I know I said that my next blog post would be about finding your new book 'gem', but then a gem just popped into my letterbox and I had to rave over it first!!
Do You Remember is a new book from my publisher, Wombat Books. Written by Kelly O'Gara and Anna McNeil and divinely illustrated by Kelly as well, it is about a grandchild mouse coming to terms with grandmother mouse's developing dementia.
This book would be a perfect precursor to When I See Grandma, for children and families struggling to understand the changes that dementia brings.
At the beginning of the book the child mouse asks grandmother mouse 'Do you remember...?' times spent together. When odd things start to happen with Grandma, the book then pivots on what I found the most poignant page - the child mouse looking out pleadingly as Grandmother has forgotten even the child - and "Everything was changing." The child mouse then becomes the keeper of the memories - new memories and old. She paints the old memories over the hillside, keeping them alive, and makes new ones visiting Grandma even when it is painful. The book ends perfectly - like a kiss.
I found it interesting that Kelly used the motif of the dandelion on the cover and throughout the book, giving a folkloric suggestion of love, or wishes. (The dandelion features in my book too!) The pages are full colour with a luminous glow, using mostly sunset-pastel and earthy, natural tones in a woodland setting. The words and pictures combine artfully to imbue the rodents with appealing character - reminiscent of The Tale of Despereaux.
A few pages of easy, child-friendly information about dementia follow the end of the story, still attractively echoing the illustration style, plus a note to parents at the end.
Do You Remember is a delightful, warm book written and illustrated with great sensitivity and understanding.
Wombat Books is offering a book package of When I See Grandma ($19.99) and Do You Remember ($24.99) for the special price of $40 postage included.
Next time - how to find other gems!
What a week for awards! Every time I logged onto Facebook this week, one of my friends or colleagues had been nominated for one award or another. KOALA (Kids Own Australian Literature Awards); YABBA (The Young Australians Best Book Awards); CBCA (Children's Book Council Of Australia) awards -it was all just too exciting! I pinch myself when I attend my local CBCA sub-branch meetings, at the wonderful authors and illustrators (not to mention librarians, publishers and booksellers) that I rub shoulders with! A special shout out to Lesley Gibbs for making the CBCA shortlist for her first ever published book -Scary Night.
However, the nomination that had me most excited was a notable mention in the CBCA list for information books - Emily Eases her Wheezes. You may remember that my last blog was about attending the launch for this book, and how the illustrator is the uber talented Leigh Hedstrom, who also illustrated my When I See Grandma. I am just so thrilled for Leigh, author Katrina Roe and publisher Wombat Books for this honour.
It was also really gratifying to see some of the books I have loved and reviewed for The CBCA's Reading Time Online and Creative Kids Tales Website among those mentioned. See my review of The Amazing A to Z Thing here (notable book CBCA); The 52 Story Treehouse here (Shortlist for KOALA). To see the full list of awards, follow the links below.
Awards are a great way for the public to find out about some really excellent books and make easy displays for bookshops and libraries, but it's also important to remember that there are some equally wonderful books that struggle to see the light of day on the bookshop or library shelf. Stay tuned for my next post - how to find the gem that's just right for you.