Selfies - Self Published Picture Book reviews

Selfies – more and more, what we once relied on others to do, we now love to attempt ourselves. Book publishing is no exception. The sheer volume of printed (and electronically) produced material out there today is overwhelmingly mind-boggling especially for the discerning parent or caregiver on the hunt for useful literary material to share with children.

Here is a small sample of picture book selfies that came my way. They represent a number of notable similarities; namely, their authors are all driven by an insatiable urge to share their knowledge and past experiences with an audience of children. In most instances, this enthusiasm shows in bucket loads. The topics tackled are often more extreme than themes covered in more mainstream publications reflecting the authors’ culture and life values.

Karen Tyrrell is one such author. Having released two adult memoirs, her attention is now firmly turned to producing books that empower and educate children on a number of mental health issues. Her latest picture book, Harry Helps Grandpa Remember is perhaps the best example of this assertion to date.

More restrained than her previous titles, Harry is written with warmth and genuine understanding. Using child-friendly language, it conveys a young boy’s struggle to retain his special relationship
with his grandfather once he develops the onset of dementia.

Tyrrell playfully weaves in remedies allowing Harry to help improve Grandpa’s memory and thus regain the intimacy they have always shared. By equipping Harry with the power to discover ways to help and implement them himself, readers understand that certain mental health situations may be reversed or at least sufficiently managed to continue living, and enjoying life.

Aaron Pocock’s jolly illustrations bounce with vitality bringing Harry and the characters of his grandparents’ farm to life.

A useful addition to the world of biblio-therapy.

As part of the launch of Karen’s book this month her BlogTour features an exciting Book Giveaway. Check out all the details at the end of this post for your chance to win. 

Can You Keep a Secret by Robin Adolphs and Trevor Salter is more suited to beginner readers. Its high-level repetition is ideal for shared reading with youngsters as young as two years-old as well.

The premise is surprisingly simple; Scram Monster has a secret he is busting to share. However, once he does, the concept of actually keeping a secret is hilariously lost on his monster mates who pass it on and on until finally it circulates back to Scram.

Slater’s’ bold, expressive monster illustrations provide plenty of clues to encourage children to guess the secret before the big reveal. And what is this? Ah, that you’ll have to see for yourself.

As with her previous picture books , Adolphs takes pride in creating story situations that are deceptively simple in appearance but full of lots of lovely ‘extra’ meanings. Funny and smartly paced, each book comes with loads of handy teaching notes and well-conceived free activities too.

Looking forward to her next picture book release, Sylvia's Itch available now.

Butternut Publishing 2014

Although of a slightly different calibre to the former two, Nanna’s Boot Camp, the second 'Nanna' picture book by Vicki Griffin embodies the same self-driven passion to explore cultural diversity and artistic talents and deliver them in a relatable way to young readers.

Nanna’s Boot Camp is an indigenous inspired play on words involving a visit to nanna’s country home by a group of teens. What they encounter and whom they meet there, is set to change their ideas about boot camp, forever. Delivered with sincerity and heart, Nanna's Boot Camp was warmly received by our Australian Children's Laureate, Jackie French.

Not all self-published books for children tick every box in terms of what makes a good book great, but then this is an attribute many commercial mainstream produced titles share as well. You be the judge. As Jackie French points out, hunting down self published titles online permits readers to experience tales they might not otherwise have found in bookshops.

With the succession of selfies and hybrid authors (both) on the rise and the puddle of opportunities for new authors to emerge through traditional means rapidly diminishing, these stories are fast becoming distinguishable chips in the chocolate biscuit that is the world of children’s literature. Devour some if you dare.

Simply leave a comment on any of the tour sites below for a chance to win a signed print copy or one of five E-copies of Harry Helps Grandpa Remember. Six copies in total up for grabs.  Winners announced by Karen, 3rd July.
23 June: Ali Stegert Interview
24 June: Di Bates Buzz Words Review
25 June: Robyn Opie Interview
25 June: Jackie Hosking Review
26 June: Charmaine Clancy Author Platform
29 June: Sally Odgers interview
30 June: Jill Smith Review
30 June: June Perkins Interview

Harry Helps Grandpa Remember   is now on Amazon world-wide as a print Book and as an eBook.
Good Luck.

For another gorgeous and sensitive introduction to the challenges of Alzheimer's Disease in loved ones check out Newspaper Hats by Phil Cummings and Owen Swan, out this month. I'll be featuring this review on Boomerang Books Blog. Not a selfie, but another useful and relevant vehicle with which to expose young readers to life's larger dilemmas.


June Perkins said…
So interesting! and as you say Dimity there is a definite rise in the hybrid author. You certainly review some amazing books published by both traditional and self publishing methods.
DimbutNice said…
This I can't deny June. Many thanks for popping by. I think hybrid author is a new-age term and fantastic leap forward in the world of publishing.
Karen Tyrrell said…
Hi Dimity,
Thanks for reviewing Harry Helps Grandpa Remembers
LOVE your review to bits!
Love June's label as a hybrid author ... and yours as selfie.
I particularly love your ending sentence:
"A useful addition to the world of biblio-therapy".

PS Please leave a comment to win one of #6 copies of Harry.

Karen Tyrrell
DimbutNice said…
My pleasure Karen. Good to get your books out there. :-)
My mother is suffering from this awful illness and this is book will be timely for the younger members of our family.....a valuable help for children to understand what is happening in their families...thanks to Karen and also to Dimity for her review...cheers
Ani Peters said…
Great interview...I love your book Karen. It reads really well and as you know I have a special connection to it having worked in aged care for many, many years and having a family member who suffered from it, I can understand and appreciate the importance of it especially for children....This book will help children understand Alzheimers in an unthreatening way. It is beautifully illustrated by Aaron who is an extremely talented artist and the illustrations have made your book really special and very appealing to children as all the characters and animals come to life on the page. It definitely stands out and is long overdue...Fantastic effort! Ani
DimbutNice said…
I am glad you found this useful and comforting Anne. This is an ailment we see more and more frequently these days Anne. Books like Karen's can only serve to improve everyone's understanding of it, starting with our youngsters.
DimbutNice said…
Thank you Ani. Glad to be able to showcase it for Karen.
Norah said…
Thanks for sharing these books, Dimity. It's always good to know what is out there. :)
Karen Tyrrell said…
Hi Dimity,
I forgot to tell you about my FREE Teacher resources for Harry Helps Grandpa Remember.

Harry has a set of downloadable puppets, dot-to-dots, sequencing activities, cut & paste, teacher notes and various thinking skill challenges.
Download here ... Cheers, Karen Tyrrell (teacher)
DimbutNice said…
No thanks needed Norah. :) Good to see you pop on by. :-)
Yanting Gueh said…
Love the sound of these stories, whether they are traditionally published or self-published doesn't matter. A good story is a good story.
DimbutNice said…
That's the spirit precisely Claudine. :-D

Popular posts from this blog

Discussions on Diaspora: A personal insight

Happy Release Day! This Is My Dad

After Yasi Blog Tour - Finding the Smile with June Perkins