Recently I spoke to a group of secondary English teachers, showing them my latest favourite YA reads. I could not resist including a small selection of picture books that I think should be stocked in secondary libraries.
Swan Lake by Anne Spudvilas
This gorgeous picture book is illustrated by the talented Anne Spudvilas. The story is retold in three acts, with the verbal text taking up only three pages of the book. The remainder of the book is wordless, with full page illustrations.
Say Yes by Jennifer Castles and Paul Seden
Another publication from Allen & Unwin, Say Yes is about two close friends in the 1960s. They are unable to do things together in public as one of the girls is Aboriginal, but with the upcoming vote to change the constitution, things will hopefully change. Based on a true friendship, the illustrations include archival documents, photos and other information from this period of our history.
It is available from Allen & Unwin for $29.99.
Drawn Onward by Meg McKinlay and Andrew Frazer
Drawn Onward is a book of hope and positivity. Small in size, it is a perfect gift for a teenager. It shows how a bleak, depressed situation can be brightened with a change of attitude and a friend. The verbal text is written backwards in the second half of the book, reversing the mood. The visual text is brighter and more positive.
Don’t Cross the Line by Isabel Minhós Martins and Bernardo P. Carvalho
This metafictional picture book is the story of a general giving his guard strict instructions not to let anyone cross to the right hand page of the book. A crowd gathers, all on the left hand page, and a ball bounces to the right hand side. When a child asks to fetch it, others also ask if they can cross. The guard allows it and is threatened by the general, but his massed supporters have other ideas.
The book is available from Gecko Press’ online store.
The Pink Hat by Andrew Joyner
This is my rave picture book at the moment, I love it! With brilliant use of colour, direction and line, the life of a pink hat moves from owner to owner until a young girl takes it home, cleans it, and puts it to good use. She and her pink hat join other women for the International Women’s March, with lots of other pink hats. I not only enjoyed sharing this with the group, but also with my book club ladies.
Ruben by Bruce Whatley
Ruben is a large format picture book for older readers set in a dystopian place and time. Living by himself, the young boy ventures into the Block City where he must stay hidden. Here he finds another child like himself, a girl living in hiding. A beautifully written and illustrated picture book, Ruben requires close visual reading, it is amazing.
Ruben is published by Scholastic.
The Mediterranean by Armin Greder
The Mediterranean is a confronting and haunting visual narrative of the plight of refugees in the Mediterranean, and in fact, world wide. Told entirely in double page spread visuals, except for a short poem at the beginning, this is definitely one for the upper primary and secondary library.
The Mediterranean is published by Allen & Unwin and is available for $29.99.