Category Archives: Poetry

Can I Touch Your  Hair? : Poems of Race, Mistakes and Friendship – Irene Latham & Charles Waters,  Sean Qualls & Selina Alko

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January 1st 2018 by Carolrhoda Book

ISBN: 9781512404425
ISBN-10: 151240442X

Publisher: Lerner Publishing Group

RRP $29.99

 

I’ve been fortunate enough to have a few children’s poetry books come my way of late and this is certainly one of the most interesting.

In a world where we are constantly reminded of the intolerance and bigotry of some it is incumbent upon us as educators to guide our students towards accepting and embracing differences.

When Irene and Charles are put together to complete a poetry project, neither is very thrilled. One white, one black with seemingly nothing in common, they are both reluctant and reticent at first. But as they choose topics to write about – school, family, church, friends and so on – they begin to see points of similarity and more than that commonalities that develop into an unexpected friendship.

Cleverly written by authors who are themselves black and white, this book explores a theme of turning ignorance into understanding and takes it further.

Not only is this a volume worth sharing with students but it could easily become a fascinating springboard into shaping similar experiences for our own children.

Recommended for children from around Year 4 upwards.

 

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Henry Lawson Treasury – illustrated by Oslo Davis

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Random House Australia

ISBN: 9780857985132

Published: 03/11/2014

Imprint: Random House Australia Children’s

Extent: 160 pages

RRP $19.99

I grew up with a dad who loved both Lawson and Paterson and I loved them too. Standard party pieces were recitations from these two legendary Australian writers. And now, we are able to introduce the ‘Poet of the People’ to a new generation via this beautiful anthology, illustrated by Oslo Davis in a simple but stunning monochromatic style.

This new volume contains not only well-known pieces from the great Lawson but also some that may be new for readers. A brief three page biography gives newcomers some insight into the man who, of course, features on our $10 note. One of the joys of visiting my aunt in her former locale was to be able to pass by the Budgee Budgee Inn where Lawson staged ‘The Loaded Dog’ – just around the corner! I would also pay my respects as I drove by.

Four ragged, dried-up looking children are playing about the house. Suddenly one of them yells, “Snake! Mother, here’s a snake!”

The gaunt, sun-browned bushwoman dashes from the kitchen, snatches her baby from the ground, holds it on her left hip, and reaches for a stick.

“Where is it?”

“Here! Gone in the wood-heap!;” yells the eldest boy – a sharp-faced urchin of eleven. “Stop there, mother! I’ll have in . Stand back! I’ll have the beggar!”

The Drover’s Wife. First published in The Bulletion, 23rd July 1892

As we seek to inform our students of all aspects of the history of Australia, Lawson’s work remains triumphantly eloquent of the folk of the bush, their success and despair, their comradeship  and their isolation and above all their indomitable spirit.

If it has been some time since you dipped into our bush writers, this would be a perfect chance to do so but aside from that, this is a most elegant and well presented album to grace your library shelves. This copy is staying firmly on my own bookshelf – thank you Dad for just one of many wonderful memories.

Highly recommended for both primary and secondary school students – from around Year 5 upwards.

Photos taken at the Henry Lawson memorial, remains of his old childhood home, on Henry Lawson Drive, Mudgee.

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