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An award winning poetic celebration and exploration of nature, people and imagination in Far North Queensland.
Encourages children and families everywhere to hunt for their own nature-based or urban poems.
“Luminous and jubilant, Magic Fish Dreaming explores an imaginative world of rainforest and cassowary, the flicker of geckos and the roll of quolls. Whimsical poems and exquisite images invite readers to venture into vibrant, magical places, rich with stories and legends.
Like the work of Michael Rosen and Shirley Hughes, images and words combine to evoke the textures and spirit of landscapes. Here, though, it is a vibrant Australian world readers discover, one alive with the colour and energy of nature and many cultures.”
Felicity Plunkett, Poet and Poetry Editor for University of Queensland Press
17 poems, 48 pages in total, title index, 2 sections, 210mm X 284mm, extensive educational notes and suggested activities available.
Suitable for reading with children all ages and for readers six and up. A treasured book to grow up with and revisit!
Royal Dragonfly Award Winner, Second in Environment, Children’s Poetry, Picture Book for 6 and Over, Book Trailer and Honorable Mention for Cultural Diversity.
Please note Dreaming in the title is based on a poem in the book where the phrase ‘magic fish dreaming,’ is said and not in the context of Australian Indigenous Dreamtime. The author’s cultural background is second generation migrant of Bush Mekeo (PNG Indigenous) and Australian /English.)
(c) Hélène Magisson: This artwork summarises the whole message of Sarah’s Two Nativities ‘Because family together in peace is the greatest blessing of all’.
Interview by June Perkins.
Today the Magic Fish Dreaming blog welcomes back Hélène Magisson, for a delightful interview about her latest illustration work for Janine Fraser’s text Sarah’s Two Nativities.
Illustrator: Hélène Magisson began her artistic career as a painting restorer in Paris, where she was also trained in the art of medieval illumination. She has lived all over the world, including Africa, France and India. She loves to discover other cultures through their arts and customs. She now calls Australia home and has begun a new career of illustrating picture books, some of which have been CBCA Notables. Sarah’s Two Nativities (written by Janine M Fraser) is her first book with Black Dog Books.
1.Hélène began our interview by explaining the significance of the book.
The book, beautifully written by Janine Fraser, has a strong multicultural message that I immediately loved. For me, the story is a bridge between Muslims and Christians, and more globally an interfaith dialogue and bridge builder between diverse communities. It is all about peace and harmony. A beautiful and needed message.
2. Helene, as an illustrator are you often involved in the launch of books you have worked on for other authors?
I have always tried my best to be involved in the launches of the books I have illustrated. It is always a wonderful opportunity to meet the author and celebrate the result of a long and demanding collaboration.
3.Why are you involved in organising this launch?
There are two reasons why I am very much involved in this launch.
The first is that I am strongly, deeply committed to the message of Sarah’s Two Nativities, and I would love this launch to be an opportunity for people from diverse cultural backgrounds and faiths to get together.
The second reason is the opportunity to meet Janine Fraser, the author, for the first time, as I am very much looking forward to hearing in person all about how she came to write this beautiful story, and how she developed it.
Janine M Fraser lives on Phillip Island in Victoria for most of the year, and three months of the year in Manhattan, New York. She loves books, writing and travel and looks for stories wherever she goes. Her previous books have been short-listed for the CBCA awards, the NSW Premier’s Award and the WA Premier’s Award. Janine is also a published poet. Sarah’s Two Nativities is her first book with Black Dog Books.
4.What will be happening? What are you planning?
For the book launch, there will be book reading, book signing by both the author and the illustrator, but what will make this book launch also a bit special, is that we are planning to bring to the event a sense of both cultures.
There will be an Oud performance by Azadeh Shamee, a guitar performance by Marie Baguelin as well, cupcakes and koftas.
5.Can you tell us about the exhibition? Give us details of the launch and how people can RSVP
The book is launching September 21st 2pm, at Where the Wild Things are. People can RSVP directly to the bookshop. BOOK LAUNCH RSVP LINK
There will be an exhibition in Philip Island from December to late January including the different versions of the text as the story developed and all the original illustrations of the book with some ‘behind the scene’ illustrations as well.
And in the meantime there will be an exhibition at Richard Randall Studio in Brisbane organised by Book Links from 8-13 October (official launch on 9 October) with some illustrations from Lucia Masciullo and Paul O’Sullivan as well.
There will be some originals from Sarah’s Two Nativities and some artworks from my other new picture book Little Puggle’s Song written by Vikki Conley.
More on this later, stay tuned and save the date.
6.What were your inspirations when working on the illustrations?
I have a Christian background and I realised that unfortunately I didn’t know much about the Nativity, and the place of Mary and Jesus in the Koran. So, I listened and read many speeches from historians and religious representatives from both sides. It was fascinating and absolutely necessary.
