Monday, December 19, 2011

On the Radio

As most of you will know, 2012 is the National Year of Reading. Paula Kelly (State Library of Victoria), Kujla Coulstan (On the Grapevine) and I are aiming to record a series of up to twelve radio podcasts with 3RRR over 2012 celebrating children’s books. We are planning to launch the program as a live radio show on 3RRR with Tony Wilson (and special guest/s) on Feb 16th from 7-8pm.

For the following monthly podcasts, our rough idea at this stage is to have a 45 min show where we have guest speakers from all aspects of the children’s book industry joining us and perhaps look at covering a particular theme, topic or event in each session. We also hope to have a segment on each show tracking the progress of our Australian Children's Laureates; Boori Monty Pyror and Alison Lester, as they travel around Australia.

So, while we are still at the planning and brainstorming stage, I would love to hear from anyone who is into kids books (keeping in mind that this also encompasses YA, graphic novels, comics etc) to see what it is that would make YOU tune into the show.

Here is a small list of questions I have put together but feel free to provide any suggestions - I am grateful for everything at this stage. Keep in mind that this is a radio program about kids books, but for an adult audience.

- What topics would you like covered?
(Here are some suggestions: Genre Fiction, Picture Books, Graphic Novels, Censorship, Humour, Kids Choice VS CBCA, Boys Books & Girls Books, Should My Child Be Reading Twilight, Classic Children’s Books, Books For Struggling Readers, Crossover Fiction, Local Books, Books To Film, New Books, New Authors/Illustrators, Events & Workshops...)

- Which Authors/Illustrators would you LOVE to hear on the show?
(Give me your Top Five if you like - including a couple of realistically obtainable ones. Not saying that we can’t try!)

- Would you rather a local or global perspective?
(Are you interested in books and authors publishing here as well as overseas or are you mainly interested in the Melbourne Scene?)

- Big Names or Next Big Thing?
(Would you be more interested to hear from established authors or exciting new talent?)

Any ideas for a snappy title for our show?

Other suggestions?

Thanks so much!



  1. Here's a little idea in the event that your program will have music breaks in between guests or whatever. How about playing music performed and recorded by primary (actually even secondary) school students, like they do at Merri Creek Primary or Uni High? I'll admit I'm somewhat biased in suggesting those two schools given that I've got kids in both, but I assume there would be plenty of other school with strong music programs. I'll admit also this idea is not directly related to children's literature, but if you let it be known that your show will feature music from a different school each week, then you just might get a bigger following given the likelihood of having the featured school's teachers, parents and kids tuning in to your program. It might be a way of creating a buzz apart from advertising which authors of children's books are going to be on the show. And when I think about it, 7-8pm is not too late for school kids, and it just might help to keep them away from TV or computer games for at least one night of the week! Hope this idea is of some help. Wishing you all the best with the show; I'll certainly be listening.

  2. Hi Anonymous - great idea about the music. I'll run it past the gang.

  3. Hi Sally,
    One of the things I struggled with as a Teacher Librarian in a primary school was convincing parents that picture books were suitable for children even once they could read. There were many parents who seemed equate picture books with 'baby books' and wanted their children to stop reading them and get on to chapter books. It often felt like just another form of competition for parents. I'd love to see you three discuss the importance of picture books for ALL ages.

    It would also be great to hear some discussion on what makes a 'good' picture book. There are many mediocre and poor books out there. Some tips for people buying books would be fantastic.
    The series should be great, looking forward to tuning in. =)
    Have a safe and happy Xmas!

  4. Thanks Catherine, this is great advice. I'll certainly make sure picture books get lots of coverage.
    Merry Christmas to you too.
    Best wishes,

  5. Hi Sally,

    The radio show sounds wonderful and the ideas above sound good. I hope I can tune in from Adelaide. I have two primary school aged book addicts, so I'm keen to find out about new books.

    I would also love a show on sharing books we loved with our children. I have started sharing books by Joan Aiken, Noel Streatfeild, K.M.Peyton, and one off books like 'Charlotte Sometimes' with my children which has mainly been a good experience, with the exception of 'The little white horse' which I loved, but so far has not been a hit. There is a bit of a British theme in that list, but I'm sure I loved books from North America and Australia, maybe there were just less children's books published and easily available from those regions then.

    I'll look forward to listening - maybe to a podcast if they are available?



  6. Thanks Helen,
    Sharing books from our own childhoods is a great idea. I loved Joan Aiken as a child - especially her short stories. I was thinking I might ask our guest speakers to do the same.
    After the first session, which will be live, the rest will be podcasts - so yes, you can listen from anywhere in the world!
    Best wishes,

  7. Hi,
    Authors I would love to hear interviewed are: Wendy Orr (fits into Book to Film for Nim's Island); Anna Branford (Violet Mackerel series); Jaclyn Moriarty (Ashbury High series); Sonya Hartnett and Catherine Jinks.
    I'd love a show on fabulous female heroines (the above authors would also fit into that category!) Also, a program on verse novels would be interesting - Lorraine Marwood and Margaret Wild (I just love Jinx)are my favourites.
    The program is a great idea and thank you for inviting feedback and suggestions.
    By the way, our family has just discovered your Billie B Brown books and my daughters and I read three in a row this afternoon. It was great fun. My daughters loved them and they very closely identified with many of the situations! So well observed!

  8. Hi Jill,
    Thanks so much for those great suggestions and I'm thrilled to hear your daughters are enjoying the Billie B Brown series.

  9. All my kids (3, 5 and 8) love Elizabeth Honey and we adults enjoy reading her stuff aloud. She might be a good interview. And Sean Tan - especially as his picture books are for all ages.

    I too would love to hear readings from older books that people may be starting to forget: Wolves of Willoughby Chase, Tuck Everlasting, The Mennyms, The Borrowers, Moominland etc.

    As for where a book or author comes from, I really don't care. All that matters to me is that the books talked about are excellent!

  10. Thanks Alison - I'm meeting up with the crew tomorrow so have a great list of suggestions to bring along!