The Weekend Australian - Review - - Viewpoints -

WHY does Agnes Nieuwenhuizen get a half page to have a go at the Chil­dren’s Book Coun­cil of Aus­tralia ( Fo­rum , De­cem­ber 6-7), when this or­gan­i­sa­tion bat­tles all year to get any space at all for chil­dren’s books in the Aus­tralian me­dia? Why com­ment that the no­tion and prac­tice of reader de­vel­op­ment does not have wide cur­rency in Aus­tralia when we know that one cause of this is the demise of teacher-li­brar­i­ans in schools, not the fault of the CBCA, which is ac­tively cam­paign­ing against this trend? One of many flaws in Nieuwenhuizen’s ar­gu­ment is the idea that the body’s rules of gov­er­nance dis­al­low the ap­point­ment of pro­fes­sional staff. There is no such rule. The CBCA na­tional of­fice in Ade­laide is staffed by pro­fes­sion­als and paid for by the CBCA, as is a pro­fes­sional free­lance pub­li­cist who fo­cuses on book week ev­ery year. She is ob­vi­ously also not aware that the CBCA has joined other lit­er­a­ture groups to form the Aus­tralian Chil­dren’s Lit­er­a­ture Al­liance, which will give chil­dren’s books much more clout, and has a chil­dren’s lau­re­ate on its agenda. Mar­garet Hamil­ton For­mer na­tional pres­i­dent Chil­dren’s Book Coun­cil of Aus­tralia I CAN only as­sume the ver­sion of Aus­tralia that Evan Wil­liams re­viewed (‘‘ Baz ticks all the boxes’’, Novem­ber 29-30) was dif­fer­ent from the one I saw. The only way the ver­sion I saw could be worth 31/ stars would be as a score out of 100. The film is a cliche-rid­dled car­i­ca­ture of all things sup­pos­edly Aussie. It made me squirm with em­bar­rass­ment. Trevor Hay Nan­nup, West­ern Aus­tralia I EN­JOYED Evan Wil­liams’s re­view of Aus­tralia . I had seen the movie the pre­vi­ous night and had been puz­zling over my sense of deja vu when the penny dropped . . . Out of Africa , the 1985 film star­ring Meryl Streep and Robert Red­ford. It shares many sim­i­lar themes, in ad­di­tion to panoramic vis­tas and rous­ing mu­sic. The hand­some, tran­sient biggame hunter, the mys­te­ri­ous, faith­ful spear­bear­ing Ma­sai war­rior ma­te­ri­al­is­ing seem­ingly out of the ether, the Euro­pean up­per-class heroine’s trek across hos­tile coun­try to aid the war ef­fort, her pleas with the lo­cal power mer­chants to pro­tect the in­dige­nous peo­ple. The list goes on, and all without dig­i­tal tech­nol­ogy. Mike Fenton Bun­bury, West­ern Aus­tralia I’VE just read Oliver Chap­man’s piece, ‘‘ This ( Schoolies) Life’’ ( Novem­ber 29-30). I am so im­pressed at a young per­son giv­ing a per­spec­tive about this so-called rite of pas­sage that in­cludes feel­ings of un­cer­tainty over what it is all about. I’m not a wowser and I sup­port young peo­ple tak­ing a wellde­served break af­ter years of study. But I have of­ten thought that schoolies could be quite in­tim­i­dat­ing for young adults, that they could find them­selves do­ing things they might not re­ally want to, just to be able to say they have had the ex­pe­ri­ence. Saskia Beer An­gas­ton, South Aus­tralia

re­view@ theaus­tralian. com. au

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