Monday, 29 May 2017

Bakir and Bi written by Jillian Boyd, illustrated by Tori-Jay Mordey

Bakir and Bi is a captivating story set on the islands of Torres Strait “long before the tall ships brought strangers”. It is set on an island called Egur, known by surrounding islands for its “beauty and abundance”. The story is centred around a family from the Kedawer tribe of Egur. Names are important to the people of the Kadawer tribe, as they believe that each person will grow to become the name that they are given.
Bakir, meaning ‘rock’, was a father and skilled hunter who provided for his family. Mar, meaning ‘storm bird’, is the ‘ama’, mother, of the family who protected her children in times of need. Tam, meaning ‘branch’, is the son of Bakir and his parents wanted him to grow up to become like his father. Lusik, means ‘to blossom’, for her parents wanted her to grow into a “beautiful woman in heart and in appearance”.

The story revolves around Bakir’s family as they lived peacefully in their tribe until drought hit the beautiful island, turning brothers against brothers. In this time of famine, Bakir discovers a young gawei, a baby pelican, whom he saw as his family’s totem. He named this gawei Bi, meaning ‘light’. He took Bi home to his family and explained to them that the gawei is sacred to his family as the dolphins is sacred to their ama. They hid Bi away from the hungry tribe members as the gawei is known for its beautiful feathers that adorn the chief’s robes and the beak is used as weapons. It was until one day that Bakir knew that they could not hide Bi any further and he went to set him free. Bakir never returned to see his family again.

Remembering her promise to her husband, Mar took her children and packed their belongings on a canoe as they sailed away from Egur, their once beautiful home in search of a better place to live. This journey was not an easy one, as the sea is as temperamental as the face of a child, calm one moment but unpredictable the next. But they find guidance in Bi who directed their canoe to the direction that would bring them hope, and in the dolphins that brought Lusik back to them when they thought that they had lost her to the sea. And finally, they arrive at an island that was flourishing with life and they named the lagoon on the island Iti, meaning ‘to take out many things’, as they are able to take out many things from the lagoon.

Bakir and Bi is written in a “gentle and hypnotic” tone that makes it enthralling to its readers. The story, even though is in picture book format, is meant for both younger and older readers. The author has artistically integrated the traditional Torres Strait Island language Meriam Mir from the Mer Island, and the customs and beliefs into the story so that its readers can ‘see’ how these customs and beliefs play a part in everyday life.
My Van

Friday, 26 May 2017

Winners of the Australian Book Industry Awards 2017 are ...

The Australian Book Industry Awards (ABIA) were announced last night. The Gold ABIA for Book of the Year and ABIA Fiction Book of the Year went to Jane Harper for her internationally acclaimed novel, The Dry a haunting crime novel set in a drought-stricken rural Australia. Jane writes of her novel -

"I feel The Dry is a mystery at its heart but, as I was writing, it became a book about many other things as well – community pressures, what happens when the bonds of loyalty are stretched too far, and how difficult it is for anyone to ever really shed their past".

Jimmy Barnes won ABIA Biography of the Year for his revealing memoir, Working Class Boy. Barnes gave an emotional first reading of his new memoir, Working Class Man, to be released in October. (See our review of Working Class Boy).

Best selling book The 78 Storey Treehouse (Pan Macmillan Australia and Bolinda Audio) by popular children's author Andy Griffiths and illustrator Terry Denton took out the inaugural ABIA Audiobook of the Year and ABIA Book of the Year for Younger Children.

Other winners were:

Book of the Year for Older Children (age range 8 to 14 years) was
The Bone Sparrow by Zana Fraillon.

General Non-fiction Book of the Year
The Road to Ruin : How Tony Abbott and Peta Credlin Destroyed Their Own Government by Niki Savva.

Matt Richell Award for New Writer of the Year presented by Simpsons Solicitors
Fight like a girl by Clementine Ford.

Congratualtions to all the winners. Reserve your copies of these award winning books by clicking on the title links, or search via our catalogue The Vault

Tuesday, 23 May 2017

The cow tripped over the moon by Tony Wilson - Join in with National Simultaneous Storytime

We all know "Hey diddle diddle the cat and the fiddle, the cow jumped over the moon", the classic rhyming tale.

But jumping over the moon is no easy feat for a cow - so what actually happened that night ?

