Once upon a time: a short history of fairy tale

Nicola Weideling, Marketing Operations Manager, reviews Once Upon a Time: A short history of fairy tale by Marina Warner

9780198718659Fairy tales are woven into the fabric of our childhood. Either being read to us or reading them to ourselves, the stories enchant us as children and stay with us as adults. Little Red Riding Hood, the dog with eyes as big as saucers, Baba Yaga, Ali Baba, Prince Charming – all instantly recognizable characters.

In Once Upon a Time, Warner covers the origin of the fairy tale, how the stories were shaped over the years and why, and what they represent today. Writing thematically rather than chronologically, Warner uses popular characters, motifs and plot devices from fairy tales to explore their social, cultural and political influence, as well as the changing linguistic, psychoanalytic and feminist interpretations over the years. Each of the ten chapters can stand alone as a short essay, which makes it a great book to dip in and out of.

As well as covering the well-known Grimm, Anderson and Perrault collections, Warner also introduces us to lesser-known fairy tale ‘collectors’ and eastern fairy tales, not just tales from the western canon. What I found particularly interesting in Once Upon a Time was Warner’s chapter covering the emphasis on the oral tradition within fairy tales. She highlights the importance of speech and rhyme and the power of words in fairy tales: words open doors, reveal true princes, cast spells, break spells.

Fairy tales can be subverted, they aren’t static. They are reinvented and reinterpreted to suit the collectors’ views e.g. Grimm changed mothers to stepmothers, when interpreting the folk stories, believing that mothers should not be portrayed harming their children. The Victorians made them overtly moral and removed the sexual overtones. Modern authors, who want to tell them from a different ‘angle’, to give the victims a voice, have also reclaimed fairy tales. One of my favourite examples of this approach is Angela Carter’s The Bloody Chamber.

Even if we no longer believe in fairies, the fairy tale tropes are used time and time again in our modern films and novels; as Warner tells us, we still need the ‘heroic optimism’. Fairy tales continue to inspire: Disney’s endless production of animated films e.g. ‘The Little Mermaid’, ‘Frozen’, ‘Snow White’ and ‘Beauty and the Beast’; Phillip Pullman recently published retelling of 50 Grimm tales and Jack Zipes’ new translation of the original Grimm tales which puts the ‘blood and horror’ back into them.

Erudite, well-researched, and the distillation of years of research into a handy little book, this is a fascinating read and I love the decision to print as a small hardback, it feels like a storybook! General readers with a love of fairy tales, as well as students of English literature and literary studies will enjoy this. And I guarantee that you will be inspired to go back to read their favourite fairy tales from childhood – I know I have been!

Marina WarnerMarina Warner is a writer, historian, cultural critic, and novelist; Fellow of All Souls College, Oxford

Using design to engage readers of different ages

Book design is more than just putting text and image together on a page. Many people don’t realise it, but HOW text and images are put together are just as important as the content of the text and image by itself. A reader engages with content that is presented through a combination of fonts, colour palettes, visual balance and spatial balance. When designed with careful consideration these elements facilitate ease in reading and generate the desired emotional response. If not, the content becomes dry and tedious to its audience.

A designer therefore has to think about how each spread works as a whole — are all the elements (photographs, illustrations, text, page numbers), visually balanced? Are the colours appropriate for the content? Are the font sizes and text layout appropriate for the age group the book is aimed at?

OUPANZ designers follow a set of design ‘rules’ and approaches when designing for a specific audience to ensure that they achieve an engaging design that accurately conveys the information in a reading level appropriate context. The following examples, taken from Oxford books, are all literacy texts which helps to demonstrate how one topic is conveyed differently to engage readers of different ages.

Designing for primary education students

Oxford Literacy - page sample

Designing for Primary school students – spread from Who Eats Who, Oxford Literacy Independent

  1. The overall design is visually rich to encourage learning. Specially commissioned illustrations are often in full colour and take up most of space on the spreads. Coloured photographs may also be used in conjunction with illustrations.
  2. The images tell the story as much as the words so have to be not just engaging but relevant. Word count is set according to the level of the reader.
  3. Images appear close to the text it refers to as early readers often need visual context cues if they are learning a new word.
  4. Fonts contain “infant characters”. This makes words more legible and readable.

