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.


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