Thursday, December 20, 2012

Eltham Bookshop Sunday 23 December 3.30pm to 6.00pm 2012

Eltham Bookshop 970 Main Road Eltham 9439 8700

I'll be in the Christmas window telling stories and signing copies of Lyrebird! A true story and Phar Lap the wonder horse. Of course I'll be wearing the frock!

Eltham Bookshop invites you all to come along and browse the shelves - there is even a door prize for the first person who recognises and names at lease three authors.

There will also be three late shopping evenings in the run up to Christmas from 6 - 8 pm:  Wednesday 19 December. Thursday 20 December Friday 21 December.

Wine and home-made Christmas cake will be on offer

More info here

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Lyrebird! A true story is officially launched!

I never intended to have an official launch for this book - just too busy! But my local Folk Club (The Newport Fiddle and Folk Club) offered to host a bash to celebrate. I'm so glad and honoured that they did. I feel now that I can rule a line under this work and say 'it's done!'

Reflecting on the day - I feel very touched and a little overwhelmed at the work the club put in. The Newport Bush Orchestra turned up, The Choir sang, my friends Greg and Gerry MCd and set the atmosphere. Mate Greg O'Leary played a beautiful Hoagy Carmichael song, partner John gave us a mini lecture on "The Lyrebird in Art", buddy Christine sang in front of a montage of images of displaying birds and Zoe and Alan stilled the room with style and melody. Gerry took some wonderful photos which tell the story of the day better than anything.

For information about the Newport Fiddle and Folk Club


Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Book launch Mariam Issa: A Resilient Life. One woman's refugee journey.

I first met Mariam Issa when I was involved in the Human Library project with the Springvale Library in August earlier this year. 

Mariam is an exceptionally articulate storyteller and this translates into effortless writing. I went to the launch of A Resilient Life this morning. The Brighton Town Hall was full to bursting with Mariam's friends and family. Immediately following the ceremony, I pounced on the book table for my copy and balancing tea and a plate of spicy nibbles, I opened and began reading.  Back in the car to drive home - I read some more ... home now, and still reading.

Mariam was born 500 kilometres south of the Somali capital, Mogadishu - the tenth child and now she lives in East Brighton with her husband and five children. A Resilient Life tells the story in between her birth and now. This is a generous story, Mariam's perceptions are wise, thought provoking and expressed with dignity and respect for others.

I have little else to say - I have to get back to the book. You can buy it on line and I recommend that you do.

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Lyrebird! A True story. Invitation to launch: Sunday 16 December 2012

Launch of Lyrebird! A true story by Jackie Kerin

Newport Fiddle & Folk Club invites you to celebrate the launch of Lyrebird! A true story.

Throughout the year the Newport Fiddle and Folk Club encourages musicians and storytellers, creating opportunities for collaboration and ideas to grow.

As well as the book, Jackie wrote and narrated Edith’s Lyrebird (with Malcolm McKinnon) a short film that includes archival footage by Ray Littlejohns (1930). The score was arranged and recorded by NFFC members Greg O’Leary and Michael Stewart.

Come along and see the movie, listen to some music and celebrate.

When: Sunday December 16
Time: 1.00 – 3.00pm
Where: Newport Bowls Club:  4 Market Street, Newport
Drinks at the Bar. Nibbles provided.
Signed copies available.

Lyrebird! A true story by Jackie Kerin (ill Peter Gouldthorpe pub Museum Victoria)

Monday, November 19, 2012

Mentone Public Library 8 December 2012

Mentone Public Library proudly presents … a new book about to take flight. Meet author and story-teller… Jackie Kerin

All my stories begin as spoken or told stories. For me, the story is connected to the book, like blossom to fruit.

Jackie will talk about how her tale of the first lyrebird, filmed and recorded in display, began as a spoken word piece and evolved into a book for reading. She also wrestles with the desire to share, through story, her passion and concern for the fragility and precious nature of the natural environment without being didactic.

Lyrebird! A True Story. 'Well heavens to betsy! You're no ordinary chook!'

When: 11.00 am Saturday, 8 December
Where: Mentone Public Library Rear of the Community Assistance and Information Bureau,
36 Florence Street, Mentone.
Entry: gold coin donation.
Bookings: essential as places are limited.  
‪Ms. Sue Blackford   Secretary     9583 5648 
‪Ms. Julia Reichstein   Publicity

Complimentary Tea, Coffee, Biscuits and Good Company. Signed copies available.

Mentone Public Library: Where Print Becomes Personable

A Non-profit Organisation
Lyrebird! A True Story by Jackie Kerin (illustrated by Peter Gouldthorpe and published by Museum Victoria)

Friday, November 16, 2012

Lyrebird! A true story is here and I have frock to match.

No one could ever accuse me of working fast. I fiddle with words and ideas and then get distracted with other passions like ... propagating plants to maintain urban sites for indigenous wildlife, making kamishibai stories and travelling the bitumen to schools far and wide to tell stories to the children. But at last my book Lyrebird! A true story is here!

