Australia can learn to read and for kids like me who are dyslexic, with spelling that you might call 'original', and whose work always looks like a wombat has sat on it, never feel that you are dumb, never feel that you have failed. You haven't failed it's the adults who have failed to give you access to the heritage of humanity.”
Read more about Jackie's plans for her laureateship in this Canberra Times article.

I'll end this post and this online literary festival with an endorsement of Jackie's wish for people to continue to share books and stories:
“If you are a parent, read to your child. If you are a kid, read to your parents as they put dinner out,” she said. “Read to your grandparents over Skype, read to the dog - especially if the dog is going to the vet and you are both scared. The dog won't criticise if you get a word wrong!”

1 comment:

  1. Congratulations to the Kellett School in Hong Kong for winning the Hong Kong heat and to all the schools which participated in the first ever Kids Lit Quiz competition in Hong Kong. Welcome, all of you, to the sport of reading!

    The US heats start in January 2014 - until then, happy reading over the festive season, everyone!