15 Good Reasons to read a book (as if you need one!)

Davide Cali gives us 15 reasons to read.

One of our favourite authors, Davide Cali has been getting into the spirit for the National Year of Reading and had some fun providing us with 15 Good Reasons to Read a Book.

Over the next 15 days, you can see his funny interpretations as one will be featured daily on My Book Corner, and Kids Book Review.

Don’t forget to keep checking back and see the latest one!

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Guest post: Nicki Greenberg launches ’10 Little Insects’

Nicki Greenberg launches ’10 Little Insects’

Australian illustrator Nicki Greenberg (The Great Gatsby, Hamlet) was kind enough to launch Davide Cali and Vincent Pianina’s 10 Little Insects at the Children’s Book Council National Conference last Saturday in Adelaide. Here’s the transcript of her memorable speech.

Ladies and gentlemen, if anyone offers you a free boat ticket to Tortoise Island, I would suggest that you think very carefully before accepting. The island looks nothing like a tortoise, there is fresh dung on the menu for dinner, and you have at least a 50% chance of being murdered in a comical and undignified manner before your body is unceremoniously stowed in the deep freeze.

Welcome to Davide Cali and Vincent Pianina’s Ten Little Insects. When you open this beautifully presented book, you join a bunch (or a flock? A buzz? Maybe an infestation?) of insects embarking on an island holiday which soon turns very sinister indeed. Summoned to Tortoise Island by a mysterious host, each guest comes with a guilty secret. And within hours someone starts bumping them off one by one. Luckily, moustachioed detective Gafard and his bed-hogging sidekick Lelarve are also on the island, and on the case.

If you are an Agatha Christie fan, this might sound suspiciously like the plot of her famous novel, And Then There Were None [aka Ten Little Indians]. I must admit to having a very soft spot for Ten Little Indians, as it was the second Agatha Christie I ever read, at the age of twelve, and definitely the one that got me hooked. I devoured forty-something more of her mysteries over the next few years, and failed to pick the murderer in a single one of them. Around the same age I also decided that I wanted to be an entomologist when I grew up. An entomologist is, of course, a scientist who studies insects. A coincidence? I think not.

Davide Cali responds to Nicki Greenberg’s launch speech

So when I sat down to read Davide Cali’s Ten Little Insects, I thought I was on easy street. For starters, I knew my Lepidoptera from my Phasmatoptera. And I didn’t have to be Hercule Poirot to catch the murderer: I already knew whodunit, right? Well, not quite. Because this is not a faithful retelling of And Then There Were None at all.  For instance, I’m pretty sure Dame Agatha Christie never had the butler confessing that ‘the dung we served wasn’t fresh: it was frozen’. Someone is having a laugh here. And the more I read, the more I was the one laughing.

Ten Little Insects is a very funny book, and it’s the kind of funny that does not live by words alone. It’s the kind of funny that comes from the alchemy of both words and pictures working their crazy comic magic together. It’s that combination that we can’t help but succumb to and whose secret we can’t ever really pin down. A bit like a murder mystery… Hmm… Coincidence? Again, I think not!

It’s hard to resist reading this book at the speed of a leaping cricket. It’s pacy, the dialogue cracks along and of course you want to discover the murderer. But try, if you possibly can, to slow down just a tiny bit. Linger a little in the wonderful lush landscapes of the island and the fabulous interiors of the mansion. Enjoy the clever use of space in the page layouts, the colours and textures, and the complex blocking required to portray so many characters’ interlocking conversations. It’s smart, it’s funny, and Cali and Pianina make it look completely effortless.

CBCA delegates queue for signed copies of Cali’s books

Despite my adolescent dreams, I did not become either a detective or an entomologist. But I did turn out to be a comic book maker, and I recognise a wonderful specimen when I see one. So it is my great pleasure to launch the Australian edition of Ten Little Insects, and to wish it great success here on this very large island shaped like a big squashed bug.