I tried to be inside Sarah’s heart, loving her two grandmothers, being the one child of two different faiths. And from there, I could ‘hear’ the story of the Nativity from the Koran and the Bible perspectives and they are both absolutely beautiful.
Also, we have been working very cautiously with my publisher and art director Donna Rawlins from Black Dog Books (imprint of Walker Books) to make sure that both religions were well represented.
We decided not to illustrate the Nativity itself but instead, we chose to show, in the simplest way, Sarah imagining from a distance, the place where this incredible story happened.
And for sure, travelling and living in different countries, meeting people and having friends from different faiths and cultures helped me really deeply.
7. Who do you think this book will appeal to?
I hope it will appeal to many people from diverse backgrounds. I believe Muslims and Christians can be interested in this book, but more than that, all people who are committed to interfaith dialogue and multiculturalism in general. There are always bridges to build between us and this book is one of them thanks to Janine Fraser.
8. Publication details of book and cost
Sarah loves her two grandmas – Grandmother Azar and Grandmother Maria. Grandmother Azar tells Sarah stories from the Holy Koran, while Grandmother Maria tells her stories from the Bible. At Christmas time, Sarah snuggles in each of her grandmothers’ laps and listens to two nativities stories about the birth of baby Jesus. They are the same in some ways, and different in others … but both can be Sarah’s favourite. Visit Walker Books
ISBN: 9781925381795 Imprint: Black Dog Books Distributor: Walker Australia-HEDS Binding: Hardback Release Date: September 1, 2019 Dimensions: 245 x 270mm, 32pp Australian RRP: $26.99 New Zealand RRP: $28.99
June: Thanks so much for this wonderful sharing Hélène and wishing you the very best for the launch.
Listed above are titles of works accepted to two wonderful new anthologies for children aged 6-12 years.
Both are due for release in October 2019.
Amongst these selections are two poems, a meditation and two short stories.
My first comissioned short story for a magazine will be out in September too, but more details on that when it’s released!
Last year Share Your Story accepted my first ever published short story for children to It’s Beginning to Look a Lot like Christmas and I had a short story for middle grade short listed by Scribbles. What a wonderful encouragement, and it turns out a sign of things to come, those two breakthroughs were. Thank you to Michelle Worthington, of Share Your Story, and Jen Storer of Scribbles for all the work you do mentoring other writers.
I am delighted to have been developing my short story writing craft and finding homes for my work outside of my own independent publishing press.
And in other news the first draft of my first novel will be completed this week. I have been working in a Share Your Story mentorship for the last 6 months to fulfil this long cherished goal!
I am currently working on a poetry chapbook, Illuminations, for release in November this year. This ones for teenagers and grown ups and two wonderfully talented sisters, Ruha and Minaira Fifita, are creating art to be included with the poems and one story. I am working with the same designer as for Magic Fish Dreaming, Heidi Den Ronden. Many of my writing friends from Write Links as well as Baha’i poets have beta read Illuminations and I am so grateful for their invaluable feedback.
My dear friend Helene Magisson, illustrator of Magic Fish Dreaming, has a number of wonderful new children’s books out and I will update you on those soon in a post.
We still meet regularlly for catch ups, and will forever remain friends. She is truly like a sister, and an especially creative person whose friendship I treasure.
One day we would dearly love to do a follow up book to Magic Fish Dreaming if we get the opportunity.
I’ll share details of any launches here and on my social media sites.
Best wishes to all, better get back to writing!
If you want to find out more about Share Your Story and Scribbles here are the links!
It was a great honour and enormous fun to facilitate poetry workshops for vibrant young people, at the ALEA, Meanjin at Griffith University, Mount Gravatt, on July the 4th 2019.
The participants varied in their experience and love of poetry, but many had learnt or attempted something new with poetry by the end of the workshops.
The day began with a welcome to country, acknowledgment, from Gregg Dreise. He invites audience participation in his welcomes and keeps everyone on their toes in an engaging way.
This was followed by a key note presentation from Morris Gleitzman, talking about the discovery of the ‘secret of writing’ through reading first lines in the library. I won’t tell you this secret, in case you get a chance to hear Morris speak on it, and be captivated by this mystery. You might find you already know it.
The 42nd ALEA Meanjin – Brisbane area – Australian Literacy Educators’ Association Young Writers’ Festival (for students from Years 5 to 10) is being held on Thursday 4 July at Griffith University Mt Gravatt Campus.
Featuring a Keynote from Morris Gleitzman and four workshops with a wonderful line up of authors, poets and illustrators – Candice Lemon-Scott; Gregg Dreise; June Perkins and Katrin Dreiling.
There is a poetry style, purpose and genre to suit EVERYONE.
This workshop looks at community building through poetry, and how to renew, enjoy and discover not only the poems of others but the poems within you, as well as introducing you to poems you can compose with others.
This workshop is for grown ups, but should give plenty of ideas to work with children to develop a life long relationship with the powers of poetry.