It would be safe to say that I have been immersed into the magical world of children's books since starting an internship at Ford Street Publishing. This Australian independent publishing house has published over 150 titles to date, and is known for its high quality publications and diverse collection of children's and young adult books. When I think about what my favourite books were as a child –Pony Tails, The Rainbow Fish, The Tale of Petter Rabbit, The Wind in the Willows, and basically anything by Graeme Base – there seems to be a reoccurring theme throughout – that they all encompass animals in some way.
Animals in literature play a crucial role in expressing common themes throughout the story, and can even create an emotional distance for the reader which enables a story to focus on subject matter that may be too personal or confronting. From the more recent novels, A Dog’s Way Home and A Dog’s Purpose to the much older tales of Moby Dick and Black Beauty, it is clear that the animal genre can capture the imagination of not only a child but also an adult. In saying that, let me introduce you to five more favourite fables for middle-grade readers.
Feature Article by Caitlin Burns
What have you been watching lately? Have you been getting your daily dose of Neighbours or watching the contestants battle it out on MasterChef? Or are you more engrossed with independent dramas such as ABC’s Mystery Road and Jack Irish? Whatever it may be, it would be fair to say that Australian-produced television has exceeded in keeping the nation entertained during eight weeks of meticulous, and often mundane lockdown.
In late March, each Australian state and territory implemented their own social distancing rules and lockdown regulations. Screen practitioners were among the many businesses considered ‘non-essential’, which has now caused over 60 productions to shut down or postpone, including television programs: Back to the Rafters, The Bachelor, Survivor, and Marvel’s action-blockbuster, Shang-Chi.
The halt of homegrown entertainment has led to a loss of over 20,000 jobs, and with no support package available for those working in the arts industry, many are struggling financially and mentally.