Of course a girl has to have a frock to celebrate. A creative friend (who wishes to remain anonymous) made me a simple, perfectly fitted, tunic-style dress for my long-suffering and supportive partner to paint.

Partner aka John Kean, studied painting and printmaking many years ago and can still wield a brush with skill.

Using acrylic paint mixed with textile medium John has adapted an image of a lyrebird engraved by Jean Baptiste Audebert after a water colour by Sydenham Edwards(1802). We think this is the first European image of a lyrebird.

Last night he was up late with a head torch, finishing off the filamentary feathers.

Peter Goulthourpe (illustrator of Lyrebird! A true story) said the painting of these fine feathers was exhausting. A lyrebird has 12 filamentaries.

The end result is fabulous as you can see.

And look this cheeky little feathery head!

 Lyrebird! A true story (illustrated by Peter Gouldthorpe, published Museum Victoria) is available on line, in book stores, Museum Victoria. Distributor New South Books.

Monday, November 5, 2012

A Tengu Tale for Kamishibai

 I've collection of original stories illustrated for my kamishibai. Some are painted and others are paper cut-outs. However I've no Japanese folk tales. Being on the stubborn side, I refuse to purchase pre-made stories, preferring to make the artwork myself or trade with another kamishibai enthusiast. There are some lovely kits available and informative websites. Kamishibai for Kids is one of my favourites.

During the year I was asked several times to tell a Japanese folk tale but until now I haven't had the time to create the cards and I haven't felt drawn to a story to illustrate until ...  storytelling friend Susan lent me Japanese Children's Favourite Stories edited by Florence Sakade (illustrated Yoshisuke Kurosaki). Inside is terrific story called 'The Long-nosed Goblins'; they are of course, Tengu. As with anything to do with folk literature, explanations are never simple. There are many threads to unravel about the history of Tengu but in children's stories Tengu are often humorous and easily tricked by humans. They're usually depicted with magic fans (hauchiwa) and wearing one-toothed geta (sandals). I've begun sketching the illustrations and plan to paint them in acrylic.

If you're interested in swapping stories:  Kamishibai Library of  Swaps was set up by my UK friend Derek Carpenter

Also ... if you would like to read some folk tales from Japan, I stumbled across Yanagita Kunio Japanese Folk Tales (translated by Fanny Hagin Mayer). You can read online.

Friday, November 2, 2012

A day at the office: telling stories to young people. I love my job!

I don’t keep a record of the distances I travel but in 2012, I must surely have broken all my previous records.

I’ve seen my share of towns in the Victorian Goldfields, been as far west as Port Fairy, wound my way through the Dandenongs and north into NSW. I’ve visited festivals, schools, kindergartens, childcare centres, libraries, bookshops, parks, a child’s party and the outdoor furniture department of Bunnings! I’ve been a guest in Catholic, Jewish, Islamic, Christian and Secular schools and been privileged to enjoy the hospitality of some awesome teachers, childcare workers and librarians.

I’ve met extraordinary individuals working their hearts out to give our children the very best care and education they can. It’s been a fabulous year of storytelling!

As the year winds down, the storytelling bookings slowly fade away - there will be one last surge just before Christmas and then I'll pack the story box away for a well-earned break. Whew!

Thursday, November 1, 2012

Working with fables: reflecting on the value of old stories, a thinking workout.

This week, I experienced one of the highlights of the year. Why? I was pushed into having a good old think and that’s always fun.

Asked to tell stories to 7 – 9 year olds, specifically ‘fables and myths – stories with morals’, I was at first flummoxed, as I don’t tell ‘stories with morals’ - a momentary glitch in my thinking. I mean … hang on a sec… what is it I’m doing when I choose a story to tell? My motives are not benign. It’s just that I rarely articulate my thoughts on this and when I try, the words get jammed in my throat and tangle my tongue. Why? Because I feel I’m exposing my beliefs. I feel vulnerable. Of course the stories I tell contain moral values, it’s just that I don’t close off with a neat epigram or a pithy wise saying. I tell stories of the transformative power of love, the value of difference and diversity, the fragility and complexity of the natural world, beauty, trust, kindness, compassion, generosity. Moralistic? Hmm … just a tad.

Well, the children I visited had been reading Aesop (whoever he was) - stories over two and half thousand years old (and probably older). I have a copy published in 1912, illustrated by Arthur Rackham and containing over 60 fables with a wonderful introduction by G.K. Chesterton. You can read it on The Project Gutenberg. I recommend it.

Obviously I wasn’t being asked to teach morals, the children were being introduced to the way stories are used to, manipulate, control, challenge the status quo and explain why the world is as it is. Big stuff. My role was to animate some stories and provoke a thinking session.

This leads me to Jack Zipes. You can google him. Here’s the Wikipedia link to get you started. I recommend this too.

