Book Week 2019

From 17-23 August, schools, libraries and bookshops across Australia are celebrating Book Week. 74 years old in 2019, the Children’s Book Council of Australia (CBCA) is a not for profit, volunteer run organisation which aims to engage the community with literature for young Australians. The CBCA Book Week theme this year was Reading is My Secret Power. Polyglot’s team is joining the fun by sharing the books that made us feel powerful when we were children.

Sue Giles AM, Artistic Director
“When I was 9 I was given a book for my birthday called The Young Visitors, written by Daisy Ashford. Daisy wrote the book in the 1880s when she was only 9. It gave me a huge sense of possibility, knowing that here was a child, my own age, who was not only a writer, but had published a book… mind-blowing. I loved writing then too. I had written poems and stories since I was little, and this birthday gift definitely gave me more power to keep going. It also made me aware that my parents knew I loved writing too, and that they appreciated my writing in a way I’d never realised. In a large family, this sort of recognition is rare and tremendously important when it comes.”

Viv Rosman, Executive Director
“I loved the ‘girl detective’ genre as a child – the Trixie Belden and Nancy Drew series stand out in my memory. And of course this obsession was seeded earlier by Enid Blyton’s Famous Five and Secret Seven books. The kids in these stories seemed to have incredible freedom to pursue clues, chase suspects and roam freely around their neighbourhoods – I was so jealous of that! The books projected images of children who were capable, intelligent and powerful forces for good in the world – excellent life goals for a young reader.”

Sophie Overett, Administration and Operations Coordinator
“I was a voracious reader as a kid and despite growing up with the Harry Potter series (my copy of Philosopher’s Stone is inscribed by my mother with ‘Happy 8th birthday!’), nothing made me feel quite as powerful as Philip Pullman’s His Dark Materials. I wasn’t as adventurous or as tough as Lyra, the heroine of Pullman’s series, but I found a kindred spirit in her sense of wonder and her resilience, and as she grew stronger and smarter over the course of the series, the ways in which I related to her made me feel like I was doing the same. Of course, the idea of having a part of your soul embodied by a shape-shifting animal that travelled with you was pretty magic too.”

Erica Heller-Wagner, Marketing and Communications Coordinator
“When my mum was pregnant with my younger sister, my parents gave me ‘Being Born: The Story of How You Grew into a Baby and Came into the World’ by Sheila Kitzinger – a documentary story that explains everything about conception, pregnancy and childbirth for small children, with incredible scientific photographs by Lennart Nilsson. This book was revisited again when my mum was pregnant with my younger brother. It empowered me, and then my sister, with age-appropriate information to understand the monumentally life-changing process my parents were going through, and helped us feel included. Knowledge really is power – even when you’re just 4 years old and learning where babies come from.”

Photo by Max Goncharov on Unsplash