"But what they don't say , in the songs from that day
is the cow didn't jump it first time "

Author Tony Wilson has written a cheerful reworking of the classic rhyme. The cow tripped over the moon let's you join in the fun as the cow and his friends cat, little dog and the dish try different ways to attempt this super dooper flight. The moral of the story is that perseverance pays off and it encourages children to keep on trying to achieve what they want. It is also beautifully illustrated by Laura Wood.

The cow tripped over the moon is the story everyone will be reading for National Simultaneous Storytime at 11 am on Wednesday 24th May.

Monday, 22 May 2017

Celebrate Library and Information Week with these inspiring stories

CELEBRATE Library & Information Week 2017 with these exceptional books depicting the strength, endurance and triumph of the human spirit, and the resilience, hope and hard work of refugees throughout the world.

Hope in a ballet shoe Michaela & Elaine DePrince
Questions of travel Michelle de Kretser
Happiest refugee Anh Do
Malini Robert Hillman
The Rugmaker of Mazar-e-Sharif Najaf Mazari & Robert Hillman
Walking free Munjed al Muderis
We are here Cat Thao Nguyen
Unpolished gem Alice Pung
Small bamboo Tracy Vo

Simply click on your chosen title/s and you will be directed to The Vault, where you can place your holds

Friday, 19 May 2017

John Constantine, Hellblazer Volume 1 : Original sins - Graphic novel

John Constantine is a liar and a conman. He’s also one of the smartest and most powerful mages operating in London. He routinely battles evil but don’t be fooled into thinking he’s one of the good guys, an acquaintance with Constantine will almost always end in a death. Probably yours.
Hellblazer takes place on the fringes of the DC/Vertigo crossover universe so every now and then John will butt heads with Batman or Wonder Woman. However this is far from a tale of superheroes, it’s much darker and heavily involved in the seedy sides of London magic.

John is not a nice man (he will sacrifice his friends lives if it’s the easiest solution) but he has been written so that you are hard-pressed to condemn him for his actions, he makes them seem so logical. John brings out the empathy in the reader; he’s human enough that his crimes are forgivable and his punishments tragic.

His story spans over 300 issues and as DC comics has acquired the rights to him there will hopefully be many more (Including his first appearance in an animated DC movie later this year: Justice League Dark).

I recommend Hellblazer to anyone who likes their stories in shades of grey and who doesn’t need a definitive hero as their lead. An interest in magic, demons and ghosts helps too.

John Constantine is one of the best characters in comics and this is his greatest publication, but if I met him in real life I would run the other way.

Lauren F

Tuesday, 16 May 2017

Remembering Lionsville by Bronywn Bancroft

Remembering Lionsville
is a book of memories, a book that takes the readers through the childhood of the author using a gentle narrative style. Each page of the book is illustrated using vibrant colours and images that represent the message that the author wanted to portray, “It is a story of Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal people existing in support of each other”. The illustrations are drawn using the unique style of Indigenous art.

Remembering Lionsville is not a story that has a beginning, middle and an end. Nor does it have one major character, except for perhaps that author’s voice that takes us down memory lane. It gives the readers glimpses of the different stories that the author had heard as a child and memories of random aspects of the author’s childhood. This particular passage has captivated me whilst reading this book :

We went to sleep looking at the night sky and never thought about snakes or spiders or other animals in the bush around us. I remember the green tree frogs getting into the pipes and going ribbip ribbip all night. We always felt safe.
Lionsville is a special place. There’s so much history here.
Being in my father’s mother’s land reminds me of how the old people lived.
And when I walk around I imagine walking in their footsteps.”

Perhaps along the way of society advancing and children growing up, we have lost touch with things around us. Perhaps in this globalised age, we are slowly losing our history, our past, our stories and our culture.

Through her narration, Bronwyn Bancroft tells us of her Pa’s memories of what it was like before and after World War and during the gold rush. It gives the readers a glimpse of the past that a history book could never give us.

Remembering Lionsville reminds us that stories needed to be listened to and then to be retold so they do not get lost in the journey of time. Perhaps, when one day we are no longer here, our children’s children and their children could have the pleasure of celebrating our culture, of who we are and what we will become.

