Books Illustrated – Stories About Stories – To the Bridge

The first time I ever visited Books Illustrated, at Gasworks Art Park back then, and met Ann Haddon and Ann James, it was on a morning excursion as part of my Diploma of Arts – Professional Writing and Editing Course at Box Hill TAFE.

On that day I marveled at the array of books for children, at the line up of original artwork on display and the knowledge of the industry shared by both the Anns.

I also purchased a book for each of my children – so precious still. For my daughter Briana, Drac and the Gremlin, created by the wonderful duo, writer, Allan Baillie and illustrator Jane Tanner, and My Dearest Dinosaur, written and illustrated by the brilliant partnership of Margaret Wild and Donna Rawlins for my son Wade. Roll on many years and I had the pleasure of working with Donna Rawlins, as Artistic Director, on the second Myer Windows book, One Christmas Eve, illustrated by Marjorie Crosby-Fairall, published in 2016. I will always be in awe of these wonderful creators and their talent.

On the inside cover of My Dearest Dinosaur, it shows what happened later on that day (see below) – so we all ended up at Box Hill Hospital where our son Wade had his first hospital visit and operation.

I will always admire as well, the Anns, who go on providing a haven and special place for authors and illustrators to visit, to drink in and to dream.

As the years rolled on I visited Books Illustrated many times, once for a talk about my first picture book, Queenie One Elephant’s Story, Illustrated by Peter Gouldthorpe. At the time the Anns presented me with the wobbling elephant below, to add to my elephant collection.

The three Anns – from left – illustrator Anne Ryan, Ann James and Ann Haddon.

Another day, I think for a book festival, I read The Dog on the Tuckerbox (also illustrated by Peter) to a literary gathering and was followed by a beautiful Italian girl reading the book in Italian. It was such a thrill to listen to my words translated into such a musical language. That’s still one of my career highlights and would never have happened if the Anns had not thought of it.

Roll on a few years, and Books Illustrated has a new home and also recently launched their new website:

It’s beautiful and has so many places to find treasures and secret things, all celebrating books, words and pictures.

Today in Stories about Stories on the Inspiration page, they are posting the story of the background of To the Bridge, illustrated by Andrew McLean and published by Walker Books Australia. As it has turned out, To the Bridge is the final book published by the imprint of Black Dog Books and will always be close to my heart. For this I particularly want to thank, Maryann Ballantyne, Beryl Ferrier, Julie Oliveri and of course, Andrew.

Here’s the link – enjoy.

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