When children’s author and illustrator, Peter Carnavas asked me to launch his new picture book, THE CHILDREN WHO LOVED BOOKS at Avid Reader Bookshop in Brisbane, I jumped at the chance. It was a great honour to do this for Peter – his books are always a pleasure to read, for adults and for children, and he’s also a really lovely bloke!
This new book adds to Peter’s collection of beautifully illustrated picture books with their heartfelt and subtle truths about life. Peter’s work is published by New Frontier Publishing, an independent Australian publisher – people who live and work by their motto, CREATING CHILDREN’S BOOKS TO EDUCATE, UPLIFT AND INSPIRE.
The launch was a great success with readings, Peter drawing live (with hilarious comments from the assembled children in the front row), and live music and singing.
In case you missed it, I’ve included my words to launch this marvellous book. Thank you, Peter for asking me. I know you’ll continue to bring many more inspiring books into the lives of small people (and the not so small too!)
Several months ago, Book Links Qld organised a function, a special evening to celebrate Queensland children’s authors and illustrators.
At the end of the night, the committee were in the kitchen cleaning up. We book creators were busily chatting and having fun – as is our habit when we get together. All of us, except for one.
He was in the kitchen, quietly charming the ladies as he helped with the washing up. It was Peter Carnavas.
I’ve been on the planet long enough to have picked up some truths along the way … namely that life is a wonderous work-in-progress, and along that journey you occasionally meet exceptional people – genuine, humane, creative and caring humans. So when Peter asked if I would launch his new picture book, I jumped at the chance. For he is one of these special people.
The Children Who Loved Books joins a collection of Peter’s work – special books that quietly touch your heart and reach deep into the truth about life, not just for children but everyone.
Lucy and Angus live in a tiny caravan with their parents, a cat and a chook. They have so many books that eventually there is no space left for them – the books have to go – every single one of them. That’s when the family discover their life hasn’t improved at all.
I love the way Peter’s book celebrates the power of storytelling. Of how life without books is bleak and bare. Of how a shared book can unite a family like nothing else. The family that reads together, stays together.
To me, it’s also a story about the physicality of books – and how we interact with them.
In a subtle way, Peter’s illustrations emphasise this point without stating it. We use books to prop things up, to weight things down. We smell them, feel them, we hold them. All things that eBooks will never give.
It’s also significant that a book-filled library, like a magnet, brings everyone together in the end of the story. It’s a story that should also flash a warning sign in a world where public and school libraries and their books are disappearing.
This is a celebration of books and the joy they can bring to our lives.
Congratulations, to Sophia and Peter Whitfield and their staff at New Frontier for another fine publication.
Peter, my very best wishes. Your words and your beautiful illustrations will bring delight to many.
So, it is with much pleasure I launch The Children Who Loved Books.