Bronwyn Bancroft was born in Tenterfield, northern New South Wales. She was the seventh and youngest child born to an Aboriginal father and a Scottish and Polish mother. Growing up, she found that there were no Aboriginal books in her school library. She wanted anyone who was able to read her book to celebrate her culture with her. She wanted readers to see that living in the bush was no easy task and for readers to understand the complexity of Black and White relations in this country, in the past and in the future.
My Van

Tuesday, 9 May 2017

New Fiction for May

Get in early for these new and upcoming titles

Xeelee : Vengence Stephen Baxter
Love like blood Mark Billingham
No middle name Lee Child
Dragon teeth Michael Crichton
Nighthawk Clive Cussler
Complete Stories Anita Desai

Retribution Jennifer Fallon
Shadow reaper Christine Feehan
Sunday morning coming down Nicci French

Camino Island John Grisham
Long, long trail Cynthia Harrod-Eagles
You will pay Lisa Jackson
Nothing Hanif Kureishi
Scandal in Battersea Mercedes Lackey
Along country roads Mandy Magro
You can run Steve Mosby

Bright shiny things Barbara Nadel
Dis Mem Ber Joyce Carol Oates

What happened that night Sheila O’Flanagan
Murder games James Patterson
Ultimatum Karen Robards
Come sundown Nora Roberts
Monster in the closet Karen Rose
Robert Ludlum’s the Bourne initiative Eric Van Lustbader
Templars’ last secret Martin Walker

Simply click on your chosen title/s and you will be directed to The Vault, where you can place your holds. Can't see anything you like? Ask our friendly staff for a recommendation.

Wednesday, 3 May 2017

Premiers' Reading Challenge - ebooks available via Borrowbox

The Victorian Premiers' Reading Challenge  (PRC) encourages school children to read a certain amount of books per year and record their efforts online. Students from prep to year 10 can challenge themselves to read between 15-30 books before 8th September 2017, with some being free choice and some from the Reading Challenge booklist.
Did you know many of the books on the PRC list are available as ebooks via Borrowbox ?
It's easy to download the e-book (or audio e-book) to your laptop, tablet or iPad. Titles new to the PRC list such as Gemina, Freedom Swimmer, and The 78 storey treehouse are available.

Borrowbox titles can be downloaded directly to your mobile device through the BorrowBox iTunes or Android App. To download your free App just visit the Apple App Store or Google Play Store . If you require help or more information, please speak with our friendly library staff at Dandenong or Springvale Libraries.

You can also search here for Victorian Premiers' Reading Challenge titles available via our catalogue The Vault.

Monday, 1 May 2017

“The Cleo stories: a friend and a pet” by Libby Gleeson and illustrated by Freya Blackwood

After reading The Cleo stories: The necklace, and, the present a few years ago, I was delighted to see this great author/ illustrator team collaborate on another set of “Cleo” stories A friend and A pet. This book is a charming and sweet story full of the simple things in life, creating warm and fuzzy feelings within the reader. The stories contain typical young children’s interests of friends and pets.

In the first story “A friend”, Cleo becomes disillusioned and falls out with her friends for various reasons. She creates an invisible friend “Casey Pickles”, who only likes talking to her because she is shy and lives behind her mirror. Cleo is supposed to be cleaning her room on this particular rainy day but procrastinates and gets up to mischief which includes playing with her Mums make-up. Her Uncle Tom who suggests she uses her imagination to occupy herself and “cheer herself up”. Cleo does just that, but instead of doing the required task she does something altogether different and something magical happens.

In “A pet”, Cleo’s friend Nick has a new puppy named “Peanut” and she wants one too! She talks to her Dad, trying to persuade him that it would be a good idea, but her Dad is not sure. Family members mention what pets they had as a child. At school the topic of pets is discussed with Cleo commenting to her family “everyone has a pet but me.” At one stage Cleo is helping her Dad in the vegetable garden and learns what happens to snails that eat the green pellets. During the story Cleo cuts out pictures of animals from magazines to see what pet she might like. She imagines what would be best to live in her backyard and wonders if her parents will “always say no”. While she is pondering, she glances outside through the window and sees her father still in the vegetable patch. A clever idea springs to her mind and a solution to her “Pet Problem” becomes clear.

The sweet illustrations remind me of a different era of the 1930’s and 40’s with beautiful colours of green, blue, grey, brown and a hint of red. The map on the inside cover and look of the book reminds me of the original Milly Molly Mandy stories of my Mother's generation that depict a simpler time.

The font is largish and the illustrations compliment the text making it a great introduction for any child who is venturing into reading their first chapter book. The Cleo stories : A friend and A pet forms part of the Victorian Premiers' Reading Challenge Year 3 and Year 4 and was also shortlisted for the Children's Book Council of Australia Picture book of the year 2016