Nicki Greenberg, May 2012

10 Little Insects - Davide Cali & Vincent Pianina

Clunes Booktown Festival Top 10

Why? by Lila Prap

Lila Prap’s hilarious ‘Why?’ suggests why animals look and behave the way they do.

Here are the top selling Wilkins Farago books at last weekend’s Clunes Booktown Festival:

  1. Why? by Lila Prap
  2. Sam and His Dad by Serge Bloch
  3. Waiting for Mummy by Tae-Jun Lee and Dong-Sung Kim
  4. 3 Wishes for Pugman by Sebastian Meschenmoser
  5. Kampung Boy by Lat
  6. Teaching Kids to Read by Fay Tran
  7. I Love Kissing You by Davide Cali and Serge  Bloch
  8. The Bear with the Sword by Davide Cali and Gianluca Foli
  9. What is this thing called love? by Davide Cali and Anna Laura Cantone
  10. The Enemy by Davide Cali and Serge Bloch

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Clunes Booktown Festival 2012

The entrance to Children’s Booktown at Clunes – the wardrobe into Narnia.

Back from Clunes Booktown Festival, which seems to get bigger and better every year.

An estimated 15,000 book lovers descended on the historic gold mining town on the weekend to fossick for books at over 20 locations, including the Clunes Library, site of the new-look Children’s Booktown. That’s where you would have found the Wilkins Farago stand.

As a book publisher, there can be a lot of intermediaries (distributor, bookseller, librarian etc) between yourself and the people who actually read your books. We returned from the Clunes Booktown Festival with renewed energy, after talking about our books to many parents, teachers and librarians and, most encouraging of all, watching kids paw over them enthusiastically.

Children’s Booktown was buzzing all weekend. The colouring table we set up (with illustrations from Lila Prap’s Why?) was a big hit, we ran a competition to win a copy of Waiting for Mummy for Mother’s Day and the Clunes storytellers read some of our picture books to enthralled youngsters.

We must thank the festival’s organisers and the staff and volunteers at the Clunes Library for making us feel so welcome.

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Wilkins Farago heads to Booktown, 5–6 May

ONE WEEKEND EACH year, the historic mining town of Clunes in country Victoria transforms into Booktown: a haven for book lovers. Author talks and workshops, 20 antiquarian and secondhand booksellers, small presses, dinners and general literary hullaballoo.

The next Clunes Booktown Festival is coming up soon, on 5 and 6 May, and this year we’ll be there too.

One of the key locations over the weekend will be Clunes Library, site of Children’s Booktown, and this year Wilkins Farago will be there, showing off our award-winning kids books, giving away a few freebies and generally having a great time. There are lots of activities for kids over the weekend, including a classic puppet show, cartooning and manga workshops, book illustration demonstrations, storytelling, face painting and balloon art.

You can see the full program for the weekend here.

If you haven’t been to the Clunes Booktown Festival, it’s well worth a trip (check out this brief video). But make sure you allow plenty of time—if you’re serious book fossickers like us, you may even need to book some overnight accommodation.

Oh, and here’s a map so you can find us:

Publisher to be released

IF YOU LIVE in Melbourne, Wilkins Farago Director Andrew Wilkins will be giving an ‘Ask the Publisher’ talk on children’s publishing at a Writers Victoria event at 7pm on Monday 21 May.

The evening, at Melbourne’s Wheeler Centre, will also involve Lindy Cameron of Clan Destine Press (which specialises in Australian genre print and ebook publishing) and will be hosted by editor Ann Philpot.

You can book a place or discover more about the event, which is being held in association with the Society of Editors (Victoria), on the Writers Victoria website.

Fun times on Australia Day

The Wilkins Farago stand at Fed Square

WE HAD a great time meeting people at the special Book Market at Melbourne Federation Square on Australia Day.

Loads of books, sunshine, the Roulettes flying overhead, a buoyant Australian Open crowd and BMX Bandits on the Fed Square big screen. What more could you want on Australia Day?