 Designing for secondary education students


Designing for Year 10 VCE students – spread from Oxford Year 10 English

  1. The overall design is still visually rich but images are more conceptual and less literal. In the example above, a full-colour collage of type and photographs have been used to convey a literary feel.
  2. In terms of typography, the font choices for the headings are playful but highly legible at the same time. Font sizes vary according to the hierarchy of information — more important pieces of information are set in larger text.
  3. Some pieces of text are also set in different colours to call more attention to them.
  4. Colours are well-considered, not only to engage the reader but to aid navigation — chapter 1 is predominantly set in purple with other chapters set in different, but similar, cool hues (blues, greens, etc.). Definition boxes are set in orange throughout the book to complement the cool palette and to make the information contained in the definition boxes stand out.

 Designing for higher education students

HIgher ed_sample_call-outs

Designing for first year university students studying primary teaching – spread from Literacy, 5th edition

  1. The design has minimal embellishments and a restricted colour palette to accommodate the large amounts of text. The orange scribbles/doodles reflect elements from the front cover.
  2. The text is set in three colours — orange, blue and black — to be visually engaging and act as a ‘key’ to the differing hierarchy of information.
  3. Fonts with softer corners and strokes are used to reference the elements of literacy — reading, writing, speaking.
  4. Wide margins are used throughout the text to give the reader’s eyes enough rest between pages and to balance out the dense text.

As you can see, there is a lot to think about when creating book designs!

Is there a book that has engaged you through its design elements? We would love to hear about it.

 Regine Abos works as a Senior Concept Designer at Oxford University Press Australia and New Zealand.

Gift guide for lovers of food and language

You have the kids covered for Christmas, but what about the adults?!

‘Tis the season for gift guides, so we have selected a variety of titles to help you buy for all of the foodies, history buffs, language lovers and word nerds in your life. Books make the best gifts so take advantage of our special offer for Christmas below.

Oxford Companion to Food, foodies, quizThe Oxford Companion to Food
An international bestseller this Companion combines an exhaustive catalogue of foods, be they biscuits named after battles, divas or revolutionaries; body parts (from nose to tail, toe to cerebellum); or breads from the steppes of Asia or the well-built ovens of the Mediterranean; with a richly allusive commentary on the culture of food, expressed in literature and cookery books, or as dishes peculiar to a country or community.

LAU_FURPHIES_CoverFurphies and Whizz-bangs: Anzac Slang from the Great War
This book tells the story of the First World War through an examination of the slang used by Australian soldiers. Drawing on a range of primary source material taken from soldiers’ letters, diaries and trench publications, along with contemporary newspapers and books, the language of the Australian soldiers is brought to life. It tells us of the everyday grumblings of the soldiers, the horrors of the battlefield, and the humour they used as they tried to endure the war.

9780199668700Oxford Dictionary of Quotations
This dictionary is a vast treasury of wit and wisdom spanning the centuries and providing the ultimate answer to the question, ‘Who said that?’ Find that half-remembered line in a browser’s paradise of over 20,000 quotations, comprehensively indexed for ready reference. Lord Byron may have taken the view: ‘I think it great affectation not to quote oneself’, but for the less self-centred the Oxford Dictionary of Quotations provides a quote for every occasion from the greatest minds of history and from undistinguished characters known only for one happy line.

9780198718659Once Upon a Time: A Short History of Fairy Tale
Marina Warner explores a multitude of fairy tales through the ages and their different manifestations on the page, the stage, and the screen. From the phenomenal rise of Victorian and Edwardian literature to contemporary children’s stories, Warner unfolds a glittering array of examples, from classics such as Red Riding Hood, Cinderella, and The Sleeping Beauty, the Grimm Brothers’ Hansel and Gretel, and Hans Andersen’s The Little Mermaid, to modern-day realisations including Walt Disney’s Snow White and gothic interpretations such as Pan’s Labyrinth.

9780199680474Words in Time and Place: Exploring Language Through the Historical Thesaurus of the Oxford English Dictionary
Did you know that the English language has over 150 words for the adjective ‘drunk’ developed over 1,000 years? Be prepared to learn words you have never heard before, find out fascinating facts behind everyday words, and be surprised at how lively and varied the English language can be. Written by the world’s leading expert on the English language, David Crystal, the book carries his trademark style of engaging yet authoritative writing.

