Thursday, 2 March 2017

Feature author - Libby Hathorn

The Anzac Stories: Behind the Pages exhibition has many fabulous Australian and New Zealand authors and illustrators in it. Go to Authors/Illustrators/Books to see the full list.

This week's feature author, Libby Hathorn, has just had her book 'A Soldier, A Dog and a Boy' long-listed for the 2017 Children's Book Council (CBCA) Picture Book of the Year Award.  That means it is a Notable Book for this year and here's hoping it might even go further ... Several other authors in the exhibition have been shortlisted too, including: Pamela Rushby children's war book called 'Lizzie and Margaret Rose', Dianne Wolfer's book 'The Shark Caller', Anna Pignataro's book 'Agatha and the Dark', and Claire Saxby's book 'Wild Pa'.

'A Soldier, a Dog and a Boy' is a moving story about a young Australian soldier in the battle of the Somme. While walking through the fields away from the front, he finds what he thinks is a stray do, and decides to adopt it as a mascot for his company. Then he meets Jacques, the homeless orphan boy who owns the dog. The soldier realises that Jacques needs the dog more - and perhaps needs his help as well.' 

Phil Lesnie's stunning illustrations are also shortlisted in the CBCA Book of the Year Awards. 

Libby was inspired by a WWI photograph, from the collections of the State Library of NSW, of a returned Australian soldier opening a sack revealing a young orphaned French boy who was smuggled out of France. Her Uncles experiences in Gallipoli and the Battle of the Somme also shaped the story, as well as months of research at museums in Australia and France.

Libby has also written another children's war book called 'A Boy Like Me: A story about peace' illustrated by Bruce Whatley. Libby was inspired for this work by a poem about peace by WB Yeats and in turn Bruce, as artist, was inspired to use his left hand to get what he believes is a simpler and more emotional response to the text. See for yourself.

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