Cali ‘like a magician’ with kids: Melbourne’s Herald Sun

Some of the highlights of Davide Cali’s Australian tour have been the memorable sessions he’s done with school kids in Adelaide, Geelong, Melbourne and Sydney.

Melbourne’s Herald-Sun published a vivid description of one of Davide Cali’s Melbourne workshops yesterday in its ‘Learn’ section (click on the image to have a read). Says reporter Blanche Clark:

European author and illustrator Davide Cali is like a magician, keeping 100-odd preppies at Albert Park Primary School entertained with his hand-made books.

Her write-up makes you think you’re in the room with him. She also asked Cali about the message behind many of his books, to which he replied:

The thing I like to tell the children is that no matter how different you are, no matter how alone you may feel, there is a place for you; there’s someone just like you.


Cali and Cantone inspire puppets

Have just noticed this little blog post by a US mixed media artist Danita, who went into school with her five-year-old and produced some paper bag puppets inspired by Davide Cali and Anna-Laura Cantone’s A Dad Who Measures Up.

We thought the puppets were pretty cute. Good to see a copy of the book pop up in the USA too!

Parents and teachers looking for activities related to this book can find lots of ideas in our teachers notes for the book, which you can download free here.

Bonus material: essential word reading lists available online


Teaching Kids to Read

Essential word reading lists now available online

Teaching Kids to Read contains all the essential lists to help with spelling and reading. As we were limited to the number of pages in our book, however, we have made even more lists available online as free bonus material here.

The lists include:

  • Onset Rime words in vertical format
  • Onset Rime words in horizontal format
  • Onset word lists
  • Words ending in multiple syllable words
  • Common first syllables
  • Silent letters

Essential Spelling Lists coming soon!

Bonus material: free download of phonogram cards

Sample Phonogram Cards

One of the key tools used in teaching kids how to read is the phonogram card. Fay Tran, author of our new title Teaching Kids to Read, has prepared a set of phonogram cards which you can download free from the Wilkins Farago website. Instructions on how to use the cards are included in her book, as is a complete list of phonograms.

For more free downloads for teachers and parents, visit our For Teachers page.

Sign up for our special e-news here.

‘Red Piano’ ideal for multicultural studies

The Red Piano

André Leblanc and Barroux's beautiful picture book is still getting rave reviews 10 months after publication

A nice write-up of The Red Piano from the Victorian Department of Education and Early Learning’s Languages and Multicultural Education Resource Centre:

This beautiful and inspiring book chronicles the experiences of a young girl growing up during China’s Cultural Revolution. This moving and superbly illustrated book tells a tale of bravery and perseverance as a young girl refuses to let go of her dream at a time when forms of expression are forbidden.

The Centre has teachers’ notes for the book. Our own teachers’ notes for the book can be downloaded free here.

Our Featured Book for June – Piano Piano

So it’s June already! A bit late with this news, but our featured book for June is Davide Cali‘s Piano Piano.

Piano Piano by Davide Cali and Eric Heliot

  • Special Mention – Bologna Children’s Book Fair Ragazzi Awards
  • Outstanding International Book – USBBY

This funny and entertaining picture book is about finding your passion, and young Marcolino is pretty sure learning piano is not his passion.

‘When I was your age, I played for hours,’ Mum insists, but Grandfather remembers things rather differently. He helps Marcolino find the musical instrument that’s right for him – and it’s a real surprise!

Marcolino's favourite TV show.

Created by two of Europe’s most acclaimed creators of books for children, Davide Cali and Eric Heliot (France’s leading children’s illustrator).

‘Cali is nothing if not diverse in his choice of subjects to explore. He treats them with keen perception and creativity. Allied with gifted illustrators, his books are always memorable. Highly recommended.’ Magpies

This book comes with a comprehensive set of Teachers’ Notes, which can be downloaded here.

Meet Gianluca Foli, illustrator of “The Bear with the Sword”

Gianluca Foli

Below is an interview with Italian Gianluca Foli, illustrator of our latest children’s picture book, The Bear with the Sword. The interview forms part of extensive teacher’s notes for the book that can be downloaded free from the Wilkins Farago website.

How did you start your career in illustration?

Well … since I was a child! We had a lot of illustrated books at home, some of them were so old I couldn’t even touch them, others were newer and resistant to my little hands. I still carry inside the sensations I felt touching those pages and looking at those beautiful drawings lulled by the voice of my mother. Surely my love for paper and the desire to create fantastic things came out from those moments and never stopped. Maybe my deeper and more important aim, as an illustrator, is being able to become part of the memories of those looking at my drawings.

How is illustrating a children’s book different from your usual work providing illustrations in magazines and newspapers?

Generally, I like everything I do but I love working on children’s books. When I was a child I remember I loved to turn over the pages of Andersen fairy tales, with their magical northern illustrations. We had such a lot of those books in the house, some so old I couldn’t even touch, I’ve got those feelings still alive in me, those colours, my mother voice reading of magical places, sitting by the bed, feeding my dreams.

My love for paper and my desire to create fantastic images were born on those days and I’m truly inspired by knowing that some child in the world could feel the same way by reading my books. Last but not least, books are more free and request more interpretation than a magazine or any advertisement work, they really bring your style to surface, that’s why you have to be confident in what you do.

What art materials and tools did you use to create the illustrations in The Bear with the Sword?

Continue reading