9780199683635Little Oxford Dictionary of Word Origins
Did you know that coconut derives from the Spanish and Portuguese coco for ‘grinning face’? Or that giraffes used to be called camelopards? Or that walrus has its origin in Dutch, meaning ‘whale horse’. The Little Oxford Dictionary of Word Origins includes 1,000 word histories arranged across 100 wide-ranging themes, from food to phobias, from the universe to love. Featuring words with interesting or surprising origins, it is an irresistible collection of word histories, including dates of origin and an authoritative account of each word’s derivation.

Special offer for Christmas:
20% off and free delivery*
Discount code: xmas20
To take advantage of this special offer, visit the Oxford University Press website and enter the discount code xmas20 at the checkout.


*Online offer only available to Australian customers. New Zealand customers free call 0800 442 502 or email cs.au@oup.com to receive the same discount on the NZ price. Offer only on selected titles above. The discount cannot be combined with any other offers. Offer expires 31st December 2014.

Using Social Media and Smart Devices Effectively in the Classroom

students workingHow can you use digital technology to bring course material to life in the classroom? Thomas Healy, co-author of Smart Choice Second Edition, shares his ideas on the subject.

It’s an old joke that although the Internet is one of the most important inventions since the wheel, most people just use it to look at pictures of puppies. Certainly, I believed that people, especially younger people, wasted a lot of time on the Internet and on their smart devices. Then I observed an eighteen-year-old student in my class trying to enlarge an illustration in her textbook by pinching it, like an image on a touch screen. This was a wake up call for me. Having grown up with the technology, this student actually expected content to be digital. As someone who prided himself on providing interesting, motivating as well as enriching materials, I looked at my photocopied supplemental activities and wondered how she, and indeed the entire class, must be experiencing them. Her smart device, along with everyone else’s, was in a pile collected at the start of the class, next to a computer that I rarely used.

When I considered using smart devices and social media networks with my students, I wanted to devise activities that the class would immediately recognize as being central to the goals of the lesson. If the activities were just games or ‘fillers’, then I imagined that students would naturally gravitate to games such as Candy Crush that they already had on their devices. I also wanted to harness what most of my students seemed to be doing on their smart phones when not playing games: writing messages and taking photos and videos, which they shared with their peers.

Using Social Media as a Learning Management System
21st Century learners live in a world where they are constantly producing, sharing and commenting on content. In order to have a place where we can share messages, images, videos and word files, I create a Facebook group for each class. I use this platform because all of my students are already active members. Within Facebook, a group is a private, members-only space. Students can join a group without becoming my friend.

facebook_groupsWhen creating activities for Facebook, I started by looking at the supplemental materials I already used in class. Many of these activities practiced, expanded, or personalized the contents of the textbook. Could these be enhanced or transformed by being completed in the digital world?

Using Smartphones with Facebook
A smartphone is like a portable recording studio. Students can readily practice and personalize the target language of the textbook by using the video function. In one activity I use, after teaching a unit about clothing and colors, students go to their favorite store and describe the clothes and colors that they see while videoing the manikins. I ask students to post the videos to the Facebook group, and comment on others’ videos.

iphone-videoThis ability to make and narrate videos can bring important but potentially ‘dry’ units to life: those that deal with rooms and furniture, directions, or food. Sharing the videos online provides a lot of additional, fun interaction between students, as well opportunities for language, accuracy and pronunciation analysis.

socrative_app_icon_newMaking a Digital Projector Interactive
Since 21st Century learners are engaged by content that they can interact with, I have tried to make the digital projector an active rather than passive experience for my students.  Together with the projector, I use an audience response app, Socrative, which students download for free.  For example, as we work through grammar activities in the textbook, Socrative enables me to project additional practice items on the screen, which students complete on their smart phones. The app automatically checks answers and provides feedback to the class in real-time. Used in this way, digital technology is not merely engaging but plays a central part in achieving the goals of the lesson.

Making Digital Technology an essential rather than peripheral tool
My students sometimes forget their textbooks, but they never forget their phones. Therefore, every classroom we use is a technology-enhanced space. Smart phones, social media platforms and apps have allowed me to bring my materials to life. I can create colorful, interactive activities and I can encourage students to bring the real world into the class by using the video and photo functions of their classrooms. Instead of having students put their devices on a table by the door, I now ask them to make sure their phones are fully charged when they come to class. They understand that we are not using digital technology and social media for ‘fun’, or when we need to take a breather. Together, we have made digital technology a key part of their learning experience.

