Every year is a great year, when it comes to award-winning books and their writers. Yes, everyone wants to win, but you know that isn’t going to happen. There are some great reads out there and some very talented illustrators that put their mark on children’s books, to help them make the grade of award winning material. Because after all, it is a team effort and without the illustrators, well…maybe the book might not have even got a mention.
Let’s take a look at some great books!
1. The first on our list is ‘Hello Lighthouse’ – a hardcover book, published on April 10, 2018. Written by Sophie Blackall, this two-time award-winning Caldecott Medal book, transports us back to the seaside occasions that many of us, grew up with. Yes, a stroll down memory lane for me, too. All those bundles of shells, I could never collect fast enough.
Anyhow, this little nautical picture book wonder, projects the changing of seasons and keeps alive the very lonely task of lighthouse keeping. We view vast, isolated beach scenes; drifting icebergs; rolling fog and surplus water abound. We watch the keeper and his family boil water for the consumption of tea; light the lamp’s wick and even view entries in a precious logbook that details the purpose and existence of the lighthouse. A lovely tale - complemented by clean, precise pen and ink, watercolour illustrations that all readers will just adore!
2. Our next beauty, is the hardcover 2019 Caldecott Honour Book – ‘Alma and How She Got Her Name’, published on April 10, 2018. Written by debuting author ~ illustrator Juana Martinez-Neal, the story explains to children the importance of receiving their name. Our main character is an unfortunate young girl who has received a total of six names – Alma Sofia Esperanza Jose’ Pura Candela. She - like many children, questions the hows and whys of receiving her name. This book makes light of the fact that sometimes, even though names might seem long, unnecessary, peculiar, weird and downright unfair – they were all chosen with love and are indeed perfectly suited to the beholder. In this case, Alma’s father explains that Sofia was her grandmother – a lover of books and flowers; Esperanza – her great grandmother who longed to travel; Jose’ – her grandfather who was an artist. By the end of the book, all names have been explained and Alma realises that possessing those names, sort of describes her personality - perfectly.
The tale touches on a very poignant, subject matter for children; the educational benefits are huge, with the illustration doing it fine justice. This is definitely one for the bookshelf.
3. Following is the 2019 Newbery Honor Book – ‘The Night Diary’, a hardcover book written by Veera Hiranandani, published on March 6, 2018. This book is not only a Newbery winner, but also
an ALA Notable Book; a Malka Penn Award Recipient; a New York Times Editor’s Choice Pick; a Junior Library Guild Selection book; named Best Book of the Year by Amazon; has received numerous great reviews from the likes of Kirkus, The New York Times, NPR, School Library Journal and even The Washington Post.
To put you in the picture of just how well regarded this book is, Kirkus Reviews stars this book and states it is “A gripping, nuanced story of the human cost of conflict appropriate for both children and adults.”
Set in India, in 1947 at the period of newly found independence, the country is in much turmoil. Now separated into two countries – Pakistan and India - Muslims and Hindus struggle to find peace and the borders are littered with hundreds of thousands of corpses – individuals killed for wanting to cross the border.
Our twelve year old protagonist – Nisha – half Muslim and half Hindu, no longer recognises her country or where she belongs, after the exit of British rule. When her father decides it is too dangerous for them to remain in what is now Pakistan, Nisha and her family embark on a long and arduous journey across the border. In essence, they become refugees, outcast from their own country – stateless. Without a true homeland and her mother whom she lost as a baby, Nisha struggles with her identity and sense of purpose. Hence, the story is told through the letters she writes to her mother in, ‘The Night Diary’ as goes in search of home, self and country.
4. From the pain and agony of human suffering through war, we now turn our attention to the hardback book - ‘The Rough Patch’ – written by Brian Lies, published on August 14, 2018. This Caldecott Honor and ALA Notable book deals is a personal story that works through the themes of friendship, love, loss, hope and renewal.
The protagonist – Evan and his dog are inseparable. They do everything together from eating ice-cream to caring for their prize-winning garden. One day the unthinkable happens – the dog dies. Understandably, Evan is inconsolable; he destroys the garden, which then becomes overgrown with weeds and prickles.
However over time, Evan is drawn to the garden’s unusual, but natural beauty. It reveals a special kind of magic – the ability to drawn one out of isolation by way of growing a huge pumpkin. Evan takes it to the county fair, where friendships new and old are kindled.
The healing power of nature is truly a magic to behold and so too are the breathtakingly, beautiful illustrations that accompany this book. Brian Lies is a magician extraordinaire and should be proud of such a memorable tale.
5. My last book selection is written by author-illustrator - Grace Lin – ‘A Big Mooncake for Little Star’, a hardcover picture book, published on August 28, 2018. This award winning Caldecott Honor book tells a wonderful tale of the cycles of the moon and the importance of mooncake.
Of course, I’m going to recommend this one big time - as my family have grown up eating such delights, that and all the other delicious foods we traditionally consume at Korean thanksgiving - Chuseok. Like many Asian countries, China included - the harvest moon festival holds particular importance to the preservation of culture, family and traditional bonding.
Little people just like the young character – Little Star - in this heart-warming story, enjoys nibbling on the baking, before all is said and done. It takes me be to when my son, could not wait to sample the cooking. Anyhow, there is a twist to this tale, what happens when you eat all the mooncake? Well, you will just have to read the book. 😊
‘A Big Mooncake for Little Star’ is a delightful book – tastefully illustrated in dark colours to highlight, both the enormity of the mooncake and the fact that it goes missing, during the night.
