'The best books, reviewed with insight and charm, but without compromise.'
- author Jackie French

Tuesday 20 May 2014

CBCA National Conference, Canberra 2014 - Vox Pops Wrap-Up

The CBCA National Conference, Canberra, was a roaring success, with a stellar line-up of industry talent, sharing their passion and drive for literacy and fabulous books. Here are just some of the comments made at the conference, compiled by KBR Consultant Librarian, Sarah Steed. You can see a wrap-up of presentations on the Conference website, which will appear in the coming weeks, and we hope you enjoy the handful of conference photos at the end of this post. You can also see a detailed Conference rundown on Tania McCartney's blog and Irma Gold's blog.

'Books matter, and books for children matter even more,' Jackie French told participants at the Children’s Book Council of Australia National Conference, held in Canberra this weekend. Those words surely encapsulate the primary motivation of those in attendance.

With the theme ‘Discovering National Treasures’, there were two days jam-packed full of creative insight and inspiration for lovers of children’s books - authors, illustrators, librarians, teachers, publishers, and others. For those who were unable to make it, here are a few bite-sized snippets from some of the movers and shakers in Australia’s children’s book industry.

'I don’t want to write safe books. I want to make people laugh and cry.'
- Margaret Wild, author (by proxy)

'I drew the dark, then added light.
- Stephen Michael King, author and illustrator, on creating The Duck and the Darklings, his recent collaboration with Glenda Millard

'Creation is an evolutionary journey. You have to be able to say ‘that’s enough’ and walk away.'
- Bronwyn Bancroft, author, illustrator and artist

'Stories have power. Stories can hurt, but stories can also heal.'
- Jackie French, author and Australian Children’s Laureate.

'There are many versions of the same story.'
- Morris Gleitzman, author, in his introduction to an emotional performance piece (left) by actor Tim Potter, which was the genesis of his new book, Loyal Creatures

'My Place is a microcosm, a story of a single place. Australians All is a macrocosm, a story of a continent. [Both are about] a culturally diverse mix of young Australians, whose individual stories are told.'
- Nadia Wheatley, author, describing two of her books

'Adults want reality in youth fiction, but only up to a point.'
- Mark MacLeod, author, publisher, and lecturer, on attitudes towards themes like homosexuality in young adult books

'Publishing is a pact between the head and the heart. They have to work together. And the gut as well.'
- Erica Wagner, publisher, Allen & Unwin

'[Literary treasures] are books that have a lasting impression. They’re timeless.'
- Rochelle Manners, publisher, Wombat Books

'We are adaptively geared to be fascinated by other people’s motivations.'
- Margrete Lamond, publisher, Little Hare, on why we engage in reading

'It’s the judgement we make that makes [books] literary or popular.'
- Dyan Blacklock, publisher, Omnibus

'In remote areas of Western Australia, South Australia and the Northern Territory, 40-60% of indigenous children are not achieving minimum standards in reading in year three.'
- Tina Raye, Indigenous Literacy Foundation

'Motherhood has most definitely shaped what we have written, what we currently write ... and our writing future. The mayhem has simply added passion and spice. '
- Tania McCartney, author and KBR Founder

'Humourous books encourage critical reading. Rather than being an ‘easy’ option, quality humourous books demand the reader be alert and able to read between the lines.'
- Andy Griffiths, author

Michael Gerard Bauer and Barry Jonsberg

Freya Blackwood and Libby Gleeson

Margaret Hamilton

Julie Vivas, Margaret Hamilton, Stephen Michael King, Glenda Millard

Stephen Michael King, Glenda Millard

Freya Blackwood, Libby Gleeson, Julie Vivas, Stephen Michael King, Glenda Millard

Bronwyn Bancroft, Margrete Lamond

Anthony Hill

Sue Murray of The School Magazine

Susan Hall, publisher NLA, and Jane Jolly

Mark MacLeod

Nadia Wheatley

Erica Wagner, Margrete Lamond, Rochelle Manners, Laura Harris

Belle Alderman, Lu Rees Archives

Andy Griffiths

Jackie French

KBR Founder Tania McCartney, Stephanie Owen Reeder, Tracey Hawkins,
Irma Gold; photo credit: Sheryl Gwyther