This article was first published on the OUP Global ELT Blog on 27 August 2014.


Gifts to inspire a love of reading

The festive season is fast approaching, have you organised your Christmas gifts yet? If not, don’t fret, we’ve got you covered! We have a range of wonderful books for kids, from beautiful picture books to award-winning literary fiction. We’ve handpicked some gift books that will capture the imagination of young boys and girls, and will inspire a lifelong love of reading. Don’t miss the special offer for Christmas below!

9780192736901What a Wonderful World
Inspired by one of the greatest songs of all time . . .
Follow one little boy on a wondrous journey through our beautiful world. A truly special book featuring the lyrics from What a Wonderful World, accompanied by a CD and beautiful illustrations from Tim Hopgood.

This Book Just Ate My Dog9780192737281
A little girl, a big dog, and a very badly-behaved book! Bella is taking her dog for a stroll across the page when something odd happens. Her dog disappears and it becomes apparent to Bella, her friend Ben, and the rescue services that peril lurks in the pages of this book. But where the police and fire brigade fail, you – the reader can help.

9780192738721Winnie’s Big Bad Robot
When Winnie the Witch makes a cardboard robot she is very proud of her creation and decides to turn it into a real robot. BIG mistake! Winnie and Wilbur soon discover that the Big Bad Robot is trouble, especially when it gets hold of Winnie’s magic wand. Join Winnie and Wilbur on a robotic rollercoaster of a story!

9780192738677The Adventures of Mr Toad
Take to the road with Mr Toad!
With stunning illustrations from David Roberts, this is a glorious picture book edition of The Wind in the Willows. This is the perfect book to introduce a really young audience to Mole, Ratty, Badger and, of course, Mr Toad.

9780192734563Cakes in Space
Astra’s ship is in trouble. There’s something very sinister lurking in the canteen. A cakey monstrosity on the war path. And then there’s the Poglites – a space salvage crew who have invaded the ship in their quest for spoonage!
Astra and her robot friend Pilbeam are the only things standing in the way of the ship’s destruction!

9780192758231Pippi Longstocking Small Gift Edition
Pippi Longstocking, Astrid Lindgren’s nine-year-old heroine, burst onto the bookshelf in 1945 and has remained a firm favourite with children the world over. Here her story is illustrated with flair and humour by Lauren Child, known to children everywhere as the creator of Charlie and Lola, and winner of the Kate Greenaway and Nestle Gold Awards.

Special offer for Christmas
20% off and free delivery*
Discount code: xmas14
To take advantage of this special offer, visit the Oxford University Press website and enter the discount code xmas14 at the checkout.


*Online offer only available to Australian customers. New Zealand customers free call 0800 442 502 or email cs.au@oup.com to receive the same discount on the NZ price. Offer only on selected titles above. The discount cannot be combined with any other offers. Offer expires 31st December 2014.

Oxford Education Innovation Award 2014 Winners

Oxford Education Innovation Award 2014The Oxford Education Innovation Award is an annual competition run by Oxford University Press Australia, which celebrates creative and critical thinking in teacher education. This year, we asked Australian pre-service teachers to use their imagination and innovation to build their ideal classroom. Participants were asked to create the space (in their preferred medium) and write an accompanying reflective essay about the room and why it would be a positive learning environment for students.

The entries were judged by a panel of teacher academics from around the country made up of: Neil Harrison (Macquarie University), Jennifer Howell (Curtain University), Robyn Henderson (University of Southern Queensland), Helen Adam (Edith Cowan University).

The prizes were the entries that best demonstrated an innovation approach, application of best teaching practice and effective communication skills.

We are please to share the Oxford Education Innovation Award winners for 2014:

Secondary Category
Michael Pye – La Trobe University 

Classrooms for Collaboration
A classroom designed around providing opportunities for collaboration among students and their teachers.
The focus of this concept is three fold;

1. To develop an environment which promotes productivity, by providing a healthy and comfortable place for students to work.
2. To foster collaboration by including enough space and a specialised table for students and teachers to work together.
3. To increase the effectiveness of teaching by designing a room which allows for improved visibility to the front of the room while increasing the usable space where students work.

Primary Category
Troy Stretton – University of the Sunshine Coast 

The Sustainable Classroom
The sustainable classroom is a multi-age learning environment designed for primary education years, with a focus on cooperative learning, sustainability and community. It was created with the Sims 3 building editor.