We hope you have enjoyed a stroll through some really interesting books, by some truly talented authors and illustrators; all contributing well to the world of great literature!
Yes, 2019 is coming to a close and although this end of the publishing world has been slow going, there is always the incoming year to make amends - to put things right.
We don't always get given our ducks in a row; sometimes our ducks are flapping, honking resting in the straw and definitely not always flying straight as we intended. I guess that is the way of the world and the way of the world of business. Ah, the chances one takes in becoming an entrepreneur...
However, nothing stays the same forever - eventually the tides turn; eventually the seasons change and the fruits of ones labours stays steadfast on the branch of success and will ripen fully.
So for 2020, as I wish for ELK Publishing to ripen its fruit fully, I too wish the same for you in your corner of the world. I pray all runs smoothly for you - I pray you find balance between business and family; find balance among spending time with colleagues, your family and yourself - because you too are important. Without the right frame of mind there is no family, no business and no going forward in your business. Yes, I believe the right frame of mind and balance are the key elements in my festive greeting, this year. :)
and the direction you seek to travel,
will bear easy roads.
Writing a book doesn't have to be a difficult task. Yes, it can be time-consuming, but if it is something you really enjoy - writing a book as well as illustrating it, can be extremely rewarding - especially if you know, you have done the lot.
I think the hardest part, has to be slotting in regular periods during the day or evening to partake in the act of writing. It is really easy to get side tracked and say to yourself, 'I'm not really in the mood to write,' or 'I'm stumped - so I won't write today'. Both are not really useful to developing consistent opportunities to write. A little everyday gets you into good habits; just like brushing your teeth and yes, you'll get so expert at it, your work will begin to shine. You just have to make time, no matter how small.
150 words written everyday, over the course of a month will give you a 4,500 words start on a YA novel - usually around 60,000 words. This means you'd just about be finished writing your book, in 1 year. If you put in double the effort each day - you'd be finished in 6 months - double that again and you'd be done in 3 months!
Remember, the 10,000 hour rule will only make you accomplished, three times that will bring you to virtuoso standard. :)
Halloween is meant to be fun - full of dressing up; enjoying pumpkins and sweets and finding infinite homes to visit that have joined in the fun of making an awesome scary scene! Enjoy, but be safe!
Everywhere we go, we can see literature translated - be that in book form or digital; advertising or promotion; packaging or labelling that is devised for business, pleasure or leisure. Translation encompasses every corner of the globe and getting it right will mean the difference between success or failure; understood or misunderstood; learnt or mislearnt. Individuals in businesses, governments and educational institutions spend thousands of hours trying to get it right and spend thousands of dollars to ensure no stuff ups are present. However, well laid plans do go astray - often in the biggest and most public of ways.
I was introduced to a wonderful article, shown to me by a scholarly friend of many years. He did not divulge his disbelief upon reading the article; I guess, being a professional linguist, one sees all sorts of things. However, being a speaker of languages myself, my initial response was quite different. I could do nothing, but laugh. It brought back memories of my first few interactions with learning a new language.
However, I truly understand the problems and reasons why these sorts of mistakes happen. Yet, I am baffled as to how they continue to occur, given legitimate businesses, governments and education institutions require precision in the transfer of knowledge and information presented to the masses.
In Korean, 'bi' or '비' - pronounced as 'pee', means rain. So if I said, "bi-ga omnida' or 비가 옵니다", it would mean - It's raining. In a blend between English and Korean - more widely known as 'Konglish', I remember playing with the language, saying "So the heavens are 'pee-ing' on us?" Of course this is not a translation. For me, it was just a way to remember, what the Korean word meant. However, my Korean students heard me say this and forever more, I was known as the funny teacher who thought God rained on people. It was funny at the time and still brings laughter to my soul. When, I see translations gone wrong, I understand the fun and associated temporary embarrassment that language discrepancies can bring.
Monday the 1st of May, 2017 saw the official launch of the Sketa Oz Collection - a designer collection of stationery works now available to the public and stores worldwide for purchase and store stock, respectively. The line marks a two year design period and part 1 of the collection we hope will form the base of something much greater.
Card designs are a creation originating from watercolour works highlighted by underlying pen and ink drawings. All art works were originally created on 300gsm water paper and illustrator board, from which this collector edition stems.
Cards creations are printed on quality, recyclable Australian cardstock, which are then hand-folded; placed together with hand-crafted envelopes, card slips and seals inside a recyclable, resealable cello bag for product protection.
As mentioned, all envelopes and card slips are handcrafted one-by-one, from cut to fold - created from heavy FSC paper to encourage due care of our forest; and responsible paper selection in the purchase & production of paper goods.
ELK Publishing is a member of the Australian Publishers Association and prides itself in quality book and paper goods production. Jump over to http://www.sketaoz.com/collection.html to view the collection or purchase.
Thank you for supporting a forward thinking Australian publishing house.
As of the 1st of July, 2017, the Australian Customs and Border Protection Service (ACBPS) will collect GST on all imported goods below the value of $1000. 10% GST import tax will apply to ensure Australian booksellers have a fair and competitive advantage when competing with overseas publishing houses. This will enable an increase in Australian book sales, will promote and make known often struggling authors and enable Australian Publishing houses and associated bookstores to further grow the domestic market.
In August 2015, the Australian Government announced it would be implementing the procedure and hope this would spark greater support for the book and publishing industry.