Fast Five with Ursula Dubosarsky

There are some wonderful authors and illustrators for children who are coming to Auckland in August as part of the 2016 IBBY Congress. You can read all about who we are excited to meet in our post about the IBBY Congress here on the blog. We approached some of the speakers and asked them a few questions about books and libraries.

Today’s featured speaker is Australian author Ursula Dubosarsky:

What are you most looking forward to when you visit New Zealand for the 2016 IBBY Congress?

Spending time with book lovers, readers, writers, listening to the presentations in all their glittering variety!  – and catching up with old friends especially.

What is your favourite memory of libraries?

The local library always felt to me like another room in my home – as I child I felt it was a place I belonged, without question. Just walking into the library made me feel excited, thinking of all the things inside that I would soon be able to take off the shelf to take home and read.

What are 5 of your favourite books?

Cover of An episode of sparrowsAn Episode of Sparrows by Rumer Godden (children’s novel)

Come by Chance by Madeleine Winch (picture book)

Washington Square by Henry James (adult novel)

Horizon by Patrick Modiano (adult novel)

Quartet in Autumn by Barbara Pym (adult novel)

What do you love most about the world of children’s literature?

Too hard a question! I can’t extricate the world of children’s literature from my personality…

What do you believe is the most important thing that adults can do to encourage children to read?

Well to be perfectly honest I would say TAKE THEM TO THE LIBRARY. That’s how a child will become a reader. No child is going to become a reader by being given a book as a present from time to time – they will become a reader by massive exposure to all kinds of books, which is only possible really in a library. Go into the library every week, let the child pick three or four books themselves, then you pick a few too. Then take them home and READ them. Some the child will like, some they won’t like. That’s the whole idea – by reading and loving or reading and discarding a wide variety of books they will develop their own taste, a sense of judgement, a knowledge of what books can do. I am a total public library FREAK, frankly. (!)


Music finds a way … The Piano to open this weekend

This coming Sunday there is a special event happening in Christchurch city with The Piano Centre for Music and the Arts opening its doors in Armagh Street. The new facility looks great and it houses some brilliant performance spaces, teaching suites and rehearsal rooms. Here’s the calendar of upcoming events. It will be the main venue for the upcoming WORD Christchurch Writers and Readers Festival.

The reopening is to feature a legend of New Zealand and Christchurch jazz, Mr Doug Caldwell. At 88 years of age & 70+ years of playing and exploring jazz piano, he’s a true master of the craft. As a fixture of the local music scene for so long, it’s fitting that he should be the one featured to reopen this new music centre, performing in the 340-seat Concert Hall on Sunday afternoon. Read Charlie Gates’ article in The Press: Christchurch jazz legend Doug Caldwell first to play new Piano music centre.

It’s not often recognised but New Zealand and Australia has a jazz history that runs as deep & as filled with quality that it rivals the American traditions. There are some truly great jazz musicians from our region and they deserve celebration, from the Australian greats; Graeme Bell, Don Burrows and James Morrison – all masters of their particular eras, to Kiwis Mike Nock, Roger Manins and Christchurch’s own Doug Caldwell.

Christchurch City Libraries holds a swathe of resources around the topic of New Zealand jazz. There are booklists on the subject, including sheet music from jazz composers from across NZ – a Kiwi version of the ever-present jazz “Real Book“. There’s also listening lists featuring contemporary artists as well as the more traditional, vocal & instrumental, PLUS a host of resources available for in-library use through our Aotearoa New Zealand Collection (ANZC)

I myself am a keen fan of jazz having studied and played in Tasmania before relocating to Christchurch and connecting with some of the local talent here, with whom I continue my explorations, utilising many of these resources to enrich my experiences and hopefully champion what I know to be a strong seam of cultural history worth celebrating and sharing.

Get along to see the concert & then get busy with your library card & see what else we’ve got – it’s a lot!

Black Swans on the Estuary, October 2011: Picturing Canterbury

Black swans on the Estuary October 2011 .
Swans and other birds on the South Brighton Estuary. Photo taken 12 October 2011 by Donna Robertson. File Ref: Black_swans_on_the_Estuary__12_October_2011_325.jpg , Kete Christchurch, CC BY-NC-SA 3.00

In August 1864 the City Council’s Committee on Swans decided to import black swans to help control watercress in the Avon/Otakaro River. However the swans preferred a different habitat and soon left for other areas.

Kete Christchurch is a collection of photographs and stories about Christchurch and Canterbury, past and present. Anyone can join and contribute.