Early Childhood Category
Claudia Lim – University of Queensland 

Designing Learning Spaces
Most Kindergartens and Early Learning Centres have a very similar classroom set up, consisting of bright colours, cartoon-like pictures, plastic manufactured toys and sharp edges. I asked myself ‘what if I created a Kindergarten that valued natural materials, diversity, simplistic beauty, inquiry, art, culture, children’s creations, community, multisensory learning experiences, wonder, imagination, development of whole child, reflection and so much more?’ I am a firm believer that the environment is the ‘third teacher’ and that children have incredible minds, so here is my answer to my ‘what if’ question.

Interested in participating next year? The Oxford Education Innovation Award will run again with different criteria, so stay tuned to our website for more details in July 2015.

Stephanie Swain
Higher Education – Product and Marketing Specialist, OUP ANZ

Are pictures really worth a thousand words?

In this post Alex Mellas, Higher Education Sales & Marketing, talks about the book versus film debate – is one better than the other?

9780192739308The Box Trolls film was released in cinemas in September alongside the novelisation movie-tie in (OUP, 2014); this beautifully animated film produced by Laika Studios (Coraline and Paranorman) was inspired by the novel Here Be Monsters by Alan Snow (OUP, 2005). Having read the original novel before watching The Boxtrolls, I found myself missing Arthur and his friends from Here Be Monsters, but also enjoying following a new adventure with Eggs and Winnie that was playing out on screen. This experience made me think about other book-to-film adaptations I had seen and whether I had enjoyed the film more than the book or vice versa.

Ask any bibliophile and they will always say ‘the book was better’ after seeing a film adaptation. Why are we so loyal to our paper friends?

They changed my favourite…[character/plot device/setting]!
Whether the Director has forgotten our favourite characters, changed the love interests or skipped vital plot points, the film never manages to stick to the story we’ve grown to love. While not all movies are a letdown (the BBC adaption of Pride and Prejudice is the perfect adaptation), we are never able to relive our reading experience on the big screen and can be left disappointed that the film is not a replication of the book.

That’s not how I pictured it!
A book offers us the chance to let our imagination run wild; when a director takes that book and makes it into a movie it can feel as if they are setting a restraint on our imagination. Will you ever be able to picture Jay Gatsby without Leonardo DiCaprio now? You can always pick the readers in a cinema; they’re complaining about the eye colour, clothing styles or the number of spots on the hero’s childhood dog. We are used to thinking of these characters in a certain way and movies stunt our imagination, forcing us to accept someone else’s perception.

Films are ‘books lite’
When you read a book you can take your time and enjoy it at your leisure, you can return to favourite passages but you can’t do that with a film (of course, you can if watching the DVD!). You have roughly 90 minutes to take in and understand the story and if you miss something you can’t flick back to check details. A book can offer more world building than you get in a film; while a film can make some things clearer but it can also gloss over important points or throw in unexpected plot twists because the film doesn’t have time to build up the story.

In conclusion, to enjoy both the book and film version of your favourite stories I think that it becomes necessary to think of the two mediums as completely unrelated entities – rather than going to see your favourite book screened as a film, think of your screen time as the opportunity to watch a new story.

What’s your view? Do you have a favourite book that was made into a film? Do you think it was a successful adaptation?

Robert Louis Stevenson was born on this day

Robert Louis Stevenson was born 164 years ago today in Edinburgh, Scotland.

Born into a family of engineers and builders, Stevenson began engineering studies at Edinburgh University before switching to law. Instead of practicing in either field, he pursued literary aspirations in career that spanned nineteen years and crossed a wide range of genres including travel, adventure and horror.

To celebrate his birthday, here are five interesting particulars about Robert Louis Stevenson’s life.

