Some books are bold and batty and you know they will tickle and tease from the minute you have them in your hands.They shout out from the shelves and you can't help but pick them up. For me it's hard to resist poking my nose into anything by Aaron Blabey - 'Piranhas Don't Eat Bananas' fairly leapt from the shelf into my hands! I laughed out loud in the shop at the turn of every page. Clearly, the Treehouse books by Andy Griffith and Terry Denton are throwing themselves off the shelves at the unsuspecting public like shoals of fish flapping onto fishing boats (they are keeping booksellers in business, I think!).
Some books sit quietly and wait. Usually in the library where children and families get to slow and sit. And consider. An oasis of quiet away from the bustle of the shops and the frantic of getting, of ticking off lists, of rushing to the next. And sure, the outrageous and hilarious are here too, shouting to be noticed - and they are, and they are enjoyed here too - but in amongst them, the quiet peek out like seedlings growing from the cracks - like the paradoxical hardy/delicate dandelion: their gossamer seeds blown by the breeze to alight with the softest touch on a tender heart. To speak in the quiet.
This is where you're most likely to find my book When I See Grandma. It's not the sort of book that makes it onto the 'must buy for Christmas' list. It's certainly not leaping off the shelves in shoals! Its produced by a small, independent publisher whose ability to shout loud and compete with the majors is limited. Yet Wombat Books produce uplifting books with emotional depth and richness that engage children on a deep level. Books like Happy Pants and Same, and When I See Grandma. Books that, like the paradoxical dandelion, are tough and tender - tackling hard issues in a delicate way.
Yet - to my surprise and delight - When I See Grandma has made it onto a list! And on the radio, no less! Last Tuesday (1st December) on 702ABC Sydney Mornings with Linda Mottram, in a segment called 'The Blurb' Vassiliki Veros listed my book on her favourite books of 2015! The list can be seen on her website - Shallowreader - here. I like what she says about books on 'The best' lists: "I browsed through Penguins Best of 2015 and there wasn’t a single book on their list that I had read or that I wanted to read. I ask – best for whom? Instead, I am sticking with calling this list “My favourite”. And isn't this how it is? Whether we connect with a book or not is an entirely personal thing. Some we enjoy and some we fall in love with. And some we can't even stand to finish - even some on 'The Best' lists!
I hope this Christmas you get a chance to peer into the cracks and discover something beautiful, that touches, that engages, that speaks - to you.
And thank you, Ms Veros, for noticing my quiet book amongst all those clamoring for attention. And for taking the time in this busy life to tell others about it.