Creative content defines who we are – whether it’s a song, a book, poem, painting or other work. In response to This Book Changed My Life, a campaign in celebration of Australian creators – I’d like to share two Australian books from my collection of children’s literature. These books crystallized my decision to pursue study and work as a children’s book illustrator.
The first: There’s a Sea in My Bedroom, by Margaret Wild with illustrations by Jane Tanner.
The second: Drac and the Gremlin, by Allan Bailie with illustrations (again) by Jane Tanner.
Both stories are based on a universal theme of imagination, with child characters at play – moving seamlessly between their real and imaginary worlds. The illustrations in both books are firmly set in locations at once familiar to the Australian child – these being the beach and the space of an overgrown backyard.
Children’s picture books are often a first introduction to words – to visual art – and so to literacy through the reading of stories. And what better way to start than with experiences and settings children are familiar with? That familiarity with local content I think, is a gift of these two books – a reason they remain as old friends in my memory and have gone on to shape the beach and backyard play of my own children.
A variety of creative content is a wonderful thing. And within that variety, Australian children need local literary content that is a reflection of and a connection to who they are and where they live. Kids love to read stories that they can relate to, stories about characters who might live next door, go to the school down the road, adventure with them in their own backyards.
Aussie creators have a diverse wealth of experience and content to share. Hear more of their stories – about what books, what songs changed their lives – pop over to the website, changedmylife.com.au You may like to share your story too.