  1. In his lifetime, Stevenson was an experienced traveler. A love for adventure saw him take a canoe tour around Belgium, hike through southern France, cross America by train and sail the South Seas with extended stops in Hawaii and Tahiti.
  2. Illness plagued much of Stevenson’s life. While bedridden in Bournemouth during a bout of particularly poor health, it is said he quickly penned the first draft of the Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde following a feverish nightmare.
  3. A rainy afternoon of map drawing with his stepson, Lloyd, inspired Stevenson to write Treasure Island. It was first published in 1883 and is dedicated to Lloyd ‘in return for numerous delightful hours and kindest wishes’.
  4. After sailing around the Pacific, Stevenson decided to permanently settle with his family in Samoa in 1889, at the height of his literary career. His new island home inspired much of his later writing, which focused on Pacific subjects of both fiction and non-fiction, including novella The Ebb-Tide and short stories The Bottle Imp and The Isle of Voices.
  5. In 1891, Robert Louis Stevenson gave away his birthday to the young daughter of an American Land Commissioner in Samoa. After learning Annie was unhappy with having a birthday falling on Christmas Day, Stevenson composed a ‘legal’ document that formally gifted her right’s to his own birthday of November 13th.

Want to know more about Robert Louis Stevenson?

9780199536221Oxford World’s Classics
Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde and Other Tales

Treasure islandOxford World’s Classics
Treasure Island



Yarning Strong: stories about family for young readers

anita-heissDr Anita Heiss is the author of non-fiction, historical fiction, commercial women’s fiction, poetry, social commentary and travel articles. She is a regular guest at writers’ festivals and travels internationally performing her work and lecturing on Indigenous literature. She is an Indigenous Literacy Day Ambassador and a proud member of the Wiradjuri nation of central NSW.

In this post, Anita reviews four of Oxford’s Yarning Strong titles.

super-nature-starsSuper-Nature Stars
Written by Tania Crampton-Larking
Illustrated by Dub Leffler
Super-Nature Stars is Tania Crampton-Larking’s first published work. It’s a gorgeous story of ten year old Denny, who has a creative mind which he sometimes uses to mess with his five year old nephew, Jarrah. But it’s mostly in a good-hearted, playful way; it’s just not always so funny to the little fella.

Denny is a helpful, respectful young lad who jumps in his Great Aunty Yanyi’s teensy weensy purple car with her and spends the day cleaning her rather dusty old house. During the day he comes across a spider called Hoggy Huntsman in his aunt’s bathroom and a sundial in the overgrown garden. The sundial inspires Denny’s storytelling but not necessarily in a positive way. What lessons will his respected elders teach him about his gift for storytelling and how best to use it?

I think kids and adults alike will appreciate the tale of young Denny!

Written by Tammy Anderson
Tammy Anderson is a Palawa woman. She’s an award-winning artist, playwright and stand-up comedian. You may recognise her from the film The Sapphires or her one-woman show, I Don’t Wanna Play House that toured both nationally and internationally.

Tammy’s novel is about 10-year-old Sam, a ‘latchkey’ kid with a fabulous family tree that includes pets Mud Guts, Stink Bomb and Eddie.

Sam loves lots of things; her Nan’s tea parties, going to the river after school and collecting shells. But Sam is often expected to take on an adult role, and is told to ignore her hurt when she’s called ‘coon’, ‘boong’ and ‘dog poo’ by some kids at school. The old mantra of ‘Sticks and stones may break your bones…’ does not help.

S.A.M. is a book about a young girl with too many adult responsibilities. It presents a clear message that sometimes grown-ups forget that kids just want to be kids and should be allowed to be so.

The book includes a glossary for Palawa, Aboriginal English and other words used throughout. I must also say that I don’t recall ever reading the word ‘Sheila’ in a kid’s book before.

odd-one-outOdd One Out
Written by Cathy Craigie
Illustrated by Leah Brown
In the acknowledgments for this novel, Cathy Craigie writes ‘My grandmother told me that the first thing she noticed about my grandfather when he arrived at the mission was his pretty green eyes. Most people hadn’t seen one of their own with green eyes against dark skin.’

It is this ‘difference’ to the norm that is central to the story of young Buddy in Odd One Out, although in Buddy’s case he’s a Koori with red hair. It’s never bothered him before, but once Beau the Bully questions how he can be Aboriginal with red hair, Buddy stops to think about it. He asks himself ‘Who am I?’ questioning if in fact he might be adopted.

This novel touches on the issue of not conforming to fixed stereotypes. It is also full of fabulous information, such as what makes a monkey different to an ape and how/why apes are so like humans. Kids love this stuff (as do we adults).

Gamilaroi, Murri and Sydney Language words are used throughout with a useful glossary included, enabling young readers to also appreciate language maintenance.

rusty-brownRusty Brown
Written by Marie Munkara
Rusty (Russell) Brown lives on Bathurst Island – what his mum calls a ‘one-horse town’. He lives with his parents, grandparents, brother Darth and dog Ringo. Rusty’s mum has a sister named Poppy who was one of the Stolen Generation. Taken from her family when she was a small child, Poppy was disconnected from her family, language and her identity.

Rusty Brown is about Aunty Poppy’s reunion with her family. Poppy lives on the outskirts of Melbourne, so Rusty’s family sets out to teach her all about community life on Bathurst Island.

There’s an adventure at sea featuring a huge tiger shark, plus a trip for Rusty down south to Melbourne Zoo. This book is full of experiences of both remote and urban life, or as Rusty describes it, ‘The best of both worlds’.

Included is a glossary of Tiwi words used throughout the story.

To read more of Anita’s articles, click here.

The Australian Naval and Military Expeditionary Force – September 1914: Australia’s first ever joint military operation

In All Respects ReadyOne hundred years ago, in September 1914, Australia began its first ever joint military operation. The occupation of German New Guinea, taking place more than seven months before the Anzac landings, will always be overshadowed by the larger and more violent event at Gallipoli, but in its own regional context it was at least equally significant. Initiated in response to a British request, the operation sought to achieve a number of important outcomes in support of the Empire’s war effort, including the acquisition of German colonial resources, the disruption of Germany’s Pacific communications and the denial of an important coaling base to the German Navy’s East Asian Cruiser Squadron.

The force assembled for the occupation, known officially as the Australian Naval and Military Expeditionary Force (AN&MEF), numbered around 1500 troops; and their rapid deployment in the armed transport Berrima stands as a notable achievement for a people who had been at war for just over a month. Among the many newly enlisted military men were several companies of experienced naval reservists and protection for the whole came from a large Australian naval flotilla that included a battlecruiser, three cruisers, three destroyers, two submarines and a gunboat. These warships would ensure that the German East Asian Squadron did not interfere. Auxiliary vessels were also required to provide fuel and stores and, since German resistance seemed likely, among them was the well-appointed hospital ship Grantala, with an embarked medical staff of more than 50, including a matron and six nurses. Although largely unrecognised at the time, these women became the Australian Navy’s first female entrants.

The operation’s initial objective was the wireless station at Bitapaka near the German colonial capital at Rabaul, and the first landing by a company of naval reservists took place at dawn on 11 September at the small stone jetty at Kabakaul. Ashore, the enemy numbered some 300 German and native troops. They had prepared several well-defended trenches along the main road leading from Kabakaul, but by bold action and bluff the Australian naval men outflanked and overwhelmed the opposition and completed the destruction of the wireless station. For his bravery during the action, naval Lieutenant Thomas Bond was awarded the Distinguished Service Order, the first Australian serviceman to be decorated in World War I.

AN&MEF casualties were remarkably light, but included six killed and four wounded, again the first to be suffered by Australian forces during the war. Enemy casualties amounted to at least 31 killed, 11 wounded and 75 taken prisoner. Threatened by the big guns of the fleet and unable to contemplate further resistance, the local German Governor capitulated soon afterwards, and then in a series of bloodless affairs the Australians proceeded to occupy the remainder of German New Guinea.

In all, it was a remarkably successful expedition, expanding Australian influence at a critical time and highlighting what the young nation could achieve on its own account. But there remained one further tragedy to be suffered. On 14 September, the Australian submarine AE1 failed to return from a routine patrol outside Rabaul. A succession of searches revealed no trace either of the submarine or its crew, and it seems likely that she sank during a test dive, possibly following a marine accident. The loss, the new Navy’s first, brought condolences from around the Empire and has continued to be remembered by successive generations of naval men and women. This month, a new search has begun using a modern Australian minehunter, HMAS Yarra. We could do no better than wish her crew every success in their attempt to find the wreck.

If you would like to learn more about the Australian Navy’s role in the Great War why not read David’s new book, In All Respects ReadyTo receive 20% off RRP and free delivery* visit www.oup.com.au/stevens and at checkout enter the code: AusNavy

David StevensDavid Stevens is the Royal Australian Navy’s historian. He holds a doctorate in naval history from the University of New South Wales, spent twenty years as a naval warfare officer and still serves as an officer in the active reserve. He has published and lectured extensively on naval history and maritime strategy both locally and internationally.


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