In 2008 Jack Zipes visited Australia for the CBCA Conference. I couldn’t attend the conference however I attended a master class he gave in a Melbourne primary school. ‘…Zipes proposes an interactive storytelling that creates and strengthens a sense of community for students, teachers and parents while extolling storytelling as animation, subversion, and self-discovery.’ Working with middle primary, I was thrilled to observe the way he uses stories to stimulate debate and challenge – it was evident that thinking about big stuff is exciting and fun.

Well … ideas stew away in the brain and all in good time, when the moment is right, something will surface. And so it was for me this week. I know one visit to a class of grade 2s is probably no big deal but I also know that the students and I shared a magical hour and did some muscular thinking together.

The success of the session was largely due to the fact that the teachers had prepared the students well, so by the time I arrived to animate the stories, they were hungry. It also worked because I’d had an opportunity some years ago, to observe Zipes working with story and he got me pondering about my own practice …

Jack Zipes has written many books and essays and translated German folk tales but the book I have close by is Creative Storytelling: Building Community/Changing Lives.

Saturday, October 27, 2012

New Leaves Book Shop. Woodend

The New Leaves Book Shop is a seriously beautiful little store. Located on the corner of Anslow and Collier Streets in Woodend, Eleanor has created a highly browsable atmosphere with nooks and crannies to explore - small spaces to dream. It was my pleasure to be the author in residence for a while on a Saturday afternoon. Although mostly tied to my signing desk, I managed a few moments to wander the shelves. The book that tempted me the most was Insects of Surinam by Maria Sibylla Merian (1647 - 1717). I will say no more but if you love scientific illustration, this book will make your heart beat fast.

One of the many things I enjoy about travelling around to schools, bookshops and libraries is the chance to catch up with friends who live too far away to see on a regular basis. A mate from Storytelling Australia (Vic) dropped by for a copy of Phar Lap the wonder horse on her way to her Writer's Group. Kate and Eleanor are now on speaking terms and I look forward to returning to New Leaves one day and discovering them all arguing about commas, tense and recalcitrant apostrophes!

Here we are with mugs of tea in front of the food section ... and no - I didn't escape without making a purchase from the shelf behind me! Thanks for taking the pic Kate.

Toys who become real ...

"When a child loves you for a long, long time, not just to play with, but really loves you, then you become Real." The Velveteen Rabbit by Margery Williams.

Today I met a toy who had become real. It took my breath away to hold such a wondrous thing. It came about like this ... I was telling stories in the Woodend Library as part of  Children's Week and of course I told the story of Phar Lap the wonder horse. One of my listeners arrived with her Phar Lap, who goes everywhere with his owner and friend. I travel with a Phar Lap too and so we introduced Phar Lap and Phar Lap. I was allowed to take a photograph of the two horses side by side and its perfectly obvious which one is real and which is pretend.

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Children's Week. Woodend 27 October 2012

Ahh... its that time of year.

I do enjoy travelling around and sharing the story of Phar Lap the wonder horse. 

This Saturday I will be in Woodend, firstly at the Library for some storytelling and later I will wander down to the New Leaves Bookshop for book signings.

The history of Woodend is closely linked to the gold rush. Arriving in Melbourne in the 1850s, many fevered hopefuls shouldered pics and shovels and marched up Mt Alexander Rd to Diggers Rest, then through the forest to emerge at Woodend. There is much to see in the vicinity and I plan to stay overnight and spend the weekend exploring the surrounds which include Hanging Rock. 

I believe Woodend supports a large horse-racing community. Come and say 'Hi'.

If you can't join me in Woodend but would like to buy a copy of Phar Lap the wonder horse, just google - he's everywhere on line. Or better still, most good book stores have him in stock, especially at this time of year. If you would like a taste of the story visit me here and I will tell you personally.

Woodend Library (cnr Forest and High Streets): Saturday 27 October 10,30 - 11.30 am
New Leaves Book Shop (cnr Anslow and Collier streets): 2.00 - 300 pm 

Thursday, October 11, 2012

More lyrebirds in display

Its like when you hear a word or notice a plant for the first time. You think, 'How unusual!' and then you hear the word everywhere and you find the plant has been growing next door for years.

Well I'm finding its like that with images of displaying lyrebirds. I'm walking into them! They're placed before me. Every time I open my purse I spot one. As the release date for Lyrebird! a true story draws closer and my excitement mounts they're tumbling in front of my vision.

The week before last I went to the Abbotsford Convent  and spotted this one.

A few days ago I was in the Lake Mungo National Park and guess what the NSW National Park logo is?

And then last night, my friend Claire Saxby placed a beautiful book in my hand called Silvertail by Ina Watson. A first edition published in 1946 with illustrations by Walter Cunningham. The copy Claire has lent me actually belongs to children's author Corinne Fenton. Predictably, after seeing Silvertail, I leapt onto ebay and have bought a copy and now I wait for the postie to deliver it to my door.

Thanks Corinne and Claire for thinking of me.


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