Monday, 21 December 2015

Book set where I live????

I doubt there is a book set precisely in the suburb where I live but there are books set in the state so that will have to do Vanessa.
Do you know Colin Thiele? He's the most obvious choice. Colin was an amazing man. He was a friend of the Senior Cat. They knew one another from the time they went to teacher training college together. 
And Colin wrote books. The three best known books for children were "Sun on the Stubble" a poignant and funny semi-autobiographical episodic  book of growing up in the Barossa Valley in the period between the two world wars. It is a reflection of rural life with a strong Germanic influence - so common in that part of the world.
Then there was February Dragon - bushfires are all too common here and that dragon is merely sleeping. And then there was Storm Boy - barely long enough to be considered a novel but a brilliant piece of writing about the Coorong, about loneliness, about the environment and so much more. Find them for yourselves if you can and read them.
Colin was very generous about giving children time. I once took a small group of children to meet him. By then he was principal of a teacher training college himself. His arthritis was so bad that he was having difficulty getting around so we went to him. He had taken the trouble to organise very grown up tea and biscuits and he patiently answered all their many questions. They talked about it for months afterwards - and years later I saw one of the children, now very much an adult, and he said, "Remember when we went to see Mr Thiele...?"
He did a great deal for children's literature in this state.
And there is another book very worthy of mention that I found out about through his recommendation, "Always Bells (Life with Ali)" by Winifred Stegar. It is an autobiography of a woman who, in the early part of last century, married an Afghan cameleer who lived in the far north of the state. He was a Muslim. She was a Christian. It was a stormy and often difficult marriage. They made a trip to Mecca with their children at a time when it was nothing like it is now. They lived in appalling conditions. 
After he died "Winnie the Washerwoman" wrote a regular column for a rural newspaper. Some of it and some of her recollections may be less than accurate but the book is still fascinating. If you can find a copy (and it is, sadly, out of print) I recommend it too.
But, apart from that, I am sure you can find plenty of Downunder literature for yourselves. 

No comments: